How versatile is the Zendrive?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by custom kid, Jan 6, 2006.


  1. custom kid

    custom kid Member

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    Sorry folks - another Zendrive thread. Trawled through all the other threads but couldn't seem to find the answer I needed.

    Here's my question

    I'm looking for a low gain pedal and have read all the great ZD reviews ....but at the same time I'm not a big fan of the tone used by guys like Robben Ford and Larry Carlton (great players though they are). All the clips I've heard so far seem to be using a similar fusion type tone.

    Would be great to hear from Zendrive owners on how versatile this pedal is. The Ford/Carlton angle seems to be a big part of its appeal/selling point but is it possible to dial in other sounds too? Its not a question of the low gain pedal not being enough - and the heavier sounding Hermida Mosferatu is more dirt than I need.

    Haven't heard much Brad Paisley stuff but as he's also been using this pedal lately my guess is there are plenty of other sounds in this box too. Am I right?

    Any opinions would be great.


    Thanks!
     
  2. custom kid

    custom kid Member

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  3. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

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    To me, thats where the pedal really shines. Robben Ford tones galore. I wouldn't call it versatile, but with the voice knob you can get a few tones outta it, but they are magnificent tones to say the least. Again, I might look somewhere else if I didn't lke robben's tone. It's kinda like I hate SRV's tone, should I get a tubescreamer. Well, that TS midhump pushed tubeamp sound is what you would get, so no. Then again, you could always try it out and get your money back if you dont like it, or sell it on ebay.
     
  4. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Supporting Member

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    I would e mail Alf for more detail, but I think it is intended to have a Dumble type OD. It won't sound like a FDII or a tubescreamer. You can vary the tone quite a bit especially with the voice knob, but it still sounds like the Zen. It is a thick and fat tone with plenty of mids that does work well with single coils and humbuckers. A lot depends on your pick attack as well, it is really responsive to that. The way you play the pedal would change the tone of it. A lot of people with a similar touch may get closer to the Ford/Carlton sound. I actually play differently with the Zen that I would with a TS type of pedal.

    It's a great pedal, but like everything else, it's not for everyone.

    hope this helps
     
  5. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

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    +1 It really makes you approach the guitar differently
     
  6. kram21

    kram21 Member

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    ZD works well for classic rock tunes too;as well as the fusion thing
     
  7. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I think the Zen is really a one trick pony. Its a great trick but its not a swiss army knife OD. It does thick, smooth, warm and dynamic OD in the vein of Dumble amps and works best as a lead tone for me. I initially saw reviews that said the voice knob takes you from fender through dumble into marshall. To my ears it goes from dark dumble to bright dumble. The voice control just helps you dial in the Zen to your rig and does not change the essential character of the pedal IMO. Also I don't think it sounds good at very low gain settings (9:00 or less) with low output single coils... its grainy at that range. Great pedal overall...not for everyone tho.
     
  8. custom kid

    custom kid Member

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    Thanks for the opinions - appreciate it.

    Think I will try and pick Alf's brains on this too

    - perhaps the Zendrive 2 will offer more tones beside the Robben ones?
     
  9. jpagey

    jpagey Member

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    Put the tone control at 12 o'clock, the voice control at 12 o'clock and the gain 9 o'clock. Now turn the gain and/or voice control slowly clockwise and you'll see the ZD has many tricks--at least for me. Biting rock tones, smooth blues tones and basic boosting are easily available and all sound amazing. I am using mine now with my strat (with SD lil '59's) into my Little Lanilei 3350LT and it sounds amazing--but nothing like a Dumble. In fact, with my neck pickup on, tone at 12, gain at 10 and voice at 2 o'clock, I can nail the tone of Dickie's solo from One Way Out on Live at the Fillmore. My middle p/up is a Classis Stacked Strat and this setting gives me a great crunch tone with that setting.
     
  10. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I love these kinds of posts. Really...specific settings, also letting you know it is pickup (and amp) dependant, give a great starting point for experimentation, and hints.

    Great post! I just wish I had my zendrive already, but am remembering this post to try out those settings and SLOWLY bring up the gain.
     
  11. jpagey

    jpagey Member

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  12. nsriley

    nsriley Member

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    +1!!! I can't wait to get mine....going on my 8th week of waiting, but once I get it I read posts like this to help me get an idea of where to start along with my ears.

    -Peace
    -Nate
     
  13. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    I love my Zen and I am still exploring how to best use it. I don't find that it has a lot of different dimensions.

    For that, I have a MI Audio Blue Boy that can be a TS or a 100% transparent drive, with a range from way light to way gainy, it can do it all.

    But, what the Zen does do, it does extremely well. It is the most dynamic effect that I've ever owned.
     
  14. dognmoon

    dognmoon Supporting Member

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    I know it doesn't always help to use far out adjectives to describe tones, but I think the one word that I keep using to describe the ZenDrive is "smokey". It feels really dark and round to me, regardless of what guitar I'm using.

    Again, +1 on what others have said- what it DOES do, it does outstandingly well. But I find that if I want versatility, I'll just throw another couple of OD's on the board (like TS clones or a Sparkle Drive with a healthy mix of the clean signal).
     
  15. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I am a born tweaker and have put the Zen's 4 knobs through itheir paces. It delivers a touch and a tone unlike any other pedal I have played but even with the voice maxed its still SMOOTH - nothing biting about it to my ears even with a Tele. It doesn't bark - it growls. At lower gain it purrs and when you dig in it chirps. How's that for ambiguous tonal zoology? Anyway 12 o'clock on the voice is too dark for me so I prefer it at 2-3. I find it most useful for leads and use other pedals for rockin rhythm.
     

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