AF’s Weblog

November 10, 2008

Test: Fender Classics Re-issue Pedals review

Classics Live Again
Fender Classics Re-issue Pedals: The Test
Though not as well known for their pedals as they are for their guitars and basses, Fender has been making classic pedals for more than 50 years. Following the recent re-issue of the Fender Blender Custom pedal, Fender decided to launch a range of new classic-inspired stompboxes with some vintage tones and looks. Let’s take a closer look….
 
Vue générale

The Fender Classics – Reissue Pedals include the Fender Blender (octave/fuzz), a Volume, a Volume/Tone, a Phaser, and the Fuzz-Wah pedal. In this test we’ll be taking a look at all of the above with the exception of the Fender Blender.

At first glance these pedals look vintage: robust, big, and heavy! And they are heavy! Though made in Korea, there’s nothing cheap about these pedals. If you buy all five you’ll probably have to end up getting them their own separate pedal board. Just incorporating one or two into your existing pedal board will require some measurement and planning. But in look and feel, they certainly live up to their vintage counterparts.

As for packaging, there’s the strict minimum, but in style. They each come in a chic black velour stocking-like cover, complete with an embroidered Fender logo (It would look great next to the fireplace for Christmas if you don’t use it for anything else). The only other thing in the box (besides the Styrofoam) is a catalog of the other pedals in the collection. There’s no manual, and you don’t need one. It’s basically intuitive plug-and-play.

There’s a minimum of knobs on all of the pedals with an emphasis on foot controlled parameters. The Fuzz/Wah and Volume/Tone feature clever dual action treadle plates that not only rock forwards and backwards like a traditional wah-wah, but also move from left to right. And the Phaser has a big back-lit rate control knob, that alternately illuminates blue and red at the same rate as the phase shifting, that can easily be manipulated with your foot.

Let’s take a closer look at their ergonomy and see (and hear) how they sound.

Conclusion
Made in Korea with Californian know-how, these vintage re-issue pedals give the best of both worlds: quality products at a relatively inexpensive price. They might not have many fancy settings or adjustments but they definitely deliver the goods. They do however have a somewhat fancy look to them with all that shiny chrome; all except the Phaser, but the Phaser has that cool synchronized back-lit dial. Though they’re heavy and bulky, they do look, feel, and above all, sound vintage. There are a couple of details or features that could have been done differently and one or two downsides, but on the whole they’re a great addition to anyone’s pedal collection. And considering that they’re fairly inexpensive for such quality Fender products, there’s not much of a reason not to run out and test and eventually buy one, if not all.
 

 Price
 Solidity
 Sound – especially the Fuzz and the Phaser
 Nice look – Chrome or Back-lit dial
 Expressiveness with two-way control (Fuzz/Wah & Volume/Tone)
 Volume pedal transparency
 Smooth pedal action

 Weight and bulk
 Phaser noise 
 Tricky switch-stomping and difficult volume-level switch access on the Fuzz/Wah
 Tone variation on the Volume/Tone a little too narrow

 

Read the full review of the Fender Classics re-issues pedals on Audiofanzine.

 

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August 27, 2008

Fender New American Standard Telecaster review

Fender has added some new features to a few of its classic instruments and announced the New American Standard series. Here’s a great occasion to come face to face (or body to body) with two of rock’s oldest and dearest friends: the Stratocaster and Telecaster.

Fender Telecaster New American Standard

For those few who don’t know, the Stratocaster and the Telecaster are kind of the mothers of all electric guitars, with their Gibson cousin, the Les Paul. Created in the beginning of the 50’s by the master Leo Fender, these guitars kick-started the solid body concept (bodies without sound chambers, and therefore solving the feedback problem of amplified acoustic guitars ) and establishing the principles of electric guitar building; to the point where 50 years later, these very same principles are still used by electric guitar builders.

As far as deciding whether these New American Standards are worth it, the answer is a 200% yes. Of course, if you bought an older model a few months ago, don’t worry:, the new features, though all valid, aren’t major. So if you’re thinking about getting yourself a Strat or a Tele, you can rest assured: The Fender sound is there.

Two legendary guitars with classic sound and playability
Nice new cases that are both light and rugged
Sustain Improvements
Neck varnish gives it a nice feel

Nothing really revolutionary, but we weren’t expecting it anway

Read the full Fender New American Standard Telecaster review on Audiofanzine.

Fender Champion 600 review

Filed under: Guitar reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 8:28 am

It’s very fashionable to be mini. It’s very fashionable to be vintage. Fender is very fashionable… but why? Because Fender has released the Champion 600, a reissue of a mini, vintage, guitar amp, originally sold between 1949 and 1953. The concept is very basic, a 5 watt tube amp with a volume knob. So, is it a hit or a miss?

Champion 600

Life in modern cities can be a bit annoying when you’re a musician trying to practice, without disturbing your entire neighborhood. Naturally, manufacturers have been quick to propose various solutions, for a multitude of situations.

Some amp manufacturers have created solutions specifically for guitar players, with a range of small or mid sized amps, allowing the musician to turn the volume all the way up, without fearing a police raid.

Read the full editorial Fender Champion 600 review on Audiofanzine

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