There are plenty of electro-acoustic guitars being played on stages all over the world these days, and an increasing number via one or more pedals - the Boss tuner pedal, for one, seems to be a ubiquitous part of the singer-songwriter's arsenal.
However, it's probably fair to say that most of the pedals on the market are designed and voiced for use with standard electric guitars, with the resulting possibility that the acoustic player isn't really getting the optimum results from them.
Fishman, the acoustic pickup specialist, is aiming to remedy that with the new AFX range of pedals which are designed to be used by acoustic musicians without having any adverse effect on the signature sound of their instruments.
To achieve this result the effects are EQ'd in sympathy with the resonances of an amplified acoustic guitar and, rather than the whole signal getting the full effects treatment, the effected sound is added in parallel with the direct sound proportionally so it can be used subtly without completely colouring the sound.
The AFX Chorus pedal might be more accurately described as a modulation pedal as it covers a range of such effects. It has three types of chorus, stereo and mono tremolos, flanger, phaser and rotary speaker presets, all adjustable by a tone knob and a speed knob.
The first observation, which applies to all three pedals, is that there really is no colouring of the inherent sound coming out of the jack on your electro-acoustic - you get out what you put in and, tonally, the effects combine well.
The level control, while expected on a delay or reverb pedal, is more unusual in this context and, when not cranked clockwise for the full effect, is really useful for creating subtle blends with just enough effect to put an interesting slant on the sound without overpowering it.
The three chorus settings, progressively exhibiting more chorus depth, are rich and full and can go from just slightly beefing up the sound through to an obvious chorale effect.
Tremolo and rotary settings
The opto-style tremolo is nicely soft-edged in a Fender amp way, while the stereo tremolo exhibits an impressively wide shimmer at faster settings, but can sound a little strange at slower settings as the panning becomes more obvious.
The rotary setting does a reasonable impersonation of a spinning Leslie cabinet and the flanger creates a classic light flanging sound, but without the exaggerated whoosh you can get from an Electric Mistress.
The phaser is a slight sonic disappointment - it's okay but is voiced with a pronounced 'wow', which may not suit all users.
If you play an electro-acoustic on stage and want more variety in your sound or just more control over it, rather than leaving it to whoever is working the PA, then the AFX Chorus may be for you.
The pedal is a little pricey so will probably only appeal to the really committed, but what you get is classy sound and a build quality that looks like it would last a lifetime, so the expense could be justified.