Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

~FUZZMAN~ Fuzzface clone

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by jjmantele, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. jjmantele

    jjmantele Tele-Holic

    Aug 23, 2003
    New Jersey
    Picked up a Fuzzface clone kit from $75. It comes with both Germanium and Silicon transistors so you can mix and match. The earlier originals had the germanium and were positive-ground powered. That would be a problem in today's world of multiple pedal chains with a common power supply. The kit is negative-ground powered and the transistors appear to be the "negative" equivalents to the original PNP type.

    This model comes only with a PCB. Some of the others offer a PTP type board as an option. It comes with plastic mounts with double stick tape on them to mount the PCB to the back of the pots. I used velcro instead of the mounts for more clearance and removability.

    The hookup wire is stranded and (appropriately) thin gauged. I prefer and used solid core wire since it stays where you put it. The stranded wires were also damaged in a few places.

    The hole for the power input is located next to the signal input jack. That wouldn't work for me in my pedal row so I drilled a hole in the "Boss" location. I'll either plug the extra hole or use it for a tone control later.

    The washer for the top of the switch is nylon. I used a metal one since all that white doesn't look right. I'm gonna paint the white lines on the knobs gold too.

    The led bulb is not the same shape as the one pictured. It stood above the mounting ring substantially and I was concerned I would step on it even with the switch mounted up tall. It died at some point during installation anyway so I used a flush mount type assembly from Radio Shack.

    No schematic is included. All the directions are from their website since none come with the kit. The directions are pretty good but omit a few critical points. They mention how you should make sure you orient (mount) the transistors properly but they never say that the way to do that is to match the “pattern” of the pins to the socket. May be obvious but it should be mentioned. They tell you that the “technically” correct bias setting is about 4.5vdc but they don’t tell you were to measure it. I just checked all 3 terminals of #2 to determine which one was relevant to the bias setting. They also mention that the ideal setting is whatever sounds best.

    Using silicon in both locations produced an unstable noise machine. Even with the bias and fuzz control on coldest. I read somewhere that the 2nd one is where the fuzz comes from. Using germanium in both spots didn’t sound right during gentle strumming nor during the decay of volume. Bias changes had an affect but did not eliminate that problem. Using germanium in #1 and silicon in #2 made the fuzz very harsh and not musical. The only combo that sounds good was silicon #1 and germanium #2. This provides adequate volume going into #2 (from the higher output silicon in #1) and avoids the nasty bad distortion of a silicon unit in the #2 (fuzz) position.

    The bias adjustment has a major affect on compression with this setup. More voltage=more compression and earlier fuzz. The fuzz is already very early even with the fuzz pot on minimum. I set the bias to minimum to maximize the attack preservation. I have a compressor pedal when needed.

    I tested high-heat green paint on the bottom plate since I thought that would be a cool look. It says to NOT use primer with it so I didn’t. (Probably since primer wouldn’t like high heat.) The high-heat paint wiped right off the aluminum when I used naphtha to prepare it for a 2nd coat the next day. I switched to primer which worked fine. I used 220-330 sand paper 1st. I went with Duplicolor automotive royal blue metallic touch-up spray. About 4 coats. Then sticky back decals. Then 4 coats of the equivalent clear coat paint. Worked well

    I also have an old MXR Distortion+ a Boss SD-1 and a Boss DS-1. I don’t like the SD-1. The others sound great thru my small amps but none sound very good thru my SFDR. That’s why I was looking for something different. So far it’s hard to say if I’m gonna be satisfied with Fuzzman for the SFDR. I’m spoiled by the great over-driven tube tone of my small amps and it’s very “fuzzy” even with the bias and the fuzz setting on min. Backing off the volume works nicely to clean it up. I’ve read that the germaniums can have major “leakage” and that they can sound very different from one to the next. I may try to get some off ebay or something so I can experiment. I may also try a tone control. The treble is balanced but there is a nice diagram for a “mid scoop” type tone control on the site that might be cool. We’ll see. I’ll post a clip when my PC stops driving me crazy and I can record w/o fear of disaster. I’m not removing the MXR or the DS-1 from the board. Instead, I moved the delay which can sit on the amp or mount on the “remote” board I need to make for the tuner, delay, wireless and reverb units.

    Overall it’s certainly worth $75 and it’s always fun to build it yourself.



  2. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 4, 2003
    Thanks for the review.
    I've built BYOC's Screamer Clone and Digital Delay and have had great experiences.
    I'd like to build that fuzz pedal but have a Fulltone '69 pedal that I'm happy with.

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