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Octafuzz vs Octave>Fuzz

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by scook, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. scook

    scook Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Jun 24, 2013
    Etlan VA
    Do any of you all prefer an octave pedal into a fuzz/distortion pedal vs just a standalone octafuzz type pedal?

    I’ve heard that octafuzz type pedals are designed so that they are voiced to each other and that having the effects separately may not work as well together. My thinking is I’d like something like a Boss OC-5 to feed into the various fuzz/distortion pedals I already have. In essence, buy one octave pedal and gain several octave fuzz/distortion/drive possibilities but still have a stand alone octave pedal if needed.
  2. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Both work just fine depending on what you want, but there is a night and day difference between the two. Octafuzz is out of control glitchy agreessive and weird to play because you kinda have ‘play the pedal’ a bit. Single notes on an octafuzz do one thing and multiple notes do something very different. You will have far more control over Octave/Fuzz. Multiple notes will do what single notes do for the most part. More linear sound as opposed the octafuzz chaos. I can do both from my board but I prefer my Lotus Octah (Octavia) for solo enhancement or unison lines or melodies with sax or keys. If I am playing unison lines with the bass player its OD into Pitchfork set to one octave below. Two reasons, its not limited to one area of the neck like an Octavia style pedal, and the clean ‘nonglitchy’ just sounds tighter and cleaner.

    Fuzz into octave pedal = two separate and distinct notes everywhere you play.
    Octafuzzes = notes and overtones everywhere that may or may not glitch out. It’s most effective above the 10th fret.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
    scook likes this.
  3. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 19, 2011
    europe endless
    There are generally three kinds of octave effects.

    octave up (aka octave fuzz) - octavia, foxx tone machine, green ringer, etc. the pedal uses analog rectification to “double” the frequency. this will invariably distort the input, you’re creating more harmonics by chopping and flipping the signal. around the 12th fret and on the neck pickup with the tone rolled off will give you the best octave effect because you're reducing the guitar signal to the closest thing to a single frequency as you can. it'll mostly sound garbled with multiple notes because of too many harmonics clashing, but stuff like 5ths and major thirds can sound beautifully nasty, because they're multiples of the root note. when you play 4ths, you get the missing root note of that "power chord" as a subharmonic for a pseudo octave down. you’re hearing an analog transformation of the guitar signal. something like the ringer is relatively “clean,” so you can put it before fuzzes to get a clearer octave up effect, after to get gnarly synth effects out of your fuzz.

    octave down - Boss OC, MXR blue box, etc. the input is converted to a square wave that triggers a flip flop circuit that switches at the rate of the input divided by 2 or 4, so it basically makes a square wave an octave or two octaves below. Playing more than one note messes up the triggering of the flip flop, hence the glitchy freak out. Some pedals filter the raw square wave out, some don’t, but it’s distorted and synthy no matter what after it comes out of that flip flop. you aren’t hearing the guitar, you’re hearing basically an oscillator that is dependent on being triggered by the guitar. these are generally better before distortion since the octave signal is not the guitar signal.

    pitch shifters - Whammy, sub n up, harmonizers, etc. basically records a short piece of the input signal and time stretches it. has that “icy” or “grainy” sound because you can only take snapshots of the guitar so big to avoid latency or easily do the transformation on the signal (so you’re never getting all the info). On the output you’re hearing bits of the guitar signal that are processed digitally and played back. They work fine either before or after distortion, just a matter of taste.

    all very different processes leading to very different sounds, but they’re all lumped under “octave.” you have to figure out which ones you like, but they all have very different applications in my book. I think it’s best to think about them as three different kinds of effects altogether.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
    scook likes this.
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