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Fender Smolder Acoustic Overdrive review

The Big F’s ever-growing effects family births its first acoustic stompbox

Fender Smolder Acoustic Overdrive review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Fender's brave move to make overdrive its first acoustic pedal pays off, with a hugely musical drive complemented by a powerful EQ section that's a tone sweetener in its own right.

For

  • Great Fender pedal build with LED-lit controls.
  • The drive is excellent but Pickup Compensation is a great tool.
  • EQ and blend make for an editable and versatile experience.
  • Good value.

Against

  • Not much, though overdrive is not every acoustic player's bag.

When Fender launched a brand new effects line with six pedals at the beginning of 2018, few could have predicted just how enthusiastically it would embrace expanding it; there’s now 22 pedals and counting in a consistently impressive range that brings innovative features to the table.

This is Fender’s first acoustic pedal in the family, and rather than a more ubiquitous reverb, compression or delay, they’ve gone for a dedicated overdrive. We’re intrigued! It turns out we are right to be.

Like the rest of the line, the Smolder has a hardy chassis, with simple and contemporary typeface making everything clear. Metallic brown is very much an ‘unplugged’ vibe too, right?

The Pickup Compensation control effectively smooths out our piezo electro acoustic’s tone to prove a useful tool even with the drive dialled right down

The optional LEDS on the controls are a win for us too for dark stages – and can be switch off at the back. Fender’s effects reflect consideration in what its new circuits can off er that others on the market may not. 

This goes further than you may presume; the Pickup Compensation control eff ectively smooths out our piezo electro-acoustic’s tone to prove a useful tool in itself even with the drive dialled right down. 

While the gain takes you from a boost to fiercer territory, the EQ effectively shapes it to become a versatile, organic tool. The Tone dials out any unwanted sizzle from your drive tone (we didn’t get much anyway, top be fair) and the Blend is the real key control here; it balances overdriven and pure piezo signal. 

The combination is a highly editable, versatile and very musical acoustic pedal that’s another win for the series.

Specs

  • PRICE: $149.99 / £129
  • TYPE: Acoustic overdrive pedal
  • CONTROLS: Tone, Treble, Bass, Pickup Comp, Level, Blend, Drive, LEDs off and on
  • BYPASS: True bypass
  • SOCKETS: Guitar in, guitar out (the pedal has default inbuilt cabinet simulation when plugged into an amp or PA)
  • POWER: DC 9V
  • CONTACT: Fender