The fine line between overdrive and fuzz is brilliantly blurred in this inspired take on the sound of vintage Texas boogie.
My biggest revelation after spending some time with the Chupacabra was, “Wow. Overdrive and fuzz are closer relatives than I thought.” Nashville-based pedal builder Zach Broyles had a rather singular focus: Billy Gibbons’ thick, Texas snarl on the first few ZZ Top albums. A lofty ambition, indeed. The controls here are dead simple with a volume and gain knob, but the magic is in how colorful and musical they are. Back to my original point: The gain knob is a rather amazing example of how overdrive can melt into fuzz like a clock in a Dali painting.
With both knobs at noon, the single-coils in my Schroeder growled. The fundamental tone of my signal was still there, but a heap of touch-responsive dirt showed up to the party as well. The Chupacabra is designed around a CD4049UBE IC chip, so even at more moderate settings there’s always a bit of fuzz hanging around. With humbuckers, the harmonic overtones are rich and full, with plenty of presence. The bottom line is that if you pray at the altar of the Rev. Billy F. Gibbons, then the Chupacabra is as mandatory as Sunday mass.
Test gear: Schroeder Chopper TL, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Fender Deluxe Reverb