MXR Fullbore Metal Distortion Pedal
Originally published in Guitar World, January 2010
MXR’s Fullbore Metal pedal is an affordable, true all-in-one solution for players seeking studio-quality metal tones.
A number of metal distortion pedals have debuted this year, which suggests that either metal is the next big trend or players aren’t satisfied with the plethora of stomp boxes already crowding the market. My guess would be the latter, as most existing metal pedals seem content to just dish out excessive gain.
True metal connoisseurs know that there’s much more to brootal metal tones than distortion. EQ controls are essential, and they must be able to control an extended range of frequencies, from earth-shaking bass to razor-sharp highs, with surgical precision. A gate is also a necessity for tightening up machine-gun riffs and eliminating high-gain hum and buzz. MXR’s new Fullbore Metal distortion pedal delivers all these features, making it a true single-pedal solution.
Even though the Fullbore Metal is jam-packed with six rotary controls, two switches and a footswitch, it’s housed in a compact box that’s the same size as MXR’s Phase 90. Controls include the requisite volume and gain knobs, and the EQ section consists of controls for low, mid, sweepable mid and high frenquencies. A scoop switch instantly boosts low and high frequencies (confirmed by a red LED), and the gate switch kicks in a noise gate (confirmed by a green LED) that has a preset decay setting and adjustable sensitivity that you can tweak via an internal trim pot. Other features include a heavyduty footswitch, a blue LED on/off indicator and true-hardwire bypass.
The Fullbore Metal sounds best when the amp’s power tubes perform the heavy lifting and the amp’s passive EQ controls are cranked all the way up, allowing the pedal to do most of the overall tone and preamp gain shaping. The pedal’s extended frequency range is stunning, and with careful tweaking a wide variety of modern and classic metal tones emerge. The gate function tightens and cleans up the sound considerably, producing polished, studio-quality tones that bring out the best of your playing. The scoop function produces massive rhythm tones, but the midrange deficiency means solos can get lost in the mix. Solution: buy two pedals and use a scoop setting for rhythm while the other pedal handles lead tones.
THE BOTTOM LINE
MXR’S Fullbore Metal pedal is an affordable, true all-in-one solution for players seeking studio-quality metal tones.
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