Kicking things up about 100 notches, we check out Fender's effects pedals. Vintage charm meets modern wizardry with exciting propositions across the board.

Affordable luxury doesn’t get much better than this…

Last year we were introduced to a very exciting new line from Fender in the form of exquisite effects pedals. These included the: Santa Ana Overdrive; Marine Layer Reverb; Pugilist Distortion; Mirror Image Delays; and Level Set Buffer. Led by Fender VP of Product Development Stan Cotey – the man responsible for building amps for none other than Eric Clapton and Edge -, the Fender effects pedal series adheres to the same spirit Fender infuse into all their gear. From pub circuit heroes to stadium filling superstars, from the kid rocking out at home or living the dream with their mates, the pedals offer superb versatility and exceptional tones without breaking the bank.

Now, even more pedals join the growing line-up with the: Pinwheel Rotary Speaker Emulator; Tre-Verb Digital Reverb/Tremolo; MTG Tube Distortion; and Bubbler Analogue Chorus/Vibrato, all making welcome additions. With collaborations that include none other than legendary amp maker Bruce Egnater, there are some very, very special pedals here indeed.

The Pinwheel Rotary Speaker Emulator

Fender The Pinwheel Rotary Speaker Emulator

Showcasing a trio of classic rotary speaker sounds including Fender’s legendary Vibratone, the Pinwheel Rotary Speaker Emulator is a delightful little box of treats.

There are switchable Fast and Slow speeds, as well as a built-in overdrive circuit, which puts control at your fingertips along with the feel of traditional rotary speakers’ cabs. Not only does it do the business for guitarists, but thanks to the keyboard voicing switch it also does wonders for keyboard players too.

What is a “rotating speaker”?

Conceived by Donald Leslie and sold as far back as 1941, the Leslie Speaker Organ Speaker is what everyone thinks of when referring to the classic swirling wash of a rotary speaker sound. Though he wasn’t happy with his early efforts, Leslie aimed to invent a new external speaker for his Hammond organ to make it sound more like a pipe organ, and in 1947 he created what he would christen the “Leslie Vibratone”.

Within a few years of its introduction, guitarists were experimenting with their sound through a Leslie. Many versions of the Leslie cabinet have been produced over the decades, but the basic design is essentially the same.

The audio signal enters the amp from your guitar or keyboard, which splits up the frequency bands and sends them to each speaker. Different models have different speaker arrangements and configurations with a single woofer for the bass, a single driver, and a treble tweeter. Audio from each speaker is isolated within the cabinet, with outlets targeting either the rotating horn or drum, with an electric motor controlling the rotating.

Though the sound produced is the stuff dreams are made of, Leslie Cabinets are cumbersome and hefty with some weighing the same as a large fridge (stuck that on your pedalboard). Leslie sold he company to CBS, who acquired Fender, who then went on to develop the Fender Vibratone, believed by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and SRV to name but a few.

Pinwheel power

Now, thanks to those legends at Fender, you can add the same lush swirling tones to your pedalboard without going broke. There are stereo outputs for elaborate setups and an easily changeable Slow/Fast speeds at the click of a footswitch. The Sensitivity control adjusts the rate of modulation dependent on your playing dynamics, so if you lay off a bit then it chills out but dig in and let her rip for greater intensity.

Key Features

  • Stereo connectivity accommodates elaborate setups
  • Dynamically responsive modulation rate for digging in for greater intensity
  • Switchable guitar or keyboard voicings for switching instruments with ease
  • Footswitchable Fast and Slow speeds for intuitive changes on the fly
  • Trio of modes to choose from including the legendary Fender Vibratone

Lost Highway Phaser

Fender Lost Highway Phaser

The Lost Highway is a premium analogue phaser, which kicks it old-school by utilizing 4 and 8 stage phasing like the pedals of yesteryear. Creating a sense of motion that adds another dimension to your tone, you have every conceivable dial that one could wish for the sculpt and shape your sound.

There’s a footswitchable Slow and Fast setting, which responds instantaneously for deft control on the stage or in the studio. Independent Rate and Depth knobs allow you to transition between slow and low phase shifts through to rapid and mind-bending. The built-in Wave toggle switch allows you to flick between Sine and Triangle waveforms. A secondary toggle switch alternates between 4 and 8 stage phasing, increasing resonance with a simple flick. As with the Pinwheel, the Sensitivity switch attenuates dynamic response, so you can dictate the effect’s response based on the dynamics of your playing.

The Lost Highway Phaser can even be tweaked to perform subtle vibrato pedal-esque sounds.

Key Features

  • Alternate between 4 and 8 stage phasing for increased resonance at the flick of a switch
  • Dynamically responsive modulation rate allows for greater intensity the harder you play
  • Switchable 3dB boost on the rear panel for when you need it
  • Footswitchable Fast and Slow speeds for intuitive changes on the fly
  • Switch easily between Sine and Triangle waveform patterns

Tre-Verb Digital Reverb/Tremolo

Fender Tre-Verb Digital Reverb/Tremolo

Oh, how we adore Fender amp Tremolo and Reverb. They’ll be the first to admit it themselves that they didn’t invent them, but perfect them? Quite possibly. Built into Fender amps since the mid ’50s (’55 Tremolux amp) and early ’60s (’63 Vibroverb), they’ve been a proprietary feature on many Fender amps evermore. From country to rock ‘n’ roll, blues to funk and everywhere in between, there isn’t a genre of music untouched by their influence. The Tre-Verb gives you all that and more in a pedalboard-friendly unit. All together now, “Thank you Fender”.

Independent Tremolo and Reverb effects coexist with three unique voices each. Tremolo modes include classic Optical/Bias/Harmonic Vibrato options, whilst the Reverb offers up ’63/’65 Spring/Plate selections for creating an ambient experience that is all yours. Utilise the Tremolo’s Tap Tempo function to ensure that you’re in sync with everyone else. Stereo outputs allow you to integrate the Tre-Verb into the most elaborate of mono or stereo rigs.

Key Features

  • Stereo connectivity accommodates elaborate stereo setups
  • Trio of voices for each effect across Tremolo and Reverb
  • Switchable guitar or keyboard voicings for switching instruments with ease
  • Tap tempo for tremolo rate to put sync control into your hands (or feet)
  • Classic tremolo and reverb sounds to create lush textured soundscapes

MTG Tube Distortion

Fender MTG Tube Distortion

Borrowing the expertise of innovative amp maker Bruce Egnater, Fender bring us the MTG Tube Distortion. Boasting a vacuum tube at its heart – a NOS (New Old Stock) 6205 preamp tube -, there is a switching power supply within the enclosure. What does this mean and why is it useful? Well, it means that the MTG can utilise a standard 9V centre-negative power supply – albeit with a slightly higher current draw (350mA), which allows it to slot easily into your current pedalboard setup without the need for an additional bulky power supply.

The beauty of the MTG is that it squeezes tube-driven distortion into a functional, useable pedal unit. Across the top you’ll find an EQ section that looks as it would across an amp with traditional Bass/Middle/Treble dials. However, there is also a Tight control so that you can taper the low end to suit your demands. A built-in Boost function boasts its own Boost and Level dials with Boost introducing Gain and Level dictating the master output level when Boost is engaged.

Thanks to the high voltage specs of the MTG, dynamic response from the tube is truly delightful. When you dial back the volume on your guitar and pick softly the warmth of the tube filters through softly with the slightest hint of breaking up. Ramp things back up and dig in to unleash a ferocious biting attack.

Key Features

  • Authentic tube-driven distortion delivered by NOS 6205 preamp tube
  • Highly responsive to playing dynamics for true tube-amp character
  • 3-Band EQ and built-in Boost circuit with independent Gain and Level Controls
  • Additional Tight control allows you to shape low-end response
  • Built in collaboration with innovative amp maker Bruce Egnater

Bubbler Analogue Chorus/Vibrato

Fender Bubbler Analogue Chorus/Vibrato

Vintage chorus with classic “bucket brigade” based circuitry and controls that today’s players will love – what’s not to love about the Bubbler Analogue Chorus/Vibrato?

Again, built in collaboration with Bruce Egnater, the Bubbler Chorus allows you to sculpt and shape your tone with impeccable precision. Everything from tightly controlled chorus to an ethereal tsunami of sound that pulses and swells with life is yours for the taking.

When it comes to describing “bucket brigade” circuity it’s best to picture a line of people passing buckets of water from points A to B. Replace people with analogue capacitors and buckets of water with a single-clock cycle of an electrical signal. You can readily adjust Rate and Depth controls to slow things right down or speed things right up. As with the Pinwheel there’s a wave toggle switch for selecting either Sine or Triangle waveforms, and once again stereo outputs abound to increase tonal flexibility.

Key Features

  • Analogue chorus pedal incorporating BBD “Bucket Brigade” circuitry
  • Easily control Rate and Depth controls for slow/fast response
  • Switchable Sine and Triangle waveform selection at flick of a switch
  • Dynamically response modulation rate for real-time control
  • Built in collaboration with innovative amp maker Bruce Egnater

Awesome features across all Fender pedals

In an effort to make these units a cut above the rest, all enclosures are built using lightweight yet durable anodized aluminium to make them solid yet aesthetically pleasing.

All controls and dials are well spaced, so you won’t find yourself changing parameters accidentally on stage. With that in mind, classic Fender Amp Jewels light the way in the dark, as well as LED backlit knob so you can see exactly what you’re doing.

Who are they for?

Frankly, anyone and everyone.

If you’re looking for classic vibes like the Vibratone and Fender amp reverbs from decades past, then they’re reading and waiting. If you want something to push your creative boundaries with, all pedals include standout features that allow you to nudge your tone into unchartered territory.

For the gigging guitarist who wants something that sounds great, responds dynamically in real-time, offers exceptional versatility, can withstand punishment night after night, and comes in at considerably less than some “boutique” alternatives, then Fender has your back. Studio-ready effects in pedalboard-friendly form is the name of the game, and they would make a welcome addition to any guitarist’s arsenal.

Get in touch

Check out our selection of Fender Effects Pedals over at the Dawsons website.

Alternatively, head to your local Dawsons Store to check them out for yourself. Our instore specialists will be happy to guide you through the range.