Moving straight from a simple tuning pedal… I decided that the first effect I needed for my sound was fuzz. I like fuzz tones more than distortion because (in my opinion) they have more range. They can be warm and sputtery or broken up and buzzy and anywhere in between. They can even simulate distortion sounds. So I figured who better to turn to for fuzzsperation than my favorite guitarist from my favorite band, Nels Cline of Wilco. Nels’ pedal board actually has 2 fuzz Pedals, but after researching the two and finding out that one of them was also used by Matthew Bellamy of Muse, Dan Boeckner of Jack White among others, I decided to choose…

The Z-Vex Fuzz Factory!!

On the Z-Vex website, there is a custom store where all of the hand wired and hand painted pedals can be ordered straight from Zachary Vex himself. Cool paint job huh? It’s one of only 5 of it’s kind! Also comes with a lifetime warranty! Pretty sick. But how does it sound?

Really really awesome, with a lot of work. This pedal is unique in that it reacts completely differently depending on what guitar/amp you are using and what you’re volume is at. Obviously every pedal is different in that regard but the FF is insane. One millimeter turn of any of the knobs can send some really horrible oscillating feedback through the air that will deafen even the most weathered drummer (just ask Dylan).

I’ve spent countless hours attempting to get the tone out of it that I want and have yet to find exactly it. Since it’s so versatile but also so finicky, I began to annoy my band mates with all my noise making. At practice I would tweak around for awhile get some really fun sounds and noise walls but once I put it away and take it back out, it is nearly impossible to recreate, even when you mark your settings, which lead to more time taken away from practice.

What I was able to find were some unearthly almost synthy tones that make this a really unique sounding machine. The only way I can describe it is like an explosion in a sci-fi movie, very thick but with faint electronic feedback going on. I also really enjoy the velcro fuzz setting which is awesome to layer at a lower volume behind another guitar to make a mechanical type effect. What I am really looking for is the perfect combination of the synthy tones with the oscillating feedback that will put total sonic annihilation (not to be confused with the DBA pedal) one turn of a knob away so I won’t have to spend a lot of time finding it every time I plug in… It’s easy when your Nels Cline and have hours of sound-check before every gig…

In the mean time I have purchased another really awesome fuzz pedal (which I will get to in the May installment). But I really want to find the hidden amazing tones with the FF that I know are just out of my reach…

Check out the video from proguitarshop.com. The only guy on youtube who’s equipment demo videos I enjoy watching because he doesn’t just try to show off how great of a musician he is, just simply goes through what things sound like.

Until next time! Enjoy the heat wave!!!
Matt

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