" the effects
pedal " *but
not a pedal as you know it.
NOT in Production.
Due to the tragedy of life, my previous electronics partner has fallen to Cancer.
I am intent on making this amazing pedal again in the future.
It will be announced on this page as soon as its available again.
UPDATE Feb. 9, 2011 - Here is an update on the Zachary Pedals situation. I have found a new electronics partner who seems very promising. We are currently working on a new model Zachary pedal, which is about 1/3 done now. I hope to receive a prototype within weeks. This will be a simpler pedal than the ZSN below. However, the new pedal is designed to compliment the SuperNatural pedal and work with it or simply work on its own or with any other pedal. It will be more of an overdrive enhancement effect, which will enhance any amp, any guitar and any other pedal. So those of you who are lucky to own the ZSN pedal can use the new Z pedal together with it. I will have full details as soon as I get the first prototype. After the completion of this new model coming up, we will immediately embark on recreating the exact original ZSN pedal you see below. Manufacturing will be more efficient for both pedals and thus the prices will be more affordable. Stay tuned to further updates. There will be two Zachary pedals available in the near future, the new Z overdrive enhancer and the original ZSN pedal . I am excited, I hope you are as well.
The name says it all !
With amps it is tough because of the whole Phantom issue but as far as the Z pedal....that was just a missed opportunity for all Z players. It gives you overdriving amp tone in a pedal....so you can get crystal clear amp tone....and then pop on the Z pedal....bingo it is a great 2 channel set up. Eli
This pedal took considerable time and research to develop over a substantial period of time. It is made with highest grade audiophile components, which they use in high end stereo equipment, for uncompromised tone.
As of May 20, 2006 production of this pedal has started. You may put in your order now.
Price $400, plus $8 shipping (lower USA and Canda)
I strongly suggest you read this entire page to get familiar with this pedal.
You will see many comments by Eli. This is because he he is a full time guitar player and teacher and has the opportunity, time and passion to dedicate to using and testing Z gear. His comments are very useful and detailed. It will give you considerable insight into the nuances of this pedal.
Eli, the first person to play this pedal after me, tells about the settings he used for his playing.
The little sample mp3 I sent you is pretty much the “starter setting” you gave me. Plink (his guitar) on front pup single coil, tone at 12 o’clock, drive at maybe 11:30 (??), boost off, level at around 10 o’clock. The amp is at “4” maybe. Basically a totally clean tube amp tone. It really does not sound like all the OD is coming from the pedal and the slight push to the front end of the amp given by putting the “level” knob at 10-11 o’clock which just gives it a little kick in the pants.
There are many settings to explore. I was teaching this kid this Red Hot Chili Peppers tune this afternoon and used the boost to nail the Marshall meltdown tone close to what Frusciante uses on the song. It actually sounds better when I did it than the record. So that is the “other side” of the pedal. Best OD I’ve used. It sounds as good or better than a great tube amp. Now it’s all up to the player. Eli (NYC)
Eli played it on the “starter” setting, my personally most used and most versatile setting of this pedal. The OD Gain is half way up, that is all. The Boost is off. Half of the experience of the pedal is the feel you get playing the guitar with the pedal. This of course you will not get with just listening to it. It actually has more gain than you hear but its so defined that you hear all the strings and notes clearly.
I will be doing a recording with the different key settings of this pedal. Here are the main defined settings to use.
1. OD gain at half, Boost off. (the starter setting) - most used and versatile.
2. OD gain at half, Boost on at minimum, (gives it just a little kick in the ass)
3. OD gain at half, Boost on at half, 4. OD Gain at half, Boost on full,
5. OD gain on full, Boost on full, If you dare.
Like I said, there is a lot there to play with. Only one sound however, the Natural sound of your guitar.
All you are playing with is the gain level really and how it interacts with your tube amp. Its a very nice interaction. The tube amp and the Z-pedal become inseparable. Its basically adding several another channels to your amp, whatever tube amp you got. Forget about master volume or cascading gain stage tube amps or multi channel tube amps. You won't need any of that and its artificial anyway. If you already have or if you buy one of these modern tube amps that pretend to do it all from clean to high gain, simply turn all that stuff off and never go near it. Only use the clean channel of whatever tube amp you have.
All you want your tube amp for is the clean channel. The higher up you turn the clean channel the more your amp will overdrive the signal as well and it will interact with the overdrive from the pedal. This is all you need, the interaction between the Drive of the pedal and the Drive from your amp. This pedal will turn your electric guitar into an natural acoustic instrument. You will hear the wood, the strings, the pickups and the touch of your fingers.
Of course it does not help if you have a bad sounding guitar. You must have a good sounding guitar in the first place and the pedal will just work with that and turn it into magic. You will instantly have your own sound. You will see maybe for the first time what you truly sound like and what your guitar sounds like. You will go on a rampage and melt down all PODs and digital abominations.
Forgive me for being this excited but its a monumental development. I think everyone should experience it. Once you try it, you will not let go of it. You will not be able to play without it. It will be as addictive as crack.
Listen to the recordings in the links below for the sound and the sensitivity of this Zachary pedal. These recordings are not of high quality, so keep in mind that its not like experiencing the pedal for yourself. Listen to the clarity and the touch sensitivity. The pedal reacts to your playing and will not mask or hide the tone of your guitar or your dynamics of your finger touch. Its what they call transparency. You are listening to the best Overdrive/Distortion pedal ever made.
Here are the settings of the pedal in this recording. I asked Eli to specifically record these settings without touching his amp at all. Notice that the amp is totally clean and quiet, volume set below 4.
What you are hearing is not the amp but the Zachary Pedal. Try to follow the settings as you are listening to it.
1. Clean amp only - pedal turned off,
2. Drive 12 o'clock, Boost off (starter setting) - neck pup single coil
3. Drive 12 o'clock, Boost minimum (5db) - neck pup single coil
4. Drive 12 o'clock, Boost 12 o'clock (15db) - bridge pup single coil
5. Drive 12 o'clock, Boost maximum (25db) - bridge pup double coil
6. Drive maximum, Boost maximum (25db) - bridge pup double coil
7. Clean amp only - pedal turned off
You did notice the perfect tuning of this guitar on this recording. Tuning is damn good. It is pretty amazing. Listen to the part where I raise the bar all the way up and simply drop it to wiggle wildly back and forth. I do that four times in a row at the end. And yet it stays in tune. That is unusual. Sounds quite cool as well, those sort of comical explosion sounds. They start at exactly 2:39 in the clip. Funny.
Another interesting thing is that I did not change the settings on my amp or guitar for the “presets” above. Sounds very good. Usually there is ONE good tone to any pedal. That is it! One good sound if you are lucky and you have to mess around to find it. With this there are all the settings you list and quite a few more...and every knob setting in between. Infinite nuance and subtlety. All or most of them organic and musically usable.
I do these recordings every day because it is fun so I like to pass it around and in this case to use my expensive recording gear to help spread the word about this sick ass pedal.
There is a early Van Halen aspect to this pedal for sure. I cannot say “the same” or whatever, but it is in that ballpark. Maybe better. Since I am not the player he was I cannot “match” it to see.
You should mention that to play these pedal recordings I did, you really should burn them to a CD and play it on a stereo. Especially this one (03), which is not an MP3. Since I am not playing lots of notes it is all about the tone. Computer speakers cannot get that across. A cranked decent stereo system will get some of it across.
I only very briefly tried the “total meltdown” setting before (selection 6 above). It sounds like something is going to explode. It is on this demo (selection 6). It reminds me a LITTLE of that late Hendrix tone. You know the one with a lot of gain and not a lot of high end. If you have the concert recording of “Atlanta 70” that is kind of what I mean. But with even more gain and more sizzle and harmonics. And feeds back like crazy even with the amp not hugely loud.
I have been thinking about that z amp and how the pedal would interact with it. When you hit a lower headroom amp like that with more signal saturating the power tubes. Anyway I’m sure it sounds amazing.
Here is some good news: that extra $ that allowed me to purchase Plink that I have been waiting on for months on end? Finally came through just today. There’s the Zach amp money. Done. Happy day! Hope everything goes smoothly with production. It is like I said....if the amp is the amp equivalent to this pedal, that will be just amazing. So I am expecting the best now. As good as this pedal. You should not have made that finished pedal so damn good. Now the bar is so high. - Eli (NYC)
Had a serious pro engineer over here yesterday. VERY impressed with the guitars and the pedal. Very. He confirmed my impression that fancy special guitars are mostly bought by lawyers and that it was a real shame. Eli
Here is a particularly good recording by Eli of the Z-pedal through a totally clean tube amp. done with Z2-T 010703
Miller - plays Roy B. 060806
and the Zachary Pedal
* listen to what the pedal does or rather does not do to the natural tone of the guitar
I hate it when this happens. It's getting late and I should go to bed so I can get up in the morning for work. But I can't resist picking up Roy B for a few minutes. Well, 10 minutes later I got this cool little concept down that I'm positive I'll forget tomorrow if I don't record it NOW. So, I get set up, record it, add some reverb and compression in Sonar and 30 minutes later I got this clip. Short but sweet. Middle position with the neck pup full humbucker. Clean channel of the Mesa Rocket. Gotta get to bed.
This isn't a review of the guitar - I'll get to that later. I'm still putting it through the paces and getting familiar with it. One thing's for sure - I love it. I got the pedal plugged in tonight also and am very pleased with that too. I need more time with it but I do like the light acoustic-like sounds it gets. In fact, I hit one sound I really liked and quickly set up and re-recorded the rhythm track of this tune with the pedal. The tone control on the guitar is rolled off a bit and it makes a nice contrast to the lead track, which is pretty twangy. I like rolling off the tone on the Zach Attack (neck pickup) because the sound doesn't get hollowed out - still stays very musical and jazzy.This is a 2 track tune - I think the lead track has the center setting with the Zach Attack (neck pickup humbucker) in single coil mode. The rhythm track uses the Zach Attack in single coil with the tone rolled off plus the Zach pedal. Both tracks are played through the Mesa Boogie Rocket 44 clean channel into my AEA R84 Ribbon Mic (recommended by Eli) and panned about 40% to the right and left to get some stereo separation. I added some light reverb in Sonar after it was recorded to give it some more space. No editing done - the mistakes are there but the recording also catches some nice spontaneous stuff at the same time. Enjoy.
Have a listen to this - it's a cool tune, a walking bass blues. I took your advice and tried adding some compression to the final mix. Let me know what you think.
To hell with the New Age and Jazz stuff. I believe this is the clip you've been waiting for since the first time you even thought about building an F1. At least it's the clip I've been wanting to play since the first time I saw an F1. I was reading the biography "Roy Buchanan - American Axe" tonight and read that after messing around with some minor rock bands Roy met up with Dale Hawkins - the guy that did 'Susie Q'. Once I got that tune in my head it was time to put down the book and plug in the guitar..........
This tune was done exclusively on the bridge pickup - a super fine pickup. I can't stand most bridge pickups because they are too tinny and trebly. However, this one is very full bodied and musical. Depending on your touch you will get different sounds out of it from raunchy open string blues to singing, wailing highs and the pinch harmonics leap right out at you. It was done on the clean channel of my Mesa Boogie Rocket 44 with only the Zach Pedal with the drive just over half and no boost. I'm still not very familiar with the pedal - just dialed it in real quickly so I could get playing. That's it - a super clean drive sound that screams but doesn't hide much as far as the playing goes....... Added some very light reverb in Sonar and some slight compression on the mix - I'm no recording engineer by any means......... I had done the backing track a few years ago just to practice over and knew it would be perfect for this guitar. I hope there is plenty of Roy influence in the solo - I pretty much learned how to play guitar listening to his albums. Actually, I'd be hard pressed to play anything without any Roy influence. It was all improvised in a single take with no editing - very raw....... Awesome guitar........ ROY LIVES!!!!!
I was pretty happy with the tone I got on the T-Bird Blues tune. It is indeed pretty Roy-ish but I think I can do even better than that. I did crank up the amp a bit on that one, which helped to drive the sound (and probably drive the neighbors crazy too). But the amp is way too loud to really crank. Fortunately, the pedal was more than making up for a lack of the amp overdriving. But I really want to try Roy B out on my Fender Pro Junior, which I haven't had a chance to do yet. I want to try and crank it both with and without the pedal and try to capture the tone. The pedal really helps to get a good, clean overdriven sound without having to max the amp. Anyway, the playing part of it came out pretty well too for the most part but I was too tense and there are plenty of mistakes in there. Happens every time I record - as you know! Anyway, I'll be looking for more ways to showcase Roy B. and the Zpedal. I'm going to be a bit busy for work the next couple of weeks so I don't know how much I can get done but there's no rush. Take care, I'll be in touch.
I love having some free time during the day when I can crank up the amp a bit. This is a solo over a blues backing track I had. I used the Pro Junior on this one and dialed in a quick sound with the Z Pedal (Tone - 75%, Level 25%, Drive 65%) and recorded it with my SM57 mic. It's actually a loud little amp so I only had the volume on 3 and used the pedal to get the overdrive. I did this in true Roy B style by playing a rambling solo with different pickup settings in different sections. I love it when you can hear that pop when Roy changes the pickup during a tune. The solo starts off with the Zach Attack (neck) in single coil. Halfway, at about 2:00 I change to the middle setting (both pickups), then I change to the bridge pickup. Near the end I change back to the Zach Attack in humbucker and slow things down slightly. Added some light reverb, EQ, and compression in Sonar. Roy B is a blues machine - sounds like a Tele but then again doesn't sound like a Tele. Perhaps a Tele on steroids is a good way to describe it. Enjoy.
Drunken blues Plink 010703 Played by Eli Friedmann
This is sort of in your style perhaps....organic, natural, flaws, wah, a touch of feedback, range of pups....z pedal at the helm.
This one is Plink into wah, Zpedal, delay. No pick. It is sort of a tribute to your raw solo blues style.
Plink, wah, zpedal, delay, drive at 75%, boost on here (from 25% to 65% or so) and there with all sorts of pup combinations. Tone at around 75%. Level at 25%. There’s a sweet tone with the wah and boost in effect on the front pup in single coil mode. You’ll hear it. That boost is really something. I have to try that more. Even at 75% it is beautiful. Just majestic sounding. I was teaching a student “Time” off of “dark side of the mood” yesterday and the Zpedal was astounding at getting those kind of sounds. 75% drive for verses and boost on with more delay for solos. I was smiling.
Operating Instructions and Basic Setting
This is actually the main setting of the pedal in my opinion. This is where I leave the knobs 75% of the time. This pedal is on all the time in some capacity. I am not able to play without it and you may experience the same phenomena. It will be as much a part of your sound as the gutiar or amp itself.
t = tone (tone of the overdrive section)
l = level (volume of pedal)
d = drive (distortion amount)
D = turns drive on and off
b= clean boost amount from 5-25 db
B = boost section on and off
The pedal consists of two totally independent section that can be used individually or together.
The Boost is a totally clean boost. Play it with this setting first.
This is the starter setting and where I leave it 75% of the time:
t - 12 o'clock
l - 9 o'clock
d - 12 o'clock Boost on and off as you play and how the music dictates
Keep the Drive section in the above settings and kick the Boost on whenever appropriate at either 5db or 15db to overdrive the amp more, for an even more aggressive flavor.
Use only a 9 volt power supply like a Boss, Ibanez, Danelectro, PowerAll, OneSpot, etc. As long as its a 9V power supply meant for guitar pedals and the inside of the plug is negative and the outside of the plug is positive.
Eli talks about the Zachary Pedal
The trem stuff on 010703_01 is pretty wild....am I right?...i just totally bottomed it out and tapped with the left hand only while messing with the bar. Crank that shit up on your stereo and it will terrify anyone in the vicinity. It sounds like an out of tune bass and then all this weird noise and wailing ghost sounds from wildly shaking the whammy bar. Know what I mean? McLaughlin never tried that one I don’t think, hehe. He is a bad ass tho. His tone always bothered me cause he picked quite hard on those really light strings which can sound bad through the wrong amp...but I LOVE Extrapolation (one of his early records) and Bitches Brew with Miles Davis and many others.
The guitar is Plink. I just have to get all the traces of the last player rubbed off and feel as at home on it as the other two so I am playing it a lot. In this recording I am going through the ALL 6 of pick up settings one at a time like you always talked about. First with JUST the Drive on on the pedal (still basically the starter setting with the tone back just a touch from 12 o clock) neck/split then middle/split then bridge/split then those three again in that order with the BOOST engaged but the knob all the way down. Then I put the guitar in humbucking mode and do the three pick up settings.
That insanely long fat note is the boost+drive with just the neck pickup in humbucking. You can actually hear me in the room hitting the pick up switches. The ONE group of settings I could have used that I am not sure I did was doing all three pick up settings in humbucking mode withOUT the Boost engaged. I simply cannot remember if I did that one. Listen back to it and see if you can figure it out. One fun thing is that this clip and the last one are simply one ribbon mic about a foot away from the amp. No EQ, no compression, no room mic, nothing. So what you hear is what is happening with no tricks. Is it as GOOD as the tone in the room? Not quite although all the pieces in the recording chain are quite fancy and sound good. But I like that there is no eq/compression during tracking and no manipulation/studio trickery after the fact.
This recording I think is particularly amazing in regards to the fact that it is all single coil. How many single coil guitars sound like THAT? The sound is big. And you have to admit that it is pretty amazing how in tune that guitar is after that brutal trem torture. It is not like I am doing I little dip and then keep playing regularly. This is serious torture from lowering the bar all the way to raising it all the way while playing lots of notes.
Is it not insane how many sounds you can get and how much expressive and tonal range you can get in any one setting of both the guitar and the pedal? And this is not “trick sounds” like on a processor, they are all organic and musical and human. It really is crazy. It is really subtle stuff. For example when I put the boost on in this clip but then play really light it STILL cleans up...but then I lay into it a bit and it blows up! Incredible stuff. This may just change how I play. I was never really into pedals (for jazz especially) before because it took my tone and control away. My touch would just go away. Now it is still there. CONSIDER that without touching any knobs on the pedal (just the switches on the guitar and pedal) you have: ALL 6 pup settings in every combination with 1) pedal off, 2) Drive on, 3) Drive AND Boost on. And unlimited dynamic range from the fingers AND volume control within ALL of those settings. If you cannot express yourself with that....it is not possible. How many combinations IS that anyway? My math sucks. It is a lot of combinations. And THEN you can start messing with the pedal knob settings!! And they are all musically usable ( I have not tried the total meltdown settings yet but I bet those are usable as well, even if not by the likes of me)...unlike most set ups where you are lucky if you have 2 decent tones available without switching guitars, pedals, etc etc etc. this makes the guitar more like a classical violin with this huge range of organic tones.
Forgot to add...the first 25 seconds is just the neck single coil with the pedal OFF. You can hear what the pedal does with it. Haha!
$350 is not cheap for a pedal. But for THIS pedal it is a bargain. The Klon guy, Centaur guys can go home and cry now. This thing kicks it’s ass so very hard.
99.9% of the “guitar enthusiast” population could give two shits about music, or tone, or music. They would rather look at pictures of fancy guitars and amps and post things on web sites than actually listen to challenging music or really play obsessively for hours. If it is not Hendrix or SRV or Eric Johnson or somebody else they have been TOLD is cool....it does NOT count. Because they cannot really hear what is going on. I actually think that the Zach Pedal and amp are not right for Bobby perhaps. He has a particular way of doing things that he is used to. Hi-Gain with total control of the digital tone. Maybe this acoustic tone we can get is not for him where you can go from a little “ping” to a wicked snarl in a single setting. That is scary shit and not for everyone. The super organic Zach gear may actually make his life more of a hassle. Speculation? I am actually curious what bobby would sound like if he plugged into the all Zach rig, including the strings. He might be amazed. We all might be amazed. One way or the other.
It seems very strange that anyone would NOT want one of those pedals. For $350 it is the best OD you can get. I also think that a couple of my clips DO show how good it sounds, at least to a certain degree (we have not gotten to full meltdown yet). My guess is that most people do NOT live for playing the guitar so this is not life and death to them. And their ears are not open.
Whatever, man, I am getting excited to gig more this summer when the teaching slows down. This pedal is going to really help me out big time. A new sound palette. For ME that is a big deal. Useless box my ass. It is the most useful box in my apartment.
To me, tho it is quite simple. You are on a mission. Everything you are working on you take super seriously and the results are amazing. I use these great tools to work on my art. If your stuff was not amazing I would not spend my hard earned money on it. It really is that simple. I have played lots of guitars, amps, pedals over the last 10 years. You are up to something that is better. It is better for the way I want to sound when I play. The acoustic organic hi fi quality. I cannot get that somewhere else.
I think the bottom line is that I just hear how good the stuff sounds and since I really care how I sound when I play....there is no other choice. And besides your amp is a damn good deal. That is also a factor. $1350 is not that much for this obsessive project with the super hi fi precision volume pot among other things.
Why would I want to spend my money on some larger production facility when I know you are more demanding and passionate about the whole thing? If anything is wrong you will get to the bottom of it because it matters to you personally. And like I said it is all about results and you get these great results.
I also think that this stuff simply matters more to me personally than most. When the shit is special it REALLY has an effect on me and how I play.
Partially inspired by your example (recordings) I am going to really try and do the solo guitar thing with some seriousness. I am making a project out of this. That is pretty new for me. So I will be working on that and using it for solo gigs and solo recordings. I will be able to do some of these cheapo gigs which I would usually skip because I would not be able to pay other players. So I will just do without the other players.
I am having a ball with this gear. If you love to play...this is fun stuff. I will do the same with my amp. The stuff kicks ass so I am having fun playing it! It makes me sound better. So even if I did no commenting or public recordings to post I would be playing the stuff anyway. You are doing me the favor there by just doing all the work that goes into it and then making it available.
I would like to do a solo show with the two amps far apart with the delay panning between the two. The Boss DD-6 has two outputs for just this purpose. That would be some trippy stuff and would help me take over a room with sound.
(About Guitar Forums) I am a giant jimmy page fan if you recall...so just ANY kind of interesting playing would be great to hear. Gear is a tool to make art. If you MAKE the gear that is an art. But TALKING about gear is not art. Then again you have to consider that most folks do not play as much as we do. I like that you gave me another reason to start up with this whole solo guitar angle. I never really had the balls to perform that way in public but I think this will be the next step for me. I ALSO had never attempted any extreme whammy playing until very recently. So I guess I have to thank you for that as well since I could never play a locking trem.
And here is another point: no matter how high quality a particular amps is....the pedal Is the FAR more revolutionary device.
This pedal is unique. I really do think that. You cannot turn it off.
Here is a slogan for you:
The Zach pedal is the only overdrive pedal that (set moderately) actually makes your electric guitar respond more like an ACOUSTIC.
Insane, some would say... (a PIEZO is supposed to makes an electric into an acoustic, right?? ...Not a distortion pedal!)....but I think it is true, (this Zach overdrive pedal gives an acoustic response). Think about that.
My pops was in the city over the weekend and I showed him some stuff on Plink w/ the pedal and he agreed with me. The touch responsiveness of the pedal makes the guitar more akin to an acoustic guitar. It does not “sound good”. (More importantly.) It is a musical instrument that can help you sound great OR terrible. It is all up to you.
Some more great settings:
Shadow (particularly on bridge pup/single coil): Pedal Tone 10+ o'clock, Level 10 o clock, Drive 10 o'clock, Boost (at zero) off (OR) on.
Shadow on back pup (humbucking): starter setting (gain at 12 o'clock) with Tone a touch back, Boost on but at lowest setting (5 dB). With the higher output pups of Shadow this has quite a different impact from either Korina OR Plink. Almost a Van Halen 1 kind of tone. Not exactly my typical kind of tone...but it sounds damn good.
That is a really important factor with this thing. The output of the pickups really has a lot to do with how the settings of the pedal work. The lower output of Korina really does not hit the pedal the same way at all. It is very sensitive.
Also I am sure you have noticed how feedback happy this thing is. It really wants to do those musical feedback notes. A cool resource. I was wondering how you got those insane feedback dives at moderate volume...now I know. I guess it has something to do with the way that the pedal compressor works. Very cool. Basically a match made in heaven for a Trem Zach.
Another interesting setting:
Tone at 12 o'clock, Drive at 10 o'clock with Boost (at zero OR up a bit) off OR on.
Last thing (which you have mentioned but I’ll just confirm): the low end is insane. I have to back it off a touch on my amp with the powerful pups on shadow. Can’t think of a pedal like that. Usually Distortion/OD boxes kind of kill the clarity and force of the low end. All hail high end components!!
The check for the pedal, strings and the whammy bar for plink should go out today. I just have to get down to the post office before lessons if I can. The line there is just out of hand...especially the day after a holiday.
The question about the feedback was kind of rhetorical. Obviously you had noticed it. Since I heard the feedback on your recordings with the pedal that were obviously made at moderate volume (since you can easily make out the sound of the unamplified guitar in the room) it was obvious that the pedal was playing an unusual part in this easy and musical feedback generation (then manipulated with the trem). I was thinking to myself “how the hell is he getting that feedback at that volume and distortion level (both pretty low)?” I knew something was going on. I think it is ingenious that you thought of this with the pedal. This is really beyond brilliant and I may actually be able to do cool little feedback bits at lower volumes.....”some” might scoff, saying this was old news and that so and so had already thought of it and blah blah blah...but actually this is something new. Did anyone even notice this stuff on your vids? Low gain, low volume musical feedback? I was dumfounded.
A lot of small clubs you really cannot blast that loud. They will kick you right out. So I had pretty much abandoned that whole family of sounds even tho they can be beautiful. I cannot deal with the super high volume noise anyway. Makes my ears hurt and makes interacting with a band harder. It is this kind of thinking that I really am amazed at....when non players design gear this is the kind of thing that would never even get thought of. They think of stupid hand paint jobs and novelty noises.
You design and build like a demanding player. This is awesome. The pedal is an instrument that bonds with the instrument that is the guitar and the amp, becoming one instrument. Usually to get extended sustain/feedback you would need an artificial fuzz box with too much gain or just turn up ungodly loud. Using some kind of compression you have gone a totally other way....so you could get this nearly acoustic tone....and then nice feedback....all at the same setting. Add the foot operated knob...WOW. Eric Johnson would freak right out. I am still not sure if he is into natural sound or not. Sometimes it seems so....other times not so much. The fuzz/Strat tone is lacking. Cliffs Of Dover is astounding...and yet not really natural and tactile.
Remember that cat who said he always gigs with FOUR FULL STACKS??? WTF? How could FOUR of them, each driving 8 12 inch speakers sound like anything listenable? It is beyond me. He could plug in the Zach Pedal and the entire room would simply explode.
Not sure about my experience with gear compared to others.....i am not really a gear freak, especially since so much gear is just hype and nothing more. I never really owned tons of guitars or amps, just listened to and (played lots of) music and listened to people playing music in person. Whatever...i am already getting the best tones I’ve ever had just with what I have now.
When I hear some good shit I just have to respond if I like it. If you have ears and are musically inclined you hear this stuff. I freaked my dad out this past Saturday with that pedal. That guy has ears. He said “I don’t really hear any distortion...” and then I would just dig in progressively harder on the strings or simply put the guitar in humbucking mode and “WOW!” It is not like A and then B. it’s like a a a a a a B A B A! Aaaaaa B! Or what ever your fingers tell it to do for that matter....Scary.
I like the name you have for it....but maybe it’s too long? It is an accurate name tho. Human Touch magnifier? I dunno. As you heard on this last clip with the Drive a bit lower than half and the Boost a little up from minimum, it is STILL pretty transparent. It is a slightly different flavor of overdrive from just having the Boost on but at minimum with the drive on and at 12 o’clock. Or just the drive by itself on at 12 o'clock.
There is this interesting interaction between how 1) hard you play, 2) how high the guitar volume control is, 3) which pup is used, 4) output level of the pup, 5) the Level knob on the pedal, 6) the Drive knob, and 7 )the Boost control. Finally (and this will apply more to the Zach amp) 8) how high the amp is turned up and its own overdrive from the tubes.
It is like painting. Subtle stuff. So many variables. The common denominator is the player’s touch tho. Every player will still sound different. With the Mesa Boogies and "noise maker" pedals, it makes all players sound the same.
The mixture of moderate drive from the pedal with natural power tube drive from the Zach amp? I mean that is going to be incredible. As you already know. It will also take the edge off in a good way.
However this pedal (as I have demonstrated) works very well with clean amps as well. I wish there was a way to get that thing into stores. It is amazing and people should get it. Like I said even tho mine will be “the mystery box” I will be happy to reveal it’s identity to serious inquires. Spread the word!
I think Jeff Beck is maybe exactly the kind of player who your direction in gear would appeal to. He does not even use a pick any more and this goes well with the touch sensitive nature of both the guitars and pedals. He should have a Zach pedal, endorsements or no.
It is the best 350 a guitar player could spend. You do not even have to buy the z guitar or amp if you do not have the $.
Most guitar pedals really are just effects. Some are higher quality than others. This thing does not really qualify as an effect. It is an instrument. You need to learn how to play it. It does not create some novel effect like a fuzz box. There are quite a few high quality noise machines out there. They make very cool sounds that I like. But that is not the sound of the person playing. That is just the obscuring sound of the box being activated by the guitar.
But this zach pedal is something else. I did one of my wacky overdub recordings this afternoon. Just incredible tones by way of that pedal. Clear and beautiful. The notes just pop right out of the speakers. Really incredible. My fingers just come right through. If I do something bad...ouch.
But for all it’s superiority to most distortion pedals the Barber sounds like an effect, like a good tube screamer. The strings and complex harmonics get lost. Listen to the clarity and overtones that the Zach Pedal allows to come across from the guitar. Another thing altogether. Listen to my tune “cloud cover” that you posted a while back on the Vids page. That is the Barber on the lead guitar. Masked, like you say. Then listen to the zach pedal. Yikes. You certainly have to play with more vibe to use the Zach Pedal. The Barber simply skips that and substitutes it’s own sound. The zach pedal basically DEMANDS that you bring more to the party. More nuance and expression and feeling. That is what it thrives on.
I told you about playing some of these boutique amps. Made to the HIGHEST standards and are totally unresponsive and cold and dry to the touch. And then when you crank them up you do get a kind of “classic” tone but it is far from inviting to play. Very alienating. Matchless, Top Hat, all that stuff. Perfectly constructed and clear sounding but you cannot “sink into the amp” as it were. I prefer a humble small tube Fender.
This Zach Pedal is clear as a bell but you can sink into it. It is perfect for all these non-master volume, one channel amps like mine. It turns it into a kick ass two channel amp. Or three, depending how you think about it (minus the extra eq for the third channel, using the Boost).
These pedals should sell some serious numbers, more than the amp or guitars. It just enhances what is fed to it. This is why I am so fanatical about it. It gets out of the way of the feeling. Crappy playing will ALSO not work with this stuff. It will sound even worse than through normal gear. The Z guitar into the Z pedal into the Z amp. Yes, that is a phenomenal musical instrument there. Like an expensive classical instrument. The snobs will turn up their noses thinking that you need a special and different boutique company for every piece of gear in the chain. Not any more. You have done it. I am looking forward to the final piece of the puzzle. How is the fun new rubber knob?
Saw the pics of my pedal. That pedal looks SO FREAKIN COOL. The raw metal with the hand written letters and gigantic rubber boost knob just kicks ass. Perfection. I did not realize which knob type you were talking about. I thought it was this other smaller one. Now I get it. So cool. Whoever reads all my gibberish on that pedal page will think I am out of my mind. Who has gone off at this length about a guitar pedal? What pedal has deserved this kind of raving analysis? None that I have tried before this one.
the first production pedal 110606 Eli's pedal
Does my pedal look cool or what? That hand engraving is extremely cool, as is the gigantic rubber knob and improved spacing of knobs. Like something you might find inside a raw professional racing car or even in one of those funny cars to trigger the ejection seat or parachute. Unpainted metal, gigantic rubber knob where the boost tone switch used to be, hand lettered. The knob spacing is better on the finished pedal. Easy to sneak your right foot over to the boost level knob without hitting either the switches or the other knobs by accident. Is it the coolest electric guitar pedal ever? Very possible. There are other analog effects I like, like echoplexes and stuff but this is the coolest pedal. I cannot part with it now and it has had a pronounced effect on what and how I play.
If the Z amp is the amp equivalent of this pedal in terms of overdriven clarity, balance of registers, expressive range, touch sensitivity, lack of extra noise, warmth, harmonic richness, quality...well that is just going to be something. Great that it is so close to reality. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be deep into whammy bar sounds and OD (overdrive), I would have not believed you. - Eli
I just read Eli's comments on the pedal. I can't wait to play it! It sounds perfect...like everything I would want a pedal to be. Open, transparent, totally touch sensative and with a wide pallate of tone...sounds remarkably like something else I just bought... I love the look of the pedal...what??? no pastel or flourecent hype colour? No snazzy logo? Why would I buy something like that??????? (HEE HEE)
Actually, it reminds me of a tool box that my father used to keep his socket set in! I guess it is a tool box of sorts...with every size socket (tone) imaginable. That big rubber knob is fuckin' slick, man! I love it. I am not an effects guy anyway, so this is going to be great for me...nice and naked...the way it should be. -Zach F. (RI)
Pedal is awesome. I used it through the Boogie F-30 last night. Sounds great on clean channel and drives the dirty channel with some cool over the top feedback. Thanks for selling me the pedals, I'll keep you posted on the new sounds I get out of HTTO (Human Touch Tone Optimizer). Unit sounds great, there are just so many sounds. I am just scratching the surface. Keep up the great work, -Bryan (MI)
Bryan is really getting into the Z Pedal. He is a happy dude these days. -Ed (MI)
Alex, I used the HTTO live for the first time today and couldn't wait to get home to yell at you. Unbelievable! I even used it on my acoustic set. I play the entire Overture from Tommy (The Who) on one guitar. I played it with the boost on, drive off. Boost about 9 o'clock, level about 12. Had a nice punch to it. Even the crappy Parker is sounding better. Thanks for all your help and support, Bryan (MI)
Trey Anastasio (Phish) has been one of my favorie guitar players for over ten years. I love his compositions, style, and sound. I have always wanted a sound that was as versitile and comprable, if not better, than his. Now I have it. This pedal rules. I am pretty sure that his sound comes from two or three of those Ibanez tube screamers which are "modified" and set up in series of gain stages. He would love the Z pedal and probably just throw those away...along with the rest of his "effects" rig. The first thing I noticed was that drive switch. How cool is it for a guitar player to have a switch you can hold down until the downbeat without having to actually "time" it right! When I lift it kicks in instantly. No 64th of a beat delay. It's perfect. The range of tone is huge. The endless sustain and range of the boost channel is wonderful. Feeds back really nicely. (I like the glow in the dark feature of the knob too!) This is the most vocal sounding gain I've ever heard. No bass loss here. It's all tone and goodness. I will never use my amp's gain channel ever again. This pedal has it beat by a landslide. I instinctavely turned my guitar's tone knob almost all the way off just to get that superior breathy sax tone that I've always wanted. Bassy, but bright and balanced at the same time. I finally sound like ME. Thanks again, Alex. You are the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!! Zachary Fenner (RI)
The Klon Centaur ??? What the F&%# !
Click here to find out what Bull Shit is all about.
They pretty well need to be attacked to take notice. Sounds right....I have not thrown any of my pedals out....but they are sitting under the bed looking sad. People have all kinds of suspicions about what exactly is in that Klon pedal. Some say it is simply a clean boost with a tube screamer circuit combined with it. The mystery is what helps sell em. Eli
Sorry... Its time to throw out all your Distortion, Overdrive and Boost pedals.
More TESTIMONIALS and additional good info about the pedal and what to expect from it.
I just want to reiterate the fact that cranking the zach amp sounds like an uncranked zach amp with the pedal is an astounding achievement.
Is that not the whole (up to now!) point of an O/D pedal? You want to sound like you are playing a great cranked tube amp...but with a pedal. As you know my amp does not really break up unless it is turned up so loud as to be unusable. And even then it is not really rich break up.
Try doing that with a rat, barber, tube screamer, basically any pedal I have ever tried ....it just does NOT sound like a cranked amp. It can sound cool...but not like an amp. -Eli
The Zachary Human Touch Tone Optimizer Pedal: Gig tested, Musician approved! (Remember the Kix cereal commercial?) My Schecter just has no high end. The pedal actually makes the guitar sound cooler than it is. Everyone in the band liked the pedal and I find it very easy to express the emotive qualities of my playing with it. -ZF (RI)
Also, you could pass this on to your poorer fans:
I have been plugging students' cheap Strats and such into the z pedal when I teach at home. Works very very well. Strat into Zpedal sounds like Strat into well maintained nice overdriven tube amp. So even if you cannot afford a Zach guitar this pedal kicks much ass with even the most mundane guitar. Really really works.
In the meantime, I have to thank you for getting me off that dreaded POD and back into my tube amps. I've been having a blast recording my amps/guitars and am getting better at the technical aspects of recording. I did 3 recordings in the last few days and will send you the files shortly...... Mark Miller (OH)
My Blues Junior amp is small and does have it's limitations. You can't fill the room with sound with it without bringing the volume up high, for example. It's not big enough, but the tone I can get with Chinta 121001 and your pedal is, by far and away, the best guitar tone I have ever had in my life. Ted (NV)
I know what you mean. I don't need to do a lot with the pedal. I keep the same basic setting all the time and it works for just about everything. It's awesome. Ted
It really blows my mind that everyone does not want a zpedal.....anyone who has ANY overdrive/distortion pedal should have this one...it sounds fantastic!! It is indeed the best pedal I've ever played. The best. Eli
As you well know both the Z guitar and Z pedal demand things from the player. They do not really GIVE you anything except an opportunity. If you play badly you will sound terrible. It can be scary how close the sound you get out of the speaker is to what you are actually playing.
In all complete honestly any guitar player who gets to try the z pedal who is not totally amazed at the transparency and organic quality.... It is so blatantly obvious.
There are only three groups who would not respond to it. 1)people who want their distortion to be like a preset on a processor or synthesizer, like a mesa boogie triple rec with the gain cranked. Generic. Smooth. Super saturated.
2)people with no hearing or sense of tone/touch on the guitar and
3)people who simply do NOT want to hear their fingers when they play. They need the veil of distortion to gloss over the sound of actual fingers touching strings. In that case...why play the guitar at all? Eli
Whoa! There is some good news in here. Some smart folks with ears and brains to match.
Remember that old comment I made about how you said the z pedal sounds like the z amp when you crank the hell out of it was an astounding achievement, in fact the whole POINT of an overdrive/distortion pedal. One that was rarely if ever achieved by a pedal. Think about it....for the z pedal to sound as good as the overdrive channel of a boutique amp....it actually has to be higher quality than that amp...because it has to overcome the deficiency of being a pedal and adding a barrier between the guitar and amp. That is amazing. The whole thing with the transparency of the z pedal is that it allows the guitar to speak directly to the amp....and thus can sound as direct and clear as the distortion channel of an expensive amp with no pedal to muddy the signal. And there is no rubber toe adjustable boost knob on any amp I have seen. I really think that once you get the z-hollow with good high fret access happening the whole "scofield contingent" will be a real market for you. Guys that can play who would be blown away by how much better the z hollow was than their 335 (or epi or other equivalent). I always like the IDEA of the 335 but they are so acoustically DEAD. You will cure this situation and then some. Eli
The zpedal. Or 2? I can see some poor guy wading through all the noise maker pedals.....and then he gets to the zpedal and "wham!!"...he will look up and say "what the hell is this one?" I'm sure you have realized this but you can have that pedal on with even the boost up a bit and the drive half way, with the guitar volume way down it is almost 100% clean sounding and nice....and then you put the volume up a bit and it gets a little louder and beefier...and then up all the way and it is roaring. All controlled from the volume on the guitar and only works so well because of the transparency of the pedal. If it was your typical veiled noise maker it sounds really really bad when the guitar volume is really low. Useless. ELI
The klon is nothing really. Not even in the same ballpark as the zpedal. I was amazed at how NOT amazing the Klon was. I kept turning up my amp and twisting the knobs around waiting for a really cool tone. It never happened. It lacks clarity (even with the tone cranked), dynamics, touch sensitivity, gain, detail.....it basically just sounds kind of "blah" and covers up the tone of the guitar instead of supercharging it like the Zpedal. I have played tube screamers that I preferred more actually. At least a tube screamer has a bit of gain if you want it.
It is impressive how the starter setting on the Zpedal is really just that...a start. Almost any setting can be useful, even really low gain (if you pump the level knob a bit. A huge range of cool usable tones even on the extreme end of things. I often have the drive at around 10:30 and use that with and without the boost. But really there are lots of other variations. If he cannot hear that as compared to the Klon....his ears are not turned on.
I want to hear that crazy G1. Beefy but single coil is a great tone. Who gets it? I really am looking forward to my own Zach amp. Make that thing kick ass for my guitars and pedal!!! Put a great speaker in there, whatever you guys think is best.