MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Review

manufacturer: Dunlop date: 01/18/2010 category: Guitar Effects
Dunlop: MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal
This muscular stompbox will turn your clean amp into a heavy, chunky crunch machine. Or, use it like Zakk does and kick it in front of a dirty amp for a screaming, sustaining lead tone.
 Sound: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 8.1
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Ease of Use: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (8) 32 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: metal fury, on october 14, 2004
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: eBAY

Ease of Use: This stomp box is pretty easy to use. There is three nobs so it's not that hard. It is a little hard to get the sound you want. A red led light comes on so you can tell when it's on, and believe me, you can tell when it is on anyway. Can be used without wall plug-in, by battery of course, it's not magic. // 10

Sound: I love Zakk's sound. That is one of the reasons I wanted the pedal. If the only reason you want the pedal is for his sound. The sound is amazing never the less. Great sustain and great crunch. I would definately get it if you want more power from your amp. I use a Vintage Crate amp, Aspen guitar and a DigiTech RP200A pedal and it makes every note have its own soul. I play heavy metal and it kicks but in sound. A DigiTech pedal is not the best but this "Wylde" beast takes it to a new level. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The thing is built like a tank. It would bring your whole pedal board with it if you accidentaly stepped on the cord. Everything is secure. It is the toughest pedal I have seen. // 10

Overall Impression: Every pinch harmonic stands out. It will give your sound balls. I think it is a good pedal for any type of music. It gives you more for your money and offers exactly what it is called. It overdrives your rack 10 fold to me. I don't exactly have a rack but I can tell by what it does for me that it should get all 5. // 10

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overall: 8
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: Hypnot1st, on march 31, 2005
2 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: Basically, I am generally running a Fender Strat (with custom humbuckers), Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Fender Amp (very clean). The pedal will only sound good if it produces what you want, this pedal is not an oustanding Overdrive combined with an outstanding distortion. I would say it is a very mediocre pedal, but for me, it helps me develope my good signature tone. This will not make you sound like Zakk Wylde, instead it will give you some Overdrive with some distortion, allowing you to expand your horizons with your own tone, and that's what you want isn't it? I just wish I could achieve a more bluesy tone. The pedal isn't worth getting if you want to simulate other major artist's tones, if you want a sample of what this pedal sounds very much like with all the settings at about 1/2 maybe 3/5 you can sound like the intro to Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These) - Marilyn Manson. This pedal is becoming a stable/staple part of my sound because with the settings low, you eliminate the mud (which can be good or bad depending on your preferences) you give your pinch, natural, and artificial harmonics major power. Power chords sound menacing, and single notes draw attention. Again, achieving the tone you want exactly is difficult because the knobs are not fine-tuning, they are pretty much a lot or a little of something. Overall, the effects themself are mediocre, but if you want a diverse rock pedal, this is your choice. Here is basically what happens with the knobs turned up quite a bit. Sound, distortion/with slight Overdrive, menacing sounding, slight tremelo waving effect after a while of holding a chord approx. More than 3 notes. I love this, I believe it happens because of something poorly made within the pedal, but it does give a more signature sound. // 8

Overall Impression: This pedal is not for getting Zakk Wylde's tone. This is one of those pedals that you will love or hate. I play rock with blues edge, but I try to not let the standard blues shine through. I have been playing a couple of years and my gear is listed above, even though I do have more pedals and such. I personally like it a lot and I will rate it very highly because it is a tone I love and use all the time, but there are problems that develop that give you a signature tone. Chart at bottom again. I gave mostly 4's because I cannot give 4.5's. I like the pedal a lot and think anyone with an amp that just doesn't give you enough rock "guts" this may be your temporary fix. I will give a final 4 because the pedal is a good choice, but of course it is your decision that will make or break if it is a good pedal. I wish the effects would be individually more powerful, maybe modding would achieve this. I doubt I would buy this pedal again if it were stolen/lost/broken. While I love it and have it a staple part of my sound, I just can't justify another purchase of it. // 8

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overall: 9.5
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 18, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 125

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Ease of Use: Three knobs(output, tone, gain) make it very easy to use. The manual is straightforward and to the point, although the pedal is intuitive in itself because of it's simple design. It is a pain trying to power the pedal with a DC-9 Volt adapter because the adapter input is located on the right side of the pedal. This also creates a problem with a pedal board because you have to find a right angle adapter head to fit into the input. The battery compartment, compared to a Boss pedal is a pain in the ass to try and access. You must take it off your board, flip it over, unscrew the 4 screws on the back, take off the metal plating---at which point the circuit board of the pedal is exposed, insert 9 volt battery and then reverse the process. This, combined with the adapter problem make it a pain to use live because you must purchase either a Dunlop brick(with the right angle adapter cords included) or hope that your 9 volt will last during the gig(because replacing it during a show ain't gonna happen). With these problems combined, I give it an 8. // 8

Sound: I have an LTD FM-100 plugged into this pedal then into a Randall 75G3 Plus. My guitar is low quality and before I purchased this pedal, was very hard to get pinch harmonics out of. This pedal is awesome for getting harmonics in general. It adds great sustain. It adds negligible noise and your picking dynamics aren't clouded over. It is meant to boost the gain on an already overdriven amp but I bought it as a crunch pedal for my clean setting and it does a very good job. You can hear every note in every chord you strum. Staccato picking is very pronounced. You can make very percussive lines and your low end remains tight and punchy. You can make your tone go from U2 tones to Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple/Rainbow to the Who, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers etc. Sounds better than the Boss pedals because you don't get the high end fizz or the tonal colouration that's usually associated with Boss pedals. You also don't lose your bottom end which is awesome. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Made of steel all around. I like the push button. You have to use a considerable amount of force to activate it which means it's top notch quality. I think this pedal will last past my lifetime. I don't think I'll ever need a backup because of its top notch construction. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal, alternative, rock, blues, classical and flamenco. This pedal is good because of the end result....the sound. It sounds great for any genre because of its smooth tone. I've been playing for 13 years, started when I was 10 and I've tried many pedals over the years. This one clearly stands out because of it's design and sound capabilities. I pretty much knew I wanted this pedal when I walked into Long & McQuade. I tried it out against 4 Boss Overdrive and distortion pedals and the Custom Shop MXR GT Overdrive which also sounded amazing(has more of a harsher tone). This pedal came out on top for me. If it were lost or stolen I would save up to buy this pedal again because it can give you a distinct voice with your guitar and for me, that's priceless. I hate the damn adapter input being on the side. Was it a ploy to sell the Dunlop brick? It sure is damn inconvenient. My favourite feature's about this pedal are it's solid construction and warm sound. // 10

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overall: 8.5
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 27, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 89.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This has to be the simplest way to get a great sound out of a distortion pedal. It's as simple as walking over to the box and stomping on it and when the light is red then let it rip with awesome Zakk sound. Wylde has a good sound but I prefer Rhodes. Either way easy way to get great sound. // 8

Sound: The sound is the best I've ever gotten from a distorion pedal and you arn't limited to sounding like Zakk with the right adjustment I sounded alot like Page and Vai. The pedal was made for the enhancement of Marshalls which is the amp on which this pedal sounds best on. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I would defenently use this because distortion pedals were ment to last and this one defenently does. I'd use it with a backup, defenentely. // 8

Overall Impression: I have been playing classic rock for four years and this distortion goes great with my Marshall. It is the best distortion pedal I have ever used. I highly recomend buying it. // 8

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overall: 10
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 14, 2005
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 118.5

Purchased from: Music Stop,Sydney Nova Scotia

Ease of Use: This is one of the greatest pedals I have ever used. This is a huge part of my sound now. It gives off great distortion which is perfect for high pitched solos and crunching chords. For anyone who loves Zakk's sound or just wants to make there sound louder and more aggressive this is the pedal. // 10

Sound: When I went in to try this pedal out, there was 2 people about age 16 looking at me. Thinking they were so much better but when I got this pedal, a Les Paul and an MG100DFX with the Wylde Overdrive (my set up at home) and kicked out a few solos. They wouldn't even look me in the eye. For me being younger then them (15) and showing them up was a treat. This doesn't give me much troble feedback-wise, I'd get a noise gate just incase. I recently blew my amp with this pedal because it just sounds so damn good turned up so loud. It makes sliding down ur strings sound like a thunderstorm! // 10

Reliability & Durability: This thing is a tank just like Zakk himself. I could probubly drop this pedal off a 15 story roof and it would still be in good shape. And for a gig there's no way youd need a back up. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mainly classic rock and metal. I've been playing for 5 years and I must say the sound I'm getting now is probubly the best I've ever had. I love how it just brings so much power even playing on my practise amp sounds like a Marshall with this baby on. I have a Boss distortion pedal that doesn't even come close to this pedal. I'd recommend this to any player. Simply one of the best out there. // 10

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overall: 9.5
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: xguyx, on february 27, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This pedal is very easy to get a good sound out of. One of the best overdrives out there I think. Three controls on it, output, tone, and gain. Unlike most overdrives this one has a very good and dynamic tone control. It gives a great sweep of sounds. // 10

Sound: I am using a Fender Fat Strat, a Marshall MG15DFX, and this pedal. I'm positive it would sound great through a better amp, but it sounds great to my ears through mine. The effect is noisy on high settings, a good noise gate would surley cure this. This thing is an Overdrive but it has a lot more gain than most units, this is most likely the reason for the noise. As I'm sure someone has said, this will not give you Zakk's sound. Zakk plays all tube heads with his gain near 10, he uses this to push them a little more. However, I still recommend this to anyone looking for a quality Overdrive unit. It can give you a light overdirve or sear your face off, whichever you prefer. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I would definitley depend on it. I do not gig yet but it will be with me when I do. It weighs a good pound or so. Made out of solind steel, you could use this as a weapon no problem. // 10

Overall Impression: I believe this would be suitable for any style of music you think you would need it for. It is not however in my opinion suited to blues. It has a little too much hair on it for that. A Tubescreamer is likely your best bet there. For Rock, Metal, etc however, this thing shines. If it were lost I would replace it and probably buy a Smart Gate or something to cure the noise, which is this units only fault I can think of. I compared this too the TS-9, and SD-1 when buying. Both were great, but the SD-1 was a little too weak for me, and the TS-9's mid-boost and bass-cut were not what I was looking for. I tired this and loved it. // 10

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overall: 6
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 22, 2005
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Musician's friend

Ease of Use: While this pedal is relatively easy to use, I am not sure that there is even a reason to use it. It has three knobs and they are easy to adjust. The manual also comes with some suggestions of settings. // 8

Sound: The sound is far from impressive, no matter what gear you play in conjunction with. For instance, I have played Fender, Schecter, Washburn, and Gibson guitars and Crate and Peavey amps with it and they all result in a bland, disappointing sound. I was excited about getting this pedal, but it seems that the marketing of this effect is to sell a mediocre pedal with a guitar icon's name on it. For instance, the so called "Zakk Wylde" settings do not remotely resemble the original. // 4

Reliability & Durability: It is built very well and appears to be pretty rugged. Also, it is very dependable. However, I would never use it at a gig in the first place. // 8

Overall Impression: I have been playing guitar for twelve years and while I play all different styles of music from time to time, I mainly play alternative rock, classic rock, and metal. With that said, this pedal is very much inferior to the Boss, DigiTech, Zoom, and DOD overdrives/distortions that I have owned. If this pedal where lost or stolen then I would just wait for whoever stole it or found to return it because they would not keep it either. // 4

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overall: 7.5
MXR ZW-44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 03, 2006
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 130

Purchased from: local store

Ease of Use: About as simple as it gets. With just three knobs it makes your day alot easier (they don't make too much of a differnce though). No matter which way you turn the knobs you get an excellent clean sound out of it although the gain knob for the distortion doesn't do anything (basically no distortion). // 9

Sound: The sound of the pedal is not very impressive. I use a Fender Strat with a Laney amp and as far as distortion goes my amp doesn't provide very hard crunch. That's why I wasn't impressed with the Zakk Wylde pedal at all. When you turn the gain knob up the distortion is still non existent. Don't get me wrong though this is an excellent pedal for getting a good clean unique sound that defines each string extremly well. If your looking for a distortion or if you want to sound like Zakk Wylde this is not the pedal for you. If you want a clean sound that is very unique go right ahead, but make sure the 130$ price tag is not too much of a chunk out of your wallet. // 6

Reliability & Durability: This is a tank. It must be bullet proof or something. The armored sides make it more durable than any other pedal I've ever seen (why they did this I do not know). // 10

Overall Impression: This 130$ pedal is not worth the money at all. Its just a Zakk Wylde trademark scam. Nevertheless it provides an excellent clean soft sound. The box states "This muscular stompbox will turn your clean amp into a heavy, chunky crunch Machine." This is a lie. All I'm trying to say is to test it out first before you buy it. I'm giving this product a low five because of the lies and use of the Zakk Wylde name to get you to buy a crappy pedal. // 5

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