D-1 FAB Distortion Review

manufacturer: Danelectro date: 07/01/2006 category: Guitar Effects
Danelectro: D-1 FAB Distortion
In the late 1970's, a tiny effects maker in Japan producted a small quantity of what many believe is the definitive distortion box. Delicious tonality, highly responsive, and highly versitile. Danelectro offers you sonic equivalence to the prized originals at an unbelievable price.
 Sound: 7.9
 Overall Impression: 8.3
 Reliability & Durability: 7.4
 Ease of Use: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (9) 17 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.5
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 01, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center - Edina, Minnesota

Ease of Use: Insanely easy to use, like 99% of the pedals you'll get. Knobs are on the side so you might forget which way to turn it to get more or less of something. // 9

Sound: My setup is: Washburn BT-4 --> Dunlop Cry Baby GCB-95 --> Danelectro Fab Distortion D-1 --> Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi USA (which is THE pedal) --> Behringer GMX212 100 watt (excellent deal for the price). It is a little bit noisy, a little bit of hiss when you're not playing. I like my tone set at about 12 o'clock. The tone dial doesn't do much (compared to other distortion pedals), and there's always sufficient low end wherever you put the tone dial. I like how the level dial can make it pretty loud, which is great for going from clean to big distortion. It sounds like your average distortion pedal. Not as good as a Boss DS-1, but kind of close. If you're one of those generic teens Who likes Metallica, Zeppelin, AC/DC, etc then you'll probably like this. There isn't really any fuzz, just a good hard rock tone that you've heard a million times. What do you expect? One thing I noticed is that it always sounds very muffled, like my amp is behind a wall when I play with this pedal. I certainly can't complain, they were literally giving these away. // 6

Reliability & Durability: It's pretty sturdy, but I wouldn't stomp on it. The button is plastic, and the graphics are stickers. I think there was a glitch in mine right from the box, when ever I would hit a power chord hard it made this click/pop noise. I took off the back and dinked around with it and now I think it's fixed. // 8

Overall Impression: I play Grunge, groove metal, alternative, primus, old-school hardcore punk, and noise rock. I don't use this to seriously play anything, just as a toy to mess around with because it was free. I like the low end on this, I'll admit it has perhaps a bit more than a Boss DS-1. But a DS-1 doesn't sound like there's a wall in front of your amp. If you're a beginner, this is a great pedal for you. Nothing too fancy, real simple tone, very cheap. Also, if you want to modify a pedal, this is for you. Just take a flathead screwdriver and remove the back and you have easy access to all the internal parts! It's only $15, if you mess up on something it's no big deal. I'd like it to have some more distortion (the Fab Metal pedal would probably be a lot better for that) and a clearer tone. Maybe a better design, you gotta admit that this thing looks hokey. It's perfect for just rehashing the same blues-based hard rock riffs that you've heard a million times. It really doesn't stand out from all the pedals I've played, but if you just want something that sounds pretty good for an obnoxiously cheap price, I recommend this. // 7

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overall: 9.5
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 29, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Amazon.com

Ease of Use: I would say this is a basic and straight forward distortion pedal. It has three nobs: tone, distortion and level. It has an led that lights up as a violet color to indicate that the pedal is on. It includes input and and output jacks at the back, and has a battery compartment and an adapter input. However, my pedal didn't come with a battery or an adapter. A 1 year warranty card is included. If you want to use it, make sure you mail within 10 days of your purchase! There is also a manual for the pedal, but I think it includes everything you need to know besides the caution statement at the end. I was surprised at how small the pedal was. Its portability is so high! I like the color of the pedal too. It fits. The distribution of power in the level and distortion nobs are not that eqaul. But do you think I would be picky enough to complain about that feature especially for a price of 15 bucks? // 10

Sound: I play a Silvertone guitar through a Honeytone mini amp. I also use a Smart IIIs Silvertone amp. The sound is great. No buzzing, plenty of distortion and gain from blues to metal. The level increases the distortion and it doesn't change the tone of the distortion that much. The distortion can get fairly rough and the tone changes if turned up too high. I like to use some of my amp's gain and tone combined with the sound of my pedal. Together they can produce a variety of sounds. The only thing that bugs me is that when you turn the tone down to bass when the pedal is in distortion mode, the distortion gets supressed. However, when the tone is adjusted to treble, it increases and sounds mettalic. I can get Led Zeppelin sounds and Creed sounds with this pedal. In addition, I can get the White Stripes's sound on it too. For $14.99, it's great! // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's made of hard plastic and the bottom is made of rubber and metal combined. The nobs are out of the way of getting stomped on. I would use this pedal in a concert, but the only bad feature this pedal has is the button to turn the pedal on is peuny. So if I were you, I would keep my foot on it because the chance of missing the on button is very high. // 10

Overall Impression: I like to play classical, jazz, blues, old blues rock, and modern rock. I have been playing guitar for about three years now, and the other gear that I own is the DE7 Ibanez pedal Which is a delay/echo pedal. If I had the chance, I would test and hear what other pedals sound like before purchasing it. If this pedal were lost, I would go to the store and test other pedals out before buying this one again. What I admire: the amount of features, the sound, the size and portability, the versitality and variety of sound, the color of the pedal and the color of the led. What I dislike is a fact that the distortion gets supressed when you turn the tone nob donw to bass. Favorite feature - the price and value of the pedal. I heard some other Fab pedals on www.Danelectro.com, and this one seemed to sound better than than the others. I wish this pedal had a better manual in which would include sound settings. You certainly can't get a better price for a pedal like this! // 10

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overall: 7.5
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: lennen1rulez, on august 02, 2005
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 36.5817

Purchased from: Mor Music

Ease of Use: This pedal was really good, I put was for a reason I will explain later. It is pretty easy to get good nice tone and sound out of these stylish little pedals! This pedal is the easyist of all the pedals out there to use! It is simple, affordable, stylish, and great sounds. If you are a learner, then this a brilliant first pedal! // 10

Sound: The sound is a nice distorted tone, really nice, but don't turn the 'level' up to high or when you Pick a string it sounds crap. But if you keep it real, it sounds beautiful. It is a bit noisy, a very grungy. If you like Mushroom Head and Slipknot, this is for you. Good sound, abit crackely but overall, nice sound! // 8

Reliability & Durability: Now this pisses me off, there has to be something wrong, with it being so good at this kick-ass price, and there is a catch (for me anyway). It worked really well for about 3 days after I brought it, then I turned it on and no sound? My guitar was turned up, my amp was to and so was the pedal? The battery was in, and the leads were in the inputs nicely? Now that is gay, I am taking it back tomorrow! I am going to get something else instead. For me, very unriliable! I wouldn't use this in a gig incase it breaks. // 4

Overall Impression: Overall, apart from the fact it broke! Well, it was ok I guess, really stylish, small, easy to use, simple, good sound, easy controls. It was good, yeah, not bad. As I say, good for the really heavy guitartist. System Of A Down, Slipknot etc. fans this is for you. Overall not really bad. // 8

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overall: 8.5
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: gdm09, on june 26, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This is pretty easy to use. I mean, it only has 3 knobs to turn. My only problem is that the actual stomp part of it, the part you press down with your foot to turn it on, is kind of hard to press down and its small. If Danelectro would make this a little bigger and a little looser to push down, then this would definately be a 10, because it is so easy to use. The manual for it (if you can call it a manual) is very small but tells you everything you need to know to use it. // 8

Sound: I was actually surprised about the sound. I tried it out at a guitar center and was impressed, so I bought it. I use this with a Telecaster on a small bass amp and it sounds good. The distortion doesn't quite go high enough if you are wanting a metal sound (try the Fab Metal pedal, also by Danelectro), but for a good punk sound or for any other genre that doesn't need huge distortion, it sounds good. Very nice sound. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I think that it is dependable (it won't break or anything) but I don't know if I would use it at a gig because of the difficulty to press the switch down, but still, it is reliable to practice with, and really cheap. // 8

Overall Impression: I play a lot of punk rock, pop rock, and emo, and this pedal fits very well with those styles. I've played for about a year, so I'm a beginner and this is a good beginner pedal. I just wish that the darn stomp part was easier to press down. I still think that this is a good pedal though, and it sounds as good as 30-40 dollar pedals. // 9

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overall: 6.5
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: pontino, on august 05, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 45.7317

Ease of Use: Well, this was my first distortion pedal, and it's not bad. The controls are very easy to get to grips with, level is volume, dist is the amount of filth and eq is tone. It seems to work best when being used to distort a clean sound rather than boost an already slightly overdriven sound. The manual basically tells you what I have told you about the controls and apart from some advice to start with the dist at 5, is pretty useless. // 8

Sound: I'm using an Epiphone G-400 through a Roland Cube 30 and on the clean channel it sounds really good, with a nice crunch, just usable for metal I'd say. On a dirtier starting sound it has little or no impact. It creates quite a lot of background hiss whenever it's turned on as far as I can tell, and often goes into feedback if you hold a note until it dies, something I rather like. My primary aim was to get the sound of the choruses of smells like teen spirit, starting with a cleaner sound for intro and verses. It's usable, but I'm sure a Boss would beat it. It's also not much use for clean boost, but provides some satisfying crunch. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Lets face it, this is made of plastic and is never going to last forever, even less time if it's being regularly gigged. I've had mine less than a year and recently when I switched it on it made a noise like there was low battery. I replaced the battery, it was ok for about half an hour and started again, don't know what it is though. It's fine for home use though. // 4

Overall Impression: I play rock/metal/punk and it's usable, not outstanding. If you're starting with an overdriven sound, it doesnt't add much to it, and sometimes takes away. But at such a low price, what do you really expect? If and when it breaks I'll raise my budget and go for a Boss distortion as aposed to this. If, as me, you're just getting into effects pedals, it seems fine for certain sounds, but look elsewhere for a wide range. // 7

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overall: 8.5
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: LJTPerry, on august 21, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Maniacs (local shop)

Ease of Use: This pedal is very easy to use. Mine came with no manual, but I didn't need one. All it is is the standard input/output sockets with the foot pedal, and 3 gain, tone, and level knobs. The only difficulty I had was figuring which way to turn the knobs, everything else was very easy. Nearly every combination of knob levels produces a great sound, Except for a high level with a low tone and gain. // 9

Sound: I'm using a very basic setup. This pedal with an Epiphone SG Special and a Fender reverb practice amp, but I can still get some amazing sounds. I can get from raw, rock tones for hard rock and punk, to a more professional distortion like metal and blues. If the level is turned up too high, you will get some nasty feedback though. I can get the sounds of various artist, such as Clapton, Iommi, AC/DC (however, I can't get a lead sound resembling that of Angus'), And with low gain, this is even good for slide playing like Joe Walsh, or Billy Gibbons. The only issue I have with the sound is that it, along with my gear, is not very good for capturing right-hand tapping. If you wish to play metal like that, I would go with some much more expensive effect. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I can really depend on this. Although it's a plastic body, this thing can withstand a lot of punishment. And it's doesn't go through batteries like candy, either. I've been playing this nearly every day for about a year, and it's only needed 2 battery changes. Not to mention there is no damage at all to it, and I've accidentally spilled drinks on it twice! The only reason I would ever need a backup for this is because I would fear battery failure. // 10

Overall Impression: I play blues, rock, and metal, and it is a good match for all 3 of these, except for lead playing in metal. I've been playing about 3 years now, and I've used a variety of effects, however this is the only one I've owned (I'm a budget guitarist) but it is by far my favorite, next to wah pedals. I wish I would have asked which way to turn the knobs before buying it because the first few days I was turning them in reverse. Yes I know, I am an idiot. If it was stolen, I would most definately buy a new one. It is great for any musician on a budget! I love everything about it except it's limitations with tapping. Other than that, you get much more than you pay for with this pedal! // 8

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overall: 6.8
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: jamiedonnelly93, on april 02, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 27.45

Purchased from: Steven James Guitars

Ease of Use: It's really easy to get the hang of using this pedal, it has three simple knobs Distortion, Level and Tone, the level is how loud you want it but you can just adjust the loudness from your amp, this is just if you want a quieter distortion through a song such as Knocking on Heavens Door by Guns N' Roses. The tone in refferance to a guitar if the tone is full you get quite a crisp sound wheras if it's at the bottom it's quite a dull tone but still sound quite good. The Distortion knob is just like on an amplifier again but it refers to gain, the higher you have it the more of a heavier tone you get out of it, however using it on something as small as a 10-watt amp can give you a really crap sound. I think I've lost the maual but as far as I can remember the manual that came with it is quite small but readable and very well presented, it comes in 5 languages I think (English, Chineese/Japanees, French, German, Spanish) and Clingon! (only joking). The manual tells you, if you have never had a pedal before how to use it such as were to put the jack leads into which are simple, the guitar jack to the input the amps jack to the output. The battery life within it is quite long but remember to take out the jacks when finished or the battery is still on!. The stomper is very reliable as soon as it's stomped on it will unleash the distortion you want. // 10

Sound: I use it in my little 10-watt practice amp which has no manual distortion but like I said previously, I wouldn't recommend it as it sounds really bad but then again the amp that I use is years old so It might actually sound good for you guys. This pedal is awesome for pinch harmonics I have to say, if you can play them correctly they sound just like Zakk Wylde very rapid and also the sustain for them is very long too. It is a very noisy pedal I must say, on my 10-watt amp I use it on 1 for volume (I usually only use it for clean practicing scales, arpeggios etc) and when I plugged in the pedal on full level it sounded like the amp was on 5 or 6! I think the effects are good if you don't really have a good amp, or they can also make quite a good 60's distortion such but you need the tone fully down for that. I can get the sound from most of my favourite guitarist but have to arse around with it for quite a while which gets quite annoying, probarbly the easiest sound to get out of it is Zakk Wylde or James Hetfield as it is just straight up on everything, if you are a metal head and love your pinch harmonics then this pedal is for you. Well the distortion I'd say on it is quite average, it's good value for money, infact excellent value for money but you just feel like it's lacking something, like there should be something more to it. I think maybe if it had more of a blues crunch it would then probarbly sound a lot better. // 6

Reliability & Durability: You can depend on it but I really would not reccomend it for gig playing for gig playing and you want a value for money pedal I'd favour the Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal which comes at a stunning 35 it's not going to split your skull with Death Metal distortion but if you want a Motley Crue or an AC/DC tone then maybe that is the pedal for you. // 4

Overall Impression: My style of music seems to change every week but whenever I'm playing some classic Rhandy Rhoads riffs it seems to come in quite handy. I've been playing now about 3 years and I've gone through all of them phases us young (14 year old I am) guitarists go through where pedals are the best things invented and I thought I'd review some of the ones I've got. I own some pretty cool gear, I've got a Stagg 60-watt amp which is perfect for my ever blaying blues rock/blues metal style of playing as you can have an awesome distortion but it can be very quite and then with the stomp of a channel switcher a overdriven chorus like Paul Gilbert. If it were stolen or lost I wouldn't buy it again, not because I don't like it just after finding their are so many distortion pedals in that price range that are better than it, also my amp has a pretty mean setting anyway, I'd probarbly by the Boss DS-1 Distortion as I've found that the best pedals by far are Boss with the exception of wah which is obviousl Jim Dunlop. If you are a beginner guitar player looking for some distortion of your pocket money then by the Danelectro D-1 Distortion! // 7

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overall: 9.8
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: 0GibsonLesPaul0, on march 04, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: This pedal is very easy to use. The standard input, output, and 9-volt power source, plugins. It has level (volume), tone, and how much distortion you want knobs. It comes with a manual, but just knowing that the input goes to your guitar and the output goes to your amp should be enough. It has a cobalt blue light that turns on (that is for all Danelectro FAB pedals) when in use, so it is very easy to see. The only thing that I don't like about this pedal is that the stomp button is plastic, not metal. The reason that I don't like the plastic is that it sometimes sticks and it isn't as fluid as the metal ones. // 9

Sound: The sound on this money is great for how cheap it is! I use it with my Peavey Raptor EXP/Epiphone Les Paul 100, and my Peavey Backstage amp. It can get a lot of static if you turn up the tone all of the way. And if you turn the tone all of the way down, it gets really quiet. The effects of it are fantastic. Great distortion, but if you turn it up too much, you can hear your fingers scratching on the strings. You can get the basic distortion that you would get out of your standard amp, but with the ease of just stomping on it to turn it on/off. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This pedal is very dependable. I have had it for about two and a half months now and it still works like new. The only thing that I don't like about it is that the battery runs out fairly quickly, so I recommend using an adapter instead. If I had to go to a gig with this pedal, I would probably bring a backup (I'm a worry wart) just because it is so cheap. If it were lets say, $100, then I probably wouldn't. // 10

Overall Impression: For playing rock, metal, and some blues, this pedal works perfectly. It has a great tone. If it were stolen/lost, I would buy It again, once again, just because it is so cheap. I love how good it sounds for $20. It's also not that heavy, so it's not a hassle to carry around all of the time. The only thing that I wish it had would be the metal stomp button. Besides that, Danelectro FAB Pedals are probably some of my favorite pedals. // 10

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overall: 9
D-1 FAB Distortion Reviewed by: STEGMAIER, on may 11, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: About the difficulty of use, it's very simple 3 knobs 1 on-off button. BUT it took me a long time to lower the stupid buzz you get it was quite annoying but I found out that if you let level knob on almost 0 and use our amp master volume to control it, you can't gear almost any buzz. // 8

Sound: I'm using a Yamaha Erg 121C and garageband. It can get real noisy when level is up but as I said before there's solution for it. It sounds great for the price I shouldn't but any other pedals. You can get a ossy sound out of it easily // 10

Reliability & Durability: Yea, I would depend on it but it's from plastic, very solid but still plastic. I would use it in a gig without back up just because it has never disappointed me and I think it'll never. // 9

Overall Impression: I play rock and metal I've been playing hard for like 3 months (2 hrs a day) and I play guitar for like a year now. I would buy buy the exact price of a Boss or something in Danelectro pedals (like 100) so if it's lost or stolen I have 99+ and plus they r SO cheap and good also not many brands can do that. In conclusion: just buy it. // 9

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