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Fender Compugilist review

Fender's distortion and compressor combo offers an array of practical tone-boosting options

Fender Compugilist review
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

Compression and distortion in one box is a smart idea - and while you don't get the full feature set of their respective standalone pedals, the combination is well implemented here.

For

  • Compression and distortion are a good fit in one box.
  • Effects are separately switchable.
  • Well-designed enclosure.
  • Value for money.
  • Works as a boost.

Against

  • You only get three controls on the compressor.

Fender has drawn on its The Bends compressor and Pugilist Distortion to create the Compugilist, which puts separately switchable compressor (opens in new tab) and distortion (opens in new tab) in one pedal. 

While you don’t get the full feature set here, you do get the essential controls for each. 

The compressor side is in the classic Dyna Comp mould, keeping your dynamics even but capable of getting squashier and adding some snap to the start of your note, the nature of which can be dialled in with the Recovery knob, usefully adjusting the compression envelope. Meanwhile, the volume knob is capable of building in a boost. 

The distortion has plenty of range, from edgy early break-up drive through to cranked amp, with a Tone knob to adjust the upper-mid presence and top-end, plus a switched Bass Boost for fat low-end.

This pedal offers plenty of practical options, such as using the compressor as a boost for the drive or using both sides to build your overall tone.

Specs

(Image credit: courtesy of Fender)
  • PRICE: $169.99, £129
  • ORIGIN: China
  • TYPE: Distortion and compression pedal
  • FEATURES: True bypass
  • CONTROLS: Tone, Gain, Level, Bass Boost switch, Recovery, Comp, Level, LED kill switch, Distortion footswitch, Compression footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V battery or 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 75mA
  • DIMENSIONS: 95 (w) x 125 (d) x 64mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Fender (opens in new tab)

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.