Fuzz Face clones?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Keefsdad, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Keefsdad

    Keefsdad Tele-Meister

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    I like Philip Sayce and his Fuzz Face tones, are there any cheap clones that anyone would recommend?
     
  2. Keefsdad

    Keefsdad Tele-Meister

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    Or any decent affordable fuzz really, i don't have one.
     
  3. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    The Dunlop mini Fuzz Faces are totally legit, and can be had inexpensively on the used market. The Little Bear BS1 is a Zvex Wooly Mammoth clone (which itself a modified Fuzz Face) that can be had for under $50 on eBay- I have fuzzes that cost much, much more and this thing totally hangs with them. If you want to spend a few more bucks the Fulltone '69 (germanium) and '70 (silicon) can both be found regularly used.

    If you've never experienced a germanium fuzz face, read up on them before you plug in, otherwise you'll be disappointed until you figure out how to make the thing not sound like crap.
     
  4. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

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    There are probably dozens of cheap options.
    I bought a dano French toast for my first fuzz in many years,
    Loved it, and started hunting for more.

    Common sense kicked in before I started buying though,
    I bought a bunch of parts and started building instead.

    I’ve made clones of anything that looked interesting to me,
    And was able to tweak as I went to my preference.

    So I can’t really give any advice on commercial pedals.

    The fuzz face that worked for me is a germanium version,
    Bought the transistors from small bear.
    Added a pre gain pot so it can sit after a wah nicely,
    And a bias pot so it sounds right in any environment.

    I actually splurged on that project, as a bday present to myself.
    I think it cost me 35$ all told.

    There are so many fuzzes,
    I realized I’d want to try them all,
    With a box of parts and a breadboard I can pretty much do that.

    It’s liberating lol.
     
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  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    I love germanium fuzz, unfortunately my large dunlop fuzz face crapped out after plugging into it the wrong way round because the jacks are reversed. Not sure why that would damage it but it never worked again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm developing a dangerous fuzz habit.
    Nothing further your honor.

    How many do I have?
    I refuse to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.

    Are germanium fuzzz unstable?
    Yes they are.
    Does a user accessible bias control help?
    Yes it does.
    Is it more expensive?
    Yes it is.
    How about some way to control the amount of bass?
    Very helpful unless you only have one guitar, one amp, and one room.
    Do you need a tone control?
    No but sometimes you might want one.
    Is ge really better than si?
    Absolutely! But both are cool.
    Is a Muff a fuzz?
    No.
    When did you last purchase a fuzz?
    12 hours ago.

    How many do I have?
    See above.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Plugging what into it?
    Power supply, amp or guitar?
    Those don't die that easily?
    With upspeak!
     
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  8. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    I just plugged my guitar into it. Think I plugged pedals after it which would have been before it seeing as I got it wrong. No idea why it stopped working after that. The pickups were not active. It's been sitting in a drawer for around 9 years now. It didn't have a power input, batteries only.

    I ordered a new multimeter the other day for something else, when it arrives I will have to see if I can work out what's wrong with it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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  9. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    Basically the original Fuzz Face is an early Tonebender ripoff(which was a Maestro ripoff). All three pedals are 2 transistor fuzz pedals. In general I prefer the Fuzz Face over most Tonebender circuits. The Tonebender Mk I and Mk 1.5 are a bit too mushy for my taste until the Mk II or Mk III versions(like a Marshall Supa Fuzz-those are killer). For a clone I would point you towards for a FoxRox CC Hybrid or Hot Silicon fuzzes which are both great sounding variations of the Fuzz Face. Dave Fox used to make them in the early 80's for Dallas Arbiter when he worked at Crest Audio and found some unused Fuzz Face boxes. He is a total Hendrix freak and nails that sound of fuzz perfectly. They both sound great for single coil or humbuckers. They both clean up perfectly with volume backed off.

    My favorite all time fuzz pedals are the Foxx Tone Machine, Roland Bee Baa and early Shin-Ei FY-2(another Maestro Fuzztone type, but way bigger sounding), but I could go with one of the FoxRox FF pedals with no problem. Another one to look for is the Roger Mayer Classic Fuzz which is based on the Roger Mayer modded FF that he created for Hendrix during the Are You Experienced era. I prefer the Axis Fuzz, but the Classic is simply a great FF based pedal. I have no personal experience with the Analogman Sun Face, but many people claim they are the best of the FF clones. I own way too many fuzz pedals, but addictions die hard. Another variation on the 2 transistor fuzz is the Mosrite Fuzzrite. That is also a worthy fuzz topology to explore. My suggestion would be to go to a local store that stocks pedals and try a few out. Fuzz comes down to personal taste, so you should find the pedal that fits your voice.
     
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  10. Keefsdad

    Keefsdad Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I am on a really low budget, I noticed Caline makes 2 or 3 fuzzes, has anyone tried them?
     
  11. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Tom'sline/Aroma G-Fuzz for germanium goodness. A poster on another forum took one apart and confirmed it is a Germanium device. Olde Skool noise at a price anyone can afford. I quite like mine.
    Rowin LEF-606. Great sounding, very flexible device. Anything from subtle, through velvet to all out noise. Perhaps my favourite fuzz.
    Behringer VT911, -not- the VT999. The VT911 is meant to be an overdrive, but it excels at 'Stooges' tones when the gain is cranked. It makes for a poor overdrive, but a wonderfully skronky fuzz-box.
    Joyo Voodoo Octave Fuzz. The octave function is a little, well, err, umm...But the fuzz side of it is nicely broken.

    The Far Eastern mini-pedals cost peanuts and sound just fine.

    Build one!. They're a simple circuit. While it is fun building your own, I found that by the time I bought the enclosure, sockets, knobs et al, it was cheaper to buy the Rowin.
     
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  12. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I like the BBE Windowpane. It's a Silicon Fuzz Face clone. I don't know if they still make them. I use the volume control on my tele a ton with this pedal - almost max out the fuzz pedal, back off a tad on guitar to clean up into a gritty overdrive. Then turn the tele volume knob up all the way for sonic laser blast.

    I don't know anything about circuit design, but I have heard that a lot of the sound depends on how the transistors are biased?

    Re: Caline - I would have guessed the 3-knob puffer fuzz would be a Big Muff clone, but this website says it's a FF clone somehow? I don't know how it can really be a FF with a tone knob but if it sounds good who cares:
    http://guitarefx.blogspot.com/2015/07/caline-pedal-clone-list.html

    The Caline Fuzzy Bear is a 2-knob fuzz, supposedly Germanium, but who knows. For $30 I guess it's worth a try?

    [​IMG]
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Just googled Sayce, nice sounds.

    IMO if you're looking for that sort of FF sound, you need to spend a little more than the bottom price range.
    For one, Sayce sounds like a good germanium FF, and his sound is IMO worlds away from a silicon FF sound.
    If you're going to spend a little money on what you want right now, you won't get what you want.

    I was thinking MJM London Fuzz for a fair priced FF but the used prices are up now, last winter I saw them go for under $100.

    IMO your best gamble would be buying a newer small shop FF clone, and some of those guys are in Russia. I have not tried any but I buy and prefer small builders in the US, when they are getting started they generally offer $60- $70 pedals that are very good.

    As you probably know, germanium transistors have not been made in decades, and the ge sound only comes from ge. Plenty of old stock in Russia, that's what goes in for example the Zvex Fuzz Factory made in China, which is a fine pedal and will get that sound but requires tweaking.

    The thing with a FF that requires tweaking is that old ge transistors sound different at different temperatures. Some builders will use very stable transistors and bias them perfectly for a good operating range, but a bias control on the pedal is a very helpful addition.
    IME what @Obelisk said about FF sounding "too mushy" is what they sound like when not perfectly biased, or when it's too warm or cold.

    My MJM London will rip your face off or go all creamy on a good day, but turns mushy on other days, and I wonder why I even bothered to plug it in.
    It's a very early build and I'm not sure if later ones are more temperature stable.

    A used Fuzz Factory is just over $100, if you can deal with the tweaking.

    Maybe a Mojo Hand Huckleberry, though they renamed it something else. Used ones are around and they are very good, IIRC a ge Fuzz Face with an added tone control and a bass control as well. Less known as a FF so sometimes cheap used.

    Take a little time in the hunt and you'll have a better chance of actually getting what you're looking for!
     
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  14. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    The Danelectro French Toast is a Foxx Tone Machine copy- you can buy 'em new for about $30 and they sound great... if you like that trebly, buzzsaw fuzz tone anyway.
     
  15. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Mooer clones perhaps?

     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's a demo of the Huckleberry V2, they came in different graphics but every four knob was a V2. Never tried the earlier three knob.

    It is hybrid with both Si and Ge transistors, and is claimed to be more stable than straight Ge. Many demos rae the typical "lets see how buzzy we can make this pedal sound", but the OP's target sound doesn't seem to be buzzsaw. Have to listen for the sections of a demo where less buzz is featured.

    I don't consider these to be the ultimate FF clone, but they are very good for less money than most "good" Fuzz Faces. It does have an internal bias trim pot, but I seldom adjust it. Something like a Fuzz Factory or a Sun Face has probably more range to the pot for velcro effects etc, where this one is more to keep bias "correct".



    Here's a used on on Reverb for $70

    https://reverb.com/item/20430135-mojo-hand-fx-huckleberry
     
  17. kevsonic

    kevsonic Tele-Meister

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  18. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I like the Dunlop mini Fuzz Faces. They are well built, look cool, accept modern power supplies, and are relatively pedalboard-friendly in terms of size. They come in a variety of voicings; the blue silicon version is my favorite and the one FF I own.
     
  19. JBFatFingers

    JBFatFingers Tele-Meister

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    Anybody tried the new mini version of the MXR Classic 108? Sounds good in the demos.

     
  20. J-Flanders

    J-Flanders TDPRI Member

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    On my large dunlop fuzz face, the original owner unscrewed the jacks and switched them on the inside. Now the input is on the right and the output is on the left, like on modern pedals, but now the labels (input and output) on the pedal are wrong...

    I always forget about that when I take it for a spin after it has been sitting in the pedals drawer for a couple of weeks or months.
    Each time I think it's broke, hmm, wtf, scratching my head how that is even possible, but then I remember...and plug my guitar in the 'output' jack.

    So, maybe a long shot, but could this be the same thing happening to you? Try a fresh battery and plug the guitar in the output jack.

    While you're in for the battery, check for loose wires, in case it neither works in active or bypassed mode.

    Also, those board mounted carling footswitches start to fail over time, mine sometimes needs a couple of stomps to get it working.
     
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