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||4.3 x 7.8 x 4.3 in||3 x 5 x 3 in||2.13 x 2.76 x 4.84 in||7.5 x 10.5 x 3 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.
I bought this pedal to pair with the Fender Excelsior that I recently acquired since the amp lacks a reverb unit of its own, and I have not been at all disappointed with the sounds I am getting. I'm even thinking about ditching the built-in spring reverb on my Marshall JCM-900 for this bad boy at my next practice - and I am quite fond of the reverb on the Marshall. It's much more mellow than the drippy Fender tank, but I play with it turned all the way up and it provides fantastic atmosphere. However, I will turn it down to 0 in a heartbeat. This pedal just sounds that good.
One thing that surprised me was how much of an influence adjusting the tone knob had on the sound. Turning the tone knob all the way to dark produced a more mellow effect, somewhat along the lines of what I get out of the JCM-900. Turning the knob all the way to bright brings out that classic drip associated with the Fender tank.
If you have the money, space and energy to carry around a vintage Fender tank or one of the reissues, by all means go ahead. I envy you. If price or the practicality of storing and/or transporting a tank are limiting factors for you, then I would give this machine a long look. It may not be the real thing, but for a fraction of cost, size and weight, it comes damn near close.