Product Review: Fender Effects Pedals

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 5

At the January 2018 Winter NAMM Show, Fender announced six new effects pedals. These innovative pedals have a lot of unique features that utilize technology and ideas that will bring them to the forefront of new products.

The six pedals are the Santa Ana Overdrive, Pugilist Distortion, Marine Layer Reverb, Mirror Image Delay, The Bends, and Level Set Buffer. All the pedals are crafted from lightweight and durable anodized aluminum. Also, say goodbye to those old pedal battery doors with their tiny screws; all these have magnetic battery doors!

Below is a brief list of highlights I found for each pedal.

Santa Ana Overdrive ($199.99)

The Santa Ana features new FET (field-effect transistor) technology that makes it sound more tube-like (which I loved). A reactive input allows for more versatility when strumming the guitar at different intensity levels. Overdrive voice A & B allows for even more flexibility of tone. I loved this pedal. I could recreate some of my favorite tones as well as make some new ones. It was great to be able to explore the distortion dynamics from a light gain when I rolled off the volume, and a heavy grit when I cranked it up.

Pugilist Distortion ($99.99)

This pedal also offers up a variety of features guaranteed to sound good with any amp rig. This pedal features two dual gain engines. One is a lower gain, and one is a little higher. The pedal has a “blend” knob that allows you to blend the two together. It also features a series mode, which allows you to put one channel into the next, creating a very powerful and adjustable tone palate.

Marine Layer Reverb ($149.99)

I really enjoyed this pedal. I was able to tweak around with it and get some really interesting sounds. It’s a pretty simple pedal that packs a whole lotta reverb punch. It features three different types of reverb: Hall, Room, and Shimmer. You can create some very modern, layered sounds with this beauty.

Mirror Image Delay ($149.99)

This pedal was also a blast to experiment with. It features three classic delays: Analog, Digital, and Tape. It has dotted-eighth delays, which is pretty much a staple for modern music. Some settings provide a second tone that can be adjusted to make all sorts of coloration sound for the modern guitarist and songwriter.

The Bends ($129.99)

This pedal preserves your natural playing dynamics and volume using its built-in compressor. With the help of dual audio paths and a blend knob, you can dial in the right amount of dry and compressed signal to achieve the tones you desire.

Level Set Buffer ($99.99)

This pedal is like the glue that holds your pedalboard together. It helps level out the sounds and levels of your other pedals in your chain. It has a mute switch and an input for a tuner. This pedal is ideal if you play multiple guitars at a gig. You won’t have to make many adjustments to your pedals if you are switching from a guitar with humbuckers or a single-coil guitar.

I really enjoyed playing through these pedals, and I think there is something that most guitarists would benefit from in this lineup. I’m looking forward to getting a few of these into my pedalboard.

More information can be found at

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SOURCEGuitar Girl Magazine Issue 5
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Born and Raised in Miami, FL, Vanessa started playing music at a young age. Progressing through high school, Vanessa was playing and performing on multiple instruments including guitar, piano and trumpet. She was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. During her time there, she studied the guitar playing of such influences as Pat Martino, Slash, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Eric Johnson and many others. After graduating with a degree in Music Business, she went on to work with such artists as Pat Metheny and Christian McBride. After years in the business end of the industry, she decided to pursue her own performing career and moved to Atlanta, GA. Once in Atlanta, she was playing with several groups, and doing recording sessions.  A year later, she was chosen as a finalist by Beyonce to audition for her all-girl backup band. Vanessa has traveled the world playing guitar, visiting countries such as France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Japan, South America and the Caribbean. She has performed on the bill with such renown artists as Darius Rucker, LA Sno, KISS, Skid Row and Paramore. She is currently recording and performing as the front woman for rock trio, BAST.


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