reverb 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.

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A maze of modulation and reverberations leads down many colorful tone vortices.

Deep clanging reverb tones. Unexpected reverb/modulation combinations.

Steep learning curve for a superficially simple pedal.

$209

SolidGoldFX Ether
solidgoldfx.com

4.5
4
4
4

A lot of cruel fates can befall a gig. But unless you’re a complete pedal addict or live in high-gain-only realms, doing a gig with just a reverb- and tremolo-equipped amp is not one of them. Usually a nice splash of reverb makes the lamest tone pretty okay. Add a little tremolo on top and you have to work to not be at least a little funky, surfy, or spacy. You see, reverb and modulation go together like beans and rice. That truth, it seems, extends even to maximalist expressions of that formula—like the SolidGold FX Ether.

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A tiny and terrifically inexpensive ticket to spacious places.

Rugged, versatile, and easy to use. Super compact. Impressively affordable. Useful tone control.

Deeper settings can wash out the dry signal pretty quickly.

$45

TC Electronic Skysurfer Mini Reverb
tcelectronic.com

3.5
4.5
4.5
4.5

On the heels of its full-sized Skysurfer reverb pedal, TC Electronic has introduced the smaller and even more affordable Skysurfer Mini. TC, of course has a well-established and solid foundation in studio reverbs as well as a proven ability to miniaturize effects. And this tiny 3.9" x 2.2" x 2.2" metal box might just pack the most reverb value per-square-inch of any pedal out there.

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