Boss FRV1

Reverb Pedal

Published in SOS March 2010
Bookmark and Share

Reviews : Effects

Bob Thomas

One of my favourite effects units is an mid‑to‑late '90s brown Fender '63 Valve Reverb reissue. Bought in the days when I owned a couple of original brown Super and Pro amps, it now finds itself driving my '64 Deluxe. A major part of my reason for liking it is that its warm valves and 'sproingy' springs never seem to fail to make my guitars sound good, no matter which style of music I'm playing. Reverb is one of those natural‑sounding effects that effortlessly fits into every style of music, and the original 1963 Fender Valve Reverb arguably gave birth to the USA West Coast's '60s surf-music scene.

Developed in partnership with Fender, the Boss FRV1 Vintage Fender Reverb pedal (£115$130) uses Boss's proprietary COSM (Composite Object Sound Modelling) technology to recreate the sound of the brown Fender Valve Reverb. In a touching homage to the original, even the colour scheme and legending is carried over in the FRV1's cosmetics.

The form factor is the Boss pedal norm, and the controls are those of the original — Mixer, Tone and Dwell — although they're laid out in the 'wrong' order. Set out logically (in their original order), Dwell sets the drive into the springs, Mixer sets the wet/dry balance, and Tone cuts the high frequencies coming from the springs, to stop everything from sounding too splashy. The FRV1's knobs accurately emulate the actions of the originals, and the resulting reverb is a very close approximation of the Fender's warm, all-encompassing, twangy tonality, and its range, which can go from the subtlest of background jazz shimmers to the total wet madness of full‑on surf, via all points in between and beyond.

The Boss imitation next to the reviewer's Fender '63 Reverb reissue: which would you prefer to carry to a gig?I've said 'close approximation' quite deliberately, because to my ears — despite its extremely convincing tone and spring response — the FRV1 sounds somewhat less dynamic than the original that it seeks to emulate, and therefore, when A/B'd directly with the Fender, it doesn't quite manage to match the almost three‑dimensional character of the real thing. However, when I wasn't doing direct A/B comparisons I forgot all about this shortcoming after a couple of minutes of playing time on the FRV1, and I certainly know which one I'd prefer to carry to my next gig.

That's the raison d'être of the Boss FRV1 Vintage Fender Reverb pedal: you get all the good bits of a '63 Fender Valve Reverb in a package that you can shove in your gig‑bag, stow in the back of your amp or stick onto your pedalboard. I'd say that we're pretty much all set for a surf music revival... all we need now is someone to come up with the matching SCSW1 pedal that will model a summer in Southern California. Bob Thomas  


The closest thing you can get to a real Fender reverb in pedal format, the FRV1 gives a convincing representation of the original device, although arguably it is a little less dynamic.

In this article:

SOS Readers Ads


of Second-User Gear for sale now — don't miss out!
WIN Great Prizes in SOS Competitions!


Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help


Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26


We accept the following payment methods in our web Shop:

Pay by PayPal - fast and secure  VISA  MasterCard  Solo  Electron  Maestro (used to be Switch)  

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2016. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents.
The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media