Posted by: worshipguitarguy | March 21, 2008

The Line 6 Verbzilla

verbzilla.jpgOk, about a year ago, the guys in my band all chipped in and bought me a Verbzilla for my birthday…  (pretty awesome group, huh?)  Well, having played it for over a year now, the honeymoon has worn off, but the ‘Zilla is now one of my favorite pedals on my board. 

Ok, for a brief overview, the Verbzilla is the reverb modeler from Line 6’s ToneCore line.  It includes 11 different reverb models… blah blah blah… ok now on to what you really want to know.

First, although I’ve heard some complaints about its durablity… I’ve been running ToneCore units for over two years and I’ve never had a problem.  Their chassis are made of metal and very solid, (although heavy…)  With the ToneCore series, the actual effects are small “plug-in” modules, that you can swap in and out by removing the screws from the back of the pedal chassis.  The modules themselves are mostly plastic and printed circuit boards, and the dials are pretty small, so some reliability issues may exist there, however if you secure your pedals, and don’t abuse them when turning them on and off, you’ll be fine.

Tonally the Verbzilla is really solid.  My Vox amp has reverb on it, but I’ve never been too excited with it, that’s why I’ve gone the pedal route.  Settings like the “63 Spring”, and “Spring” sound good, although there’s a bit less tonal “depth” in them than you’d find in a true vintage Fender Deluxe spring reverb.  The Hall, Plate and Chamber verbs are all good, solid sounds, with the Hall and Chamber really standing out on lead tones with higher gain levels.  I use the plate or hall setting quite a bit when playing softer arpeggiated chords, like in the verse of a slow worship song.

But the thing that stands out the most to me with the Verbzilla are two models found past 12 o’clock on the dial… the Octo and Cave settings.  First, the Octo is based on an octave reverb from a rack effects unit called the Eventide Eclipse.  The effect takes the repeats of the main guitar signal and moves each subsequent one up an octave.  It’s an effect the Edge from U2 is famous for using, (by way of Brian Eno I’m sure).  The sound it creates is a hauntingly ghostly sound that gently trails behind your tone.  Mixed with a good delay, it might make you think there’s two instruments there instead of one.

The other setting, the Cave setting, is an uber thick reverb sound that can create violin style swell effects.  To do this, first I roll down my tone control a bit.  Next, I turn my volume all the way down, fret and play a chord, (you only need two or three strings), then quickly turn my guitar volume up…  Instant volume swell, a la an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo.  You can do the same thing with a volume pedal, but if its at the end of your chain of effects, it will sound a bit different than it does run before your effects.  

Now the real reason I love the Verbzilla…  have you ever reached the end of one of those soft worship songs that led into prayer?  Usually, that’s the time where a wonderful synth player takes over and plays these gentle, very spacey sounds.  Well, as electric guitarists, gentle and soft aren’t often in our vocabulary.  But… the Verbzilla can fix that.  Set the pedal for instance on the octo or cave setting, and turn the mix knob all the way up.  Your initial pick attack disappears and all that’s there is the post reverb decay.  Now by playing with your overdrives and delays, (and also a wah pedal), that’s run before your Verbzilla, you can begin to use your guitar in a way that you could mistake for one of those extremely cool synth pads.  Your tone will be very subtle with sustain, and by adjusting the decay and time settings, you’ll change the sustain characteristics of your tone.  I do this all the time now, especially if I’m playing in a three piece or four piece group (acoustic, electric, bass, and drums).  It really adds alot to the end of the set. 

But, instead of listening to me, check out some pretty good demos of the Verbzilla 

Pro Guitar Shop’s Verbzilla Demo:  Featuring a good demo of the Octo setting
Line 6’s Official Verbzilla Demo: With a brief example of the Cave Volume Swell technique.

A couple of other thoughts on the Verbzilla:
It’s not just for guitars:  I have a good friend who is a keyboard player, and he loves running his 73 Fender Rhodes through the ‘Zilla.  It really tweaks the sound and does some interesting things.
Split your Signal into Stereo:  Here’s one I haven’t had time to try but I’ve been wanting to.  Take your guitar signal and split it into a stereo signal after your boost/compression/overdrive pedals.  Then run one side through the modulation/delay side of your board, and the other side through the Verbzilla alone.  (ex. your mods/delays are on the right side, and your ‘Zilla is on the left.)  You can then recombine the two stereo signals back into one mono, or run them to two different sources.  Now turn the mix all the way up on the ‘Zilla, and you can use either the cave or octo setting, The depth of the effect will be much greater, yet you’ll still have the sound of your initial attack on the other side. 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. thank you.

  2. Awesome group? Darn straight! lol

  3. Those vids are cool, almost gives me GAS for one of those pedals, just for the octo setting!

    Good work as usual.

    God Bless

  4. I watched those videos and immediately wanted to get one. So I put my boss rv-5 on amazon to sell. Hopefully I will be getting one soon

  5. Thanks for the write up on the Verbzilla. I posted a reference to your review on my blog – http://www.guitarjourney.com/blog. It is really helpful to get first hand information about an item from someone who has used it for a while. Thanks again, and please keep posting!

  6. I’ve been wanting one of these for a while. I’ve been really pleased with my Echo Park, up until it developed a short in the mono output jack.

  7. Thanks for the blog in general, lots of useful info. Due to this blog, line 6 can thank you for a sell. You are right, on closing prayers or things where a plucked or strummed guitar is too much…. this is perfect.

    Keep it up, i also appreciate your articles on simple setup, or easy ways to create nice dynamic sounds without overdoing it (for the first time in 5 years, i’ve used my tremolo pedal- for the past 3 weeks, and its made a huge diffence!)

    From a Nashville guy in another language, thanks!

  8. Hi, thanks for the great article. It helped cement my decision to purchase the Verbzilla and I do not regret the purchase one bit.

    I am going to try the split signal idea to allow for both more of the effect as well as a cleaned up unaffected tone. Have you had a chance to try this yet? If so, please let me know if the results have been worth it. I plan on building a Y splitter pedal next week so I can split the signal on my pedalboard, through the Verbzilla and then recombine them to one output to my amp. [fingers crossed] Anyway, I just wanted to check in to see if you’ve ever tried out your idea.

    Thanks!

  9. Reblogged this on jsalfity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: