Danelectro: FAB Metal
The name Danelectro never fails to conjure the image of Led Zep’s Jimmy Page honing his DC on stage. The legendary guitar brand name subsequently released some vintage looking pedals, of which its Fat Cat Chorus received some critical acclaim. In furtherance of this venture, Danelectro continues to release more guitar pedals, the ‘mini’ selection saw the introduction of the Black Coffee distortion, perhaps the more favourable metal-type unit today; affordable yet impressive. Pushing the envelope of affordability, Danelectro now offers its FAB units at an unbelievable list price.
The FAB Metal (D-3) is of plastic whole less the rubber base lining. Its 3-knob controls are bare essentials: Level/ Tone/ Gain. The fact that these knobs aren’t user-facing at all times, the only way to decipher the level of any controls is via a red line-dented marker; not the best solution for dark venues. Its oblong footswitch is actually a lever in contact with the activation switch located in the inner reaches of the pedal’s belly; visible if you remove the base plate- which is a necessary manouvre because that’s the only way you can access the battery.
The D-3 looks futuristic but the control knobs’ location is in need of a better placement.
There’s no hiding what the D-3 aims to accomplish, an all out metal assault which is indeed present. Nevertheless the overall output on offer makes your tone sound midrange inclined & excessively nasal, regardless of how much bass frequency you dial in through the Tone knob/ amp's EQ section. On this particular subject, the Tone parameter seems to contain some crude clippings; there are settings where your tone will abruptly be too treble/ bass boosted but the inherent nasal honk would still be present.
The nature of the D-3’s switching system (lever employed) requires adequate pressure assertion to trigger activation; however, this can be tricky when the entire mechanism proves to be unresponsive at times. This is also linked to the amount of pressure one employs when locking the base plate after battery installation, too much/ little & it will affect the switching mechanism’s functionality.
There was an occasion of over-tightening & the pedal simply refused to activate; too loose & the pedal becomes ultra sensitive, it switches off the moment you lay it on the floor surface.
If you have spare cash, the adventurous among us might consider owning this pedal for the fun of it; it’s very affordable & fulfills its obligation respectfully, nothing exceptional. In view of the issues & unintelligent knob placement design, one would wisely avoid this ditty on grounds of reliability & practicality. It’s one of the very few pedals around to demerit a respectful set up; plugging it into a half-stack does not remove that practice amp tone. However, if you thrive on small amp voicings, you wouldn’t mind at all.
Rating: 5.5/ 10
• Bright LED
• Dodgy switching mechanism
• Battery access
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