Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: http://www.hotroxuk.com/
Sound — 9
I use my FF between my mid 90s Strat Plus and a mostly clean Laney VC30-112. With a big, fat valve/tube amp sound this pedal is capable of a great deal - from squashed, screaming gnat nasal tones, to chewy, rich fuzz, and lo-fi squeals and feedback. Happily it also has some gain boost to it, ensuring (unlike some other popular fuzzes I've used) your signal doesn't disappear once you've stepped on the pedal*. It's capable of being noisy, but time taken with the controls soon puts that to an end, unless that's what you're after. My favourite setting gives a very rich, organic fuzz which isn't hissy or harsh, but fat and sustains endlessly. *If you're a user Who is experiencing disappearing guitar when engaging a fuzz pedal, try cleaning up your amp tone. You may not be able to use the fuzz through the dirty channel of your amp. Try a cleaner boost pedal for super-sizing your dirty sound, and the fuzz on the clean channel.
Overall Impression — 9
Sorry eveyone, I'm just going to have to say it - I hate Muse. I never bought this pedal to sound like Matt Bellamy, and I'm pleased to say that I don't. This isn't me being bitchy for the sake of it. My point is this pedal is capable of a lot more, or rather, there are many other factors that contribute to a guitarist's sound. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) uses a Fuzz Factory and gets some wonderful, space-rock solo sounds (check out Real Emotional Trash), which is much more my territory. I would buy another should mine go missing. Germanium transistors sound so much warmer and thicker to my ears than silicon or digital emulations. There are other quality germanium fuzzes, but I've fallen for this one.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Gigged with it plenty of times. Sometimes sound engineers find the pedal annoying to work with, but I know my own gear and we get there in the end. People have commented positively on the sound I get. Never taken a back up with me, seems very dependable. Can't see the future of course, but on the criteria requested here, I can't fault it.
Ease of Use — 8
Much has been written about this being a difficult pedal to work with, but I'm going to disagree a little. Zvex have basically made a simple, old school, germanium transistor loaded fuzz pedal, and given the user control over every parameter. That means it's easy to make the pedal sound bad, particularly if mismatched with guitar or amplifier. I suspect that those Who've found it hard have really been misusing the pedal. In my experience it doesn't work well through an already driving amp, for example. It's not "my first fuzz pedal", but doesn't take a genuis to master. The user guide included is a good place to start.