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This article was originally published in issue #42
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ZVEX – Super Hard On, Distortron, Fuzzolo
In this review I am going to be looking at some amazing ZVEX effects pedals. ZVEX (it's Zachary Vex Effects from Minneapolis) sent us the three pedals I tested, All of them could be generally rounded up into the ‘drive’ category of effects, but its not that simple. They are very different, but in the end they all make you do the same Rock face! ZVEX hand paints its pedals, which means you do get something truly unique when you invest in one of these. The quality is excellent, solid housing and the pedalboard footprint for these particular models is small. All these ZVEX pedals are brightly coloured - painted in fact and if you want you can order direct from the manufacturer and get some amazing custom artwork.. Perhaps even more intriguingly, ZVEX has a custom building service, too, so it is well worth checking out the company's website to see how much they have to offer.
ZVEX Super Hard On (see image)
The name suits this pedal perfectly. It’s a boost. A super boost! You can use it to drive your amp. Featuring just one knob and sporting a hand painted picture of a gorilla welding a superstrat above its head. This pedal can give you a bit of crunch all the way to a super smooth drive. As you turn up the knob you can hear a crackling…apparently this is okay, it says so on the box! In fact this is a theme for a few of ZVEX’s effect pedals. The volume knob they use is a negative-feedback control styled after classic '60s recording console inputs. I really like this touch, personally. Due to the nature of the boost, you can really push your amp without changing the amps tone with the pedal. Stomping on this pedal just gives you more of what you have and then a bit more!
This red box of pure molten lava has really got me going! Put in front of a clean amp you can use this as a total extra channel for all kinds of overdrive to super distorted sounds. Used in front of a crunchy channel you can go as far as you wish. Sustain for days! The pedal features a volume, tone and Drive knob (once again with ‘crackle okay’ written around it, see Super Hard On pedal review for more info) There are also two switches. One is a sub control with three levels, this can either add some girth to your tone or be used to take it away if your amp has a heavy low-end response already. The other switch controls the gain between lo and hi. In low settings we can get very classic distortion sounds whilst in the hi setting we can really make the guitar scream and feedback with minimal effort in high drive settings (see my face in the video review for proof!). I love this pedal! I need one on my board for certain!
Here is another ZVEX effect pedal that I want on my pedalboard! This pedal is another hand painted job featuring a buffalo that looks pretty angry! This is a mini pedal, so it can tuck away nicely next to your Distortron. This pedal is small, but it sounds huge. Featuring two controls, Volume and Pulse Width. The volume controls the post volume of the effect and the pulse width takes us from a super burning hairy fuzz sound all the way to a ‘dying battery’ sound where the notes sound like they are being chopped up! It does what it says on the tin. And yet again, please see my face in the video review for further explanation!
You might wonder if these brightly painted effects are really more about appearance than sound - but you'd be wrong. These are some of the most impressive pedals I've ever tried - all three very different pedals but all equally hairy and fiery!
The Distortron is one of the best distortion pedals I have had the pleasure to play through and I am going to get one. The Fuzzolo is probably the biggest most hairiest sound I have heard from a Fuzz pedal in such a small box! The Super Hard On: Super simple and super effective. You simply have to check these out.