Earlier this year at NAMM, Fender announced that they were putting out a new line of effects pedals. Fender went all out! The entire line includes Overdrive, Distortion, Reverb, Delay, Compressor and Buffer pedals. (All with appropriately California themed names!) If the pedals are anything like their instruments we knew they would be worth checking out, and they absolutely were. Nick and I got to playing with the Santa Ana Overdrive, and we dug what we heard!
Now this isn't the first time Fender has gotten into the effects pedal game. Back in the 60's during the big fuzz pedal boom, Fender put out the Fender Blender (which later got a reissue). They put out a tweed compact style pedal, as well as the discontinued oddity, the Fender Runaway pedal (a feedback generator!)
Now I know what you're thinking, it's an overdrive, how is Fender attempting to reinvent the wheel here? Well lets start with the casing itself! The entire line of Fender pedals feature sleek brushed aluminum housing, easy-access magnetic battery compartment, and LED backlit knobs for those smoke machine filled venues. Major plus for featuring the jewel lights like they got on their amps.
Lets get to the meat and potatoes of the Santa Ana, this pedal has got not one, but two overdrive voicings; American and British, with the British drive being a bit darker. (Definitely noticeable on bass). The Santa Ana also features a boost switch that can be used as just a dB boost, or for additional saturation. For the engineering savvy, the Santa Ana is based on FET technology, that gives it those sweet tube-like sounds.
For those sweet OC punk sounds look no further than the Santa Ana overdrive. The best kinds of overdrives are the ones that are reactive to your playing but also being defined and having its own unique color. Fender is absolutely killing it from this line, and we can't see what they come up with next.