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Fender Santa Ana Overdrive review

Good old Santa

  • £160
  • €166
  • $199

MusicRadar Verdict

Natural-sounding overdrive and switchable boost in one box makes this a practical pedalboard proposition.

Pros

  • +

    Touch sensitive. Very versatile.

Cons

  • -

    Could do with a boost level control.

An overdrive pedal with two voicings and an extra footswitch for added boost, the Santa Ana is designed with FET circuitry to deliver valve amp-style drive and it does just that. 

This is a pedal that has nicely expressive touch sensitivity and cleans up naturally with guitar volume. There’s quite a range of tones available from cleanish boost to driven amp, shaded with a set of four EQ knobs reminiscent of a Fender amp front panel. 

The two amp voicings are designated American and British - the former is brighter with a sharper almost percussive chime, while the latter is darker and a practical choice in front of overly bright amps. The Boost knob can be set to either boost the drive stage where it can successfully bring in a more aggressive upper mid presence or to boost the output volume - perhaps by a slightly larger margin than we would have liked in the absence of a boost level control. 

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.