Fender Australia | Price: $199
Fender’s foray into the world of effects pedal has been a success. Starting with their more colourful, unique, albeit more expensive range of pedals, Fender recently unveiled their range of Hammertone pedals, nine pedals that cover every effect and element of your tone you could want to control or augment. The Hammertone range offers drives, distortions, delays, and space effects, as well as modulation effects such as the Flanger.
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Finished in a hammered aluminium chassis, the Hammertone Flanger is simple to use, with three brightly-coloured F-stamped knobs and two toggle switches to further make it a unique-sounding pedal. For lack of a better word, the Hammertone Flanger offers everything from fairly familiar flanger tones through to super effected, warbling, and soaring flange. As we all know, flange harnesses comb-filtering to create unique tones that modulate and move in either subtle or psyched-out sounds. The Hammertone range is designed to be ultra pedalboard friendly, with well-placed connectors, uniform housing, and a lightweight aluminium design. Any one of the range is a welcome addition to sometimes tired tones, as they impart a unique take on familiar effects, maybe none do this more so than the Hammertone Flanger.
The entire Hammertone range is similarly-sized in aluminium boxes and different colours that reflect the tonal colour of their sound. The Flanger features three knobs and two toggle switches. The depth and rate knobs, while being fairly standard, are self explanatory for Flangers, giving a unique tonal imprint. The depth controls how deep the modulation goes, but the sensitivity of the F-stamped knob allows you to really fine-tune your tone with precision. The rate knob controls the speed with which the valleys of modulation offer their voice across your sound. This differs from the manual knob, which is used to manually adjust the delay time, as you would on a genuine reel-to-reel machine, where the tap flanging effect was initially invented and used. The res switch offers three options with more and more resonance, or feedback, with each step. The type switch adjusts the polarity of the feedback, offering more harmonics or way, way more harmonics. The Hammertone range features true bypass switches to minimise their impact on your board, while the input and output jacks are housed on the top of the pedal for minimal cabling. The 9V input jack also sits atop the pedal, allowing cables to be easily hidden away.
Once plugged in, the Fender Hammertone Flanger can get pretty wild. When compared to more traditional modulation effects, the Hammertone Flanger imparts a particularly mid-forward tone, easily cutting through with a unique flange effect. This sonic voice makes the Hammertone Flanger particularly good for distorted tones, especially with just a subtle bit of movement. Maxed out, the Hammertone Flanger is overkill for most intents and purposes, but not all. Maximum resonance and delay time offers some pretty alien sounding tones that quickly depart from your original signal, and quickly become spaced out, unique and mind-bending – so proceed with caution! The type switch is a really interesting addition, toggling between flange that blends into your tone or pokes its head out more blatantly, while the use of a toggle switch allows you to make a call and move on – as well as easily recall your settings. The res switch is the same, offering increasing, almost copious amounts of feedback, warble, and phase cancellation, without needing the ability to fine-tune the effect. More simply – it allows you to quickly make a decision and get on with playing! The Hammertone Flanger is a familiar effect re-imagined for 2022. It can give you everything you’ve ever known about flange and then some, allowing you to tweak tones with previously unknown accuracy. Heck – having two on your boards with separate settings wouldn’t go astray!
The Hammertone range overall is another success in the bank for Fender. What makes Fender’s work unique is how they’ve listened to their players for decades and made consistent refinements while retaining the good bits along the way. The Hammertone Flanger specifically is a unique take on one of the most widely-used guitar and bass effects in history, and somehow also offers familiar tones if that’s what you need it for.
What I love about the Hammertone Flanger is how far I can push it – admittedly probably more than I’d ever actually use, but that tells me that every tone I could possibly want is in there somewhere. While some pedals fall flat even with their controls dimmed, the Hammertone Flanger simply gives and gives, offering unique controls to really dial your own character into it.
The Hammertone Flanger is housed in an aluminium chassis, as is the whole Hammertone range. They need to be so lightweight of course, to account for being full of tone! Unique controls give you complete control over your flange, including phase flip and a res switch to give you more and more flange depending on the song – or your mood!
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