I barely read the manual for a pedal unless it’s some outrageously perplexing one loaded with more knobs and switches than a rocket ship. Because frankly, if you have to, you might as well spring for a guitar processor.
But inside the box for the SviSound CockedZoid pedal, I misguidedly unfolded a piece of yellow stationery paper – which happened to be the manual – and I’m not sorry I did. In what appears to be a scribbled note – written in blue, green and red Sharpies, mind you – its author commands me to take this pedal and 1) Plug it in, 2) Turn it up! and 3) Let it loose.
I’m not one to take orders, especially from a manual, but this is coming from Tracii Guns, a stalwart of the Sunset Strip and red-hot guitarist of the notorious L.A. Guns band, so I’m gonna take heed.
And if you’re like me and follow those very specific instructions, it doesn’t matter whether you use the CockedZoid as a booster, a distortion pedal or even a preamplifier, because you’ll find it’s a stompin’ gain-scorcher of a pedal that’s cocked and loaded for face-melting JCM-800 tones you can wreak havoc with.
The CockedZoid is a collaborative signature pedal between Mr. Guns and SviSound, and I won’t hide the fact that I shamelessly love it for its simplicity and not pretending to be anything other than a really noteworthy Marshall-in-a-box pedal.
There are three controls for level, tone, gain and a low mid boost mini-switch. Turning the gain control clockwise governs its amp-like voice from a mid-heavy Fender Deluxe to a cranked Marshall, and when maxed out, it sounds very much like a boosted Boss SD-1 overdrive into a JCM-800 (a classic combination for many ’80s hair metal players, myself included).
In a funny way, you’ll need to be familiar with L.A. Guns’ oeuvre to hear how Tracii voiced the pedal as he specifies particular songs as gain settings in the scribbled manual.
If you wish to use the CockedZoid as a preamplifer, you can also run it into the effects return or power section of an amplifier. The pedal is made in Varna, Bulgaria, features a ruggedly bulletproof chassis, true bypass operation and is powered by a 9V battery or adapter.
Running the CockedZoid through my flock of classic tube amps, what stands out is how musically rich and detailed the distortion is without it becoming buzzy or over the top. You’ll hear more of the pedal’s range of defined gain with a clean setting from your amp rather than using it as a boost.
Whether you need thick ’n’ crunchy bark or smooth lead-channel drive, the gain control is super responsive in finding that sweet spot. The mid switch brings forth a bunch of low end fullness, while the tone control works remarkably well for its neutral coloration, top end taming, and restoring natural frequencies depending where you set it.
Does the CockedZoid have more of that transparent, wide-open sound like some of the newer drive pedals with a bevy of controls? No. But it’s a killer tone that sounds lively and rude, and hey, that's a Marshall.
- PRICE: $266
- TYPE: Distortion/boost/preamp pedal
- CONTROLS: Level, Tone, Gain, Mid switch
- POWER: 9V DC or battery
- CONTACT: SviSound