When looking for pedals, I generally look for 3 things, tone, quality and how metal the pedal makes me feel. Today, we are going to review the MXR M116 Fullbore Metal; a high-gain distortion pedal that will really make your guitar glow.
Controls & Features
The MXR M116 Fullbore has a lot going for it in terms of controls and features.
There are volume and gain knobs which you would expect from this pedal, but what really makes it sing is its three-band EQ.
The Fullbore’s EQ is extremely responsive and allows for a wide range of different tones. When combined with tuning the frequency to how you like, into the right amp, this pedal provides a sound like no other.
Another great feature of the MXR Fullbore is its built-in noise gate and mid-scoop. This really helps the pedal’s clarity when playing with serious gain.
Inputs: 1 x Instrument
Outputs: 1 x ¼”
Power Source: DC power supply or 1 x 9V battery
Height/Width/Depth: 2.5” x 4.5” x 5.5”
Weight: 381 grams
How metal is the MXR M116 Fullbore?
This pedal is so metal – a great dirt box that is much more versatile that the name suggests. The MXR M116 Fullbore is suitable for modern metal genres with its 3 band EQ and adjustable Midrange Q allowing it to model virtually distortion.
We found that a scooped tone (think thrash metal) is best suited for this pedal and if you want some real slap you in the face metal, pair the MXR with some humbuckers! Its
For gain, you’re going to struggle to find a pedal that does it better. The MXR Fullbore packs a punch that I’ve never seen from a pedal of its price and size – but beware, it can be very thumpy at times and will take some time to dial in to the tone you want. That’s half the fun anyway!
One of the things I really like about the MXR M116 Fullbore is its appearance.
The untreated, raw metal really appeals to me and feels right at home on my pedalboard. Quality is not an issue here, as the MXR Fullbore feels rugged and ready to take some punishment.
As for fitting on your pedalboard, its small footprint means it can sneak onto most pedalboards no matter the size which is great sneaking in those moments where you want your guitar to be a huge metal tone machine.
As usual, the pedal can be powered either with a 9V battery or DC adapter.
Good for Sounding Like:
Some of the sounds we managed to get out of this pedal:
- Swedish Death Metal
- 90s Metal Tones
- Thrash Metal
This obviously isn’t an extensive list, especially with the wide range of tones available!
Check out this pedal in action here:
As good as the MXR Fullbore is at playing metal, it does have its downsides.
One of which is that it can sometimes simply be “too much gain”. Blasphemy I know, but keep with us here.
The MXR really does provide “melt your face off” gain, but rather than a jack of all trades, it’s a master of one. As a result, this pedal is not really suited for anything but serious gain.
This can be made worse by the fact it does not gel well with some amps! Marshalls, Fender and Mesa’s for example pair great with the Fullbore pedal. But already crunchy amps such as an Orange struggle to keep the clarity.
The MXR Fullbore reminds me of the Boss Metal zone. Plug it into your amp, it sounds horrible and like bees in a can. But if you skip your preamp (or a really clean one) and go directly into a power amp; you can get some crazy tones.
Finally, there are some complaints of “white noise”. Whilst I have heard of people complaining about this; I didn’t personally find it bad. This could be another difference between amps.
Should you buy it?
Yes, you should buy the MXR M116 Fullbore Metal. If all you want is metal.
One thing in this review that I discovered is that outside of metal, this pedal doesn’t add much to a pedalboard. But personally this wasn’t an issue as my playstyle is mostly metal anyway.
Overall, this pedal will give you gain in the bucket-load – and if that’s what you’re after, you can’t do better than the MXR M116 Fullbore Metal. It has some great functionality, feels great and can really take a beating when playing gigs.
If that’s not you, I wouldn’t recommend this pedal. But for the metal-heads; the MXR Fullbore will earn its rightful place on your pedalboard.