First look video: Fender dives into effects market with 6 new pedals

Fender has released a new series of effects pedals, including the Pugilist Distortion, Level Set Buffer, The Bends Compressor, Marine Layer Reverb, Mirror Image Delay and Santa Ana Overdrive - all of which you can see in action in our first look video at NAMM above.

The company is describing the move as its "official entry" to the effects market and says the pedals have been developed in consultation with players and Stan Cotey, Fender's VP of Product Development at its Southern California base. 

There's a distinct lack of showy graphics, suggesting that the corporation is not trying to grapple with the craft-beer-swilling boutique types

Cotey has worked extensively on behalf of the Big F with the likes of Eric Clapton, The Edge and Joe Bonamassa and, channeling the firm's long-held utilitarian values, says the focus with the new stompboxes is on function over form. You'll notice there's a distinct lack of showy graphical content, suggesting that the corporation is not trying to grapple in the dirt with the craft-beer-swilling boutique types. 

This idea is manifested across the range with features such as back-lit level indicators on the control knobs, to make viewing/adjusting on darkened stages easier, and magnetic battery enclosures, which eschew the need to crack-out the Phillips head mid-set. Meanwhile, a nod to Fender's heritage come across the range in the form of 'amp jewel' LEDs.

All six pedals available now, and there's more to come, too - Fender is citing these as a "first step in a long-term commitment to the category".

Pugilist Distortion

MSRP: £87 / $99.99

A wide-ranging distortion box, the Pugilist features dual-gain stages with separate tone controls that can be used independently or stacked. In addition, there's a bass boost switch and a blend control allowing you to determine the relative mix of the two channels.

Level Set Buffer

MSRP: £87 / $99.99

A good example of Fender's functional approach during the design process of this pedal set, the Level Set Buffer is aimed at regulating signal strength for players who switch instruments mid-set or have a large and varied pedalboard. Alongside Level, Hi-Freq and Load controls, there's a mute switch, which should prove useful for tuning between songs/turning off the lead guitarist etc.

The Bends Compressor

MSRP: £96 / $129.99

Fender is selling its Bends compressor as a "studio quality stompbox". Controls include Drive, Recovery (i.e. speed), Level and a dry/wet Blend knob. Compressor pedals usually live and die by the of ease use when it comes to dialling in the sweet spot and Fender has no doubt put lots of thought into appropriate application for guitarists.

Marine Layer Reverb

MSRP: £110 / $149.99

Do we need another reverb? Clearly Fender has asked itself this question and the Marine Layer has enough to pique our interest, with a restrained palette of Hall, Room and Special reverbs and considerate stage-focussed tweaks, including a reverb tail that continues after the pedal is muted. 

Mirror Image Delay

MSRP: £110 / $149.99

Like the reverb pedal, the Mirror Image offers a restricted palette of Digital, Analog and Tape delays with a toggle-switched 1/2 variation and optional dotted 1/8th toggle. We're assuming it sounds excellent, because frankly it will need to in order to compete with the bells and whistles offerings from TC Electronic et al.

Santa Ana Overdrive

MSRP: £160 / $199.99

A FET-based overdrive, we enjoy Fender's description of it's range from "'just a little hairy' all the way to thick, fully saturated overdrive". There's a lot of tone-shaping control underfoot/finger here, including three-band EQ, Presence, Level and Drive controls, as well as A/B voicing, Bypass and Boost switches.


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