The Valco FX Five-0 was conceived as “Dick Dale in a box.” Offering overdrive, reverb, and tremolo – each with its own on/off footswitch – it’s a multi-effects unit without a learning curve.
With Reverb, you can tweak the Size (duration of the tail), as well as Blend to mix in your dry guitar sound to taste. The Pre button sends signal back to the front of the unit (before the Drive section), offering a different tonal palette; in short, the reverb isn’t affected by overdrive or tremolo.
Tremolo delivers a range of wavy, swooshy sounds. The Rate and Depth knobs are obvious, but Shape lets you pick out four flavors that expand your trem choices (Sine, Triangle, Square, and Short Square). The dirty section, derived from the Valco Bloodbuzz, provides tone, output volume, and that all-important Drive knob. Ramp up the reverb and choose the tremolo shape of your choice for wet-on-wet twangin’. You can also dial in Drive to dirty it up, getting everything from “Miserlou” skank to Haight-Asbury hallucinations.
Instead of being a one-trick pony, the Valco FX Five-0 is a three-in-one unit full of sonic goodies Anyone who digs surf, psychedelia, or lo-fi garage rock will dig the dangerous tones within this blissfully simple stompbox.
This article originally appeared in VG’s May 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.