FUZZ. Players? / Users? Too Old Fashioned? My Very Favorite Type of Gain Pedal.

arlum

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In the world of effects pedals Fuzz brings most players minds way back or to the tone of specific players. The '60s or '70s. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly, Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, David Gilmour and on into later guitar greats like Eric Johnson. All Fuzz pedals have a shared target tone. A distorted guitar tone heavy on overtones and harmonics all rolled into something that delivers a thick rich guitar voice. True. Fuzz sacrifices attack and string definition but, in return, delivers a rich mash of distorted overtones that give an electric guitar a voice that's raw and primeval. In your face and demanding your attention. Rich in unexpected harmonics. Rich in unexpected lots of stuff that's hard to define. Unexpectedly magic and of great interest to the minds of players and listeners alike. I doubt anyone, prior to the arrival of the Fuzz pedal, would have hired a pedal builder to create one. The negatives would seem to vastly out weigh the positives. Yet ....... sometimes because of fateful accidents or recordings made when all else failed or shots in the dark that delivered raves from a fan base ...... Fuzz pedals came to be.

Of all the gain pedal types available Fuzz pedals are still my favorite. I know. They don't work with all types of a guitarists needs. I too own boosts, overdrives and distortion pedals. All three of these offer a more defined tone that cuts through a mix of multiple instruments much better. But, in a one guitarist band, Fuzz pedals are still my favorite type of gain pedal. They fill up the single guitarists voice so much better than any of the others. They can cry or scream. They add a raw emotion to the performance that other gain pedal types don't. It's an odd voice, similar to a cocked Wah voice, that came about through guesswork and experimentation. It wasn't planned or searched out yet came to be.

Do any of our other members like / prefer Fuzz pedals? Sometimes today's Fuzz pedal builds don't identify what they are. Fuzz pedals are not as popular as they used to be so they get listed as overdrives or distortions. A good example is the Mad Professor Amber Overdrive. It's a Fuzz pedal through and through and is a wonderful example of current production.

I own Fuzz pedals / Fuzz voiced gain pedals built by Mad Professor, Dazatronyx, JAM pedals, etc. Some are based on the 2 transistor Fuzz Faces. Most are based on the 4 transistor Muffs. I don't own any of the 3 transistor Tone Bender types like Jimmy Page used with his Tele all over Led Zeppelin 1 but I do like the tone.

I figure most Fuzz lovers are probably getting pretty long in the tooth but I wonder if any of our younger members share an appreciation for Fuzz pedals. Old, young or somewhere lost in the middle ages ....... what's your opinion on Fuzz pedals? Do you own any? If so .... which ones do you own? Which build type is your favorite? If you could own an original from way back when which Fuzz pedal would it be? To help younger members understand what we're discussing do you have particular recordings that exemplify the contribution of a Fuzz pedal to a guitarists tone?

Thank You for your contributions to this thread.
 

teletimetx

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Once upon a time, there was an “official” fuzz thread. Many participants. Check it out. Which is not to diminish your inquiry…

 

Esquire Jones

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I have an 90’s vintage green Russian Big Muff. The one that weighs about 15 pounds.

Nothing sounds even remotely like that thing.

It might as well have a nuclear warhead inside it.

Massive.

Adrian Belew uses fuzz to great effect on many leads. Sounds great; kind of edge of destruction kind of thing.
 
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JustABluesGuy

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I like a lot of recordings featuring fuzz though I haven’t used one much myself. I picked up a use EHX Satisfaction used, cheap but haven’t really played with it too much.

There is an Earthquaker devices fuzz with a bias knob that I seriously thought about buying. I can get some almost fuzz tonz out of my DS-1.
 

thunderbyrd

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i can't find a fuzz that i like. since OD pedals came along, i found that overdrive is my thing, not fuzz. too freaking noisy for me.

there is one fuzz i would like to own - the morley power fuzz wah from the mid '70s. a friend had one back then and it was incredible sounding. but even if i sprang for one, i doubt i would actually use it much.

back in the 70s, i had a "muff" fuzz. this was a cheaper version of the Big Muff. that was about all that was available to me at that time, it was all i could afford. guitar effects were still very primitive, but the muff sounded fine to me. my ears have changed since then. i have a fulltone 69, which i think is meant to sound like a fuzz face, but i don't like it and never use it.

i love the fuzz guitar solo in RHCP's Black Summer, tho.
 

Killing Floor

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At this point I only own about 50. All flavors. There is no best.
But I’m happy to post one of my absolute favorites.
1664647770595.jpeg
 

loopfinding

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I don’t think fuzz is an old man’s game, I think it’s only that way for more standard rock. I might even say it’s used just as much as OD/distortion if you look at indie rock, punk, and stoner/doom stuff, which typically skew younger.

That being said, I love fuzz. I think I only ever have like two or three drive or distortion pedals in my collection at a time, and they don’t get used simultaneously. Sometimes I don’t even have one on the board. I have over ten fuzzes and I usually keep two or three on the board. Gated ones on the end, and then various flavors (two transistor, three transistor, octave, pseudo octave) before.

One of the strengths of fuzz is that it still sounds fresh. An OD or drive with a lean mid-focused grit may work better for rock n roll, but a fuzz blends much better with music that is increasingly electronic (synths, drum machines, etc.).
 
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ndcaster

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I have a Tom Cram/DOD "Carcosa" that I like a lot. Lots of sounds in it.

Fuzz to me is an industrial sound and now more like sawtooth waves which are highly useful for synthy sounds.

The silicon fuzz velvet curtain ripping sound also has useful connotations.
 

drmordo

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I love 'em. My favs are the Roger Mayer Axis Fuzz (with a humbucking guitar), the Foxx Tone Machine, the Ampeg Scrambler, and my DIY Tone Bender Mk I. That last one gets the nod most of the time when I'm playing a Tele or Strat, but often with a humbucking guitar as well.

That said, I love the Boss FZ-5's (which is a modeler) version of the Maestro FZ-1A. It can do the Satisfaction tone, but it is designed so you can boost the gain more than the original pedal and it gets really good with just a bit extra ooomph.

But IMO it's critical to run a fuzz into a dirty amp or I guess an overdrive (I have not tried this but I hear it works). Fuzz straight into a clean amp is usually not great.
 

Terrygh1949

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In the world of effects pedals Fuzz brings most players minds way back or to the tone of specific players. The '60s or '70s. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly, Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, David Gilmour and on into later guitar greats like Eric Johnson. All Fuzz pedals have a shared target tone. A distorted guitar tone heavy on overtones and harmonics all rolled into something that delivers a thick rich guitar voice. True. Fuzz sacrifices attack and string definition but, in return, delivers a rich mash of distorted overtones that give an electric guitar a voice that's raw and primeval. In your face and demanding your attention. Rich in unexpected harmonics. Rich in unexpected lots of stuff that's hard to define. Unexpectedly magic and of great interest to the minds of players and listeners alike. I doubt anyone, prior to the arrival of the Fuzz pedal, would have hired a pedal builder to create one. The negatives would seem to vastly out weigh the positives. Yet ....... sometimes because of fateful accidents or recordings made when all else failed or shots in the dark that delivered raves from a fan base ...... Fuzz pedals came to be.

Of all the gain pedal types available Fuzz pedals are still my favorite. I know. They don't work with all types of a guitarists needs. I too own boosts, overdrives and distortion pedals. All three of these offer a more defined tone that cuts through a mix of multiple instruments much better. But, in a one guitarist band, Fuzz pedals are still my favorite type of gain pedal. They fill up the single guitarists voice so much better than any of the others. They can cry or scream. They add a raw emotion to the performance that other gain pedal types don't. It's an odd voice, similar to a cocked Wah voice, that came about through guesswork and experimentation. It wasn't planned or searched out yet came to be.

Do any of our other members like / prefer Fuzz pedals? Sometimes today's Fuzz pedal builds don't identify what they are. Fuzz pedals are not as popular as they used to be so they get listed as overdrives or distortions. A good example is the Mad Professor Amber Overdrive. It's a Fuzz pedal through and through and is a wonderful example of current production.

I own Fuzz pedals / Fuzz voiced gain pedals built by Mad Professor, Dazatronyx, JAM pedals, etc. Some are based on the 2 transistor Fuzz Faces. Most are based on the 4 transistor Muffs. I don't own any of the 3 transistor Tone Bender types like Jimmy Page used with his Tele all over Led Zeppelin 1 but I do like the tone.

I figure most Fuzz lovers are probably getting pretty long in the tooth but I wonder if any of our younger members share an appreciation for Fuzz pedals. Old, young or somewhere lost in the middle ages ....... what's your opinion on Fuzz pedals? Do you own any? If so .... which ones do you own? Which build type is your favorite? If you could own an original from way back when which Fuzz pedal would it be? To help younger members understand what we're discussing do you have particular recordings that exemplify the contribution of a Fuzz pedal to a guitarists tone?

Thank You for your contributions to this thread.
Had a Fuzz face in the late 60s. Really pretty cool but, at that time anything new was cool.
 

blowtorch

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The best fuzz is not smooth, it's raw and primitive and trashy and dangerous and sort of broken-sounding, and brings mental images of psychedlic chopper gangs from the late 60s made up of evil dirty non-peace-loving hippys, manson family and altamont types

It's your looney but cool uncle's garage full of contraband

It's bashed-in trash cans and switchblades in a dark and forbidding alley

In the Land of Fuzz, there is no purer truth than the Danelectro French Toast.
1664814715931.png

Because gloriously garbage tone should not be at all expensive
 
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SlimGrady

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I absolutely love fuzz. My single favorite category of pedal and have owned many. I like to keep a rotating stock of different fuzz pedals.
I have had JoeB copper fuzz face, wampler velvet fuzz, wampler fuzztration, Black box big muff, silver big muff, mythos golden fleece, and currently own a chasetone fuzz fella and a Caroline "the Blues" which is obviously a fuzz even though they call it an overdrive.
Wanting an analogman fuzz of some sort, need some germanium again.
 

bottlenecker

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There are many different worlds of fuzz in the fuzz multiverse. I've heard that in some of the more bizarre of them, fuzz is used to make smooth sustaining lead guitar sounds, and eric clapton is not a villain. Crazy.

In my world fuzz is for psychedelic biker b-movie sounds, course, noisey textures, and occasional heavy riffs. And as you all probably know, in my fuzziverse eric clapton was tried for war crimes after his failed dictatorship and shot out into space by a global coalition of fuzz heros.
 

jrblue

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"Fuzz" covers a broad swath, and I'll admit that the Iron butterfly type of thick, unvarying fuzz starts to sound boring and inexpressive fast, now that it's not a novel sound at all. But there are plenty of fuzzes and fuzz players that create almost vocal, and quite touch-responsive, articulate tone using fuzz. I just finished building a very accurate Sola Sound Tone Bender Prof. Mk II clone, and I find that it you can set it to respond really well to pick dynamics, and between guitar volume and pedal gain you can get a singing fuzz that doesn't sound like a bumblebee caught in a jar. To my ear, the old "Spirit in the Sky" kind of fuzz is really over for now, but some fuzz pedals remain really useful. I find Tone Benders preferable to Fuzz Faces, but they don't clean up as well (for me, anyway) so you have to do the on/off dance.
 

KW1977

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I like a lot of recordings featuring fuzz though I haven’t used one much myself. I picked up a use EHX Satisfaction used, cheap but haven’t really played with it too much.

There is an Earthquaker devices fuzz with a bias knob that I seriously thought about buying. I can get some almost fuzz tonz out of my DS-1.

The Earthquaker Erupter. I came here to say it’s my current favorite. I even like it more than a number of Tonebender-style boxes I own.
 




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