Fuzz Probe Review

manufacturer: Zvex date: 01/08/2007 category: Guitar Effects
Zvex: Fuzz Probe
There is a 3 5/8" copper plate mounted on a chunk of 3/8" clear acrylic that passes over the top of the pedal housing, angles down to sharp turn, and goes back to the pedal.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Ease of Use: 8
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reviews (2) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Fuzz Probe Reviewed by: rockstrongo, on july 27, 2004
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: A lot of people are confused by this pedal. I'll explain how it works first: the Fuzz Probe is nothing more than a Deluxe version of the Fuzz Factory. Its the EXACT same pedal, except with that snazzy copper plate (I'll get to that in a minute). Both the Fuzz Factory and Fuzz Probe are capable of getting a huge amount of fuzz sounds, with an ingenious circuit that draws extremely little power (a 9-volt battery will last for months, if not years). The knobs are volume, gate, comp (ression), drive, and a goofy control called stab. The controls "interact" with each other to produce different sounds. For example, the Drive control can alter the tone-shaping abilities of the Stab knob, and the Gate can cause some of the other knobs to do different things altogether. Don't let this scare you, as there is a method to the madness with this pedal. After fooling around with it and using some sample settings that are readily available on Zvex's website (www.Zvex.com), you'll be more than ready to pave your new sonic territory with this badassed beast. The Fuzz Factory is capable of getting sounds from other pedals, such as the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (it does this very well), Big Muff, Octave Fuzz a'la Fender Blender, and really cool sounds like Radiostation Fuzz, Velcro ripping, siren pitch squeals and horns and motorcycle-engine revving. And its ALL analog! And now, the copper plate. I mentioned that the Fuzz Probe, just like the Fuzz Factory, can be set up to make siren noises. Well, in essence, this setting is basically turning your Fuzz Probe into an all-out Theramin!! A Theramin is a Russian-created instrument that came into being from a couple of techs trying to repair a broken radio. When you move your hand, foot, arm or other bodily appendage closer to the antenna (copper plate in this case)the siren pitch goes up or down with how you move your hand. You're playing musical notes out of thin air! Listen to Jimmy Page's solo in Whole Lotta Love (a really good example of his use is the live version on How The West Was Won) to get an idea of how this amazing thing sounds. With a normal Fuzz Factory, you can control this pitch by leaning over and turning the Stab knob, but how fun is that!?!? The Fuzz Probe allows you to do this by using your foot, hand or whatever to change the pitch, and you can make some really tripped out sounds with this thing. If you don't want to use the copper plate and just have the Fuzz Probe react like a regular Fuzz Factory (in essence, become a regular Fuzz Factory) just set it up without the siren sound, which is really easy to do once you get the hang of it. The Fuzz Probe has: true bypass, extremely small current draw for huge battery life, NOS 60's Germanium transistors for a fat sound and vintage feel, lifetime warranty, even if you aren't the original owner. // 10

Sound: I'm using this pedal with a Diezel VH4S halfstack and two Gibson Les Paul Customs (those are my primary ones, I do have more that I use from time to time). I have a bunch of other Zvex pedals that I'm using too (along with some other really nice stuff). The Fuzz Probe (and the Fuzz Factory) are extremely quiet pedals. The Gate control allows you to turn off the background hiss, or add it if that's your thing. You can turn the Gate up even farther to start "strangling" the sound, to the point where it just sputters and burps notes! If you remove the cord from the input jack after you're done, the 9V battery will last for months upon months upon months (seriously, I've never had to change the batteries in any of my Zvex pedals, and I've had most of them for over a year and a half now). The overall tone and voicing is bright, but you can coax some darker tones out of it. I love using it in place of a Big Muff, because the Fuzz Probe can get that hefty sound (minus some of the low end, depends on the guitar and amp that you're using) with an added "cut" that makes it sound un-muddy and sweeter. The pedal is extremely LOUD. I never turn the volume higher than 10 or 11 O'Clock and I play very, very loudly. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Zachary Vex has a lifetime warranty on all of his products, for as long as he's alive (seriously), even if you buy one used. That's service, folks. About a year ago he was having some trouble with unreiable footswitches, but he's since fixed that problem and will happily service any problem with any of his products, switches and all. I've never had a Zvex pedal go bad on me, ever. // 10

Overall Impression: I think that I've covered everything so far. The Fuzz Probe is essential to my sound, and if I lost it or it was stolen I would have to buy another. If you're looking at a Fuzz Factory and have a little extra cash and pedalboard real estate, check out the Fuzz Probe: its the exact same thing with more control. // 10

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overall: 8.8
Fuzz Probe Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 08, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 329.99

Purchased from: G Guitars, New Haven, CT

Ease of Use: This pedal is definitely for advanced players, or anyone Who has any knowledge about parameters and what each knob means. If you are just starting out, I wouldn't recommend this pedal, only because it will frustrate you, and seeing how you pay a lot of money for it, you'll cry to your mom and wish you had bought a Whammy or something nice. If you're not afraid of this pedal making some of the strangest, coolest sounds that will convince you that the price is worth it, than this pedal is for you. The manual (aka piece of paper) that comes with the pedal is concise and easy to follow. Do what Zack says and set the knobs to his setting. After this, you can fiddle with them and see what each one does. As the other guy on here said, the knobs change what they control in relation to the other knobs, and it takes at least a day to get familiar with them. At first, gate reduces hiss and noise. But fiddle with the Drive and stab, and gate does something else altogether. Dial in a velcro fuzz, and gate isn't even a gate anymore. See? Makes your head a-splode, in a good way. // 6

Sound: I don't use a thousand effects like the rest of you do. I use a Digidelay, Dunlop Wah, Fulltone OCD and some other funky boutique crap run into a Marshall AVT because I can't afford a JCM. Oh, and I use a Gibson SG. This pedal is ridiculously noisy sometimes, and sometimes it's whisper quiet. It's true bypass. Holy hell. Yes, I'm serious. It's a Z Vex pedal, of course it sounds great. I wouldn't call this the "end-all" fuzz pedal, but mix it with some other distortions and you can get a mean sound. Or, use it like I do and add it to your current distortion for whacked out solos and even cool space-like textures. Whatever. It's good if you take care of it. Oh, and don't be surprised if all those settings you see on the Z Vex forum boards don't sound that good. My advice is try to make your own sound. Who wants someone else's? That's laziness, friends. // 10

Reliability & Durability: You would think it would be fragile! I mean look at this thing! The fact is, because it's so expensive and different from anything you've ever seen in a pedal, you'll treat it extra nice. But it can take a beating. Acrylic is really tough. Maybe the knobs would break off, but jesus! It's a heavy chunk of metal and plexiglass! Oh, and I wouldn't buy a backup because it would never, ever not work. Those batteries? They last forever. And not MXR Distortion Plus 3 day battery life forever. I'm talking years. Oh, and it's too expensive to buy again. // 9

Overall Impression: I play weird Indie, and this is great. If you have a noise fetish like I do, you'll adore this pedal and show all your friends how it's "motion-sensored" because you don't feel like explaining what a theramin is. But christ! It's a theramin! How cool is that? Don't buy this if you are in a cover band, because it doesn't sound like anybody or anyone. I'll admit, I got pissed because I couldn't figure out how to use it in songs. Give it time. You'll love this strange little box of good. // 10

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