Review of: ZVex Fuzzolo
Reviewed by: Gabriel TanakaRating:4.5On March 5, 2014Last modified:October 6, 2016
There’s been a growing trend in recent years towards smaller, more pedalboard friendly enclosures. It’s understandable as sometimes you just need a few sounds from a pedal or use it infrequently and don’t really need it taking up much precious pedalboard real estate. And more importantly for some pedal-obsessed guitarists, smaller pedals means room for – that’s right more pedals. But of course what’s most important for such mini pedals is that they retain great sound quality and enough useful tones to make them a viable solution for your pedal arsenal.
ZVex has entered the mini pedal arena with the Fuzzolo, their take on a 2-knob fuzz in a tiny enclosure that’ll have no problem finding space on any pedalboard. In typical ZVex style the Fuzzolo features a unique control scheme that sets it apart from standard 2-knob fuzz pedals. Forgoing any controls for gain or tone, the Fuzzolo features controls for Volume and Pulse Width, the latter allowing you to take the Fuzzolo from a full-range square wave fuzz to a splatty, gated fuzz and anything in between. Is it the best micro fuzz distortion pedal? You’ll find out in our ZVex Fuzzolo review.
Volume control knob for setting output level.
Pulse Width control knob modulates the waveform to change the character and response of the fuzz.
Internal jumper allows the Fuzzolo to be tailored to active or passive pickups, making it ideal for use with guitar or bass.
True bypass switching for letting your signal pass unaffected when disengaged.
Powered by 9VDC power adapter.
Visit ZVex for more info about the Fuzzolo.
Sound & Performance:
One of the big challenges faced when designing a “mini” effects pedals is deciding which controls to sacrifice while still allowing the greatest amount of control. While 2-knob fuzz pedals are common and aren’t much of a stretch to fit into a small enclosure, those familiar with such gems like the Fat Fuzz Factory and Fuzz Factory 7 know that ZVex pedals can be complex and full of controllable parameters. And what ZVex have done to compensate for the Fuzzolo’s scaled down size brings up several clever design points.
The Fuzzolo has a preset amount of gain set to a “maxed out” level. While there’s plenty of gain on tap by default, the Fuzzolo cleans up very well with a cut of your guitar’s volume knob, particularly on Pulse Wave knob settings counter-clockwise from noon. The Fuzzolo’s wide dynamic range offers plenty of fuzz distortion tones without the need for a dedicated “Gain” or “Fuzz” knob.
The secret to shaping killer fuzz sounds comes from the Fuzzolo’s Pulse Wave control. This single little knob lets you shape the overall sound and response of the pedal. To the left you have big, smooth silicon saturation, and turning the knob to the right past noon yields gated velcro fuzz sounds with a thick bottom. With the Pulse Wave knob rolled somewhere in the middle, you can achieve some great hybrid tones. For example, setting the PW knob around 11 o’clock brings some fizziness to chords with a slight sputtering out effect that increases as you cut back your guitar’s volume.
There’s no “Tone” knob either, but the Fuzzolo isn’t too harsh on the top end. You do have the option of darkening the sound from your guitar’s tone controls if you need to. The Fuzzolo has a nice prominent mid-range with a girthy bottom-end that doesn’t get muddy. There’s plenty of chunk and rock-ready authority in this little pedal. And yes, the Fuzzolo’s Volume knob packs plenty of output for letting this pedal take charge when you kick it on.
Inside the pedal is a jumper which can be switched to accommodate passive or active pickups, an option that’s particularly useful for bassists with active electronics. Of course if you’re anything like me and believe there’s no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” setting, only what sounds good to your ears, you might want to pop open the pedal and flip the jumper between both sides. On passive guitar pickups I noticed that the passive side has a bit more saturation and gain, while the active side has a more pronounced gate cutoff at extreme settings of the Pulse Wave knob. There’s no harm in trying both jumper options and seeing what works best for your playing style.
The ZVex Fuzzolo is a solid little guitar pedal. Let’s see the final result.
The ZVex Fuzzolo is one of the most versatile solutions for a space-saving, pedalboard friendly fuzz pedal. It’s dead-simple control layout lets you go from smooth saturated fuzz to heavily gated synth-like tones with the turn of a single knob. While some so-called mini pedals skimp on features and available sounds, the Fuzzolo definitely has quite a few usable tones. Looking for the best micro fuzz distortion pedal? The ZVex Fuzzolo is definitely worth checking out.
That concludes our ZVex Fuzzolo review. Thanks for reading.
Want to buy the ZVex Fuzzolo?
May 25, 2016 at 7:32 am
i got one used a couple days ago and im finding it has a really prominent hum with single coils with the pulse width totally counter clockwise (really quite loud). is this normal? havent really noticed this in any of the vids ive seen. thanks
May 17, 2016 at 9:35 am
never had a fuzz. what would go well with a tak acoustic electric, a FSE 30 Volt overdrive, and a 5F1 champ clone??
April 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Nice concise review and the video feature is spot on. I received my ZVEX Fuzzolo today and my observations so far is that it’s a lot more user friendly than my Fuzz Factory and probably more reliably geared towards gigging where you would confidently know what you were going to get out of it (unlike the Fuzz Factory!).
It can be a little ‘hissy’ with single coils and P90’s but if you’ve got a dual P90 loaded guitar then the middle position is probably the best to avoid this. Humbuckers work well and give a nice full fuzz tone.
All in all I’d say it’s a clear 4/5 pedal and does everything it sets out to do effortlessly and brilliantly. There are cheaper fuzz pedals out there but sometimes just knowing you’re playing through a well thought out and brilliant premium pedal can help raise your game!
March 6, 2014 at 6:24 am
Sounds great in this review. The one from NAMM was not convincing… 🙂