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Cool Cat Fuzz: . . . a clone of ?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by PeteMac, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. PeteMac

    PeteMac Friend of Leo's

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    G'day guys.

    Just picked up a Dano CC Fuzz today, cheap, at a pawn store.
    I just got another fuzz, the M.I. Effects G.I. Fuzz, a couple of weeks ago and, as these are my very first fuzz units, have been studying all things fuzzy ever since.

    I have struggled a bit with the M.I. sound, but have found some great settings.
    I love the CC already . . . that's the sound I was after !

    So now I'm wondering where the Cool Cat fits in the landscape of fuzz sounds, and what its roots are ?

    ( I did a forum search, but couldn't readily find what I was after.)

    Cheers.
     
  2. smoss469

    smoss469 Tele-Afflicted

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    Supposedly V1 is a clone of the Frantone Peach Fuzz.
     
  3. vjf1968

    vjf1968 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1.

    IIRC when Fran was working a Electro Harmonix she designed (or redesigned) the NYC made Big Muff circuit. I am pretty sure 11 Gauge could give more info.

    I do remember (a long time ago) when Fran's band The Mysterons opened for a local band The Omegamen. John Snipes (guitarist for The Omegamen) had a Peach Fuzz and he told me after he removed a few components it basically became a Big Muff.
     
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  5. bossking7

    bossking7 Tele-Afflicted

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    The V1 has a great fuzz sound. But the V2 is awful. It's more of a metal distortion, it's fizzy, hi gain and overall bad sounding. The inner controls do help make it more "fuzzy" though.
     
  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

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    I remember in a TGP thread a few years back (when the CC Fuzz V.1 had been out maybe a year) that a poster owned both the Dano and a PeachFuzz and said they sounded identical.

    I bought one of these (along with the Dano TOD and Dano Drive, V.1's, all around the same time...) and gave the Fuzz to a buddy as an X-Mas gift-I should have bought another, before they stopped making the V.1's
     
  7. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

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    I remember in a TGP thread a few years back (when the CC Fuzz V.1 had been out maybe a year) that a poster owned both the Dano and a PeachFuzz and said they sounded identical.

    I bought one of these (along with the Dano TOD and Dano Drive, V.1's, all around the same time...) and gave the Fuzz to a buddy as an X-Mas gift-I should have bought another, before they stopped making the V.1's

    edit: did not know I double posted- lo siento!;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  8. smoss469

    smoss469 Tele-Afflicted

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    I still have my V1, Haven't used it in a while. Right now I've got just 1 fuzz on 2 boards (ran out of space, need more patch cables). I loves me some fuzz though!
     
  9. bawdyli'lmonkey

    bawdyli'lmonkey Tele-Holic

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    can't tell ya what the v2 is, other than for certain styles I love it! played in a group this summer where I used the v2 fuzz and drive in tandem, we did this kinda Green Day sounding song called and I had just the right grind... kind of swollen pickle style hard edged fuzz instead of wool-laden muff style, but I haven't used it since.
     
  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, it's a Frantone Peach Fuzz.

    Here is a YouTube video comparing the two.


    The cool thing is that the Peach Fuzz has an unorthodox design - it doesn't have a "traditional" transistorized circuit. The main source of all that madness is actually a small power amp chip. The chip was typically just something that the DIY crowd played around with for years - there's something called the Smash Drive that used that odd chip.

    ...The Lovepedal Purple Plexi/Provalve/etc. use the same power amp chip, as does the Sonic Titan by D*A*M, as does some pedal that was inspired by Dimebag Darrell's tone, or something like that (Krank amps made it).

    ...But TTBOMK, Fran actually designed an entirely "more elaborate" circuit around the power amp chip - it is actually driven by at least one gain stage prior to it (which I think is an op amp chip and clearly not "traditional" transistor design, either).

    The circuit for the Purple Plexi/Sonic Titan/etc. are so sparse that it is almost ridiculous - the power amp chip truly is about as "homebrew DIY" in its roots as they come. You can still get the chip at most Radio Shack stores (that still carry stuff other than iPhones or flat screen TV's), which was the whole idea behind it. Just very odd that there are designs that don't elaborate that much from the crude basics.

    ...EXCEPT FOR the Peach Fuzz (and Dano's V1 "lift" of it).

    Something to keep in mind with a fuzz pedal and mass production is that it REALLY helps if it doesn't use transistors. Even though there are SMT variants of lots of silicon types of transistors, there is absolutely no effort on the part of semiconductor companies to replicate anything obsolete that might be preferred in an effect pedal. Germanium is obviously out of the question.

    And - many of the really old fuzzes work off the principle of having a "wrong" or "not so great" input impedance. The Fuzz Face and Tonebender are the extreme examples, but even a Big Muff has a relatively low one, too. So what's the deal with that? Well, many mass produced pedals don't use true bypass or even mechanical bypass, and that simply won't fly with a Fuzz Face (without some hard core tweaking and "performance compromises").

    ...Enter something like the Peach Fuzz, and Dano was tempted to the nth degree. Considering that the Timmy and OCD are also very basic chip oriented designs, it was easy to press them into production on the cheap.

    I'm surprised that big pedal companies haven't taken the late 70's op amp Big Muff and tailored that for numbers in the thousands, especially after finding out that Billy Corgan used one exclusively for those super popular Smashing Pumpkins albums. There's no denying that droning/buzzing sound that so many youngsters would absolutely love in a $30 - $60 package.

    But my hat is off to Frantone for coming up with a non-transistor fuzz variation. And Dano was cunning to replicate it.
     
  11. smoss469

    smoss469 Tele-Afflicted

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    Send your post to Biyang, Joyo and others and make a V4 Op-Amp Muff happen!!
     
  12. PeteMac

    PeteMac Friend of Leo's

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    Excellent info; thanks all.


    Now . . . how do I tell if it's a v. 1 or 2 ???
     
  13. smoss469

    smoss469 Tele-Afflicted

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    V1
    [​IMG]

    V2
    [​IMG]

    Pretty easy ;)
     
  14. PeteMac

    PeteMac Friend of Leo's

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    Ahhh . . . score ! . . . I got vers. 1 .


    Thanks muchly.
     
  15. Axis29

    Axis29 Friend of Leo's

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    So v2 is huge? Much bigger than v1? LOL

    Sorry couldn't resist.


    I really just wanted to thank 11Guage again for his incredible font of knowledge and willingness to share it.

    I have one of the V1's and use it sparingly... but it does an awesome job at replicating the Zep I tones... It does it scary good! I have seen a few comparisons and one that made it seem like a completely different pedal than the Peach Fuzz. Weird. Anyway, it was a fun 30 bucks, even if it doesn't get used all the time.
     
  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Poster Extraordinaire

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    That is the really cool thing about its unorthodox design - there is some versatility there that you can't always get with a lot of fuzzes, in particular silicon fuzzes.

    Since it doesn't "fit a traditional" transistorized fuzz mold, it really is capable of many things. It might take something like what happened with the (former "mutt pedigree") op amp Big Muff to happen before folks really begin to notice.

    That is the potential of this power amp chip (it's called a LM386 if you want to Google about it). It was designed for actual audio output - like 2 to 3 watts. IIRC, the Smoky amp by Zinky uses it. There are also a few DIY type amps (one is called the Ruby) that uses it. But the original intention was for something like (add-on) computer speakers.

    ...But using the LM386 for PREamp purposes in a pedal was kind of crazy proposition with the Smash Drive (this was back in the late 80's/early 90's).

    And it took someone like Fran to re-work it to sound (IMO) REALLY cool.

    I think that is what partially "sunk" Frantone, but was the big payoff for Dano. Guitarists like things that are familiar, and the Peach Fuzz was (is) obviously a little left of center. So spending time to figure out all sorts of applications for it can be tough. At 30 beans, it can go on the shelf and come off it, as needed.

    It's a shame Fran had to close her doors. IDK what she is doing now, but if it is at all pedal related, that is cool. If you ever get a chance to play The Sweet, it could be a fun experience. It is kind of a Muff variation that uses germanium transistors for the two "clipping stages." But Fran didn't stop there, because the other two transistors are rather unusual, and some smart minds have had trouble trying to figure out what the deal is (i.e. LOCATING) the "4th" transistor, which recovers the signal after the tone stack. And - the tone stack is a bit different from your typical Muff, too.

    ...The Sweet is kind of "application specific" too, unfortunately. And the germ transistors seem to add a bit of noise, and restrict what the fuzz control is capable of after a certain point. But it really has some neat sounds, and Dano won't be able to replicate that one, because of the germ trannies (unless they could figure out how to use something like is in the new Bonamassa Fuzz Face).

    I was really expecting Behringer to do this one. And I expected it for two reasons:

    1. They had already cloned the transistor Muff with their Vintage Distortion

    2. The EHX NYC RI's used "incorrect" Schottky barrier diodes for the clipping dioes for awhile (although the latest RI's have the original ones). There is another type of Schottky diode that is very similar to the germanium 1N34A that the EHX op amp fuzz uses six of. So Behringer (or Joyo, etc.) could use those. IDK if there is a germanium diode that is lead free, so all of these mass production companies would have to find a modern equivalent. And with the Schottky's, they could use SMT if they wanted. Even the "through hole" Schottky's would work okay.

    ...There (IMO) needs to be an affordable op amp fuzz clone, IMO. I know that someone makes one called the ICBM, but I think it's kind of pricey IIRC.
     
  17. smoss469

    smoss469 Tele-Afflicted

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    Matt at Stomp Under Foot makes one for I think $160 + Shipping. It's called, oddly enough the Pumpkin Pi :grin:
     
  18. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Friend of Leo's

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    +1, and YES, the V1 Cool Cat Fuzz pedal is a Frantone Peach Fuzz clone.
     
  19. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Poster Extraordinaire

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    I figured he was working on one. I know he was intrigued by all the subtleties (and not so subtle things) with all the Big Muff variations. We both liked to disagree about the effect (or lack of) transistor gain in respect to the the Muff's specific configurations.

    I also know that he was working on a Small Stone clone (this was over a year ago or so). Since Billy Corgan came clean with the particulars of his Muff, I know that Matt was really into that. Matt and Kit Rae (sp?) seem to know each other in more than just an acquaintance sort of fashion, and other than Pink Floyd/Glimour, Pumkins/Corgan "tone assimilation" seems to be his thing.

    People complain that the op amp Muffs are kind of grainy and gritty, yet TTBOMK no one has really played with the op amps, diodes, or tone stack, all of which IMO are a little odd. Especially by today's standards, the combo of 4558 and 741 seem like they could be finessed a bit, and that's without even doinking with clipping diodes or other facets of the op amp Muff design. I guess more builders like Matt will get there eventually. I was planning on just picking up an original op amp Muff for cheap, but thanks to Corgan, they are now worth a fortune instead of the $25 that he paid for his out of the "pedal junk pile." :D
     
  20. audiohatemchine

    audiohatemchine Tele-Holic

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    Ooh I have one of those. :mrgreen:
    Yeah yeah, guilty as charged... But I like it. ;)
     
  21. smoss469

    smoss469 Tele-Afflicted

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    I think he's had it out for a few months now. I keep looking at it, but have yet to buy one. Maybe after Christmas the urge will strike me ;)
     
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