Boss FRV-1 63 Fender Reverb Pedal
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- Three classic controls for Dwell, Tone, and Mix allow players to refine their tone
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|Item Dimensions||3.8 x 6 x 2.7 in||25 x 20 x 20 in||3.7 x 6 x 2.5 in||4.25 x 1.75 x 6.75 in||4.3 x 7.8 x 4.3 in||2.13 x 2.76 x 4.84 in|
1963 Fender Spring Reverb Returns as a Modern Stompbox BOSS and Fender USA have collaborated to create the FRV-1, a stunning recreation of the 1963 Fender Reverb. A staple sound of rockabilly, country, blues, surf rock and even grunge rock, this tube-driven reverb sound is now available in an affordable, rugged compact pedal.
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Go back to the fifties when electric guitars were still something fairly new and guitarists had no electronic "reverb" at all. Back then only places had reverb.
Reverb is the sound that comes when a sound is created in a place. When a person sings in the shower and it sounds SO GOOD that is because of the reverb. -The series of fast and quick echoes that merge together leaving a sonic trail behind every note sung, making them rich and full. Larger places also have reverb. A good concert hall for instance. Other places, also with "reverb," sound terrible. The echoes there garble the sound making it unpleasant and unclear.
The first reverb, apart from the natural type, that was made available to guitarists was something called "spring reverb." It made a reverb-like sound trail by passing the vibration of the created musical sound (the plucked string or chord in the case of a guitar) into a spring, making it vibrate and pulse, then extracting a signal from the other end of the spring and mixing it in with the original, clear, sound of the instrument.
How 'hard' the spring was vibrated (and thus how long the vibrations continued) was called "dwell." A small vibration added a gentle trail, a stronger vibration a stronger one with greater duration (picture a spring vibrating and you'll get the picture!) and a REALLY strong kick got the spring making "boing boing" sounds.
How much of that sound, be it a smooth and gentle trail, or a loud, long enduring, mechanical "boing," is heard depends on how much of it is mixed in with the original sound. That is controlled by a knob called -- ready for this? -- "Mixer." Add a typical tone control that increases or decreases the treble and you have the three controls on an early "spring reverb" (called a "tank" in the jargon of its heyday:) Dwell, Mixer and Tone.
Later, when spring reverbs were built into guitar amplifiers the three controls were reduced to one simply called "reverb" that sort of combined the "Dwell" and "Mix" into one. Tone was controlled along with the rest of the guitar's sound by the amp's tone controls.
In recent years spring reverb has been replaced on many amplifiers with a digital reverb. At first these digital recreations sounded artificial. Today they, in many cases, sound more like real, natural, room reverb that the old spring reverbs did. And that is the problem.
The fact is that old schoolers like the sound of those old spring reverbs. Much early rock, rockabilly and especially "surf" music got its distinctive sound from the slightly (or very!) unnatural sound of real spring reverbs. The digital ones are too good. Too smooth. Too natural.
The Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb is designed to recreate (using digital modeling) the actual sound of one of those early spring reverbs. And actual "tank" - the type guitarists, starting back in 1961, might add to their system to get that special sound they had learned to love.
Does the Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb do what it is designed to do? Oh yes! The writer of this review used such reverbs starting back in 1963 -- playing (and recording) rock and "surf" music. If you want to get that sound this pedal is the way to do it.
But to someone who is used to smooth, natural room reverb -- not the type created by a tank -- this pedal may sound absolutely terrible.
And that is really all it boils down to. Do you want the sound of real 1960s spring reverb? Or not. Do you know the difference?
The answer to those questions will decide whether you agree with this reviewer who gives the Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb five stars, or some of the others who think its a real stinker.
Just like a real stand alone tank, the FRV-1 has three controls: Mixer, Dwell and Tone. This gives the player far more control over the reverb sound they are after than a simple `more or less' reverb knob. Essentially, the Dwell controls the richness and `splash' of the reverb, the Mixer controls the balance between the `dry' (direct) signal and the reverb signal and the Tone controls the tone (brighter/warmer) of the reverb signal. This is important: The Tone knob changes the character of the reverb portion of the signal only, not the direct portion. I verified this by turning the unit on, turning the Mixer all the way down (effectively shutting off the reverb part of the signal) and sweeping the Tone control back and forth while I strummed. It had no effect on the direct signal from the guitar that I could hear. Also, with the Mixer all the way down I could switch the unit on and off and make out no discernible difference in the sound. In other words: it does not change the direct signal of the guitar. It simply adds reverb to the direct signal. More accurately the Mixer blends the `wet' and `dry' signals. With the Mixer all the way down the signal is 100% dry. Turn it up a bit and you get something like 80% dry 20% wet, so on and etc. as you turn the control up.
As for the sound: this is a digital effect, but it does not sound at all digital to me. The reverb sound is very smooth and warm, and as big and splashy or subtle as you want it. I did a side-by-side comparison with a combo amp's built in spring reverb (Super-Sonic 22, which has a fairly large tank) and the Boss FRV sounded just as natural as the real spring reverb to my ears. With one difference: you can kick the Boss reverb and it won't go "Ka-PLOWwwwwww!" the way a real reverb will if it's knocked. I'd call that a plus.
In fact that is another advantage this unit has over a combo amp reverb. You can get really intense reverb without it getting out of control. If you want way out there spacey surf reverb this unit can do it. Some combo amps' reverbs (the SS 22 included) just get out of control and unusable before you can reach that `spaced-out' sound. The FRV-1 can get you there. It is possible to push it to the point where it gets out of control and starts feeding back, etc., but it can get very intense before that happens.
In short, the Boss FRV-1 does what it's supposed to do, does it well, sounds great, its far more flexible than a typical combo amp reverb, and is more portable and less expensive than a separate tank unit. I highly recommend it.