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This article was originally published in issue #3
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Before buying an overdrive pedal, you have to realize what it is they do best - and what they do best is push the front end of a good tube amp, to give you more from your guitar, and more from your amp. I have three favourites overdrives in my board: the Klon Centaur, the Xotic BB and a Keeley modded Boss Blues Driver. These are three great pedals which sound fantastic, no matter what tube amp I put them in front of. So they were what I was measuring the ZW overdrive against. I plugged the overdrive into the front of the Zakk Wylde Marshall head, and it did do very nice things to the already crunchy tone. Did it sound like Zakk Wylde? Probably, but only if you play like Zakk! It did sound huge, fat, with nice attack on the front of the note, so that fast runs do not turn into a mush. I liked it so much that I stole the pedal for the weekend and swapped it into the spot my BB pre amp normally occupies in my board. Through my amp, I was slightly less impressed. My current main amp is a Marshall 6100LM head with 6L6 tubes and through my rig, it seemed to sound a bit more processed than the Klon or the BB. It still sounded good, but it wasn't quite what I'm used to with the Klon, the BB or the Keeley blues driver, which seem to give purer, more organic tone. But overdriven sounds are so subjective, and had you been there, you might have loved it. The ZW overdrive is a fantastic pedal, but I think it does depend on factors such as the individual player, the type of guitar or pick up and basic amp tone.