Friday, August 15, 2014

Zvex Fuzz Factory / Fuzz Probe Settings

One of my favorite fuzz pedals of all time is the Fuzz Factory/Fuzz Probe.  So far...  The thing is, the reasons I love it are the very reasons many people find it frustrating.  It's so versatile and each knob is so sensitive and interdependent, that it is almost impossible to figure out right away.  The pedal really contains a lot of sounds within it, and it can be very versatile.  However, it takes a lot of time twiddling with its knobs and even the knobs on you guitar. So, in hopes to help you speed the learning process along, I thought I would post some of my favorite settings I've found useful on this pedal.  Before that, I should try to explain my understanding of what each knob does. 

Vol (Volume):  Volume....  Not much else to say about it, other than it's a really high output pedal, so I hardly ever set this above 9 o'clock. 

Gate:  Kind of like a noise gate.  Can be turned up to decrease any unwanted feedback or squealing when the Stab knob is turned down.  It also seems to affect the sustain of some notes, if turned up high. 

Comp (Compression):  Changes the attack of each note, turned down, it's off, turned up your attack is softened.  When turned all the way up, sometimes you can get a single pitch. 

Drive:  Same as any other dirt pedal.  Sometimes know as a "gain" knob.  This adds the fuzz and hair to the sound.  Turned down, the pedal can get fairly clean, almost like an overdrive pedal.  Turned up, you almost hit Big Muff Fuzz territory. 

Stab (Stability):  This is an odd knob.  From what I understand, this controls the voltage to the circuit (hence the loss of stability at times).  Most of the time, if you just want this pedal to act as a normal fuzz, keep the stab all the way up at 5 o'clock.  As you turn it down, you can some wacky squeals and sounds.  The squeals can again be controlled with the Gate knob.  The Fuzz Probe is the same thing as a Fuzz Factory, however they added a proximity plate to allow you to control this knob with your feet or hands, or whatever.  Things can get crazy with this.  I often have to turn the volume down to mess with this knob. 

Tip:  Your guitars volume and tone controls also change the sound of this pedal DRASTICALLY!   I've managed to get overdrive sounds from a volume knob turned down, and I've made pitch shifting controls with my volume and tone knobs. Also, like most Fuzz Face type circuits.  This pedal likes to be the first in a chain of pedals.  Any pedals with buffers or wah pedals before it change the tone of the pedal drastically.  Most people find the change in tone unpleasant. 

So, with all of that said, here are some of my favorite settings for this insane piece of equipment.  The following settings are ordered from the least amount of gain at the top, to the highest gain towards the bottom.   All settings are notated in clock form with the volume set at 9 o'clock and the volume knob set to your preference.

Name Gate Comp Drive Stab
Overdrive Fuzz Blues 2:30 7:00 7:00 10:00 **Turn guitar volume down to clean up the sound.
Punky 2:30-3:30 7:00 7:00 5:00
High Octave (turning the drive up works too 2:30 7:00 9:00 5:00
Traditional Fuzz 9:00 7:00 1:00 5:00
Resonant Fuzz 7:00 7:00 12:00 4:00
Thick Crackle 2:30 12:00 1:00 9:00
Fuzz Face 7:00 7:00 12:00 5:00
60's Fuzz 2:00 8:30 3:00 5:00
Stooges Fuzz 3:00 7:00 3:00 5:00
Fuzz Splutter 3:00 12:00 3:00 9:00
*My Standard Fuzz Tone 7:00 7:00 3:00 5:00
Lead Crackle 3:00 8:00 5:00 5:00
Smashing Pumpkins-esque 3:30 9:00 5:00 10:00

Probe Action Settings:
Name Gate Comp Drive Stab
High Probe Control (w/feet) 7:00 7:00 4:00 9:00 with the guitar volume down
Turn the guitar volume almost all the way down, and stomp on the probe for notes to come out 7:00 7:00 5:00 9:00

Weird Sounds:
Name Gate Comp Drive Stab
Arpeggio 12:00 3:00 3:00 3:00
Rough Velcro 7:00 4:30 5:00 2:00
Static 12:00 12:00 5:00 7:00
Quick Squeal Trick 12:30 12:30 4:30 4:00 Quickly turn the guitar volume off for squeals
Spaceship Ray-Gun: with a Tremolo Pedal in front and a Delay pedal behind the fuzz 12:30 11:30 3:30 7:00 the tremolo pedal can be behind the fuzz, but you get less "ray-gun".

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