Germanium transistor OD/distortion pedals

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by D_Malone, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    I recently acquired a Catalinbread Germanium Karma Suture and I'm in love with it. For those not familiar, it's a versatile fuzz that can be used as a clean boost, overdrive, distortion, or fuzz, and it is stellar in my opinion.
    The only thing like it that I've tried is the Skreddy Hybrid Fuzz Driver, and while I'm a big Skreddy fan, I much prefer the Karma Suture. I like it so much that I'm thinking I might use 3 of them (a clean boost, a medium distortion, and a fuzz).

    Before I go nuts and buy two more, I'm wondering if there's anything similar I should be considering.

    Thoughts/recommendations?
     
  2. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    I thought GE transistors were no more . NOS ? Do they have a source ? Have their own made ?
     
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  3. Royal Tele

    Royal Tele Tele-Holic

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    Germanium transistors are definitely still a thing today... Now, I can't speak to the quality of germanium transistors that are available today.

    One other germanium-based overdrive/distortion pedal that has had my attention is the EHX Germanium OD pedal. It, too, does that OD->Dist->Fuzz transition, it seems...

    The idea of a germanium OD/Dist really intrigues me because I've always liked the "texture" of germanium fuzzes but never been a fan of the full-on fuzz sound... I'm interested to see what else comes up on this thread.
     
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  4. sclitheroe

    sclitheroe Tele-Meister Ad Free + Supporter

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    Funny you say that, it was one of my initial thoughts when I had a Karma Suture as well - "hmm, one on low gain here, and one set for full blast here would be great!". I never went through with it, but I definitely had the exact same thoughts, with the exact same pedal.

    -Scott
     
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  5. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    Germanium has a working 'threshold" voltage roughly HALF that of Silicon (0.3V vs 0.6-0.7V) meaning Ge circuits respond to smaller signals faster/better than do Si circuits. However, Si is better at handling larger, higher current, signals...hence their proliferation as power devices.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  6. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    The Analog.man sunfaces offer you many, many germanium choices. Mine stacks with other pedals unbelievably well. Not a lot of knobs for tweakers, however. Quality is through the roof.
     
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  7. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Weren't germanium diodes used in the Klon-type pedals? If so, those get my vote. Of course, all I can afford are clones...
     
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  8. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    Love Germanium. Just got a EQD Park Fuzz (it's a clone of clone of a Tonebender MkIII). Have a Swollen Pickle MkII for Silicon that also sounds great.

    I'd be down a hybrid "Pickle Bender".
     
  9. Dixon in Korea

    Dixon in Korea Tele-Meister

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    Germanium diodes and germanium transistors are totally different things. Germanium clipping diodes won’t make a pedal sound and react like it has germanium transistors for its gain stages.
     
  10. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    I'm with you on that. I've had many germanium fuzz pedals, and treble boosters. I love the dynamics and rich harmonics, but not into the flubby, wooly aspect. I think you'd like the Karma Suture.
    Unfortunately there aren't many demos that show off what a great clean boost/OD it is, which I think is what makes it really special.
     
  11. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for schooling me. I had a feeling they were different animals and hope someone would correct me if that was the case.
     
  12. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    I read a few years ago (sorry, can't remember where) that batches of NEW high-quality Germanium Transistors were suddenly popping up on eBay and other places. It was eventually tracked down to a plant somewhere in north-central Europe(?) that had fired up an old Ge transistor assembly line to capitalize on the DIY and vintage re-issue pedal craze. They still don't compare to silicon transistors for industrial and consumer applications, and never have (that's why they went practically extinct) but apparently giving guitarists GAS is a lucrative enough money-making scheme...
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  13. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic

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  14. LooseJack

    LooseJack Tele-Meister

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    Not similar but I dare you to not like it.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

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  16. Zeonoid

    Zeonoid Tele-Holic

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    My old DUNLOP germanium fuzz face is a great pedal. Not for everything - meaning full fuzz high gain - for this purpose there is much better choice and thats silicone BIG MUFF
     
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  17. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Didn’t realize they were selling them again. Makes sense, given the demand and prices they can get. My favorite fuzz is the tone bender MkII. I built mine using the original germanium parts that I found on eBay. As much as I like their classic pedal look, I just couldn’t justify the macari price. Mine is the exact same circuit, sounds sweet.
     
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  18. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

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    I got to know Anthony Macari reasonably well when I shot the photos of Macari's Gibson custom stock for their previous website a few years ago.

    They're understandably incredibly proud of the pedals they've produced down the years and you may have seen the book (listed on the website) that charts the history and many of their famous clients.

    I'm a rank amateur but even I can appreciate the quality of the Tone Bender. I have a MkIV and it sounds great. Only wish I really knew how to get the best out of it o_O
     
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  19. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hiya.

    It's been out for a while now, but for those that missed it, I highly recommend watching the That Pedal Show episode that featured Josh from JHS. It deals with the stuff being talked about here (& then some).

    The title is Understanding Overdrive, Distortion, Boost and Fuzz with Josh Scott of JHS Pedals.

     
  20. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Very cool that you did the pics for their product line. They surely did have a lot of famous players use their tone benders.

    There’s a trick to getting the sweet spot tone out of an old-school fuzz pedal... I’m sure most here know it. If you saturate the first stages with too much signal, all you’ll ever get is the familiar, rather harsh, jar of angry bees tone, with no dynamics. The output levels of today’s pickups easily overload the pedal.
    I turn the guitar vol all the way down, set the pedal attack/dist low, like 8 to 10 o’clock. Then pick two strings at once while bringing up the guitar vol, until you get the edge of breakup tones. That should be a good baseline level to use. You can get mostly clean on single string picking that way, or even on lightly picked multiple strings, but get a sweet textured breakup when you dig in. Adjust to taste for what you’re playing and how hard you pick. Depending on your pickups, you may notice you don’t need much guitar vol control to reach the sweet spot.
     
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