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Vintage Fuzz Face troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Burnt Fingers DIY Effects' started by -Hawk-, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    Hey there.

    I have a 76 Fuzz Face that may be having some issues and just wondered if there was anything I could troubleshoot and/or repair on my own.

    Issue seems to be intermittent volume drops that affect my entire rig - in other words, it’s occurring both when the pedal is on and when bypassed. Its similar to if I’d turned my guitar’s volume down (less gain and volume). It’s almost as if the amount of signal is reduced, because other pedals down the line are seeing a reduction in gain as well.

    I don’t use it a lot and happened to plug it in today. At first I thought it was the amp, but the problem went away when I took the pedal out of the chain.

    Anyway - I am hopeful this is familiar to somebody and maybe just involves cleaning something. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I'd like to help, but you just haven't provided enough information. So I'm going to blindly speculate. Keep that in mind and take what I say with a grain of salt.

    What you are describing is probably one of two things: a grounding problem or a problem at one of the connectors. A grounding issue, where the circuit's ground is not functioning as it should, could cause the sound to cut in and out like in you're description. If it's a bad connector, that could function in much the same way. The input and output jacks would be the most likely problem areas here. As the connection at the connector comes and goes, the signal follows.

    If I was in your situation, the first thing I'd do is get out some deoxit and clean the input and output jacks really well. It could be that oxidation has created an intermittent connection there and that's a simple fix. Clean it. Also make sure the tabs aren't loose. It's a common failure point in pedals. If that doesn't work, then it's probably a grounding issue (like a cold or broken solder joint), although it could be bad component or wire (less likely, but it can happen). And if that's the case, I think it's one of those things where if you have to ask you shouldn't try to deal with it yourself. Take it to someone with the knowledge and equipment to troubleshoot it properly.

    Good luck. A good fuzz face is a beautiful thing. I hope you get yours working.
     
    Iago and -Hawk- like this.
  3. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry for not giving enough detail. To clarify, it’s a decrease in gain/volume as opposed to total loss of volume. Almost like dialing down to 6-7 on the guitar volume knob. Very strange.

    I may just work on cleaning the jacks a bit. They are not the most durable looking things.

    It’s a very cool pedal - lots of fun.
     
  4. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

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    well in bypass mode you have the jacks, the switch, the wires, and solder joints ... should be an easy thing to check. use a chopstick and move the wires around one at a time while playing in bypass mode (a looper or a helper come in handy). you'll likely find your problem this way.
     
  5. Iago

    Iago Friend of Leo's

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    I've had similar problems with other pedals and it always has been either due to footswitches or jacks going south.
     
  6. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Holic

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    You say you've taken it out of the chain, but have you tried it alone? Sometimes a fuzz can have some unpredictable affects depending on what other effects are hitting them from the input side. If you have any bufferred pedals before it ( like EQ, a wah, or other pedals that are not true bypass), there can be unpredictable effects. Try it at the front of you chain, and remove any wah you might have. Also, old germanium fuzz pedals were known to be finicky in low temperatures. While it's unlikely that you're playing outside in the winter, sometimes basements or garages can get pretty cold. I'm not familiar with the exact scematic, but, if it's all vintage, you could have a leaky, or dried out capacitor. I would try just running guitar>fuzz>amp, and see what happens.
     
  7. mahlamoilanen

    mahlamoilanen TDPRI Member

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    Jacks and pots. Very simple pedal and nos parts are available = easy to fix.
    I'd give pots a small squirt of electronical contact cleaner, then some twisting and testing.
     
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