Fender The Bends Compressor review

Compression to burn

  • £96
  • €98
  • $129

MusicRadar Verdict

Very well-designed, this is one of the best affordable guitar compressors we’ve seen recently.


  • +

    Flexible. Great price.


  • -

    Hard to argue with at this price.

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The Bends is an OTA (operational transconductance amplifier) based compressor, and follows in a long line of classic guitar compressors that have used similar technology (Ross, Dyna Comp etc), but has a Blend control so you don’t have to compress the whole signal. 

The Drive knob turns up the compression with the LED glowing pink rather than white when you are compressing the signal. There are also knobs for release time for the compression (Recovery) and output volume, which has plenty in reserve to boost your amp’s front end even when using minimal compression amounts - compression and boost together offer a natural jump to a second stage for solos. 

The pedal has little hiss, adds a nice snap to your note envelope without being too obtrusive and, via the Blend knob, can add compression effects, such as increased sustain, without totally squashing your core sound. 

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.