Donner Stylish Fuzz...what is this thing?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by schenkadere, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    I’m not a fuzz expert by any means. I had a space for something and thought for $30 it would be fun to experiment.

    I had a Big Muff back in the 80’s and it didn’t sound anything like this. This has a spitty quality and the tone control seems to behave very differently depending where the “Bustain” is set.

    I read this was a Big Muff clone. I don’t know but to don’t think so. Anyone know?
     
  2. jddub440

    jddub440 Tele-Holic

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    With all the variety of Big Muff over the decades it's sort of tough to say for certain what a Big Muff should sound like....how well does it clean up with you volume knob??
    I believe one of Big Muff's claim to fame is that it doesn't really clean up too much at all!
     
  3. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    Ok. Lol. We hit one bullet point.

    Maybe I don’t have the right guitars. I have pretty high output humbuckers. Maybe that’s the problem? Or maybe my ears just don’t like fuzz.
     
  4. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

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    Big Muff Pi.
     
  5. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Are the pickups active? Or do you have a buffered pedal in front of this one?

    While a Big Muff isn't as bad with buffering in front of it as something like a Fuzz Face or Tonebender will be, it still has a relatively low input impedance. It's going to have more of the recognizable Big Muff sound and feel if you use passive pickups, and don't have buffers in front of it.
     
  6. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    6A61A99A-B454-429A-8B74-7E9FC07010FA.jpeg Passive Duncan pickups and no buffer. Maybe my recollection is off, l but I used it as my main distortion pedal back in the day so I don’t think so. I never remember the BM having a spitty quality. Maybe it’s just their own take on it?
     
  7. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    It must be, unless they did something like copy a Supa Tonebender, which is a Muff without the clipping diodes at the first distortion stage. Even then, IDK that it would be very spitty sounding.

    Does it sound mid-scooped at least? If not, I'm guessing they copied some other silicon transistor fuzz with a tone control.
     
  8. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    301247B8-AD91-4355-89A5-AEEB585EAD40.jpeg
    I had this, purchased brand new in like ‘82 or so what version is this? NYC I always thought it was called.
     
  9. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Holic

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    That’s funny, the Donner Stylish Fuzz is both my only Donner pedal and my only fuzz pedal. I disliked it enough that I haven’t tried more of either. To be fair though, I wasn’t sure if fuzz was going to be my thing, and that’s why I only paid $20 for the pedal. For all I know, I’d have been just as unhappy with a Big Muff.

    So all of that is to say, if you want to try a second one to make sure you didn’t just get a bad one, I’ll send it your way for cheap. ;)
     
  10. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    I’d say it’s mid scooped. Hard to tell at some points of the tone control since from noon down to zero is too dark and muffled to really use. There seems to be a small area between 11 and 1 o’clock that’s useable.
     
  11. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

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    Here’s a screenshot from the Cavan Project list of clones. They distinguish between the triangle big muff pi (the Donner stylish), regular big muff pi’s, big muffs (no pi), etcetera up and down the page. Not sure if all those variations really exist. Anyhow, fwiw:
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    The tone really seems to react differently depending on where the sustain is set. Like it tilts. Hard to describe.

    Like the tone on my Rt 66 808 side. Such an unusual tone control. Still haven’t figured it out. Sounds good at noon and that’s fine by me.
     
  13. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah. That was fun. Fuzz just ain’t my bag baby. Good bye.
     
  14. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Meister

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    Most fuzz pedals seem to prefer vintage output single coils. Humbuckers, particularly high-output versions, make fuzzes saturated and muddy most of the time. Big Muffs have this quality built-in. My suggestion is to try single coils with it or try a Fuzz Face variant with a smaller input cap.
     
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  15. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    According to @Bluego1's chart there, it's based on the Triangle Big Muff, which (if I recall correctly) is noted for its "spitty" quality, as you mentioned. Some folks like it, some folks hate it, some folks LOOOOOVE it.

    That looks suspiciously like the op-amp Big Muff. Think early Smashing Pumpkins. Yeah, it's spongy and bassy and doesn't really clean up.
     
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  16. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    I agree 100%. I tried it with the coil splitting and didn't sound any better...not a true single coil, but it's all I got! I don't think my guitars are fuzz friendly. Neither is my ear, lol.
     
  17. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

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    It sounds excellent imo with my Mustang that I put DiMarzio Cruisers in. I just used it as such with various settings for about an hour. Also not true single coils, they’re hum cancellers in single coil size but they retain a lot of single coil qualities, particularly on the unwound strings. Plus, I’ve got push/pull pots so I can split them but i really dig them as humbuckers. Anyway, maybe pickups are really the key to working with fuzz, or maybe you just don’t like fuzz, at least Donner’s fuzz.
     
  18. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I dunno, because out of all of the fuzzes, the Big Muff seems to be the one I've had the most luck using guitars other than single coils with. That's probably at least partly because it's probably not really correct to categorize the Big Muff as being a fuzz. I certainly wouldn't consider the Big Muff to have a built-in quality of sounding saturated/muddy with humbuckers.

    Now with something like a Fuzz Face or Tonebender, I (personally) wouldn't use anything other than single coils, and prefer to keep it to Strat or Tele pickups, for the most part.

    IME, it's not so much whether or not a pickup is high output, but has more to do with the resonant frequency, and how much bass response the pickup has.
     
  19. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

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    In my limited experience but vast amount of research and quite a bit of time experimenting with my guitars, I’ve found fuzz to work best on a neck pickup. In particular, a neck P90. In fact, if you’ve not played Paranoid on a neck P90 with fuzz you haven’t really lived.
     
  20. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    IME, it depends on the song. Something like Voodoo Child seems to work best toggling back and forth between a Strat's neck and bridge pickups. A Tele does it pretty well too, but lacks the whammy bar, obviously.

    And more than slightly relevant - the best tones I've had for War Pigs and Paranoid, and a few other B.S. songs, was achieved with a personally modded Big Muff-like scratchbuild, that cuts more bass prior to the Muff's dual distortion stages, as well as reducing the bass at the Muff's "clipping band" caps, too. The Big Muff has a very malleable circuit, but IMO most of its alterations by third parties (even the expensive boutique versions) tend to be conservative, because they want to make something that can be identifiable as being like the real thing.
     
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