Easy on the wallet, with an abundance of fun tones.

Growly low-gain voice. Punchy. Sounds great at wide open tone settings.

Might be too compressed or too high gain for some tastes.

$79

Fender Hammertone Overdrive
fender.com

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Fender’s most important gift to the effects cosmos is spring reverb. That legacy, however, tends to obscure other high points in the company’s effects history, which is dotted with a few classics—if not runaway commercial hits.

At appealing prices ranging from $79 to $99, the new Fender Hammertone pedals could easily be huge sellers. But what makes these effects extra attractive is that they don’t have the functional or operational feel of generic entry-level pedals. Most have a strong, even distinctive, personality—at least compared to other inexpensive effects. They each come with extra features and voices that stretch the boundaries of the foundational tones. And if the voices aren’t always the most refined or lush when compared to more expensive analog equivalents or expensive digital units, they are fun and prompt a lot of musical sparks.

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Photo by Max Crace

The guitar virtuoso sifted through his vaults for the nuggets that began his two new albums, The Book of Making and Yesterday Meets Today, and then let inspiration take over.

Eric Johnson knows that excessive pride gets in the way of true progress, and that having extraordinary talent doesn’t beget personality or, simply put, make you better than anyone else. “I’ve spent so long being involved in [playing music] that, at one point, you take a break and go, ‘Yeah, but that’s not me—that’s just something I do. Who am I?’” he shares. “Regardless of how well you do it and how appreciated you are, it’s not like a carte blanche calling card that gives you any kind of real entitlement in life. If you think it does, then you don’t know who you are.”

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In celebration of 25 years of Reverend Guitars, the company is releasing two guitars and one bass with special anniversary cosmetics.

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