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After decades of dabbling, Fender is making a proper go of the whole stompbox thing – but will these six new units floor the competition? Richard Purvis lines ’em up…


You may not realise it, but Fender has a long history in effects pedals. While there may have been more misses than hits since the amazing Fender Blender octave fuzz of the late 60s beloved of Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, it’s notable that the company has hailed this new range as “marking its official entrance into the category”.

What this really means is that Fender has finally decided to take stompboxes seriously. These are classy, understated pedals with some interesting features: sturdy aluminium construction, switchable LED position markers, offset inputs and outputs for snug pedalboard stacking, easy-access magnetic battery compartments… and, last but far from least, mass-market pricing. The effects chosen are equally sensible – dirt is handled by the Santa Ana Overdrive and the Pugilist Distortion, atmospherics are the preserve of the Mirror Image Delay and Marine Layer Reverb, while more utilitarian needs are taken care of by the Level Set Buffer and a compressor, The Bends. We’ve got all six here on test, so let’s plug them in and see what the Big F has come up with.

These are classy, understated pedals with some interesting features under the hood


We’ve set the six pedals up in conventional signal path order, which means the least sexy one’s up first – the Level Set Buffer. Sorry. That being said, while giving your sound a bit of a push to overcome degradation through long cable runs is hardly a glamorous job, Fender has smuggled a couple of extra nonboring functions into this little silver box.

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About Guitar Magazine

What do we think about the most talked-about guitar of the year? Find out in our May 2018 issue, on sale now. Inside, we sit down with Paul Reed Smith to talk out about the two-year design process that gave birth to the Silver Sky and we put John Mayer’s new PRS signature model through its paces in an in-depth 10-page review. The magazine also comes bundled with a FREE Joy Of FX magazine for every reader that includes reviews of Fender’s new-for-2018 stompbox line, new EarthQuaker Devices pedals, an interview with Way Huge pedal guru Jeorge Tripps and more. Back in the main mag, we get up close and personal with Eric Clapton’s £25,000 writing and recording acoustic, check out The Temperance Movement’s live gear, interview Steve Morse and review even more hot new guitars, amps and effects from Eastman, Blackstar, JHS Pedals, Lowden and plenty more besides. We also salute the genius of Freddie Tavares and you can enter our competition to WIN a drop-dead gorgeous Lake Placid Blue Fender American Original ‘60s Telecaster worth £1,659. The May 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale in print and digital formats now. Essential reading for guitar addicts.