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Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by CV Jee Beez, Mar 31, 2017.
Since 1969, I've had a love/hate thing going on with fuzz pedals. Similar to compressors, I love how they sound when someone else is using them and enjoy the tones when I'm playing alone, but in a live band context, (as opposed to dead?) I've only been able to dial in (what I consider) killer tones about half the time. Since fuzz is not an integral part of my gear, I just don't spend the time needed to do them justice.
My first fuzz was a Sunn Buzz (plugged right into the guitar) and it lived up to it's name. for that "gallon jar full of angry bee's" tone ala 'Too Much To Dream", it was great, but the dynamic range was.....well, it had none! Next was a Maestro Fuzz...not the Satisfaction one, but a huge old triangle thing with big ol wheels to control level and fuzz. It was a great one.
My all time fav's are an original fuzz face, Fulltone's 69, PedalWorx McFuzz, (PedalWorx pedals are highly under rated in my opinion) and an Awenda Fuzz I had made by a great fella in Canada many moons ago.
Several years ago, a great brother on this forum sent me a plethora of high end pedals to try out. That's where I learned about Fulltones 69 and 70, the McFuzz and many other cool overdrive/distortion/fuzz/trem/delay/comp pedals.
The best combo I found using my tele (at that time equipped with a Seth Lover in the neck and a Van Zandt bridge pickup) into a (original model) Roland BC-60 Blues Cube combo and a Dean Markley CD-40, was my trusty old Ibanez VL-10 volume pedal, the 69, my old Marshall Blues Breaker, a Vox Valve Tone, an old Arion SCH-1 chorus and an old Arion SAD-1 analogue delay.
I arrived at rehearsal an hour early, plugged the pedals in and moved one amp to the other side of the drummer. I wanted the stereo separation to be HUGE!
Well, it was. Using the 69 into one of the overdrives (or OD into Fuzz...can't remember what sounded best!) with the delay was unreal. After a few minutes of noodling, I started playing Trower songs....Day of the Eagle, Too Rolling stoned, Bridge Of sighs, Daydream....it had been at least 20-25 years since I'd played (let alone thought about) these songs, but once that lovely tone captured me, boom...they all came rolling out.
I had to do a bit of tweaking with the tone controls when the band showed up, but the fuzz sat real nice in the mix. I loved how dynamic the 69 was in responding (like a good ol fuzz face) to the guitars volume control. That's what I really miss about a good fuzz.....the tones you get rolling the guitars volume down can be intoxicating!
I didn't really care for fuzz pedals until I realized how to set them up. On all the pedals I've used, the magic starts to happen when the guitar's volume is below 50%... you need to find the edge of breakup point. Driving the full output of a guitar into most fuzz pedals is a horrible tone, unless you enjoy the sound of a square wave into your amp. (Depends on the pedal and guitar, of course.)
Gotta add another vote for the Basic Audio Scarab Deluxe.
I built one last week and it's awesome. 5 knobs (Vol/Fuzz/Fat/Bias/Tone) so you can dial in all manner of usable sounds.
Definitely worth a look in.
A couple months ago, I bought two fuzz pedals:
1. Fulltone Soul-Bender v2
3. Blackout Effectors Blunderbuss (the second, more refined version of the musket fuzz, so not exactly a v2)
These are pretty fantastic. The FT SB gives me a fuzz face sound while the BE BB gives me a big muff sound (and a whole lot more).
Before those, I had a ZVEX Mastotron Fuzz, which I loved and had it for a couple years, so I was looking for a change. I sold it, then bought a Source Audio Kingmaker Fuzz: this one I hated it...HATED IT!!!! Of course, it's digital, but that doesn't bother me as much as ease of use, or lack thereof. I just couldn't getting it sounding right...ever!! !
I'm kind of like BB. I've messed with fuzzes but don't use them in my band.
When I was in high school around 1979, I believe (I graduated in '80) I had an original Bee-Baa that I bought brand new. I sure wish I still had it. I loved that thing. This was in the days when all I had was SS amps and needed a distorted tone. Not too long afterwards I got an MXR Distortion +, probably the 1.0 edition, and I liked it better so the BeeBaa disappeared somewhere along the way. One of my friends probably stole it. But online YouTube clips reveal what a gloriously lo-fi thing it was--
Probably because of TDPRI I decided a few years back to mess with fuzzes a bit. I bought and tried a mini-Fuzz Face germanium, a Dunlop 108 MXRM173 silicon fuzz, a MHP Code Green, and of course I've cranked up a RAT to its full nasty potential.
I see the appeal of singing tones that players like David Gilmour, Joe Bonamassa, and Eric Johnson can get using fuzz. I also appreciate the nastier fuzz tones that you can hear on so many current hits, whether Queens of the Stone Age or the Black Keys, etc. But my own personal experience is I don't personally go for the nasty gritty stuff, and I can get good singing lead tones out of stacking conventional overdrives.
Right now I would be most interested in trying the Katzenkonig as a possible do-it-all pedal that would give me low gain to fuzz range. Kind of like an improved RAT, I guess....however, I tried it briefly at a friend's place and came away feeling that while it was cool I didn't really need it given the dirt pedals I already own.
The most likely fuzz application for me might be a one off tone to use in a studio recording. At this point I don't see using fuzz as true fuzz on stage. For one thing I usually totally disappear into the mix whenever I've tried it. Something like the Code Green can be used more as a mild dirt gain pedal, but it tends to be on the gritty side for my taste.
I like the Dunlop mini Fuzz Face or a Big Muff. I've have boutique fuzz pedals but they don't come close.
This is my first posting @ TDPRI in years ( finally got a Smartphone, so this will change..) but I recently got a used MXR BC-108 ( I Know that's not the official #, but it's the Si Fuzz Face in the blue box and buffer switch, In VGC)
But have not actually used it in a gig- looking forward to it, seems like this is a pretty good FF?
It is a good FF. Some folks prefer the darker germanium diode FF, others the silicon. Hendrix used both. Silicon tone is not temperature sensitive.
I have the following:
- Vicks Audio 73 Ram's Head
- Dunlop JHF1 (BC-108 Hendrix)
- Dunlop JHF3 (BoG FF, really an Octavio without the octave)
- Analogman NKT Sunface
- Analogman Sunbender Mk. 1.5
- Analogman Sunbender Mk. IV
- Various ones I've made myself.
Which one is the best?!? There is no best, they are all different. Some are much more versatile than others but that doesn't mean they're better. Each one has its pros and cons.
My old time favorite fuzz is the Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander! It has a perfect octave up circuit paired with some very cool sub synth stuff. It is also the only fuzz that works as a synthifier for my bass string ring so it has moved there now dirtying up my low end.
That move sent me on a search for the perfect replacement fuzz. I quickly found a cool replacement for the octace up thing in a Hudson Electronics pedal which name I don't recall at the moment. Only has a volume knob and sounds just like it is supposed to!
But I went through (still have most of them) a bunch of fuzzes to find me a fuzz that was fuzzy enough and finally found the Wilson Effects Knuckle Dragger. It's a take on a superfuzz I think and it cuts in a live mix and still sounds fuzzy.
Devi Ever Shoegazer (Soda Meiser, essentially)
Z-Vex Fuzz Factory
Nothing to do with diodes, the parts you're thinking of are called transistors.
If you've got a FF with diodes in it, you ain't got a FF!
Whoops should have said transistors!
Based on what I've heard online, I'm sorely tempted to pickup one of the new Ibanez Mini Fuzz. Anybody with any first-hand experience?
Black Cat D&S
I built a BYOC Li'l Rams Head Fuzz pedal.
Sounds just like it should. I never use it.
Stomp under foot Rams Head,/ Earthquaker Hoof /
Black Cat N FUZZ / Black Cat Super Fuzz/
Home built Silicon Fuzz Face with BC108 transistors. it seems pretty good. Good Fuzz tone and sustain. I've got another. Silicon Fuzz Face build with germanium emulation done but I haven't taken it for a spin yet.