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NAMM 2024: "A streamlined and compact effects switching solution with a remarkably simple interface" – is Fender's new Switchboard Effects Operator the ideal excuse to upgrade your pedalboard?

 Fender Switchboard.
Fender Switchboard.

Maybe you're like me; close to caving in and finally embracing a pedal switching system. Because they're not just an upgrade for the pros; they can make things a lot easier for a lot of players who find themselves spending too much time looking at the floor during songs. Maybe Fender's new Switchboard Effects Operator is the offering to push us over the line.

'The Switchboard can access any combination of pedals in any order, toggle multiple or individual effects on and off and even control your amp’s footswitches and MIDI-enabled pedals,' says Fender. Yep, it's a switching system alright but the company is very keen to stress the ease of setup for newcomers with a colour graphic user interface and encoder control knob that 'makes crafting presets in real-time straightforward and fun'. Fun? Well, now I'm really tempted.

Fender Switchboard
Fender Switchboard

At $449.99 USD / £419.00 / €499 / $799.00 AUD / ¥63,800 JPY, it is a competitive but weighty investment. However, if you've got half a dozen pedals or more and enjoy exploring and exploiting their possibilities, or need to make them work more efficiently in a set, the Switchboard Effects Operator could justify the outlay.

Knowing what pedals are on and the current preset that's active via the screen is definitely useful. And the 500 user presets are more than enough for even the most prolific function bands.

Fender Switchboard
Fender Switchboard

A built-in tuner and volume pedal, plus a pair of high-fidelity buffers sweetens the deal further. At 9V with 500mA draw it can also be handled by most decent pedal power supplies. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely getting closer to wanting a switching system here! I'm gonna need a bigger pedalboard though…

Check out the Switchboard Effects Operator at Andertonsand Sweetwater