Guitar Gear Review: MXR ZW38 Black Label Chorus

First off, I seriously thought I was going to go blind when I first turned it on. I was looking down when I stepped on the pedal. My God man that has got to be the brightest light on any pedal made. I felt like someone was shooting a blue laser in my eye. If you have one of these and play out live, you’ll sure as hell know if it’s on or off because of that light…lol.

Anyways, I’m a real big chorus head. I like to keep it on all of the time, but I like to maintain the level of it way down so that you even wouldn’t know it was on unless I told you. I’ve always liked it to fatten everything up and make it a lot fuller.

I played tonight for about an hour and a half and everything just sounded fantastic. I simply put it on Zakk’s setting, except I turned the level down a tad. The pedal fills everything out so much.

When I was playing distorted chords, they were freaking huge, but there wasn’t a real huge chorus sound so to speak. The same thing goes as well for when I was riffing out. It was huge sounding.

When I would bend a note and hold it on the E, B, or G strings, it was fat as hell, but I was also getting these somewhat uni-vibe type warble sounds that were just fantastic sounding. I stood in front of my Marshall JVM stack bending and holding high notes, and it sounded like that first fantastic note that Jimi Hendrix hits at the beginning of the solo in “Machine Gun.” You know which note I’m talking about. It honestly blew me away at how awesome sounding it was when I was doing that.

I played my standard ole few lead licks that I run through all of the time and it was just so smooth and full sounding….just breathtaking and liquidy. It sounded fantastic.

I played for quite awhile on the clean channel as well. Once again it just totally filled everything out, but it didn’t have that super duper over processed chorus sound. I would do a lot of picking on the chords and do chord changes. As I would do this, I would turn the pedal off and on. Now don’t get me wrong, you could tell there was a chorus on, but like I just stated, it just wasn’t over the top sounding. It just really filled everything out and made everything so full sounding.

I also even totally cranked the level on 10, and it still didn’t seem too overbearing or anything.

I already have my TC Electronics G Major hooked up into the effects loop of my Marshall JVM410H for delay and noise reduction. My next plans are to also run that into he effects loop of my 5150 stack for stereo delay, and then I’m going to run the ZW38 Black Label Chorus into the front of both the JVM and 5150 since it’s a stereo pedal. I can’t wait. It’s going to sound HUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!

The ZW38 Black Label Chorus pedals are usually $99, but I bought one brand new from a store on Ebay for $78. I think I got one hell of a deal. This pedal right here has helped me to achieve that sound that I hear in my head, and I’m glad as hell that I bought it.

Special thanks to guest contributor John Jolly for this review.