Zen Dumble-Like Settings...

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by BillyK, Nov 20, 2005.


  1. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    I love the sound of players that have used Dumbles (Robben Ford, EJ, etc). What are the settings on the Zen that gets you there?

    I am using various Strats through vintage Fender amps.
     
  2. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    If you are shooting for RF's overdriven Dumble tones, a humbucker will help to fatten things up. I have a Strat with a Demeter mid-boost and with the bridge pickup here are my favorite Zendrive settings through my Demeter TGP-3 clean channel or Budda Stringmaster clean channel that get me there:

    Volume: 10-11 o'clock to match the amps output/slight boost
    Gain: 10-12 o'clock puts you in that clean/edge range
    Tone: 1-3 o'clock gives the notes a little top end bite
    Voice: 10-12 o'clock gives me the right amount of mid character

    As you know the pedal is very amp-like and touch sensitive. With these settings I can play very lightly and get the clean and chime going or dig in/turn up the guitar volume to overdrive. I think I've read that Alf suggests that you should set the "Voice" control first then the "Tone" and "Gain" and "Volume". The Zendrive's controls are very subtle, a small turn of a control really makes a difference when you're listening with a critical ear, there a many many "sweet spots" on this pedal. The best part is you can't tell it's a pedal, it sounds and responds like a high end preamp/amp.
    Play on,
    Rick
     
  3. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the settings Rick!

    Didn't know about Alf's suggestion, I'll have to try that too.

    Any other forumites want to chime in here??
     
  4. nsriley

    nsriley Member

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    I'll have to come back and check this thread out. I just ordered a ZenDrive. Going to be about a 2-4 week wait!

    -Peace
    -Nate
     
  5. rh

    rh Robo Sapien Noise Maker Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 I've had mixed results dialing it in. This should be a big help.

    Alf didn't mention a good place to set the controls that haven't been dialed in yet, did he? For an extreme example, if you're setting Voice but the other three are dimed...well, I can't imagine that's going to work very well.
     
  6. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    "Alf didn't mention a good place to set the controls that haven't been dialed in yet, did he?"

    Probably safe to say that a neutral/baseline setting would be at 12:00.
     
  7. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    Try a search from when the Zendrive came out a year ago or so for initial reactions and descriptions of the pedal. The "Voice" control is like a mid/presence control. The way I hear it is turning it counterclockwise it's in a Fender zone and turning it clockwise puts you into more of a Marshall zone. As I turn the "Voice" clockwise I turn the "Tone" counterclockwise to add more bottom or fullness and keep the tone more balanced. That's what I referred to as the many "sweet spots" in this pedal. Depending on how your amp is set and what pickups you use, and the tone and aggressiveness you're going for, the ratio of how you set the controls gives it a very usable range of sounds. I can't say enough about the Zendrive.
    FWIW,
    Rick
     
  8. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    tga-3: Thanks for the advice. I work the Zen in a similar fashion to you.

    I notice a mid-hump with my Zen that can sound really great for certain things. I am not a working player right now, so I bet those extra mids equate to sitting better in the mix on stage. Is that the case?

    Given the wide tonal pallet of the Zen, is there a way to de-emphasize the mids if you choose to?
     
  9. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    i noticed that the zen can sometimes sound either a little muddy or a little shrill, but all that changes when you use it with a band...
    thats where this baby really shines...VERY bouncy sounding!
     
  10. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    Turning the mids "Voice" control clockwise will give the pedal a mid/presence that will certainly cut in a band situation. Turning the "Voice" control counterclockwise will de-emphasize the mids. As far as a mid-hump in the Zen, say like the one coming from tube screamers, I haven't experieinced from this pedal......but it might be from your guitar or pickups. The Zendrive has a character all it's own while remaining fairly transparent. It's a little hard to gauge because the controls are so subtle, but sometimes I think the "flat" position of the "tone" control is maxed clockwise and the flat position for the "voice" control is maxed counterclockwise. It would be interesting to hear other's opinions on this.
    Rick
     
  11. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    tga-3
    I'll give the Tone and Voice a twist per your idea and I'll get back to you.

    I hear a bit of boosted mids for sure with the Zen, compared to when the Zen is off.
     
  12. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    I saw Robben Ford a couple weeks ago . He played a Les Paul through a tu-2 into a Zendrive into a Fender Pro, and HE didn't have the Robben Ford tone. His sound was very thin. I don't think there is such a thing as Dumble in a box.
     
  13. woof*

    woof* Member

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    ive only used my zen a few days ...what i have noticed is i have to set the voice and the tone controls almost all the way up clockwise..say in the last 4rth of a turn to clean up the muddiness. also the gain only gets up to its first quarter. i should qualify i play loud blues rock with strats through a blackface super and jtm45. i guess im just used to my klon and timmy being so transparent. otherwise the zen makes me sound like i have humbuckers. its not a bad sound what the zen does. its more of a jazz/fusion sound to me and i see why guys like robin ford use it. really nice infinate sustain single note kinda playin. ill keep messin with it but so far thats my impression.
     
  14. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    Luke V:
    Lots of Robben Ford fans on this forum and others report Zen sightings associated with amazing tone from him.

    Who knows?
     
  15. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    Wow! I was in the second row of the show in Elgin, Illinois and it was Les Paul> Zendrive> Super Reverb miced from the rear, and his sound was anything but thin! We were hearing the raw tone right from the amp! Maybe the sound guy at your show didn't have set right in the mix out front. We saw him step on the Zendrive throughout his entire set and after we spoke with Robben and got around to the Zendrive, and he said he liked it a lot. I also saw him with Greg Allman and he sounded great with the Dumble rig, but I didn't miss it at all.
    My humble opinion and defender of the Zendrive,
    Rick
     
  16. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    this is exactly what i was talking about in my post above ^^.
    i thought the same thing almost immeidiately after plugging into it...then, i brought it out to a local blues jam, in a club with a pro PA, full backline, and BAM! the pedal sounded GREAT w/ my McCarty going through a hot rod deluxe none-the-less! i had a huge, fat, searing lead tone, but it wasnt all buzzy like some OD's get...nice and rich/smooth, and the gain was only at about 12-1 o'clock!
     
  17. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    this is exactly what i was talking about in my post above ^^.
    i thought the same thing almost immeidiately after plugging into it...then, i brought it out to a local blues jam, in a club with a pro PA, full backline, and BAM! the pedal sounded GREAT w/ my McCarty going through a hot rod deluxe none-the-less! i had a huge, fat, searing lead tone, but it wasnt all buzzy like some OD's get, and i could still hear the character to my guitar and pickups...nice and rich/smooth, and the gain was only at about 12-1 o'clock! so far, i love this thing. excellent pedal, and definately deserves all the praise. RF/carlton definately live here
     
  18. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    "sometimes I think the "flat" position of the "tone" control is maxed clockwise and the flat position for the "voice" control is maxed counterclockwise. It would be interesting to hear other's opinions on this."

    Yo Rick:
    I tried this tonight. Didn't get "flat" at all. In fact Tone @12 and Voice @2 sounded flatter.

    I definately hear the mids. If you go from some other OD known to be flat and then switch to the Zen, you'll hear it. It'll sound rather nasally.

    As I said earlier, I am not playing out right now and it may be the case that you need a cranked amp and a band mix to work within to really see the Zen shine.
     
  19. Blues Wail

    Blues Wail Member

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    i run all the dials at 12 noon, cept the volume, and it's a sweetheart!
     
  20. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    I'm sure it depends on the guitar and pickups too, and like I said, the Zendrive has many sweet spots. I do hear the mids, but I wouldn't describe them as nasally, more like that chewy Dumble character. And like Blues Wail I've set it with all knobs at 12 o'clock and stayed there all night. Simply a great pedal.
    Have a great Thanksgiving All,
    Rick
     

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