Boss FDR-1 Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Amp Pedal
- Re-creates the legendary tone of the 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb guitar amp Level, Gain, Treble, Bass, Vibrato, and Reverb controls Road-tough BOSS metal construction Perfect pre-gain pedal for adding or retaining Fender tone color
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Fender had a hand in the design and creation of the FDR-1, a Boss pedal that brings the sound and feel of a classic Fender amp to the masses in a small pedal. The '65 Deluxe Reverb is an amp that is still revered by guitarists as a true tone machine, and now that rocking tone is packed into a stompbox. Like the FBM-1, the FDR-1 is sure to excite axe slingers of all styles and genres. There's now no reason to scour classic guitar shops in hopes of finding a classic '65 Deluxe Reverb in good working order. Just get a Boss FDR-1, and you've got one of the most heralded tones in history at your disposal.
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But in 2016, these pedals are abundantly available on used sites. Now that the going rate for these pedals has reached the sub $80 range, I decided to buy all three. Let me say right off the bat that I love the sound of both the FRV-1 and the FBM-1. They are awesome. But the FDR-1 is another ball of wax. The FDR-1’s glaring oversight cannot be ignored or simply dismissed, because its failings are too egregious, even by 2007’s standards. There is a reason why Boss discontinued the FDR-1 while the other two pedals are still available in the current Boss lineup.
Boss promoted this pedal as being complete digital recreation of the original. Here is a quote from the Boss blog [...]) describing the accuracy of the FDR-1 model:
“Everything that’s in a Deluxe is in the FDR-1: the gain structure, that distinct tank reverb sound, the vibrato…everything.”
Then they say this:
“ . . . the FDR-1 passed the test with flying colors. So much so, in fact, that at one show where there was a side-by-side demonstration of the pedal and an actual Deluxe Reverb, the audience was hard pressed to tell which sound was which in a blind listening test.”
The problem is that the FDR-1 cannot do clean. Not solid state clean, not Fender clean. No clean. Even at the lowest gain setting there is a consistent mild fuzz beneath the guitar. This is especially noticeable if any chord is played above the 12th fret. Play a G major 7th above the 12th fret and you will hear it clearly.
This wouldn’t be a problem if Fender wasn’t known for its legendary clean sound! Some might argue that Leo Fender’s primary goal was to produce amps that could do clean at high volumes. It also wouldn’t be a problem if Boss/Roland didn’t actually claim that the FDR-1 could do a clean sound. Here’s a quote from the same blog post explaining how to do “Fender’s legendary clean sound”:
“To get a classic Fender clean tone, set the FDR-1’s GAIN knob relatively low—nine o’clock is a good place to start—and then adjust the LEVEL knob as desired. (Don’t turn it up too high, or you might cause your amp’s input to distort”
This would be good advice if the pedal could actually do a clean sound! But it can’t! It is baffling to think that Boss would create a pedal with Fender’s name on it that cannot do a clean sound. I mean, if it can’t do clean they should at least put the word “overdrive” or “distortion” on the thing. Let people know. And for the sake of sanity, do not write a blog post telling people how to get a clean sound out of the thing!
Now I understand a thing or two about DSP and digital amp modeling, and I can tell you that Boss could have made this pedal have a clean sound at no extra cost or effort. This was a conscious decision by Boss. For whatever reason they chose to cripple this pedal. You can’t really use it as a distorted boost pedal, because the pedal colors the sound so much that it is nearly impossible to create a clean tone that will match the tone created by the pedal. And even if you could create a preamp tone that could match the pedal, why would you need the pedal at all?!?!? Not to mention that the reverb is tied to the pedal’s on/off function. So this mean that if you want a crystal clean sound? Then no reverb for you!
Look Boss, it wouldn’t be so bad if the Deluxe Reverb amp wasn’t known for its legendary clean sound. It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t paste Fender’s name of the pedal. It wouldn’t be so bad if the majority of us didn’t already know that making a digital pedal means that adding a clean sound is a matter of zero effort on your part. Maybe that’s why you quietly discontinued the FDR-1.
I end by saying that DSP pedals open up tons of possibilities. Indeed, working in the digital domain is akin to creating your own universe within itself. Boss had the opportunity to create a true legend, but instead chose offer an incomplete/unfinished world. Creating a Fender amp model that does not offer “Fender Clean” is sad. If I were Boss, I would release an FDR-2 and offer $50 off anyone that wishes to exchange their FDR-1 for true recreation of the ’65 Deluxe Reverb.
I'm 58 years old and have been playing out on stages since I was 12 years of age. The laws were different back then. My 1st Guitar amp was
a 1965 Deluxe Reverb and I also had a Twin Reverb, 70's Model. If you understand what these amps did, then you will probably like this pedal
provided you take the time to set it up right. I use it as a Preamp in front of a Power Amp, NOT a Guitar Amp. If you put in in front of a guitar amp, you will then be using Two separate preamps and they will color one anothers sound. I can see where it could be used as a boost pedal.
I hope this helped some one who may be trying to decide whether or not to purchase this item.