FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, I’m a relative newcomer to the stompbox party. Having spent my first few years trying to get good sounds au natural, I’ve only recently begun to clothe my tone with distortion, sub-octave, envelope filters, and the like. I’m still sussing my style, but I’ve formed some ideas of what works for me. Here are my main considerations when picking a pedal: • Sound: Can’t compromise low end • Controls: Should be intuitive • Size: The smaller, the better • Price: Should pay for itself in just a few gigs
My greatest gripes about overdrive and fuzz boxes tend to lead from the first point, as many sound sweet with guitar, but kill all that is cool about bass: big bottom. With that in mind, I plugged into the latest from Fender’s line of Classic pedals, the Sub-Lime bass fuzz.
Right off the bat, I got a good feeling about the Sub-Lime— its cool retro look was appealing, and its top-panel foot dial was intriguing. Rolling the rubber disk to the left and kicking the Sub-Lime into effect, I was immediately smitten. Rather than robbing me of my low end, the pedal actually acted like a bass boost with creamy overdrive. It also seemed to introduce subtle compression, giving my signal delicious sustain. Using my foot to roll the control to the center, the backlit dial turned from green to orange, and the pedal’s more sinister side began to show. As upper-register fizz gave my bass some balls, the low-end response remained strong. Spinning the dial to the far right unleashed the beast within, yet as the fuzz factor increased, I seemed to lose none of my precious bottom.
After basking in the pedal’s warm tones, I paused to take a closer look at its controls. Despite its dead-simple looks from above, the Sub-Lime has considerable flexibility, with sidepanel knobs controlling overall VOLUME and DRIVE levels, and back-panel trim pots managing tone and crossover frequency (30–300Hz). The TONE pot regulated overall brightness, while the crossover selector acted like a lowpass filter; setting the crossover at 300Hz allowed the maximum amount of lowfrequency signal to pass through the pedal. Twisting these knobs and pots made mild adjustments to the effected tone, but most important, at no setting did the Sub-Lime sound bad. For me, that’s truly the sign of a well-engineered pedal.
My main engineering gripe has to do with size—this 3-pound pedal is a beast. The lime green chassis and footpad had me stoked, but lugging the pedal around started to harsh my mellow. As for price, $199 seems a reasonable asking price for such a sweet-sounding fuzz. Bottom line: If you fancy a bass fuzz that will leave your low end intact, the Sub-Lime is a solid buy.
Pros Flexible fuzz with lots of bottom and on-the-fly foot control
Power 9-volt battery or external DC with optional AC adapter
Weight 3 lbs
Made in Korea
Warranty One year limited