The FRV-1 Fender Reverb pedal does a remarkable job of digitally-emulating an original 1963 Fender Spring Reverb unit. The FRV-1 has three knobs: Mixer (the volume-level of reverb in the mix), Tone (from dark and ambient to super-bright), and Dwell (delay time of the reverb). Its settings allow the user to magically emulate the classic guitar sound created by Fender’s ‘63 tube-driven spring reverb unit, the sound that deﬁned surf rock in the early-sixties.
The Boss DD-7’s predecessor, the DD-5, has been a staple on my pedal board for years. In fact, I wouldn’t play a show without it. The multiple settings allow for a wide variety of sounds from slap-back delays to reverse delay to an analogue delay that, with a little tweaking of the other three knobs–delay time, feedback, and effect level–can sound like anything from infinite sustain to a healthy reverb. This pedal is almost its own little effects board.
The Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner is just about the easiest tuner to use on the market. Simply plug your guitar into it and tap the footswitch to begin tuning. The display screen shows large bright red letters indicating the key of each note you play, with helpful arrows instructing you whether to tighten or loosen your string depending on whether the note is flat or sharp. There are four display modes.
Gary Clark Jr. gets his tasty blues tones from an Epiphone Casino guitar, his Fender Vibroking amp, and a relatively small collection of effects pedals. When interviewed by Guitar World magazine, Gary said “The whole pedal world is kind of new to me because the traditional blues guys in Austin will raise their eyebrows if your pedal board looks too busy.
The Electro-Harmonix Freeze is a sustain pedal, but not a compressor. It is actually a delay-based effect that can be used to create drones or imitate a grand piano’s sostenuto pedal. To my knowledge, the Freeze offers a completely unique effect (though it is included in some of the larger EHX pedals). In most settings, the pedal takes a very short sample of your signal when the foot switch is first depressed. This sample is repeated until the foot switch is released.
The 3 Leaf Audio PWNZOR offers features in a compression stompbox normally only found in studio compressors. It includes controls for nearly every parameter imaginable, including input sensitivity, input gain, attack, release, compression ratio, and output gain. There is also an internal switch allowing users to choose between buffered and true bypass, as well as a ‘vintage’ switch on the pedal’s face. The bypass switch is actuated by a relay connected to a foot switch with very satisfying action.
The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is a relatively inexpensive distortion pedal featuring high quality Boss construction. It is much tamer than its orange cousin the DS-1, but it can put out a fair amount of distortion with the gain knob cranked up. The BD-2 is designed to be more of an overdrive pedal. It cleans up nearly all the way when the gain knob is turned all the way down, and it offers a range of subtle distortion.
The Fulltone Fat-Boost 3 is a good quality boost pedal with a two tone controls and some light on-board overdrive. This pedal has a few idiosyncratic design features, some of which are more endearing than others. The Fat-Boost 3’s thick metal chassis is held shut by four thumbscrews, allowing easy access to the battery compartment and circuit board. Overdrive is accessible using a knob with eleven detents. Also, the bass and treble controls are miniature pots with itty-bitty knobs.