ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Review

manufacturer: MXR date: 10/12/2011 category: Guitar Effects
MXR: ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive
There's a knob for Volume, Tone, and Gain. It doesn't get much more simple than that in terms of Overdrive pedals.
 Sound: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Ease of Use: 9.6
 Overall rating:
 9.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 9.4 
 Votes:
 13 
reviews (5) pictures (2) 9 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 14, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 119

Ease of Use: It's a very simple pedal, meat and potatoes you can say. There's a knob for Volume, Tone, and Gain. It doesn't get much more simple than that in terms of Overdrive pedals. In terms of getting a tone with it's fairly simple. Adjust the knobs to your preference and what sounds good to you. // 9

Sound: I'm running this through a Fender Blues Junior with my Epiphone Les Paul Standard which is my main guitar and I also have a Fender Standard Stratocaster. The pedal can get very noisy on single coils, but yet most pedals do so that should be a given. The Wylde Overdrive is my main rock tone on my rig, I'm also running two tubescreamers, one a ts9 and a ts7 along with a Line 6 echo Park, MXR Phase 90 and Dunlop Original Crybaby. Pretty simple rig! You don't get Zakk Wylde's tone out of this at all, it may help you get there but it definitely will not get you his main Marshall tone. It gives you more of a good Marshall or orangy crunch with a good amount of sustain. I love this pedal to death, plus it looks badass! // 9

Reliability & Durability: I can definitely not have to worry about this pedal breaking down for absolutely no reason unless I'm chucking it around the street and running it over with the gear van. I've gigged with it countless times and it's got some wear and tear but it still plays like it did when I first tried it out before purchasing. // 10

Overall Impression: I play hard rock with my band and it's definitely a good match. I feel I've developed my own tone instead of copying someone else's. I've been playing a total of 8 years and I've been gigging steadily for 2 years now. I'm only 15 years old and this is a relatively cheap pedal for the tone you get out of it. If it was stolen or if I lost it, I'd go out and buy another one considering the great experience I've had with this puppy. CHECK IT OUT! // 9

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overall: 9.8
ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Reviewed by: Ace Carson, on july 06, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 120

Purchased from: Akkord Music

Ease of Use: This one here appears to be the signature Zakk Wylde Overdrive pedal, designed by MXR in conjunction with the musician. It has the standard input and output 1/4 inch jacks and a 9V standart outlet for a number of common adapter models. The controls on top consist of Gain, Tone and Output knobs and a stomp effect On/Off switch. It has an effect on LED next to the Switch which also operates as a battery charge indicator. The box ships with an MXR booklet and a nice manual briefly describing its operation and features. The manual also has some blank knob patches you can write down some of your favourite tone setups. // 10

Sound: Derived from the legendary MXR Distortion+, this effect definately represents the Classick Rock overdrive, but however has a significant difference in its tone feel. The effect itself gives a rather muddy and dark sounding diode Overdrive with some frayed ends on low gain setting. So plugging it into a clean amp just won`t make you happy. This pedal was designed for one and only purpose: to boost an overdriven amp. So crank your favourite mid-gain crunchy amp up, plug the beast in fronf of it and prepare to hear the concussion Wylde tone. Note the Tone control acts really smooth and in a rather narrow spectre giving you a rigid tone possibilities. Basically the Tone knob is being set once for a specific guitar + amplifier tandem, so we won't get back to it later. The first nice setting approach would be to dim the Gain knob to about minimum and set the Output to 12:00. This gets you to the era of Rock music monumented by the great Randy Rhoads. This setup suits really beautyful for some chords and classic soloing. Due to lack of really high gain, the tone can be controlled really nice with your picking accents and guitar tone and volume controls, which are delivered accurately all the way down to the speakers thus giving you a vast space to improvise and express. For the same reason this kind of setup is relaxingly polite so it won't overwhelm you with an elemental feedbacks and noises when played at higher volumes or onstage. The other thing this little boxie can do is crash down walls, shake some ground and blow some musicians off the stage! Just trust that little devil on your left shoulder and set the Gain control to about 14:00 depending on your guitar - throw more in if you have some strat or stay around 13:00 with your mahagony Les Paul. Then hit some power chord turning the Output knob all the way up and watch the tide of a rich, crushing, uncompromising and merciless sound rise above your head. This setting takes you to a whole new level of Heavy Metal. It doesn't matter whether you play some riffs, tune your guitar down a couple of steps or shred some pentatonics, your tone will be solid as a brick wall and it'll cut even through the most heavy band. The rich midrange just makes you feel some boiling oil dripping from your strings and spraying out of your cab keeping that unrelenting low end boom with every palm muted note. This tone sure resembles that of Black Label Society and gives you the power but still guiding your picking details through the amp. The only drawback from the box is its relatively high amount of hiss noise. And of course you'll have to strictly control all side sounds of your playing and work with your guitar volume knob in the pauses like on every high gain setting. For people who know what they want this pedal is very nice despite of its narrow field of use. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The small box is made of cast aluminium of a good thickness which in a sum with its small size makes it a tough nut to crack. The minimalistic approach to the design makes it operate perfectly for years. If you're a stage musician, don't be concerned about the battery life - a standard battery lasts for about a month of daily 3-4 hour use. To change the battery one needs to unscrew the bottom cover and put the battery in place, making a good and reliable surge no matter what. // 10

Overall Impression: It has the character - none of many Overdrive pedals can sound like this one. The Bullseye across its top says it all: if you`re in to rock the crowd with your incendiary riffage, or blow their minds with incredibly solid and grown up solo tone, if you're there to make some badass heavy metal beer rivers flow - then this stompbox is your choice. // 10

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overall: 9.5
ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 05, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 98

Purchased from: thomann.de

Ease of Use: Using this pedal is as easy as taking a piss in swimming pool. It has 3 knobs: Output, Tone and Gain. Just plug it in between your guitar and amp, step on it and turn the knobs for an Overdrive that suits you best or look in the manual and use Zakks settings. The pedal gives you an instant Overdrive sound that seems to come right out of hell. // 10

Sound: It sounds amazing! I bought it because I like Zakks guitar sound and that's what the pedal does. I found a lot of reviews on Youtube where the reviewer used this Overdrive on a clean amp but that's not what it's made for. Put it in front of an already overdriven amp and you'll hear what I mean. I use it with an '80's Marshall JCM 800 (the good ones) and an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with Alnico Pro II pick-ups and I have the Zakk Wylde settings on the box. It's the best Overdrive sound I have ever heart! Sounds almost like the man himself. You might have a little noise (like a little waterfall) when the pedal is on and your guitar volume is down but that's normal. Zakk says he has it too because he doesn't use noise gates either and he just turns it off between songs. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's one tough motherf%$*@er. I let it fall the first day I got it but it didn't even got a scratch. It's a heavy full metal pedal with the typical MXR on/off foot switch. I used it live a couple of times and it always worked perfect! I don't need a back-up with this pedal. // 10

Overall Impression: I play hardrock/metal and it's perfect for my songs. I've been playing for 8 years or so and it's the best Overdrive I've come across. It matches my Marshall and Les Paul perfectly! If it were stolen I'd order a new one immediately because I can't play without it. The only other pedal that comes close is the Boss Super Overdrive SD-1 and that's the one Zakk played before he had this custom pedal. I can't say anything bad about this overdrive, it's all I need to play kick-ass rock n' roll. // 9

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overall: 9.8
ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Reviewed by: Chikao42, on may 02, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: It's a very easy pedal to get a good sound out of, and despite the name on the pedal, it's incredibly versatile. It's got 3 knobs; drive, tone and volume. It has a 9v adaptor capability and takes 9v batteries, which are kept safe behind the steel chassis. Very easy, very simple, a monkey could use it. // 10

Sound: This is my main Overdrive pedal; I own an Ibanez JEM 555, Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6, Ibanez 7620, and Ibanez 1570. I run them all through a Laney LH-50 head and an Ibanez 412 cab, and the sound is always fantastic. I use it mainly as a gain boost, so when it is engaged it can be very noisy when I'm not playing. I play a lot of hard rock/blues/shred music, and it never fails to deliver the extra push that I need. I have also used it on my amp's clean channel, and it gives great classic rock tones. Depending on how "clean" your clean channel is will depend on just how much Drive you can get out of the pedal, but its got one of the most amounts of gain I've seen come out of an Overdrive pedal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's built like an absolute tank; made out of metal, screws to hold the backplate on, which keeps the battery safe. The batteries in it last an absolute age; they never seem to run out. I've gigged with it a number of times without even contemplating needing a back up pedal. I rarely check the battery because it's just so good. // 10

Overall Impression: As said earlier, I play a lot of hard rock/blues/shred. I use a LOT of gain in my playing, and it just never ever fails to deliver. It gives so much more gain and saturation than I need, but I know its always there if I do want it and it doesn't ever lose sound quality. If it were stolen, I'd run out and buy a new one immediately. There's nothing I hate about it. Short of spending double the money going boutique, its one of the Overdrive pedals to watch out for. I compared it to the Boss OD-3, the Boss BD-2, the Ibanez TS-9, Maxon OD-808 and I honestly thought that it stood on top for the needs I had. Fantastic pedal and I just can't praise it enough. // 10

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overall: 8.8
ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Reviewed by: ne14t, on october 12, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 95

Purchased from: Long and McQuade

Ease of Use: The Wylde OD is a simple pedal to use it has a Output, Tone and Gain knob making it very simply to get a good sound out of the pedal with very little effort. The manual comes with some suggested settings including Zakk's setting, which is funny because in a video I watched Zakk stated he ran the pedal cranked which is different then the setting MXR supplies! 9/10 Three knobs means less fiddling and more playing, really simple OD. // 9

Sound: I use this pedal mostly on the dirty channel of my amp for a bit more gain and added sustain, exactly the same way that Zakk uses the pedal himself. I have popped it open and the circuitry of the Wylde OD is the same as the GT-OD so if you start looking into what that pedal can do as well you can get an idea of how rounded this pedal is. I will say it's a mild OD it's certainly not like a tube screamer, and I would have to say this pedal probably works best in front of an already dirty amp. I have heard this pedal through the dreaded Line 6 Spider III amp and I must say it made it sound 20 times better! True bypass so it doesn't effect your tone when you don't have it on. 8/10 Not as powerful as many other OD pedals; however still has a wide variety of uses and still sounds great. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Solid like all MXR stomp boxes this thing is built like a freaking tank. I have dropped this a couple times, kicked it around and generally just abused the heck out of it and so far I have not had a single problem with it at all. You could easily use it without a backup at a gig, very reliable pedal. // 10

Overall Impression: I play a little bit of everything and I would say that this pedal is a nice little OD pedal to get more sustain out of your notes over more gain, it will dirty up your signal a bit more but it certainly wont make it a super raunchy sound either. Overall its a decent pedal but I would skip over it if you are in need of more gain. 8/10 Good pedal, just a lacking a bit. // 8

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