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Z. Vex Tremolo Probe (Zvex)


 A cross between a Theremin  (a forerunner of the synthesizer) and a Z. Vex Super Hard-On. 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!


What does this pedal do? How does it work?
At the he heart of this pedal is a super hard-on circuit combined with a probe controller circuit that Z. Vex developed for use with the fuzz probe and some other devices not yet released. You can tap on this pedal with your foot to make lovely tremolo sounds that are in perfect time with your foot's movement... so they can be perfectly in time with your performance or the band's tempo changes. You can also use the pedal to make reverse-sounding volume swells or pedal-steel type volume effects. 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 master volume of the output. You can set the drive of the pedal with the knob on the back... it gets pretty darn loud, so watch out. It will distort in an interesting way when it is cranked. Basically, the reason it is called the tremolo probe is that you can tap on the antenna at any speed and your sound will be a nice tremolo in time with the band. It is possible to set the volume to be up slightly when your foot is off the antenna and come up louder as your foot approaches the antenna... see next.


How do you use it?
You might start with these settings and rules:
1) Plug in your cords (output and battery switch is on LEFT).
2) Make sure your guitar cords are AWAY from the antenna. They will mess with the probe just like your foot does.
3) Stomp on the switch and you'll be able to tell when it's on, when it is quiet with your foot away. Bring your foot near the antenna to control the volume of the guitar.
4) Put your foot completely on the pedal and adjust the knob on the back until it's at the right volume. Voila.
DON'T MESS WITH THE SCREWDRIVER ADJUSTMENT SETTINGS UNDER THE PEDAL. Of course, 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. 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.
How does the pedal get adjusted at the factory?
First, Z. Vex puts the maximum volume setting exactly in the middle, straight up. Then they put the led adjustment in the middle (straight up and down) and then, holding it away from everything and keeping everything away from the antenna, they adjust the RF setting in the direction of the arrow until they can just hear a strummed guitar... then they keep strumming and turn it back until the guitar JUST disappears. This is a good setting for the tremolo and swell functions.
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 that comes 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 Super Hard-On draws very little power. REMEMBER THAT THE BATTERY SWITCH IS ON THE LEFT, NOT THE RIGHT, SO UNPLUG THE OUTPUT CORD TO SAVE YOUR BATTERY.