MXR ZW44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal review by Dunlop

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (48 votes)
Dunlop: MXR ZW44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive Pedal
1

Price paid: C$ 125

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Sound — 10
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.

Overall Impression — 10
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.

Reliability & Durability — 10
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.

Ease of Use — 8
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 comments sorted by best / new / date

    krustshred
    buy a distortion factory from digitech. youll get the sounds of any stompbox distortion you can think of including this p.o.s. zack wylde overdrive
    rob904
    I find it doesn't really affect my tone, just adds a bit of gain. I use it with a Marshall fifty split (one of the original solid state marshalls back when they still gave a damn about a decent sounding solid state). All it does is push your sound a bit, which is great with the split fifty, seeing as the gain channel on it is whimpy whimpy whimpy. Bumps it into a decent gain range without taking away the really bright tone the amp gets. I play mostly metal, so that may or may not be a good thing depending on what I'm playing, but when I need a darker tone I just turn it off and use my Coffin Case Blood Drive (which is actually wired by MXR, go figure)
    tyadams2006
    First off I own this pedal and I love it! It's built like a tank so it doesn't fall apart easily and break on you. For an overdrive pedal this has a really amazing sound. Personally I like it better than the Boss overdrive pedals. Secondly, After reading the reviews on this pedal, I think most of you who reviewed this pedal must not know a damn thing about overdrive pedals. Overdrive pedals are specifically designed to boost your amps distortion or another pedals distortion to give you more crunch to the distortion sound. Overdrive pedals were not designed to be a stand alone distortion pedal but they can be a stand alone pedal very well if you like that sound and know how to use overdrive pedals correctly. I am sick of people saying this pedal will not make you sound like Zakk Wylde. YES IT WILL! just check this video out for proof
    Zakk himself demonstrates his gear setup. You can notice that he is using a clean amp. Maybe a slight distortion in his amp but for the most part it sound clean to me. He then demonstrates the Rotovibe, EVH Phase 90 and then puts on the Wylde overdrive over his clean amp sound and gets his signature sound. So I say again YES YOU CAN GET ZAKK's SOUND WITH THIS PEDAL!!! You just have to know how to play like Zakk or at least know how to use the pedal correctly of which I am guessing most of you don't! Zakk also uses a Boss chorus ensemble pedal and his own signature Dunlop Crybaby wah pedal. Currently, I believe he uses his own signature Wylde Phase (don't know if he still uses the EVH Phase 90 or not) and the Black Label Chorus. Altho I can't confirm this information but take a look at this video for another look and sound of his guitars and rig that he uses
    Before his signature pedals Zakk's pedal rig was this: Dunlop Jimmi Hendrix Wah pedal, Dunlop Rotovibe pedal, Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive pedal, Boss CH-1 Super Chorus (he has since changed to the Chorus Ensemble). see it here http://www.guitargeek.com/rigview/284/ This is all the proof needed that the Wylde overdrive IS Zakk's signature sound. He DOES NOT use any other distortion pedal except maybe his marshall amp's distortion. Zakk DOES NOT use your typical distortion pedals, he uses only overdrive pedals! This site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakk_Wylde#Equipment also explains his rig and confirms that he does in fact use the Wylde Phase instead of the EVH 90 Phase and now uses the Black Label Chorus instead of the Boss Chorus Ensemble. To finish, in order to get that true Zakk sound, you need to be running these pedals through Marshall amps. Typically half stacks. Thats it! Hope this sets you ****ers straight on getting Zakk Wylde's sound! Do some research you lazy bastards before you start spouting incorrect information! And get to shredding like Zakk! That's if you can!
    tyadams2006
    By the way Zakk uses solid state amps as well as valve powered. So it goes to show that solid state amps can work VERY well. Eddie Van Halen I believe uses solid state amps as well. Most guitar players I know tell me that in order to get the sound you hear from Metallica or Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimmi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen or any of your Classic Rock or metal bands you need a tube amp. While yes these bands did use tube amps back in the day (as solid state amps weren't around) many guitar players nowadays use the solid state amps. You just have to have a kick ass guitar and at least some overdrive with your amp and you can be one bitchin' guitar player! Tube amps don't make a player. It's your playing that makes you sound good. If you can play good, then it wont matter what amp your using. You'll be able to get the sound you want from any amp.
    ne14t
    tyadams2006 wrote: By the way Zakk uses solid state amps as well as valve powered. So it goes to show that solid state amps can work VERY well. Eddie Van Halen I believe uses solid state amps as well. Most guitar players I know tell me that in order to get the sound you hear from Metallica or Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimmi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen or any of your Classic Rock or metal bands you need a tube amp. While yes these bands did use tube amps back in the day (as solid state amps weren't around) many guitar players nowadays use the solid state amps. You just have to have a kick ass guitar and at least some overdrive with your amp and you can be one bitchin' guitar player! Tube amps don't make a player. It's your playing that makes you sound good. If you can play good, then it wont matter what amp your using. You'll be able to get the sound you want from any amp.
    Ummmm its not that tube amplifiers make the guitar player any better, its the fact that they make the sound that all guitar players are after. When a tube amp is overdriven you get that lush natural tube distortion as the tube becomes more and more saturated. When a solid state amp is overdriven the transistors simply start clipping instead of distorting, if you were to crank up a solid state to the point of clipping it would not sound pleasurable, but its the opposite for a tube. Using this pedal infront of a solid state is about the same as using a Tube Screamer in front of a solid state.
    VengefulTANK17
    IF being used with an already distorted tube amp, then this works just as well as a Tubescreamer. Since its an OVERDRIVE pedal, that is what it made for, not to distort the amp on a clean channel. It provides a nice tone with a little more drive to tip the amp over the edge for a great dirty channel. Great pedal when using with my 3 channel dual rectifier.
    IL Leone
    You have to run the pedal like Zakk uses it. in to an already overdriving amp, (which believe it or not he don't run that loud or distorted)then have hot ass EMG's that put put 17.ohms (a PAF is hi7's- 8.5 tops) hiting his OD box. bam old school setup. for cleans he turns off the pedal, rolls his guitar volume down. that simple.