Paying tribute to early fuzz circuit designs while eliminating some of the issues of vintage effects and providing modern flexibility. The BOSS FZ-1W Waza Craft fuzz pedal features vintage and modern modes to give you access to a range of fuzzy tones, from glitched-out sputters and raspy fuzz grind to singing, string-like sustain in a Waza Craft-quality stompbox. Sam Bell tells us more.
When we talk about Guitar Effects, two things might crop up in the conversation. In no order, one of the subjects will be BOSS Pedals, often this is a conversation around what was a first pedal, or a pedal someone still owns or how great BOSS pedals are! The other topic will be about Drive, or Distortion or, more importantly, FUZZ. In this issue, I’m going to look at BOSS’s legendary FZ-1 pedal, which has now been released as a ‘Waza Craft’ series pedal. Waza Craft is pedals built in Japan by Boss by highly skilled technicians. These Waza pedals also take the classic pedal and offer the option of a popular modification to that pedal. In this case the FZ-1W gives us the ability to switch between a ‘Vintage’ and a ‘Modern’ mode which drastically changes the character of the Fuzztone.
So what does the pedal do? It creates a Fuzz Effect, of course! If we turn up the ‘Fuzz’ control, we get more Fuzz, turn it down we get a cool battery breaking up/low Fi sound. We can also control the Level and Tone of the effect (tone controls the brightness or darkness of the Fuzz sound) What makes the FZ-1W unique is the Waza Craft added modification of adding the Modern and Vintage modes, which vastly changes the low end and mid-range EQ of the Fuzz. In Vintage mode, we have a classic 1960’s Fuzz sound—quite ‘scooped’ and ‘bitty’ (I’m not intending this to be a ‘negative’ description of the sound, but more of a reflection on the character of the Fuzz-Tone). When we switch to the ‘Modern’ mode, the Mid-Range and Bass are more pronounced, the low end is a bit ‘tighter’ feeling, and the amount of Fuzz leads to way more sustain and even oscillation at louder amp levels. Both sounds are useful for a whole range of situations; I personally enjoyed the Modern Setting with the tone turned down; this is how I had it set for the short Royal Blood style instrumental I made to demonstrate the pedal.
Regarding quality, of course, this is BOSS, so already out the box, it’s a high-quality pedal. Still, with the added Waza magic, we have minor modifications to the actual build, a solid metal construction and metal screw for the battery compartment. We also have the Waza logo placed inside the pedal switch design itself, which looks really cool. If you’re looking for an awesome classic Fuzz pedal with a bit more power under the hood, the FZ-1W is well worth checking out and adding to your collection!
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