030 | Danelectro D-5 FAB Chorus: A Closer Look at this Affordable Chorus Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello and welcome to episode 30 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. For today's discussion, we have a fun and affordable pedal. It's the Danelectro D-5 FAB Chorus. It's a good one and we can't wait to share it with you on the other side.

Hey everybody. Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you guys today. Hope you're having a good one. Hope you're staying safe and healthy. We are continuing to broadcast from quarantine, probably just like yourself. You're probably stuck at home right now. We'll continue to do that until things obviously improve. So again, hopefully everybody's out there safe and healthy.

And today we're going to be talking about a fun and affordable pedal. And I'm actually shocked that we haven't covered this pedal up to this point, or at least a pedal from this maker. So today we're actually talking about a Danelectro pedal. And again, shocked that it's taken all the way up to episode 30 to cover a Danelectro pedal. But we're doing it today. We're going to be talking about the Danelectro D-5 FAB Chorus.

It's a super affordable pedal to have and it packs a lot of punch to it. So again, really excited to be talking about this one today. And I know Eric, you've been playing around with it for the last couple of days. What have been your initial thoughts?

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I actually really think it holds up with most of the 150 to $200, like the higher-end price range. I mean, you get a plastic casing with it. But for the price... I mean, it's kind of one of those where it's like you can't really beat it for $15 because you can't find any other pedals for $15.

Scott Schwertly:
I know, it's unreal. I think I even saw it as low as $14 in some places. And even on some forums, I think one guy even secured his for $8, which that's insane. But yeah, that 15 to $25 price point, you really, like you said, you can't complain. You know, that's like going out to eat or... you know. Yeah, and then you have one meal that just kind of moves through you or you could have a pedal that lasts for six months, a year, two years, depending on how much abuse you put on it. But yeah, again, you can't complain with that price point, particularly in the world of pedals. I mean, obviously with all your boutique options that are out there, $15, that's insane.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. For 15 bucks, it's really unbeatable.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I think how they're able to achieve that price point is... You know, when looking up really the specifics of Danelectro, I've always been familiar with them. But doing some research on just the company and where it's been and where it's going, I know these pedals specifically are made in China. So I know that really helps them save on cost and really get it down to that lower price point. And for those not familiar with Danelectro or this whole unit, or units of... Sorry.

Scott Schwertly:
For those of you not familiar with a Danelectro or the FAB series, it actually goes all the way back to 2005. So they actually rolled out these FAB pedals. I think there's a total of eight of them. And this Chorus one that we're talking about today is actually one of eight.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. And I was reading that the brand actually started not too far before that. Well obviously, Danelectro is a very old brand. They used to make a lot of stuff for Sears. And if you know anything about Danelectro, Silvertone, all those kind of brands, they kind of all did that sort of thing, did manufacturing for department stores. But then obviously after a while, the brand went away. But then it was brought back in 1997, and then this series would have launched. That is eight years after?

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. That's right. Had to do a little bit of the number crunching there in my head as well. Yeah, and just to elaborate on what Eric was sharing there, Danelectro, the brand, actually goes all the way back to 1947. They were acquired by MCA in 1966. Closed a few years later, actually in 1969. And then in the 1990s, the Evets Corporation actually took over them. And all those things that you were talking about earlier there Eric, about the Silvertone and all that, those re-creation's started to emerge around the late '90s. And then in 2001, Danelectro, or Evets doing business as Danelectro, decided to exclusively focus on pedals. And then around 2006, they started adding guitars back into the mix, and probably all the guitars that you're familiar with today. Then really seeing a few of those every single year, in addition to the pedals that they're creating, with the FAB series emerging in 2005, which is where this Chorus pedal shares its roots with.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I've actually gotten the chance to try and I want to get one at some point. But when Danelectro they did the reissue of their baritone guitars, they were some of the coolest sounding baritone guitars I've ever played. Which I mean, obviously I've only played like two or three because you can't find them very often. But they sound really great and they're like $400. So next time you're at your local music shop, check one out because they're sweet.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, indeed. From what I've seen online, yeah, they're amazing. I haven't played one myself. But yeah, definitely work that into the mix for sure. So regarding this pedal, it's not your typical sort of go-to Chorus. I think a lot of, I guess for lack of a better word, I guess tone snobs out there would probably go for something a little bit more boutique. So it's really hard to find a lot of famous musicians and artists that utilize it. But there actually are a few artists that really love this pedal and you can find it on their pedal board.

Scott Schwertly:
One person that stands out to me as someone that uses this is Cole Becker from the band SWMRS, if you're familiar with them. As well as Charles Bissell from the band The Wrens, which is just an indie rock band. I think they've got kind of mediocre type fame. So again, you're not going to find it on probably your favorite musician's board. But it is utilized. It does have a following for sure. And I think that all goes back to the price point.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I didn't really find like... Honestly, I had no idea who any of the people were that I found who said they used it. But I think the important thing to notice a lot of times, like with these pedals, especially at $15, a lot of the famous people that you may follow and you may really like their tone, they probably started with a few of these. And they probably used them for years and then sold them off or threw them in a closet or whatever. So it's a really great starter point for people. So a lot of people who are doing big things right now, probably started with a lot of these.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I can actually personally relate to that. When I started getting into the world of pedals, I actually got this one. I think it was either pedal number three or four for me. Just to get exposed to the world of pedals and not feel guilty about buying one. In fact, if I think about maybe the first five or six pedals I got without knowing anything about the pedal world, and don't hate me for this. But I mean, for all our retailers out there. But you know, I jumped on Amazon and I bought some Donners and I bought this Danelectro FAB Chorus. And bought all the cheap stuff just to get exposed to it and learn what it's all about.

And then once I sort of got myself familiar and comfortable with that world, I then started the upgrade process of going, okay, well, what's the better version of this. And the rest is history. But yeah, like you said Eric, it's a great entry point. It's a great way to just have a pedal on your board. In this specific case, get introduced to what Chorus is all about.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I know for me when I first started, the nicest pedal on my board was my Polytune Mini. And then other than that, it was like Behringer and Joyo and anything that people didn't want anymore so they just gave it to me.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah.

Eric Wilson:
But honestly, it's one of those things where it just goes to show like to a certain extent, the price just doesn't matter. Because to a certain extent, it's just all about how you utilize it. And you can utilize cheap stuff, you can utilize expensive stuff. But it doesn't matter. You can make music with all of it. And each thing has just certain characteristics that it can give your music, that it can give your playing. And you should explore all of it.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. And I'm actually excited personally to cover a few of those. I know that you and I have talked about covering a Behringer pedal, even covering a Donner pedal. Obviously they're not the boutique brands that you and I really know and love. But there is an appreciation for them that exists. And I think for the two of us, that's how we kind of got our feet wet into this whole universe. So yeah, looking forward to definitely unpacking those in future episodes as well.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
So with that said, let's go ahead and actually jump into the specifics of this pedal. It's pretty straightforward. There's really kind of three knobs on it. You've got your mix knob, your speed knob, your depth knob. Pretty straightforward for kind of a standard Chorus pedal here. Anything else Eric you want to elaborate on those?

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So if you've never seen the Danelectro FAB series pedals, the pots are mounted out the back of the pedal. So the same direction as your input output jacks and your power jack. And then the other interesting thing I noticed is I was turning them and, to me, in my opinion, they're reverse oriented. So as you turn them to the left, it's turning them up. And as you turn them to the right, it's turning them down. Which I guess like, if you're facing the back of the pedal, that would be the correct way. But if you're looking down at it, it feels backwards.

Scott Schwertly:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I know that is one kind of common complaint that I saw online. And the other thing too thinking just about knob placement and what they've done with it. If I had one real major complaint about this pedal, that's obviously one of them as you just noted there. But the pedal itself is really kind of wide. So it's awkward. It just doesn't mesh well with other pedals. I mean, I think about my pedal board. I've got some Wamplers, some JHS pedals, some BOSS pedals. And it's just such a different size than those. It just doesn't play nice in that regard. But again, what can you expect? It's 15 bucks. Really can't complain. And then the plastic enclosure, or the plastic shell. For them to try to achieve that retro's '50s look. It's cool in its own regard. But again, it just kind of looks way different than your standard pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I was actually wondering why they chose to keep the look format the same. Because it makes sense for the other ones. They're kind of designed to look like very '50s, '60s. Like that kind of vibe. But this one doesn't look like that at all. And so I don't know if it was one of those where it's like, ah, we'll just keep it the same. Or if there was some sort of purpose in it. So I would really love to hear about that. But yeah, like you said, only complaint is, yeah, it's plastic. But surprisingly, just looking online, scrolling through different people's reviews and stuff, people are saying that it's surprisingly durable. So I guess that's the good news, is for $15, it might surprise you and last 15 years.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I actually watched a few YouTube videos, guys just reviewing it. And yeah, they seem to be all getting a lot of life and miles out of it. So it sounds like it'd be an easy talking point or just an easy way to be critical. But I think in reality though, it's not as bad as it seems. So I think people are getting a ton of usage out of it. Even with the plastic enclosure.

Eric Wilson:
Well, it's not like it used to be where everybody's just taking their three or four pedals to a gig and throwing them on the floor. Normally you have a board, you're putting it on there, it's going to live on there. The most where it's going to get on it is from you stepping on it. And as long as you're not putting your full weight on it, it's probably fine.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, exactly. Well, let's go ahead and take this thing for spin. If you're curious to actually hear what this pedal sounds like, we're going to do so now. Eric, which guitar are you going to go with today?

Eric Wilson:
I'm going to play the Custom Shop Tele and run it through the Iridium. I'll probably use a little bit of light overdrive at some point in there and maybe a little bit of spring verb and we'll see.

Scott Schwertly:
Nice. Well, we're going to get that all connected. And yeah, we will see you guys on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
All right. That was the Danelectro FAB Chorus. It's literally $15. You have no excuse to not go buy this.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And if you like collecting pedals, it's a good one to start beefing up your collection for a little cost.

Eric Wilson:
Definitely.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Well, that's what we wanted to cover today with the Danelectro D-5 FAB Chorus. Hope you guys enjoyed that one. Join us next time. We're going to be talking about the Walrus Luminary pedal. That's another solid product/pedal from Walrus. And yeah, excited to talk about that one. On that note, speaking of next episodes, we're actually going to be moving to one episode a week. If you guys have been joining us for quite some time now, we typically have new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. We're changing that up a little bit. We're just going to have one episode every week and that will be on Thursday.

Scott Schwertly:
So you can always expect a new episode every Thursday unless obviously something changes or holidays, et cetera. But other than that, generally throughout most of the year, you should expect a new episode from us on Thursdays.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. It's going to be great. I'm looking forward to getting a little bit more time to focus in on each episode and be able to give you guys more information on each pedal we cover. Well, that's about all we got for this week and we'll see you next time.

Scott Schwertly:
See you guys next time. 

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