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Beetronics Nectar Review

Beetronics Nectar pedal

A flexible stomp that spans overdrive and fuzz modes, and sometimes seems to blend them in an inspiring way.

A very juicy, creamy, dynamic fuzz tone that’s well suited to many styles. Bonus slate of drive tones.

Crown-mounted knobs can be tricky to see.


Beetronics Nectar


If you imagine a gain-pedal spectrum, fuzz is usually situated at one end and boost at the other. The Nectar, from California builder Beetronics, makes it possible to explore both extremes in a single pedal. It also beautifully blurs the lines between those extremes, generating fuzzy overdrive, and thicker, more OD-like fuzz within its wide range.

Beebadoobee Built

Ask Beetronics why they chose to explore the realm of fuzz and overdrive in a single pedal and the likely answer will be “because we could.” Indeed, Beetronics tends to march to its own drum. With just a single footswitch, there are limitations to Beetronics’ take on the concept. Most players that use fuzz and overdrive use two different pedals, or a larger pedal that uses two footswitches to access the two circuits together or independently. Here, you have to use a toggle on the pedal’s crown. But for players that love saving space, having one little pedal that can cover it all is an appealing proposition. Another is how the Nectar’s tones often seem to blend fuzz and overdrive, creating complex dirt sounds.

The Nectar doesn’t mark the first time Beetronics dabbled in fuzz/overdrive fusion. The Royal Jelly runs the two effects side by side, in a much larger three-footswitch, seven-knob pedal. Nectar takes a more economical approach. Apart from the fuzz/drive mode toggle, there are knobs for output volume, “honey,” which controls the gain, and “taste,” which is a dark-to-bright tone knob. All are mounted on the pedal’s crown, which can make it tricky to see your settings on the fly, but it’s easy to navigate the controls by feel after a little practice. The Nectar is a very what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of pedal, with no secret settings or hidden controls or sub menus.

Beetronics pedals are very nicely built. And they have made it a signature of sorts to creatively stretch the meaning of “printed” in printed circuit board—adorning it with a floral graphic similar to the one on the plastic plate on the pedal’s face. Checking out this nifty internal touch is, however, the only reason to remove the plate. There’s no battery connection inside and the pedal is run by an external 9V DC supply only.

Bouncing the Beebop

The core tone in the Nectar’s fuzz mode, which I’m guessing many players will use the most, is rich, creamy, dynamic, and full of sustain. It strikes me as voiced to appeal to a wide range of guitarists and playing approaches. And at the risk of over-egging the metaphor pudding, it is undeniably honey-like, rather than a reproduction of the harsh, edgy, Velcro-like tones you associate with early fuzz boxes. Such smoothness—some might hear a balanced, contemporary distortion— means the Nectar works across genres without sounding too vintage, which is a good thing, in my opinion.

That said, the Nectar’s fuzz mode can sting when the taste knob is up high. With some guitar/amp combinations, you might even hear traces of harshness. But it is mostly appealingly sweet and luscious at heart, and there is so much range in the gain control that you might be tempted to skip the drive mode. Right up to around 10 o’clock on the honey knob, the fuzz maintains a thick, clear, edge-of-breakup response that’s very dynamic and definitely well south of true fuzz in terms of gain. It’s an appealing overdrive alternative.

As rich as the fuzz mode’s low-gain sounds are, the drive side’s fat-boost and low-gain overdrive sounds offer a practical alternative to fuzz mode. Real breakup, predictably, happens much deeper in the honey control’s range. And when you max it, the drive mode gets aggressive, with a throaty bark reminiscent of, if not precisely like, the MXR Distortion+. It’s a gutsy sound and adds character and muscle to any guitar you put in front of it. In drive mode, the Nectar also stacks well with other overdrives. I love how it meshed with a Marshall-like JHS Angry Charlie and a Tsakalis Six (which approximates the Paul Cochrane Timmy, Marshall Bluesbreaker, and Analog Man King of Tone) without devolving into a muddled mess.

The Verdict

With a tonal range that bridges brawny boost and a particularly delectable fuzz, it’s hard to avoid wishing the compact Nectar’s two modes were footswitchable rather than toggle activated. Still, the sounds alone, which mostly manage to avoid glitchy, spitty fuzz and tend more toward the smooth, creamy side of drive, will appeal to a lot of players that like their gain devices more predictable than unruly.