6 Features Powering Fender's New All-Original Pedals
From overdrive to delay, here's what you need to know about Fender's new pedals.
By Mike Duffy
Now, Fender is set to further own tone with six new all-original effects pedals, allowing everybody from the weekend warrior to the professional player to create their own unique sounds.
Born and designed in Southern California, Fender's new pedals were engineered with insight from professional gigging and studio musicians, artists and some of the industry's best minds. The project, a first step in a long-term commitment to the category, was led by Fender Vice President of Product Development Stan Cotey, who has spent 25 years in professional audio and 12 years engineering Fender tone.
"If you go back to the very early part of Fender's history, we built working tools for working musicians," said Cotey. "They were built for function first, and we kept that same spirit in these pedals. A lot of the ideas, for me, came from listening, playing and seeing how things not only sound, but also feel. You design something, build it, and then start fine-tuning it with a guitar, an amp and feedback from artists and players."
Coming in reverb, delay, overdrive, distortion, compression and buffer models, the pedals boast beloved Fender aesthetics, like LED Fender amp jewels and sleek and durable anodized aluminum exteriors.
What's more, they sound great and will allow players to unlock more options when it comes to crafting tone.
When it comes to Fender's new pedals, here are six things that you need to know:
This distortion pedal features dual gain engines-with independent tone controls for each-letting players select multiple variations of distortion. The Series/Blend switch allows stacking channels for thick, cascading distortion; the Bass Boost switch fattens the tone; and the Blend control mixes the two channels.
"The good thing about that is it lets you hear the front end of the pick and you hear more complex chords sounds," said Cotey.
Level Set Buffer
The Level Set Buffer allows players to easily swap guitars without negatively affecting tone. This original design features Level, Hi-Freq and Load controls to adjust the signal, along with a Main Mute footswitch for silent tuning. The tuner output allows the tuner to stay on without interrupting the signal path.
"You can make guitars play more nicely with each other make a Strat sound like a Les Paul or vice-versa. It just plays in the sandbox a little nicer," Cotey noted.
The Bends Compressor
Taming wild volume spikes without altering tone, the Bends Compressor is equipped with Drive and Recovery controls to let players dial in the perfect amount of compression and extend sustain, while the Blend control mixes the dry signal to maintain natural pick attack. And the process couldn't be more fluid.
"It does it very transparently and very quickly," said Cotey. "It does what you want it to do and isn't erratic. It's well-behaved. Whether you're a singer and it levels out a rhythm guitar performance or you're a soloist and it gives you more sustain, it doesn't surprise you with any errant noises."
Marine Layer Reverb
This reverb pedal features multiple types of the classic Fender effect, like Hall and Room, along with modern ones, like Shimmer. Reverb tails continue when the effect is muted, ensuring a smooth and natural decay.
"It's got a ton of different sounds and a ton of features, but it's really easy to use," sadi Cotey. "It's simple to find different sounds and explore, but you can get back to what you want with no complications."
Mirror Image Delay
This is an atmospheric delay effect, helping players create depth with a simple slapback or an epic soundscape with modulated repeats. The pedal offers Digital, Analog and Tape modes-each with two voicing variations - and an option to add a dotted-eighth note.
"It's a working, pro tool. If we could have developed a delay in 1950, we probably would have done that one because it's just a good working set of tools," explained Cotey. "It's for a craftsman."
Santa Ana Overdrive
Santa Ana Overdrive lets players dial in sounds all the way to thick, fully saturated overdrive, using FET technology for tube-like performance. Flexible tone controls unlock a wide range of sonic flavors and cleans up with the guitar's volume control.
"It's very dynamic, like a tube amp, and it feels like a tube amp," said Cotey. "As you play with different techniques and dig in with your pick or softer, it responds really well. You turn your volume down, and it cleans up nicely. If you lay into it more, it dirties up. Dynamically, it feels like you're using an amp.
"It's really organic feeling."
Learn more about Fender's new pedals here.