My first guitar was a gift from my parents. I found it tucked beneath a bed frame pressed against a wall and it was beautiful. I’ll never forget pulling the instrument out of its case as I dreamt of stardom. “Played it ‘til my fingers bled” is a lyric many a guitarist can relate to. The guitar happened to be an acoustic Gibson Epiphone. Every time I think about it, I get a bit nostalgic.
Gibson is trying to press into that nostalgia by bringing back Maestro guitar pedals. I’ve never had the luxury of playing with an original 1962 Fuzz-Tone FZ-1 from Maestro. I have had the luxury of hearing bands that use it, and now, thanks to Maestro I’m able to test some of their newest pedals right in my own living room.
Each of the options brings its own unique feel and sound to the stage and powered by a simple 9V DC power supply. I highly recommend using a power supply as testing these with simple 9V batteries was a significant hassle. Maestro may want to consider a better design and easier access for battery users in the future. Without further delay, here is a brief synopsis of my experience with Maestro’s latest pedals. Bear in mind, I am a fairly novice player, and my guitar lingo may not be as up to snuff as some of you pros out there. Nonetheless, these pedals are so much fun and add some great effect options anyone can enjoy.
This pedal in full effect gives off a sound just like its name reveals. It features rate, width, and feedback knobs. The phaser switch allows me to adjust a four vs. six stage phase effect. I hear the richest impact of the pedal while playing low end notes. Adjusting the knobs to the right really adds to the max chaos of “swirling effects” and gives my sound an all-out spacey psychedelic sound. This pedal is loads of fun to toy with though it isn’t my favorite style by choice. Check out Maestro’s Youtube link to hear it in action.
Hands down, the Mariner Tremolo Pedal is my favorite of the group. This one is so much fun to play around with though still not my favorite for overall sound. It features a Harmonic/Classic switch option. I love the Harmonic option which gets two tremolos working in tandem. Maestro defines this as a “swirly” type of tremolo, and I can’t think of a better way to describe the sound. The depth knob controls the intensity of the sound, the shape knob adjusts the sound wave characteristics from soft and light where right creates a choppier wave. Finally, the shape helps adjust the rate of the effect. So many different sounds come from this pedal and combining it with Titan Boost keeps me entertained for hours. Listen to the Mariner Tremolo here.
Arcas Compressor Sustainer
I stomp the Arcas Compressor Sustainer to add some mild fuzzy distortion and even combine with other pedals to reduce strength. I like setting this on to the left for attacking those quick hitting “percussive” notes to add some rhythm. Dialing the sustain and attack dials to the right helps relax the percussiveness. This guy is fun to toy with, but I feel it’s minimally impactful if you are looking for crazy effects.
Combining Titan Boost and any other pedal allows me to add strength and distortion to my sound. I feel like I can quickly make my guitar really stand out for a quick solo above the bass or other instruments I want in the background. It Features a HPF (High pass filter) knob that when turned down helps bring out low notes. Turning it right blends the bass notes in a bit with the rest of the guitar tones. The tone knob allows for higher frequency control. Finally, the quick boost intensifies both the overall sound and volume. My favorite set up keeps tone turned further down to the left, while leaving HPF right in the middle and volume turned to roughly three quarters. I think this gives off a fantastic classic rock sound.
Agena Envelope Filter
Finally, we arrive at the Agena Envelope Filter. This little beast really brings the funk. I happen to already have a manual “Wah Wah” pedal and have fun trying to nail down some classic song parts with it (such as “Beverly Hills” by Weezer). This particular stomp box gives me some great auto-wah sounds. I love toggling the decay knob to the left to hammer out some quick tempo single notes then hitting up some chord wahs by twisting it to the right. Check out some of the funkiness in action here.
I had such a great time toying around with Maestro’s latest accessories. Overall, the Maestro pedals give me a full library of opportunity in my guitar sound (check out this review of one of Fender’s latest). I’m learning a ton about how each effect manipulates the sound waves coming from each note played on my electric. They are a sight to behold. Each of them is a beautiful creation and retro looking tribute to the rich history of music. Pick any of them up, and I can’t imagine feeling any disappointment. Check out the Maestro website for even more options.