Following in the footsteps of the Dunlop JB95 Cry Baby and JBF3 Fuzz Face is the MXR FET Driver, which is based on Joe Bonamassa's favourite Chandler Tube Driver, as made famous by David Gilmour and Eric Johnson.
"The FET Driver pedal is designed to thicken up lead playing, and its tones range from soft clipping to light distortion"
The FET Driver pedal is designed to thicken up lead playing, and its tones range from soft clipping to light distortion. Control-wise, the level and drive knobs act as you'd expect, while the hi and low knobs cut or boost treble and bass frequencies, and the hi cut switch rounds off high frequencies. Elsewhere, the pedal is true bypass and runs from a nine-volt battery or power supply.
With a smooth, singing, Gilmour-esque sustain, the FET Driver certainly sounds the part. In fact, crank up the gain and it's so smooth that it begins to verge on fuzz territory, in contrast to the crunchy low-gain sounds.
The pedal's natural-sounding dirt also blends beautifully with amp overdrive for meaty lead tones - just the way Bonamassa likes it. And if your living room drive doesn't quite translate to the stage, press the handy hi cut switch and you'll tone down the top end to prevent shrill treble at gig volumes.
It's not the cheapest overdrive on the shelf, but Bonamassa and MXR got this one right, with a great range of sounds and a natural-sounding overdrive that suits both clean and dirty amps. If the usual drives aren't doing it for you, a visit to the FET might well be in order.