• Gear Review: Danelectro FAB Chorus

    I am not a huge fan of the chorus effect when it comes to guitar. Used on keyboards, synths, etc, it can add a cool effect similar to what you get from a high speed Leslie rotating speaker cabinet, but on guitar, it’s not my thing. However, there are a few occasions when I like to have one on hand to add a subtle effect to a particular song. Tasteful use of the chorus effect can be found on Pink Floyd’s album “The Division Bell”, but one most commonly identifies it with the horrible guitar tone that came out of most 80’s recordings.

    However, as mentioned before, it’s nice to have a chorus unit around for those few times that you need it, and it’s even nicer to not have to shell out a bunch of bucks for it. Which is what drew me to the Danelectro Fab Chorus….the astonishingly low price. With crowd favourite, the Boss CE-2 drawing upwards of 100 USD on ebay, the Danelectro offers a more cost-efficient alternative in the form of a pedal that will only run you about 20 dollars.

    Of course, it does have a few flaws that should be addressed. This is not a pedal that will outlive your grandchildren. It’s constructed of a somewhat durable plastic, not metal. This isn’t to say that the pedal will fall to pieces if you step on it, or that it will melt in the sun. Despite the plastic cover and input/output jacks, the Fab Chorus is fairly well put-together and should be gig-worthy.

    Also worth noting is that the Fab Chorus is NOT true-bypass. Also not necessarily a bad thing, as it doesn’t suck tone like other cheap pedals do. I noticed a very minimal difference in tone with the chorus in my effects chain.

    The only other flaw, and it is the biggest offender, is the design and layout of the control knobs. You get a MIX, SPEED AND DEPTH control, and each of them are placed on the front side of the pedal, ie, not facing up like typical pedal controls. They are also very small. The layout and size makes it very difficult to adjust the sound accurately, especially in a live environment where the lighting can vary. Common sense will tell the musician to turn the controls clockwise to increase the effect, but because these are on the front, clockwise is actually counter-clockwise. It’s best to have your effect set beforehand, and not be required to change it.

    Flaws aside, the only thing worth noting is that the Fab Chorus is a subtle effect until the last 10 percent of the control knob’s range is reached, at which point the effect becomes similar to a mess of rusty bedsprings being catapulted into sheet metal. There is no rotating speaker simulation available in this unit. All in all, however, the Danelectro Fab Chorus is perfect for guitarists who want a smooth and subtle chorus, and those who don’t use chorus enough to justify the cost of an expensive chorus pedal.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      haha Nice! Sadly, this pedal is 1/4 of all the pedals I have ever purchased new (along with 2 other FABs and a Danelectro mini). I figured for $15, I couldn't go wrong.
      When I use mine, it's on a table, so the construction is never gonna be a problem for me (unless something drastic happens, I suppose). However, the placement of the knobs is a total shitshow. They suck to turn and get worse when you have your cables plugged in (I usually have a daisy chain power jack in as well). I have used it in some spots and really dug it. I've found, though, that if you're sending a lot of signals through it, it has trouble adding a lot to the chain. Of course, I'm not playing it with a guitar, and I may be remembering incorrectly.
      The blue light is nice, I think.

      Nice review, Mark!
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Aw, thanks, Paul. :-) And you're right, those knobs are insane, especially once you get pedals and a nine-volt wall wart plug in there. Nightmare! I used it in line with a Nocturne pre-amp pedal, and a Ram's Head Big Muff Clone ahead of it, and it handled the modulation okay, but it took a few to dial in a nice sweet spot....like i said in the review, i'm more about subtlety when it comes to chorus. I just got myself an old-school deluxe Electric Mistress flanger as well, so the chorus isn't getting a lot of use right now.
    1. Jeremy Wallace's Avatar
      Jeremy Wallace -
      Awesome review Mark. Gear reviews RULE!