This bite-sized box delivers big, boss fuzz tones with that twisted ZVEX touch.
ZVEX didn’t make its good name by taking the path most travelled. The same sense of irreverence that’s driven the company from day one guides nearly every creation that emerges from its Minnesota shop. And even as the company enters the raging micro-pedal arms race, where size limitations sometimes demand conservative design, ZVEX shows no signs of surrendering its adventurous spirit.
Take the diminutive Fuzzolo reviewed here. It’s a silicon fuzz that sounds way bigger than it looks, but it also has a blendable pulse width control (borrowed from ZVEX’s Mastotron) that’s a simple, surprisingly versatile, and sometimes radical tool for tweaking the rich fuzz output. The sounds you can get with this 2-knob baby monster are both massive and wonderfully mangled—the kind of stuff likely to stoke heavy riffing thugs and lo-fi sonic sculptors alike.
A Little Rolling Thunder
The Fuzzolo’s microscopic size did not deter ZVEX from indulging their customary flair for the visual. And though the pedal isn’t even 1.5" wide and barely 3.5" long, ZVEX still managed to cram a raging, snorting buffalo, and the flames of some fuzz-driven prairie fire onto a fire engine red enclosure that shows up bold and bright on an overflowing pedalboard. There’s a knob for volume level. But the second knob, which on most 2-knob fuzzes would be a gain control, is a pulse width control that changes the waveform from a square wave to a wave with narrow peaks and wide valleys. The fractured sounds from this control are the key the Fuzzolo’s brutish-to-curious sonic range.
Lest you think that small size means less horsepower, let us say right out of the gate that the Fuzzolo is loud. Unity gain is somewhere just left of the noon setting on the volume knob, and the pedal gets significantly bigger and badder beyond that.
At the full square-wave setting, which is essentially the “purest” version of the fuzz, the Fuzzolo has a complex, deep, and brawny voice—present and growling in the low-mid zone with a trace of octave-up content. The sum is the kind of sassy but muscular tone that silicon Fuzz Face and Big Muff devotees could agree on.
Paired with a neck position humbucker, it’s a slice of stony desert-rock heaven—all wooly, rotund and robust with just a hint of Davey Allen biker fuzz on top. Sustain is superb at this setting, especially when a humbucker is in the mix. Cutting through a loud band means cranking the output a bit and using your bridge pickup. But in smaller ensembles—even a loud power trio—the Fuzzolo has enough gas to rise above the fray regardless of your pickup setting.
Grinding Sabbath-oid power chords and punky eighth-note barrages sound delectable at pure square-wave settings. They brim with just enough high-mid content to add detail and display a purring low end that nestles nicely with a loud, driving bass line.
Move the wave shape control to nine o’clock and you start to hear a little clipping in the high and high-mid frequencies. Here, the low-end output becomes a little more compact and you hear a narrower harmonic spectrum in general. This setting still works great for chords—especially if you’re a fan of Graham Coxon’s lo-fi fuzztones or the sputtering muscle-car grunt of early Dead Meadow.
Up around noon, the effects of the pulse width knob become more pronounced and a bit more hectic. In general, the output’s bandwidth is thinner and more compressed sounding. You’ll also hear less of the low-frequency drone that defines the full-on square-wave setting. But fast lead lines take on a hip, sputtering, exploding-amp quality that adds a taste of controlled chaos, attitude, and a succinct, quick responsiveness that rules for Jimmy Page blues flurries, and adds clarity to pull-offs and hammer-ons.
Like any fuzz that gets spitty and gated at high volume, the Fuzzolo produces smoother output from a neck pickup. But if you’re clever with your guitar’s volume and tone controls, you can effectively manipulate the fuzz voice even further. Reducing guitar volume really enhances the gating effect—especially when the wave shape control is in the third of its range that favors the pulse shape.
With one pickup in the mix you can create fast decaying, near-synth-like tones that add a demented touch to doubled bass lines. But two pickup guitars with four-knob setups (like a Les Paul or Telecaster Custom) let you craft even cooler lead tones with the Fuzzolo. Pairing a wide-open bridge pickup with a neck pickup that’s rolled back a notch generates lead tones that sing in the high end while the low end sputters out—a sort of inverse, mirror image of the pedal’s gating effect that sounds awesome with a little delay. While these settings have predictably filth-ifying (but very cool) effect on double-stops and power chords, they can sound quite precise and controlled if you’re careful with your picking technique.
The Fuzzolo is one bossy and mean little dude. And the small size is an obvious benefit, whether you’re trying to manage an overpopulated pedalboard or just travel light. But what’s most striking about the Fuzzolo is how great is sounds regardless of its size. It’s responsive, versatile, and sonically varied enough to be the only fuzz you need. And at around 130 bucks, it’s a cool way to spice up your sounds with some demented Z.Vex magic at the price of many more ordinary and much less space-efficient stompboxes.
Watch the Review Demo:
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This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA
MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials