chorus pedal review

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

4
4
4
4

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.

Read MoreShow less

Chorus, vibrato, and easy-to-program presets in an elegantly simple design.

Deep and varied chorus and vibrato sounds that are easy to manipulate and access via presets. Nice presence in top end.

Switching between chorus and vibrato can sometimes feel a touch clumsy.

$239

NativeAudio Pretty Bird Woman
nativeaudio.com

4.5
4.5
4.5
4

NativeAudio’s Pretty Bird Woman chorus and vibrato makes for a nice study in economical design. There are just two knobs for modulation rate and depth, a footswitch that saves and scrolls presets, and a bypass switch that doubles as a vibrato/chorus switch when you hold it down for a few counts. These simple functions govern two very rich and varied modulation voices. And it only takes a little time to see, hear, and feel how the PBW’s design economy and intuitive controls would make it invaluable in a live setup.

Read MoreShow less

It’s the ’80s in a box—just add hair spray.

A portable, user-friendly path to tri-stereo chorus sounds. Presets make it easy to find ’80s guitar tones. Good analog BBD-style chorus tones. Sensitive controls allow for refined tweaking.

Dual-control knobs make it difficult to visualize settings.

$299

Eventide TriceraChorus
eventideaudio.com

5
4
4
4

The 1980s were a decade of big hair, big amps, and big guitar tones. But while those stacks of cabinets certainly made things louder, behind-the-scenes rackmount chorus and in particular, the tri-stereo chorus units available under various names such as Dyno-My-Piano, Dynotronics, and Songbird, did a lot to make ’80s guitar sound bigger still. Once these rackmount units reached the rigs of guitarists such as Michael Landau and Steve Lukather, pop radio didn’t stand a chance.

Read MoreShow less