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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Caught by the fuzz – or how I learned to stop battering my cranium and start loving germanium

I’m not sure when it happened. Some time between chaining a few distortion pedals and a graphic EQ together for pure evil Dimebag Darrell tone when I was 16, and my 27th birthday or thereabouts, I started to hear the call. Quiet at first, maybe a little distant and muffled, but definitely there. It got louder over the years, and increasingly raspier and sharper. Then before I knew it, there it was:

Fuzz.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before. Maybe it was because I spent my teens in an era where amp distortion was king, and even pedal distortion was relatively frowned upon as being synthetic. Maybe it was because I thought of fuzz as, to paraphrase Dethklok, ‘grandpa’s distortion.’ But whatever mental roadblock was coming between me and glorious fuzz gradually started to shift, and now I can’t get enough of those little germanium or silicon-chipped wonders.

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