NAMM 2012: Z.Vex Booth Visit

One of my favourite things about NAMM each year is the Z.Vex booth. There’s always a huge variety of custom-painted pedals on display (I’d love to see my lady Pilgrim Lee do artwork for these pedals – her style would rock on this stuff!), as well as a monster pedalboard (sparkly, which I always love) with all sorts of Z.Vex goodies to try out. And the Z.Vex folks are some of the nicest dudes you’ll ever meet.

 

Z.Vex had three super-cool new pedals at the NAMM Show this year: the Double Rock, the Loop Gate and the Sonar. In typical Z.Vex fashion, each of these pedals is highly interactive – you can use them in all sorts of different musical situations, and no two players will use them in exactly the same way. That’s part of their charm, and part of why you should set aside a good solid block of playing time when you first get any new Z.Vex pedal home: you never know what unique sounds you’re going to stumble upon when you begin to experiment. It’s also why they’re such great ‘feature’ pedals. It’s certainly possible to use Z.Vex creations as the basis of your main sound for an entire set of rock glory, but they’re equally great when used for a big hero moment for a single song, solo, section, riff or fill. And because pedals like the Fuzz Factory are so interactive, you can write parts around them to incorporate the idiosyncrasies of the effect. For example, anyone who ever plugged in a Fuzz Factory has instantly written a riff with pauses thrown in to allow the pedal’s tunable feedback to ring out in key (or out of it on purpose) in the holes in the music.

 

Ah, but enough of the geeking out about well-established pedals. Let’s look at the new stuff!

 

The Sonar 

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REVIEW: Z.Vex Vexter Fuzz Factory

The Z Vex Fuzz Factory shot to legendary status almost instantly upon its release in the mid 90s. This was a rude, loud, dirty fuzz pedal in an era that was rapidly becoming overpopulated by high-gain valve heads, and before the boutique pedal boom had really hit its stride.

Initially only available in groovy hand-painted boxes, Z.Vex released the Vexter series a few years ago, which packs the same circuit as the newest hand-painted Fuzz Factories(including a DC power jack and on/off LED indicator) into a less labour-intensive screen-printed box to keep the cost down. Well, relatively down – it’s not a super-cheap pedal by any stretch of the wallet – which is kind of reassuring. If it’s true that you get what you pay for, I’d probably be a bit

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