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Fender Hammertone Pedals Demo | First Look

John Bohlinger tests out a handful of the compact, budget-friendly gray tone boxes designed by effects guru Stan Cotey.

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A classic brand’s colorful return to the stompbox fray is marked by equally vibrant sounds.

The resurrection of Maestro as a stompbox-building concern has been a real breath of fresh air. With their colorful, substantial enclosures and illuminated bugle logos, Maestro’s five new stomps recall an era when effects pedals were still, thrillingly, working through their infancy. Call them retro if you want, but they look awesome, offer practical functionality, and sound great by just about any measure.

The beauty of Maestro’s stomps runs deeper than cool, colorful enclosures. There are a lot of compelling and often distinctive sounds in these effects. And with the promise of even more new releases before the end of 2022, it’s hard to not be excited about what oddities and original sounds might lie in wait. But for now, these new cornerstone introductions suggest that Maestro is embracing the creative possibilities of an new all-analog pedal line and aiming for sounds and functionality that offer real alternatives on the more accessible side of the cost spectrum.

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Panic! At the Disco, Idles, the Sword, Torres, and more appear in this gallery of our 14 favorite boards from the last year’s worth of Rig Rundowns.

The bad news: Covid put in-person Rig Rundowns on hold till mid 2021. The good news? Zoom episodes were every bit as compelling! Here are our favorite stomp stations from the last year.

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