Line 6 Verbzilla Review…Sort Of

I was all plugged in and had the camera ready to do the demo of the Line 6 Verbzilla……and then the more I played it, the more I realized how unfair it would be to do a video demo of a pedal I just absolutely cannot jive with. Now, I have no problem calling a spade a spade, and I wouldn’t mind calling the Verbzilla a bad pedal. The problem is, it’s not a bad pedal (although definitely a strong contender for worst, cheesiest, and most ‘what were they thinking’ name for a pedal ever). A lot of people get really great sounds from this pedal; and that is why I cannot call it a bad pedal. For me though, it killed my dry signal, and the reverbs sounded too digital to get real spring sounds, but not digital enough to get those cool artifact fade-outs that digital delays are famous for. Best setting was the ‘Octo’ mode, of course, which turns your guitar into a synth with very little work on your part. Or, turn down the mix a bit and you can have the synth effect ‘behind’ everything you play. I thought the idea behind this genius. I know of precious few pedals that will give you both the octave up and reverb at the same time. Huge props to Line 6. However, I felt the execution to be lacking. And it’s not just a boutique effect thing. I tried the Boss PS5 into the Boss RV5 and liked it better. (*Gasp!* I know, absolute heresy.) I tried the Line 6 live for a practice, but ended up taking it off my board for the service. It did seem to react better on my acoustic. Maybe the dryer tone of the acoustic fits better into coldly digital effects. I know I do like my delays much colder and dryer on the acoustic. 


But here’s the thing…I do not want to do an entire post on the Line 6 Verbzilla review because of one very simple reason: fear. I’ve already weathered my fair share of…I’ll be nice and just call them ‘differing opinions’…because of my less than stellar review of the beloved Digitech Bad Monkey. 😉 So I can only guess what this review of the cherished provider of the famous U2 shimmer effect is going to get me. And I suppose I could preface it all with saying that ‘I could be wrong.’ That approach, though, hasn’t seemed to work with the Bad Monkey. So I figure I’ll do just that quick, unfortunate, and somewhat poor review of the Line 6 Verbzilla, thereby retaining this blog’s objectivity; but then say something really quick that’s totally off of the subject, but so incredibly…um…frightening, that no one will ever remember the poor review of the Verbzilla. Thereby sidestepping all of the nasty side effects of the afore-mentioned objectivity. :)

So here it goes. Be prepared to forget all about the Verbzilla review. In looking at what keyword searches have brought people to this blog, and sifting through the usual ‘effects’, ‘tone sucking’, tube versus solid state’, and ‘which blog’s author is better than the Edge’ (okay I made that one up), I ran across: ‘Orlando Bloom with his shirt off.’

Now, let it be known, first and foremost, that Orlando Bloom has never appeared on this blog in any other form than for me to poke fun at his unique brand of ‘constant surprise’ acting. Let alone Orlando in any form less than fully clothed. In fact, I believe in my heart of hearts that Orlando Bloom only exists in the ‘clothed’ state. Start to go one step towards the more naked side of ‘fully clothed’, and Orlando ceases to exist. How do I know this? Because the alternative is unthinkable.

(This is Orlando, appearing in the proper amount of clothes. Also, showing his ‘concerned’ face.)

Nevertheless, there has been at least one person in the world who has viewed this blog from searching for ‘Orlando Bloom with no shirt on.’

Close runner-ups were ‘Tom Cruise with a monkey’, and, I quote, ‘Crapest pedalboard ever.’ So I guess I got that going for me. Ya. Rockstar. Guess it serves me right for giving the Verbzilla a bad review. 

Splendid. (If you cut out the whole part about the Line 6 pedal and the Orlando Bloom with less clothing than I care to think about part.)

P.S. Oh, and I know there’s a bunch of you out there who dig the Verbzilla and get great tone out of it. Just don’t think of the review……think of Orlando with his shirt off…wait, that’s not going to work either. Okay. Just please accept my apologies and prove me wrong with some stellar demos! :) And of course, I’m sure I’ve got some gear that you can’t stand, either. hehe

35 thoughts on “Line 6 Verbzilla Review…Sort Of

  1. I think the proper way to state this whole conundrum is:

    “its a fabulous pedal, but my rig just did not get along with it!”

    I blame the Prairiewood.

  2. I agree with Larry about the Prairiewood.

    I would also like to add that your review of the Verbzilla clearly reveals that you don’t love Jesus and are a bad person.

  3. Did you separate the verbzilla before your drives? I think from what I’ve heard that’s the trick to really get everything out of the “octo” setting. Every demo I”ve seen of “shimmer” maintains that you have to split your signal and maintain a dry signal into it and then hit your delays…but you probably know all that already 😉 lol
    I just picked up an M13…I returned the new DD20 and power supply i had picked up to start to build a pedal plateform and could get the M13 for the price of 2 pedals. So far I love it, but don’t have a real amp to run through yet. I think the Octo on the M13 won’t work right cause it isn’t independent of the drives.
    Also, you O.Bloom stuff scares me :)

  4. Don’t fear the blogosphere, the pedal sucks, stick to your opinion :) Actually, I don’t have an opinion on the pedal specifically, just verb in general. I used to always leave a little reverb on in my rig to smooth everything out. But then I started to like the little nuances of everything and turned the verb off so they came through more clearly. Now I don’t have verb on my board but I plug in the sole-mate (verb) when I play bluesy stuff, which isn’t that often.

  5. My old Princeton is of the – ain’t got no reverb but really likes most every pedal that I’ve ever put into it except Danelectro’s because it’s kind of a snob – type. I must have tried every verb pedal out there. Line 6, Little Lanalei, Electro-Harmonix,Danelectro, (Which turned the Princeton’s red power light an off yellow.) blah, blah, blah. I use reverb as more of thickener than an outright effect. So stuff that you were looking at with the Line6 were just wasted settings for me. I ended up getting an old Fender tube reverb from my cousin for fixing and upgrading his PC. It will do pretty much anything that I’m looking for in a verb. It also sounds pretty cool when you kick it hard. The whole wrath of God kinda thing.

    That was my O. Bloom search….kidding, kidding, just kidding!

  6. Larry–lol My mistake.

    Jeff–I’ve always suspected that Line 6 pedals were tied in to Christianity somehow. Now I know! That must be why so many worship players have them on their boards. 😉 hehe

    Steven–that’s a great point. But yes, I demo’d it completely independent of my drives. However, I did think that perhaps it would work to run an aby box as my first pedal in the chain, and then send one signal to the Verbzilla and then into a really, really dry amp…probably something with a solid state rectifier. That way my regular tone is untouched, and then there’s a dryer ‘shimmer’ underneath everything. But, selling the Verbzilla and starting to look for a POG has proved to be much cheaper. :) We’ll see how that turns out. So, if you got an M13 (congrats, by the way), you don’t still need me to hold the Verbzilla, do you? I’ll probably put it on ebay tonight. :)

    Matt–good point! That’s the one way I did use it live for a couple services…on my acoustic on the octo setting at a low mix. I also saw Kevin Max’s guitarist do this, and it sounded really good. It definitely seemed to work better on acoustic then in my rig.

    Mike–thank you!! Sweet, it’s nice to know someone’s in my corner. lol And I totally agree with you. I need my reverb to either be incredibly warm and deep, or I need it to be so digitally that I’m just using it for the weird artifacts. But I’m doing the same thing right now…no reverb on at any time, except like you said, if a blues or surf vibe is needed, I’ll turn up the reverb on one of the Hollands.

    Thanks, Mike! Sticking to my guns. lol 😉

    Mark–yep, definitely as a thickener. Great point. Also, two things: I love that your amp is snobbish (lol), and your Orlando Bloom comment cracked me up. haha :)

  7. @ Karl – probably don’t need the Zilla…sorry I didn’t respond, it’s been a crazy week. Although I don’t think using Octo on the M13 is very useful, for the very same reason you mentioned, it really needs to be in it’s own chain. I think to really make it work I’ll need to get a Verbzilla and then split my signal to it and run it to a dry amp, then use the M13 for everything else….anyone know a way to use Octo on the M13 in conjunction with other effects?

  8. Oh yeah, I am having a blast with the M13. I realize it’s not a “real” pedal set-up, but for someone like me coming from a X3L, this is stupid simple to use (no menus!!! :)) and is the most fun I’ve had playing in awhlie. I’m still not sold on the drives (may keep my Zendrive) but the delays are/boosts, mods are very nice. For the price, it’s the best way to build up a decent set-up (IMHO). Now I just gotta decide on an amp 😉

  9. sorry, type faster than my brain works…

    how would a POG be cheaper? I bet the octave effect would sound better, but wouldn’t you need some reverb effect as well to get “shimmer” :)…my wife has been making fun of constantly since I’ve been on my search for “shimmer”…she likes it when I say it :) lol

  10. Those wordpress search terms crack me up. Orlando was pretty good in Elizabethtown.
    I’m starting a thread on TGP called Cork sniffing worship guitarists giving the Verbzilla a bad rap? :)
    At my last show, this guitarist gave me a funny look.
    The Line 6 is for sissies look.
    I looked at his pedalboard and thought: 1996 called and it wants its OD pedal back. Are you making your AC-15 sound that small on purpose? :)

    I had a Verbzilla for a couple days last year but I returned it. I put it last in my chain and it dulled the tone. I already have reverb on my amps so I was just going to use it for the octo.
    I just did the 1.07 firmware update on my M13 and they fixed the crackle in the octo. I give the worship pastor a funny look if he asks for the Phil Wickham wash sound.

    @stevenbruce – I chatted with you a little on Karl’s streaming clinic. Congrats on the M13. Did you download the advanced manual? It has a section that explains how to do a wet/dry setup that may accomplish what you’re looking to do. My friend just got a M13 so I sent him my sysex file (midi backed up scenes) so I wouldn’t have to type out all of my settings for him. The 1.07 firmware update is worth doing for the fixed octo, true bypass trails fix, scene assignable bpm, and scene assignable fx loop settings.

  11. Steven–no worries on the Verbzilla :) And I’m stoked you’re liking the M13. It totally surprised me at that Workshop night with its modulations. Maybe keep the Zen, hehe, but the effects part sounded great. And definitely check Dan’s comment on the way to run it wet/dry. :) I don’t have one, but what he said sounds like it might work!

    And no, getting a POG and a reverb pedal isn’t cheaper than a Verbzilla; but assuming it doesn’t mess with my dry signal,a nd assuming it sounds good in my rig, than it would be cheaper than having to buy an aby box and a whole ‘nother amp to run just the Verbzilla through. Although, the more amps, the cooler you are. hehe :)

    Dan–lol I’m so going to post in that thread, and pretend I’m not one of them. hehe And lol at the 1996 thing! Does it sound like Smashing Pumpkins? What’s he using?

    Totally hear you on the Phil Wickham thing. The octo idea is perfect for that intro. Thanks for the info on the M13, too. I have thought more than a few times about turning in all my mod pedals and getting that. But……we’ll see.

    Kenrick–absolutely not. 😉

    Watch, this time next year, I’ll have like, 4 Line 6 pedals on my board. haha

  12. “Watch, this time next year, I’ll have like, 4 Line 6 pedals on my board. haha”

    Now, that would be spendid! lol
    Seriously, as a good Christian you should do it…sell all your mod and feed small hungry children, take your wife on a super date and still have enough money for an M13 😉

  13. Steven–Oh. Well if you put it that way. I was going to buy more guitars with the extra money…but…uh, ya! Your ideas sound good, too! 😉 hehe

    Jonathan–you know, I got one a couple weeks ago in a package deal; and I was totally planning on filming a demo review of it, but it sold way quicker than I thought it would, and I never got around to it. But I actually really like the Echo Park. If you don’t mind it converting your dry signal to digital (which most people don’t mind), it’s probably the best sounding and most versatile delay under $150. I have always been very impressed by it.

    I’ll try to come across another one and demo it…it’s on my list. :)

  14. I played with an echo park for a while. I needed something with presets so I got an eventide timefactor. The echo park is definitely worth if you currently don’t have anything for dotted eighths and for the price.

    But with that said, the timefactor sounds much better.

  15. Oh, and the built-in tap tempo is a great feature for the price as well. You can probably pick one up used for about $65 on the bay.

  16. Karl and others, thanks for the thoughts on the Echo Park. I’m still a novice on how to really use delay (I have a DD-5) and tube amps for that matter (I’ve had my Mesa for a couple months) so I don’t have great feel for the difference in sound between a dry and digital signal…yet. :)

  17. Ryan–great comments. For the price, that Echo Park is amazing. Great name, too, for those of us who like to gear shop in LA. :)

    Jonathan–I’d totally suggest the Echo Park then. It’ll give you a great feel for what delay can do, and in my humble opinion, it’ll be much better functionally than the DD5. And they’re so cheap right now used (for some reason), you can totally pick one up, and then in the future just resell it if you decide you need something more. :) Anyway, the Echo Park is my definite favorite for an inexpensive delay.

  18. Awesome! Thanks for the advice…especially regarding delay. I definitely need the help and I kinda get the drift that you think it is sorta important for a guitarist’s rig. :)

  19. The OD was a blue FD2. Dunno if it had the alien head drawing inside or not :) I so like the FD2 and one of my favorite bands, Idaho, uses it along with the big muff for most of their dirty sounds. I guess the FD2 is not considered as cool as what everyone has moved on to (Tim, Eternity, Zendrive, Screwdriver etc.).

  20. I really want an Axe-Fx. Really bad. This obviously doesn’t have anything to do with the post, but sometimes you just have to get it out!

  21. Been keeping up with this blog for awhile, but never had anything to contribute…just wanna say thanks for the awesome mix of humor, seriousness, and general “guitar stuff” that any worship musician can really appreciate!

    This Echo Park thing brings up a question for me…would you say that the Echo Park is the delay pedal to start with if I was looking to get started in the world of delay and elec-playing in general? I’ve played and led with acoustic plenty, but am really considering elec. these days…

    And is eBay the way to go to hunt for the best price?

  22. James – have you tried one? My buddy just sold his Ultra after one year. I got to hear it through a powered monitor and through IEMs and it sounds awesome (POD XT Live sounds grainy and fizzy to me). In the end, he got frustrated with digital clipping and the random changes to his presets after he updated the firmware each time. I think he should have kept it just for the effects – the routing capabilities are insane.

  23. Jonathan–No problem, brother. And ya…hehe…I’m kind of like delay. 😉

    Dan–I really like the Fulldrive, too! But I thought you had said in your first comment that it was making his AC15 sound small? Or did I misread that?

    James–haha I’ve never tried one, but it goes against every tone theory I have. Nonetheless, some guitarists I really respect absolutely love theirs, so who knows? It could be rad and I could be (*gasp*) wrong. hehe

    Paul–well, first off, great to have you here! And glad you’re making some sense out of all the ramblings. :) Yes, I would totally say the Echo Park is the way to go to get into delay. It has everything you’d ever need except for presets, and it sounds surprisingly good, too. I know a few excellent guitarists who still use it as their main delay.

    And e-bay has some good prices on them from time to time, as well as The Gear Page. I think I got one on there for right around $50 one time. :)

    Dan–well, your comment was for James, but I read it anyway. 😉 May have to look into the Axe.

  24. Dan, I haven’t, but I love the YouTube clips, and I love the U2 sounds people are getting with it. How did you think the amp sims did? Does the AC30 do well?

    I still have my board (Turbo Tuner, Tim, Zendrive, Timeline, Radical Red Reverb, RC-20), but I can’t turn the master on my 15 watt amp past 1 in our sanctuary, and halving it isn’t much quieter. Our sanctuary acoustics are LIVE. Maple stage, brick walls, linoleum floor.

    It also sounds like a great solution for portability to be honest. My board, a rack case, and my guitar would be much nicer than loading up the car four times a week (to and from rehearsal and church).

  25. Karl – Sorry for the confusion – his amp sounded small but it wasn’t because of the FD2. Maybe it was bad tubes, or power, or gremlins. :) They have the Axe-Fx at Tone Merchants.

    James – the amp sims sounded good to me but I didn’t get a chance to plug in myself. The good and frustrating part is that you can tweak so many parameters to get it to sound exactly like what you want it to sound like or drive yourself crazy chasing that one tone. The sound guys at this church also worked with him to make sure that he was happy with the sound in the house. I can’t think of a better solution for direct in, low stage volume situations. I agree with you on the portability and would consider it if they came out with floorpedal version or could find a cheap Standard to put into a rackbag.

  26. Dan, thanks for that. It makes me feel better about going for one of these. I need to move some things in order to make it happen. I didn’t even know rack bags existed. I’ll be the soft/hard bag king, lol. Board is in one, strat is in one, and the rack will have one. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to use the phrase, “my rack.”

  27. Well if Paul can do it… Thought I should intro myself too

    I have been reading here “for free” for a few weeks now, without commenting… so that can now stop!

    I have been enjoying my introduction to “tone snobbery” – not a bad thing! It has inspired me to think a little more about the settings I use and why I use them in worship. Not that I have great gear but it does give some great sound IMO.

    Anyway Karl, thanks again for the blog – particularly the posts about worship leading/guitar work. I dont think I will ever have the cash to try all the pedals featured on these pages but its nice to look!

  28. Dan–Gotcha. :)

    James–you and Dan are talking, and I’m out of my element. Just didn’t want you to feel ignored. 😉

    Cam–welcome!! It’s great to have you here! And ya, overall the gear is all secondary; and you can get some great tones from decently priced gear…I do hope to do some more demo’s of some of that stuff in the future.

    But I’m glad you’re enjoying it, and it’s great to hear from you! Feel free to comment anywhere, and to let me know when I’m wrong. 😉 hehe

  29. I recently purchased a verbzilla and I loved it at first. like the first two sessions. that octo setting was great but then I woke up and realized that I am not The Edge. even though I love U2 (fav band of all time and then some) outside of using lots of tasty delay, I don’t really try to sound like the Edge. it was kind of an impulse purchase based on my “need” for the beloved shimmer effect. then I played a couple sundays with my shimmer and it just didn’t work for me. I’m actually thinking about selling the verbzilla and not filling in the reverb shaped hole in my pedalboard. I have an mxr carbon copy that i set more for ambient sounds then rhythmic delays and it fills the reverb role quite well. and to be honest, I could always use another delay pedal. especially since delay pleases the lord more than reverb.

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