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Z. Vex Fuzz Probe (Zvex)


 A cross between a theremin (a forerunner of the synthesizer) and a Z. Vex Fuzz Factory. Has 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 a sharp turn, and goes back to the pedal. A 3 5/8" by 7" sheet of aluminum provides shielding from annoying ground effects and wires under the stage. Very heavy construction!

The Fuzz Probe is a kind of cross between a theremin and a fuzz factory. 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. Under the whole mess is a 3 5/8" by 7" sheet of aluminum that provides shielding from annoying ground effects and wires under the stage. It also serves to protect the knobs from being knocked off if you drop it on them... and it makes a nice toe chopper if you are barefoot, so (legal disclaimer:) DO NOT DROP THIS PEDAL ON YOUR FOOT! IT IS HEAVY AND HAS VERY POINTY CORNERS THAT COULD DAMAGE LIVING CREATURES AND FINE HARDWOOD FLOORING. ALSO, YOU COULD BREAK SOMETHING. Like your dog.

What does this pedal do? How does one get it to do something interesting?
Already, it should be apparent that this is the most dangerous pedal Z. Vex has every made. Ow! The copper antenna projects a field of RF energy that is affected by your foot (or other appendage), altering the circuit that generates it, an in so doing, increasing the brightness of that LED on the top of the pedal and also controlling the STABILITY (STAB) knob on the back. They could have made it just control that LED . . . that's enough for some people, but nooo, they went and connected it to the stability knob too. This lets you select your favorite squealy fuzz factory setting (doesn't the band love that?) and then mess around with the STAB knob with your foot and create little melodies and interference modulations with your guitar (doesn't the band love that even more?). Well now. That's a fine question. Let's say you set the knobs (face them straight on to do this) to vol=9 o'clock, gate=7 o'clock, comp=10 o'clock, drive=noon, and stab=7 o'clock. By the way, to get the widest range for the probe control, be sure to leave the stab knob on 7 o'clock. THE PROBE ADJUSTS THE STAB KNOB FROM WHEREVER IT IS SET, UPWARDS TOWARD THE MOST CLOCKWISE POSITION AS YOU GET CLOSER TO THE ANTENNA. It you set the stab knob more clockwise, say, to select a favorite pitch to start from, the probe will let you raise that pitch up to the top as you get closer. If you put the stab knob at the top, at 5 o'clock, all the way up, the probe will do NOTHING. That's cause it is made to adjust that knob from WHEREVER IT IS SET to the TOP, and if it is already at the top, then no adjustment takes place. Get it? No? Well, just set the STAB somewhere lower than all the way up, preferably all the way down, and don't bug me about it.
So you might start with those settings and then follow these rules:
1) Plug in (input and battery switch is on right). Turn your guitar volume slightly down. Just a little.
2) Make sure your guitar cords are AWAY from the antenna. They will mess with the probe just like your foot does.
3) The pedal will be squealing (if it's not, stomp on it until it is.) You can adjust the pitch of the squeal with your foot.
4) Use the volume control on your guitar to adjust the blend of the pitch effect and guitar fuzz.
5) Noodle with the settings (other than the volume control, they all affect the pitch and tone).
DON'T MESS WITH THE SCREWDRIVER ADJUSTMENT SETTINGS UNDER THE PEDAL. Now, half of you will run for a screwdriver. Just remember this: use a bright light first and MARK the original settings. The white screwdriver slots have a light arrow imprinted on them... really, they do, look closer. Use a pin or sharp tool or sharpie and scratch or mark the metal where the original setting is before you goof around with the controls. Turning the controls in the direction of the arrows INCREASES the sensitivity of the antenna. DO NOT turn up the LED control to the top and leave it there. All that will do is drain your battery. Z. Vex put these controls on the pedals to make it easy for them to adjust the units to a good starting point, where the STAB is controlled completely over a few inch range of motion. In case you want to reduce the sensitivity, turn the RF control in the opposite direction from the arrow and you can make the plate respond only when your foot is in contact with it. If you are careful, you can adjust it so that the sensitive range goes from just touching it to putting your weight on it. Maybe that's what you want...
Changing the battery: Take out the screws on the bottom of the painted part of the pedal. The entire bottom plate will lift away. Look at the way the battery is placed... the clip goes toward that little RF board with the blue thingies on it. Take out the old one and put in an ALKALINE. Because, it sounds just as good as that cheap offshore battery they gave you with the unit, and will last a lot longer with the LED thingie eating it alive. By the way, when your foot is off the pedal, if the led is off, the battery will last a long, long time. Most of the battery life is lost when the LED is BRIGHT. The fuzz factory draws very little power.