Zachary Vex was once a recording engineer with his own 16-track studio, The Underground, at West 25th Street and Nicollet Avenue, until it folded in 1991. In 1995, he used his background in electrical engineering to invent a series of Minneapolis-made guitar pedals, the ZVEX series, which have caught on with ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Sheryl Crow and many other big names.
"They're definitely more creative than any standard marketed pedal," said Jeremy Tappero, an employee at Twin Town Guitars, 3400 Lyndale Ave. S., the only local shop where ZVEX pedals can be purchased. "The pedals only sound as good as the time you spend finding the sound."
Vex agrees that creativity was what he was shooting for when he started tinkering with the 12 hand-made, hand-painted models that make up the ZVEX series. "They're all kind of little fantasy experiments of mine," he said. "Sounds that I always wanted to have, or very crazy devices I always wanted to have as a guitar player that you just couldn't buy."
Where available: Twin Town Guitars, 3400 Lyndale Ave. S. (M-F, 10 a.m-7 p.m.; Sa, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Su, noon-5 p.m.)