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OMG! Silicon fuzzes are incredible! What’s your fave?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by 4pickupguy, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I researched until I’m pretty sure Jesse Davie King Tone Fuzz (si) throughout and a V-Tronics Octahive (ge) during the lead.... Who’da thunk gold foils could kill it so... Love these sounds.
     
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  2. fasthand

    fasthand TDPRI Member

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    Earthquaker Dunes toggles between both
    I like mine
     
  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    I scratch built a Fuzz Face and that's a fun pedal.

    The Azor 303 mini Fuzz I bought earlier this year is also fun ... Big Muff Pi clone for $20.

    Other options to look into -- because if you are experimenting with different fuzzes ... why not do it a $20-ish per throw?



    .
     
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  4. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    I have no real idea, but I’m pretty sure Dan on That Pedal Show said it’s more the design than which type of transistors that determines cleanup.

    Fairly sure he said it was older designs that did it. Someone can correct me if this is wrong / too general.

    Oh, re the OP, in the silicon camp I have a Woolly Mammoth clone and the fuzz-like The Breakdown by Danelectro. The WM is okay, and can sound cool, but I don’t find it overly useful. Need to replace a faulty pot and the foot switch too. The Breakdown however, I flippin’ love. Currently I’m using it more as a tone shaping mild boost (Break-up knob set to 3), but I also often use it set to ‘6’ for fuzz-like yum.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  5. peterleroux

    peterleroux TDPRI Member

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    I've got an Ashton Audio Fuzzsilla, which was a short-run FF clone done by a local audio engineer a few years back- matched, low gain silicon transistors and a starve/gate knob. Here's the designer's demo:

     
  6. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    What amp are you using the Box of War with? I got one of those from pedal genie and haven't bonded with it, but I've found that muffs are highly dependent on the amp they're used with.
     
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  7. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I remember watching Josh From JHS on That Pedal Show saying that the simpler the circuit, the fewer the components, the more critical (sensitive) each one is. He said when you start adding other controls and complexity the components become less and less influential individually. I know this is ridiculously obvious but the point he was making was that he thought the simpler and elegant, the better the result. I’m simply reciting with no actual knowledge of the circuit (3..., now 4 vodka tonics in) but that actually makes sense.
     
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  8. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yep. It's all about the input impedance, rather than the type of semiconductor material used.

    If anything, it might be more extreme/rapid with an all-else-equal silicon vs. germanium fuzz, but that can be tweaked for, at the circuit level. You simply add some capacitance between the base and collector of the first transistor.

    I'll take silicon over germanium every time. Silicon is consistent, easily obtainable, comes in a multitude of gains, and comparatively dirt cheap. Oh, and there's a veritable plethora of NPN silicon transistors, which is the way to go in order to have a negative ground pedal.

    Germanium transistors need to be sorted for gain and leakage. Their performance varies with temperature. Also, sometimes transistors will fail. If it's a silicon transistor, replacement is typically quick, easy, and cheap, and your fuzz pedal will sound the same as it did before. If it's a germanium transistor, finding a replacement can be difficult or even impossible.

    The other nice thing about silicon - no need to try and seek out unobtanium sil. transistors, IMO. You just need to match the gain, and you can measure that with a cheapo multimeter (less than $7 USD) from Harbor Freight, like this:

    63759_W3.jpg
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well yeah!

    How many run a muff into their PRRI/DRRI and complain about not cutting/ can't hear it/ too mid scooped?
    The same can be said for virtually every BF Fender circuit, hard to hear in a denser mix but fine for the sparser mixes in maybe classic Country.
    Of course if we buy a mid scooped BF circuit PRRI and then use two dirt pedals, a Muff and a TS, the Muff will be mid scooped compared to the TS.

    To me a TS sounds harsh and nasally congested into a Marshall set for a nice fat mids tone, where I might run T and B at noon but mids at 3 oclock.

    Seems to me there is a lot of mythology in the aftermarket Muff scene, where for example we can buy a "Green Russian", a "Black Russian", and a "Civil War Russian". Those three different Muffs came in different cases with different knobs that mean a lot to collectors. But they are all the same circuit and sound the same.
    I actually have four samples of that circuit and except for the modded SUF "Civil Unrest" that has a mids knob, the valuable Cilil War Muffs and the cheap Black Russian Muffs sound the same.
    I "felt like" the original Black Russians of which i have two different versions sounded a little warmer rounder smoother and fatter than the Civil War clone I compared them to.
    But after a lot of comparing with a dual loop switch going back and forth repeating the same phrases, the durn things are indistinguishable.

    I think a lot of our understanding of Muff variation is based on attempts to describe them all as if we needed to choose just the right circuit or we won't like it. Much like buying multiple sets of vintage style Strat pickups while not ever finding the perfect Strat tone.

    Certainly they come in different circuits and sound different, but I think we lose out when we buy too expensive too soon based on too much words telling us how we will like them.

    Then I think many users are confused by the "sustain" knob which seems similar to a gain knob but is really more of a treble & mids knob.
    Muffs do not "clean up" when we turn down the sustain/ gain knob.
    But a Muff DOES get more scooped when we turn down the sustain/ gain knob.

    Of course a Muff is not mid hump eq'd like a TS, and so many players who want a mid forward tone buy a mid scooped BF Fender circuit then use a tone band aid like a TS to fix the wrong amp tone they bought for the great reverb.

    That means that any pedal we use for dirt next to the TS is going to sound mid scooped.
    And Muffs do get pretty mid scooped if we turn the gain knob down like we probably do on every dirt pedal, because dirt pedals seldom sound best with gain maxed out.
    Crank the sustain knob on a Russian or Rams head muff and we are rewarded with more cutting highs and mids but less bass.

    Through a mid forward amp, that max gain Muff setting does not sound mid scooped.
    Through a mid scooped amp though, it does sound mid scooped.
    And through a mid forward amp, a muff with gain turned down will deliver a somewhat to significantly more mid scooped tone, due to that gain knob boosting bass and cutting highs and mids as you roll it back down.

    Again though, there are so many examples of that basic circuit and I don't own 'em all.
    The basic Rams head or Violet Ram circuit and the basic Russian circuit are IMO all you need.
    Between those two, you can dial each to get close enough to the area the other covers that any in between sounds are available from those two. Better still get them form a builder who designs a good mids knob.

    The mids knob on the SUF muffs is elegantly brilliant IMO.
    For a basic Muff you can get tonal perfection for sixty bucks from CSW.
    The BYOC Large Beaver as well, and Big Knob offers affordable fine muffs.
    I haven't tried the Muffuletta, but I call hype on $229 to be certain you have ALL the muffs.
    That money will get you two used SUF muffs with mids knobs to be more certain it will work in you band with your amp.

    If not running a mid scooped amp you might not even need a mids knob on a muff to dial in a cutting tone.
    Also depends on your guitar and speakers.
    If your amp has plenty of mids and your guitar and speakers have tons of cutting tone, a stock plain old Rams Head Muff will probably have a setting that cuts just fine.

    Course, I'm not using a neck pickup for my Fuzz!
    What can happen and what DOES happen are two different things!
    YMMV!

    What I'd like to find is a FF that cuts like a Muff.
    I did find one Bender circuit with tons of cut, but really fuzz'z that cut are hard to find.
    That's the main reason I love my chosen Muffs.
    Those muff mids are the wallflower of cutting pedal tone.
    At least in my Church of scream...
     
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  10. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I find with muffs also it helps to put them into a clean amp. When I tried to stack one with a Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret it never sounded great, and never sounded great going into my Orange OR15. But when I ran it into a friends 100 watt Sunn 1200s it sounded glorious and huge.
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    How to use a muff is as big as what a muff is capable of!

    My learning curve started off with trying the usual settings for OD pedals, where gain down and output level up for a good boost to the volume generally worked best and got a good combo of snarl & articulation.
    Same settings on a muff got muffled.

    Now I keep the level knob way down and still get a big volume boost into a clean amp.
     
  12. Roman4405

    Roman4405 Tele-Meister

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    At the time I had a Blues Deluxe Reissue, which I thought was an awesome amp. I used to run it clean and use pedals for dirt.

    I like to do that with my deluxe reverb, I’ll use the Boost side of the Box of Rock after the Muff I have now (Deluxe Bass Big Muff) to get it to cut through a little more but not turn the signal to mush.
     
  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not a huge fuzz guy since I play in a funk band, but I love messing with them at home and when doing my own side recording projects. I really, really like my reissue EHX Russian Big Muff. It may be sacrilege, but I will use a GE-7 EQ pedal after it, or sometimes just an SD-1 stacked into it, in order to further shape the tone so it cuts through better. The GE-7 really is a useful, jack-of-all trades pedal. Rather than searching for the fuzz with the perfect EQ character, there's the option of just getting a fuzz with a nice gain range, a fuzz texture you like (more grainy vs more smooth), a reasonable EQ, and then tweak it from there using something like the GE-7 or maybe a parametric EQ.
     
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  14. mr natural

    mr natural Friend of Leo's

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    D4EBA527-1C33-41FA-B29F-98AA998A6C18.jpeg I had an old amp knob in my parts box that was the last piece a friend needed for a vintage amp restoration. He offered me this in trade. He’s a drummer so it had been sitting in a drawer for years. I like it. Does the ‘70 Hendrix thing well.
     
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  15. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree completely with the Dunlop FF criticism. Si transistors tend to be much higher gain than Ge transistors, so to get the classic FF functionality and sound, you need low gain Si transistors.

    I built this several years ago, and it is better than my Roger Mayer Ge FF. I'm pretty sure I changed the capacitor values a bit, but Fuzz Central's transistor advice was spot on.

    That said, there are so many good Si Fuzzes - Foxx Tone Machine, Mayer Axis Fuzz, Scrambler, Big Muff (especially with a tone knob bypass!). Now that I think about it, most of my favorite fuzzes are Si, but I tend toward very nasty octave fuzzes. As I've posted before, the only Ge fuzz I regularly use is my DIY Tone Bender Mk I.

    I think my fav is the Foxx, if just because it is so flexible, but lately my Mayer Axis Fuzz has been making me very happy, especially when paired with a very high output pickup. The hot pickup pushes the Axis into kazoo territory, which I love.

    This is a rough mix of an in-progress track (with a pretty rough scratch vocal) where I play my Tele with a very hot GFS rail pickup into the Axis Fuzz at the end. Fast forward to 2:53-ish to hear the solo.
     
  16. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    Wow, what a great sound. At $350 I don’t think I’ll be picking one up, unless I find one used, but man, I really like that sound.
     
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  17. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    EG! What a great player!


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  18. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Afflicted

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    I prefer germanium fuzzes, warts and all. But silicon is cool too.

    Currently don’t own a silicon fuzz, but ones I’ve used that I’m fond of:

    - BC183 Sunface
    - MXR Classic 108 Fuzz
    - Barber Trifecta
     
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  19. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    This my only recording with a fuzz. I made it the day I got home from Korea with it. I was having so much fun I threw the jam track to a Greg Koch song together and proceeded to butcher it. I was sent to Japan immediately after this recording and haven’t been back since. I Really like octave fuzz. We will have a future together! I think it will sound great doing unison melody lines with keys or sax and accentuating solos. Very fun. I still need to learn how to use it and I cant wait.

     
  20. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    I simply cannot agree with this. I love some of the simpler designs, but as I said above more complex designs like the Tone Machine, Scrambler, and Big Muff are at least as great. A lot of folks love the DoD Carcosa (I have not tried it), and it is not a simple pedal at all.

    It's a little bit like saying "a Fender Champ is a far better amp than a Twin because the Champ is much simpler." The Champ may be "better" from someone's perspective, but it's not because it is simpler.
     
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