Fender’s new lineup of effects pedals gives musicians sonic transparency and tonal flexibility.
Fender’s three new pedals give a diverse set of sounds keeping professional and studio musicians in mind. Check out their latest lineup: Engager Boost, Pelt Fuzz and Full Moon Distortion.
Out of all three of the pedals in our review, this one was by far the most surprising. According to the manual, the Engager boost was designed to be useful anywhere in the signal-chain, but I personally found it best at the front of mine. The on-board EQ is perfect for adding bit warmth while still maintaining some clarity on your overall tone. Thanks in part to its ability to cut or boost the highs, lows, and mids by +/-20DB. The frequency switch lets you select either 400Hz or 800HZ which is perfect for things like thickening up a single coil pickup and pushing the “sweet spot” of an overdrive. 20 DBs of clean boost is more than enough to either help a guitar solo cut through a mix or truly send any tube amp into overdrive. With that being said, I could honestly see this pedal becoming an “always on” kind of thing for the guitarists out there who really like to enhance their clean tone. Speaking of tone, this pedal is true-bypass with a selectable buffer. This is an extremely useful feature to add to a pedal because long cable runs and massive pedal boards with tons of stomp-boxes can truly degrade your guitars signal before it hits your amp; resulting in a less than pleasing sound. Buffers were introduced to help combat that by boosting the guitar cables signal so it could maintain a consistent level of performance throughout the signal-chain. On the flip side of that, if you have too many buffered pedals on your board, then they can get a little messy as they all stack on top of each other and can sometimes introduce more noise and less output. Overall it’s a good balance of both buffered and true bypass pedals along with quality cables and a clean power source will help keep the noise down to a minimum on any board. Thankfully this pedal simply lets you choose either/or making it a welcome fit on any board designed for the road.
- Switchable true bypass/buffered operation
- +20 DB Clean boost
- +/- 20 DB 3-band EQ with 400HZ/800HZ frequency switch.
- $89.99 retail
THE PELT FUZZ
It’s always refreshing to see a new fuzz pedal that is not a clone of anything else enter the market. The Pelt Fuzz has a unique voice that when pushed to its extremes is reminiscent of what I imagine it feels like to play through a Tesla coil. Although there are a wealth of tonal shaping options on the pedal that lends itself to sculpting the overall texture of the fuzz, it truly excels at creating synth-like leads perfect for single note runs a la Annie Clark. The volume and tone controls of your guitar have a very large impact on how this pedal responds to the dynamics of your playing. This allows you to push the fuzz on the pedal and roll your volume knob back to clean it up. The mids can be run flat as well as cut, or boosted via the 3 way switch. Extra low end can be pushed through or tightened up with the “thick” switch. The tone knob controls the highs while also affecting the character of this fuzz to a large degree. “Bloom” is the most interesting feature on this pedal due to how it affects the attack of fuzz when you dig in hard with a pick. At it’s mildest settings we are in classic silicon fuzz territory but the further to the right it’s pushed the more compressed it gets resulting in modern squishy synth-like sounds with loads of sustain.There is plenty of makeup gain to prevent you from getting lost in the mix during a live performance which can happen with a lot of fuzz pedals if you scoop the mids.
- Silicone transistor based fuzz circuit
- Voicing switches
- “Bloom” knob for adjusting the attack of the fuzz
- $129.99 retail
FULL MOON DISTORTION
The Full Moon Distortion is Fenders hi-gain entry from the new lineup which can deliver anything from classic rock to thrash. It’s for players who are looking for an aggressive sound with a bit of clarity but not necessarily seeking out the ultra hi-gain tone of say an amp, like the EVH 5150. It’s worth noting that this pedal plays well with single-coils but can be saturated even further with hum-buckers. Use the Texture switch to choose either symmetrical or asymmetrical clipping, the difference in clipping could be compared to the difference in tone between an Ibanez TubeScreamer and a Boss SD-1. The EQ on the this pedal is quite powerful and the sweepable highs can be cut or boosted along with lows and mids for extra flexibility. The bite control shifts the mids and the harmonics of the distortion which significantly alter it’s timbre. The boost switch and corresponding knob has up to 12DBs of make up gain which you could use to make a solo a little louder or to compensate for the perceived volume loss when scooping the mids.
- High gain distortion
- Boost switch with up to 12 DB output
- Three band EQ with sweepable highs
- Switchable symmetrical and asymmetrical clipping
- $149.99 retail
Does it Synth?
Guitar players are not the only ones love pedals and they becoming more popular than ever among keyboard and synth players! I found the Engager Boost to be perfect for adding some warmth to synthesizers with digital oscillators like my Novation Ultranova both while recording. The Pelt proved to be quite the fun layer to add to the Ultranovas sawtooth legato during a solo. The Full Moon Distortion completely transformed my brass patch into something magically lo-fi and gritty that would be right at home in a video game influenced indie punk band.
All Three Pedals Feature:
- Switchable backlit LED knobs
- Extra bright Fender amp jewel light
- Heavy duty anodized aluminum chassis with mono 1/4” offset mounted jacks.
- 9 Volt Quick-change magnetic battery compartment
- 9 Volt DC center negative 110ma or less
- LED Low battery indicator
- All new circuits designed by Stan Cotey