ZVex Fuzz Factory

slackerslacker Frets: 776
This is a review of a 2000 hand painted Fuzz Factory bought new from Sounds Great. It was the only model at the time with a hand wired board. See below picture for colour scheme and controls.

This pedal was designed as a noise maker. The controls have no 'safe' parameters. Instead of a normal range of functions the pedal can go from feedback with no guitar signal to inaudible. The controls are very interactive, changing one knob position can change the function of another. The position of the guitar volume will induce squealing on some settings and react as a 'normal' pedal on others. This makes initial use difficult. The base position (instead of the Boss 12 o clock) is 97775. For reference the pedal in the picture is set to 93355. Using the base setting as a starting point it is pedal to experiment with each control singly. It is a good idea to turn down the vol control before turning knobs as the squeal can get wearing. 

The Fuzz Factory as quoted by Zachary Vex is a factory of fuzz. THe sounds range from fuzz face type sounds to high gain fuzz that descends into feedback to squelches and splutters, with many sounds in between. Muse used this pedal on a lot of tracks on Origins of Symmetry. This pedal polarises people, some love it and some hate it. There will be a video in the next post. 

The above is an attempt at a professional review using third person. My own views/stories on this pedal is that I tried one in America that wasnt for sale and when I got back found that Sounds Great had just become a dealer. So I bought one of the first in the country. I nearly sent it back, it was so difficult to use. I persevered and found that it was inspiring for song ideas and formed the band Slacker around those ideas in 2001. We did one gig a year and limped off into the sunset. It was fun to front a band as a former bass player. 

In 2004 being long term sick I arranged some Harmony Central Show and Tells and some of the other guitarists had fuzz factories. WHat I found is that some sounded different. A 2000 pedal sounded very different. A 2002 custom painted PCB version with very different transistors sounded very much like mine. This probably adds to the confusion as many people have a different idea of what it's sounding like based on a specific pedal. 

I'll end with a story. I was in Musicground (yes I know but they were always nice to me). There were two guys trying a fuzz factory. They couldnt work it. I asked them if I could assist and showed them how to use it and walked off. I had a coffee or something and went back to try a Memory Man. I decided to buy it and the guys said I could have a discount as I had sold two Fuzz Factorys  making me the best salesman of the day. I didnt argue. 
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