“EVH’s tones are always the most sought-after”: Fender on getting EVH’s endorsement for the Tone Master Pro

EVP of Product Justin Norvell hopes it’ll be the start of something great on the digital side of things.

Fender Tone Master Pro control knobs by Adam Gasson

Fender Tone Master Pro control knobs. Image: Adam Gasson

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Fender EVP of Product Justin Norvell has been explaining just how significant the endorsement by the EVH brand of the Tone Master Pro was for the company in a new interview, describing it as a “very big thing.”

Until the Fender Tone Master Pro arrived last year, the EVH brand – operated by Wolfgang Van Halen and his partner in the brand, Matt Bruck – hadn’t endorsed any licensed models of its amps to use with software or modellers, and Justin emphasises that the endorsement was never a given.

Norvell tells Guitar World, “It was important to us. EVH’s tones are always the most sought-after on anything that approximates [that time]. Whether it’s the ‘brown sound’ or other, later sounds, like the 5150s. And that, we felt, would be something that as a benchmark, people could really go, ‘OK. They did the work.’”

And, Norvell hopes the endorsement will invite more to come on the digital side of things. He continues, “I think that that’s something that’s very interesting, but of course, the camp is very protective, and has extremely high standards. So it’s gotta be great. It’s not just like, ‘Hey, we’re friends. Put my name on this.’ That’s not how it works.”

As such, the EVH Gear team, which looks after the tonal legacy of Eddie Van Halen – Wolfgang’s father, of course – went to Fender’s base in Arizona to take a closer look at the model, A/B-ing it against an EVH 5150III 100S head. Evidently, the trip was successful, as the team signed off on it.

Reception for the Tone Master Pro has been positive so far, helping to get more guitarists into modelling. “I think that’s been an awesome thing,” Norvell says. “Whether it’s [Joe] Satriani on The Howard Stern Show or just seeing this pop up fast. It’s not having to do six months or a year in someone’s home environment till they feel confident with it.”

And last month, Fender unveiled the first big free firmware update to the Tone Master Pro.

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