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

offsideref

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I was still wet behind the ears when I first heard ‘Think for Yourself’ on Rubber Soul. I remember wondering how Paul got that sound out of his bass. When I found out… Shortly afterwards, with a schematic from a magazine and parts from Maplin, I built my first fuzz box. It was a bit fuzzy but not much. Then, a friend who actually understood electronics, looked at the circuit diagram and said something like, they’ve made a mistake, that 100k ohm resistor should be 100 ohms. We changed that resistor and all fuzz broke out. 45 years later, I still use that fuzzbox - it may not be the prettiest, but tbf almost nobody can see your pedals when you’re playing!
 

iamdrewcab

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Love my Ennio Fuzz Trinity Edition. Beautiful range of tones and not just fuzz. Based on a Maestro I think. Hadn't been in a garagepunk band for decades and needed tons of fuzz. I lost quite a bit by splurging on what seemed like the best pedal(s) for certain songs before I got this.
 

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SanoTele

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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.
I've got a bunch. This is what I am currently using on my board. They show up on the used market for well under $100.
Super Sic Tone.jpg
 

Skyhook

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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.
Fuzz is the dark side of distortion.
It's the thing distortion pedals and overdrives turn into at 2am.

I've got three of them:
- Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
- Behringer Super Fuzz SF300
- Boss Hyper Fuzz FZ-2

I'd like to add the Cuvave Fuzz to my list but I can't seem to find one.

For those who don't know what Fuzz sounds like and can't be arsed to
check it out on EwwTube; this picture sums it up better than I ever could.

giphy.gif


Now, for those who can be arsed to check stuff out on EwwTube:
This song is directly responsible for me getting my first fuzz pedal(the Big Muff).
The fuzz is a bit dialed back during the verses but goes full raaah during the
solo which also has a stiff helping of Whammy pedal.

 
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Cleantone

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I have an MXR Super Badass Variac fuzz. My taste is for the more light and controlled fuzz so I have the variac up at 15v and pretty low gain. Turing the variac down does get that spitting, tearing sound that many like. I set it to be an almost always on boost that goes from clear to all the fuzz I want using the guitar volume. It is very touch sensitive and can be controlled with pick/finger attack. I don't know if it is compressing the signal or boosting certain frequencies but even at low guitar volume with no fuzz it fattens the signal and makes any guitar sound like more of itself. It really pushes the amp so there is a mix of fuzz and amp crunch. Humbuckers push so much more signal than single coils that they require different pedal and amp settings to have the same range of clean tone to fuzz.

I did find it doesn't like to have any buffer in front of it, or else it will generate a constant droning fuzz at one specific frequency that stands out as the guitar is played. I now have it first in line and it is perfect.
 

Fiesta Red

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I have used a Dunlop JH-2S Jimi Hendrix System Classic Fuzz (say that three times fast!) for 20 years. The model is discontinued (disappeared right around the time Jamie took control of the Hendrix estate).
It’s a Fuzz Face in a small MXR box. Love it and doubt it will ever be replaced.

I also have a Big Muff Pi, which gets used rarely, but I absolutely love. Too big for the pedalboard.

I have been intrigued by fuzz-octaves for a while; that’s gonna be the next rabbit hole I chase down.
 

cyclopean

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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.).
People associate fuzz with old people? I think garage rock, doom, death rock, industrial, blown out crust, psych …
 

HolmfirthNJ

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I've been tempted to get a fuzz. Been only 50+ years since I had the Mosrite! It was a damn buzzy noisy pedal though. But I do want some coarse, almost Cello like sound. But QUIET! Anything out there close to that now days?
I have a Catalinbread Fuzzrite, quiet I suppose (it’s relative with fuzzes), and it’s brilliant for early Stooges. I don’t know if it’s exactly cello-like though.
 

ReverendRevolver

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Fuzz is the only kind of pedal worth owning one of each.

I'm in my 30s. When I bought my first EHX big muff (from Samash with money I got working fir a catering company) in the early 00s, fuzz was associated with Grunge, garage, psychedelic, and a little blues.
Now?
Even more genres use it, some metal genres can't exist without it.
I wouldn't relegate Fuzz to an old people pedal.
When used properly, it's unpredictable, like trying to tame a mammoth with a stick and a string.
I've even used it a bit with my psychobilly band on some covers. Very useful.
 

bumnote

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In this world there only one thing that's more frustrating to me than finding a "main" OD pedal...finding a Fuzz that does what I hear in my head. My Maestro clone is great for Stones 60's tone...but I have no use for it beyond that because it doesn't "clean up" with my guitars and amps. I've got some no name $20 MIC mini OD pedal that actually functions pretty well as a Fuzz, and so far I'm liking JHS's 3 Series fuzz pedal.
The real appeal to me about the Fuzz pedal is once I'm done aping Keith Richards with it, I mostly want that barely there Fuzz tone that to my ears is that perfect balance of the clean and fuzzed note.
Fuzz pedals when used dialed back can be an extraordinary expressive pedal, far more than I think most players realize.
 

schmee

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I have a Catalinbread Fuzzrite, quiet I suppose (it’s relative with fuzzes), and it’s brilliant for early Stooges. I don’t know if it’s exactly cello-like though.

In this world there only one thing that's more frustrating to me than finding a "main" OD pedal...finding a Fuzz that does what I hear in my head. My Maestro clone is great for Stones 60's tone...but I have no use for it beyond that because it doesn't "clean up" with my guitars and amps. I've got some no name $20 MIC mini OD pedal that actually functions pretty well as a Fuzz, and so far I'm liking JHS's 3 Series fuzz pedal.
The real appeal to me about the Fuzz pedal is once I'm done aping Keith Richards with it, I mostly want that barely there Fuzz tone that to my ears is that perfect balance of the clean and fuzzed note.
Fuzz pedals when used dialed back can be an extraordinary expressive pedal, far more than I think most players realize.
After listening to a few mentioned above, I do believe the Fuzzrite is what I expected to hear in a fuzz. Some of the others are so squishy and warm they seem more like an OD "woman tone". Fuzz to me has a 'cutting edge' to it on the highs. (ie: Rolling Stones; Satisfaction)
But @bumnote has reminded me that the down side of the Fuzzrite (it's been 50 years!) is there really isn't any even marginally clean setting.
 

cyclopean

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After listening to a few mentioned above, I do believe the Fuzzrite is what I expected to hear in a fuzz. Some of the others are so squishy and warm they seem more like an OD "woman tone". Fuzz to me has a 'cutting edge' to it on the highs. (ie: Rolling Stones; Satisfaction)
But @bumnote has reminded me that the down side of the Fuzzrite (it's been 50 years!) is there really isn't any even marginally clean setting.
Why would you want a marginally clean setting with a fuzz pedal?
 

schmee

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Why would you want a marginally clean setting with a fuzz pedal?
maybe I should have said "cleaner". Not all bacon fry! To me, the fuzz in the song Satisfaction is marginally clean, not all nasty and garbly, just a buzzsaw!
 

1 21 gigawatts

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My silicon fuzz face clone has become my almost-always-on pedal. I love the way I can go from clean to overdrive to nasty with the guitar volume knob.

I'd still like to try a Big Muff and the Behringer Super Fuzz.
 

47adelynn47

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i play mostly ckean but now and then i wants a little buzz...i have a caline orange and a blue sky...neither do it for me...maybe i should try a fuzz pedal
 

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