Z.Vex Effects has released a special edition of its Fuzz Factory FF7 fuzz pedal to support the relief effort in Ukraine. The Ukraine Flag Fuzz Factory refinishes the pedal’s enclosure in Ukrainian colours, with a golden wheat field underneath a blue sky.
Every cent raised from the sale of the pedals goes straight to World Central Kitchen, a non-profit NGO which, since the Russian Invasion, has provided over nine million meals to the people of Ukraine and its refugee diaspora in neighbouring countries. As the Russians withdraw from Kyiv and other territories, the WCK is expanding its efforts to support Ukrainians who had been living under occupation.
Recently, DIY effects pedal builders have assembled for Pedals For Ukraine charity auctions, while Death By Audio raffled a one-off F**k War pedal last week. In March, Caroline Guitar Company’s FCK PTN pedal raised $9,500 for Ukraine in just 10 minutes, and here we had something similar. The Ukraine Flag Fuzz Factory was priced $500, and it sold out in no time.
Such is the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, this Fuzz Factory's immediate retail success is all that matters and its most important feature. Those who purchased one, however, can look forward to one of the most tweakable fuzz pedals on the market, a stompbox for taking electric guitar tone off the beaten track.
The Fuzz Factory F7 is a pedal that even comes with a warning in the manual. It might squeal. It might make strange noises. That’s part of the charm. It earns the seven in its designation with the seven dials it uses to shape your sound (a common-or-garden Fuzz Factory has five), though one of these is a nine-position rotary Fat switch that selects the fundamental tone of the fuzz. You can dial in a big fat sound or a reedy sound that’s thinner than a sheet of graphene.
Besides your typical Volume and Drive knobs, we have boutique fuzz tweakers such as Gate, which allows you to tame hiss and noise or to tune in feedback pitch, Comp for compression, and Stab, which Z.Vex mandates should never be used in any other position than fully clockwise. Even the Tone knob on this pedal is different. It has its own dedicated footswitch to bring it into play, and when active it allows you to roll some of the high-end off, “like a simple lo-pass filter”.
Then again, nothing is particularly simple about the Fuzz Factory F7. It is not that kind of pedal. In the centre of the controls is a Lexan window revealing a pair of rare germanium GT308V transistors, which the Minnesotan effects pedal specialist sourced from Ukraine.