Price paid: £ 85
Purchased from: Vintage & Rare Guitars
Ease of Use: The Devi Ever Disaster Fuzz is a boutique fuzz pedal with a switchable built-in oscillator. Like all Devi Ever pedals it's not for the faint-hearted - most people will probably be able to get all the gain they need at 9 o'clock on the requisite pot, and to say it's unpredictable would be putting it lightly.
It's a fairly basic pedal in a die-cast MXR-sized enclosure. It has a single input and output, a single footswitch with a very bright blue Status LED (although it's not difficult to tell whether this pedal's on or off), two fairly big pots for Volume and Control and a micro-Switch to toggle oscillation mode. Power comes from a 9v battery accessible by unscrewing the back plate or from a Boss-style 9v power supply input next to the jack output.
On paper it's easy to use - two pots - but it takes a bit of tweaking to get the sound you want. The 'Volume' knob is basically a gain control and The 'Control' knob's function depends on which mode you're in. In normal mode it changes the colour of the fuzz and in oscillation mode it changes the pitch of oscillation.
It takes a bit of fiddling to get your desired sound but it's a very easy pedal to use, much moreso than something like a Fuzz Factory. // 8
Sound: This review was done using an Ibanez AFS77T hollowbody into a Vox AD50VT on the 'Boutique Clean' amp model via Disaster Fuzz > DigiTech Bad Monkey > Meridian volume pedal > Line6 DL-4 > Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail.
This pedal has an insane amount of gain on tap. Between 9 and 10 o'clock on the Volume pot will give you a conventional fuzz sound depending on the output of your guitar's pickups. By the time you're at the pot's full setting you're on the verge of total sonic meltdown. For a good reference tone see Neil Young's 'Hey Hey My My' or M83's 'Moonchild' - I managed to nail both of those tones very easily, and don't get me started on My Bloody Valentine covers.
The 'Control' pot in standard mode acts like an EQ control. At its lowest settings it gives a smoother Big Muff-like sound, whilst higher settings give a raspy germanium Fuzz Face/Tone Bender-like tone.
This isn't a fuzz for the faint-hearted or playing Jimi Hendrix covers in a pub with - it's definitely one for the noisemongers, more Jesus And Mary Chain than Hendrix. I described it in my blog as a Big Muff that's had several pints of Stella Artois and is ready for a fight.
The oscillation mode completely changes the character of the pedal. The 'Control' pot alters the pitch of a sawtooth wave-type signal that is constantly generated as long as the micro Switch is in the downward position. You can play over the top of this but don't expect to be able to set up a drone and solo over the top of it - the pedal is monophonic so you'll hear the note you play but as soon as it starts to decay it will morph back into the oscillator's drone. You can make some really crazy sounds as harmonics interfere and notes appear from nowhere, and tuning the oscillator to a particular note (2 o'clock on the Control pot will give you an E) then solo in that key you will end up with more prog rock synth solos than you could shake Rick Wakeman at.
This pedal is not only a great-sounding fuzz but also a brilliant creative Tool. // 10
Reliability & Durability: It's pretty rugged, a sturdy metal chassis and chunky hardware. I would gig without a backup because I don't have any backups for any of my pedals, but it's becoming such an important part of my sound I'd buy another one if I was gigging regularly because it never harms to have a backup for such an important part of the signal chain. // 9
Overall Impression: I will say that I mainly use the guitar as a means of making noise and textures - my main influences for electric playing are My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead and Mogwai so I mainly play shoegaze and post-rock. If you want a Big Muff or Fuzz Face clone to play Hendrix or ZZ Top with this isn't for you. If you want a fuzz that will open up new sonic doorways and create interesting new sounds with it definitely is. There's enough sounds here to keep Matt Bellamy occupied for hours.
For what this pedal is it's obscenely good value for money - 85 for a handmade boutique fuzz with built-in oscillator? Yes please.
If it were lost I'd buy another one, and if it was stolen I'd get a gun and get it back. I haven't had it for long but I already would struggle without it. // 9