Price paid: $ 274.5
Ease of Use: The Woolly Mammoth, hand made and painted somewhere in Montana, this fuzzbox is the best of the best. It's been used in countless recording sessions and has been used live and in the studio by many bassists and guitarists including Muse's bassist! Now, when you open this baby, it gleams with it's shiny hand crafted finish and the little painted mammoth pleads with you, "plug me in, play something with lots of fuzz" and the like. You agree, grabbing your leads and tuning your bass with renewed fervour. As you plug one lead into your amp, the other end sliding into the Mammoth's side where a speaker is painted on, the other lead slotting into the other side, next to the painted guitar. As you lift your bass' strap over your head you wonder, what shall I play. Maybe some Muse, "Time Is Running Out" would be good with the entire bassline an intricate web of beautiful fuzz. Or maybe some Placebo? Any song with a bass solo maybe, or perhaps any old song that doesn't have a single note bassline. Right, there you are, jacked in, the Mammoth is off, your amp is on, your bass is primed and ready. You bend down to turn on the Woolly Mammoth, sweating in anticipation. Stop!
This is where every Woolly Mammoth buyer should stop and calm down. Before you so much as turn Mammoth on, look at all the four knobs, find the output. It should be easy, it'll have Output painted next to it. Turn it all the way to the left before turning on the mammoth! What the instruction manual would tell you (if there was one) turn the Output knob all the way to the left silencing the beast. People have damaged teir amps before, not realising that the Mammoth's output was at full and their amps just blew. That's it, the only difficulty. After that it's a simple matter of adjusting the Equalizer, Pinch and Wool (fuzz) to your own tastes and styles of music and then play. This baby is so easy to use it's not a surprise that it is the best fuzzbox for the bass and second best for the electric guitar. In fact, the best fuzzbox for the electric guitar (The Fuzz Factory) is also made by Zvex effects! In fact, this is definately the easiest effects pedal to use ever. So, onwards! // 9
Sound: Wow, this fuzzbox is amazing! I play a Squier Jazz Bass and while it's been said that the Jazz Bass can't compete with the P-Bass when it comes to heavier rock, this pedal makes all difference. My amp's pretty basic too, a Carlsbro 25 Watt (in case you're wondering, I'm saving up for enough mahogany and decent pickups to build a new mighty axe, nice). However, regardless of the guitar or amp, this pedal never fails to perform! Personally, I wouldn't recommend playing with too high a treble as it makes the sound sound less fuzzy and more grainy as if the sound of your bass is switching octaves several times a second however, that's merely a minor problem. This pedal works great with almost all playing styles, fingering and picking work brilliantly each with a slightly different tone as expected. The only style I wouldn't advise playing with this pedal is funk. It just can't handle a decent slap or pop. However, it does produce a very percussive sound that sounds siilar to something an electric drum kit could produce with a slight "after-fuzz" depending on your Pinch setting. As you might expect, this is a fuzzbox, thus, it makes your sound fuzzy. If you are a total fuzz newbie, think "Time Is Running Out" by Muse. The bassline is fuzzy, and that's what I'm talking about, or the four bar bridge between the two halves of the chorus in "Where Is My Mind." Personally, I tend to play more of the indie and alternative styles so this pedal is utterly brilliant for those spontaneous bass solos you just love. It also allows for a volume boost during choruses and bridges due to the output knob (once again, useful during bass solos). So, the sound is brilliant, and in fact if you happen to have the relatively rubbish pickups of the European Suier Jazz bass, using this pedal with low pinch completely cuts out any background noise you might get. Brilliant. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Right, the Woolly Mammoth is the most durable bass fuzzbox ever invented. Zach, the owner of Zvex effects, plays bass. When he built the first ever Woolly Mammoth with Chuck Zwicky, they used a battery that has lasted since the time of construction, four years ago. In fact, Zach himself says that if treated properly (in other words, don't drop or sit on this baby) and if you unplug all leads connected to it when not playing, the battery might never need changing. Ever. Yes, ever ever. I've used it at gigs. You don't want or need a backup. In fact, since this is the only pedal you might need for a bass, there; s no point in having a backup. Honestly. // 10
Overall Impression: So, to finish, this is a beautiful pedal, worth every penny of the 150 that I paid for it. Yes, that's a lot of money, and yes you can buy a guitar for less, but this is the best fuzz box ever created for the bass, and it works with electric guitars too (just check out Z-Vex Effects' website for videos of all their hand made and painted products in action). The fact that the pedal is hand painted too adds to the beauty and value of the pedal. No two Woolly Mammoths are alike. Mine is dark green with yellow know labels and blue markers. Another might be navy with red knob labels and pink guitar and amp markers. This is just a beautiful pedal! And if I could, I'd give it a perfect 10 on looks alone. But I'm not going to because that would be stupid. If I lost this baby or if some fiend (with great taste in effects boxes) stole it, I would collapse and cry. This is an amazing pedal and my favourite material possesion other than my guitar. Yes, I lurve them both. I love the fuzziness, I love the look, I love the feel, the weight, the quiet click you can just hear when you turn it on and off. In general, I think I'm in love with this pedal. Wow. This doesn't compare to any of the other fuzz boxes out there. It's the best hands down. Actually, all of Zvex's pedals are the best in whatever they are used for. Also, there's the added bonus of working for both bass and guitar, for those you love to switch between the two. If there was one thing about this pedal that I could change it would have to be that I'd make it be able to tell me it loved me back. That's how great this pedal is. Buy one, it will be worth it. And check out Zvex's forums. Zach posts a lot giving advice and setting information to most polite and friendly people, he's also an amazing bassist. So, sayonara folks, I hope you like the review, the pedal, and most of all, hppy playing. May the fuzz be with you. // 10