Other Equipment

Fuzz role call?

1

I find myself falling into a fuzz-hole and entertained by the many variations of fuzz pedal that exist. So simple, yet so complex?

I'm in love with my Frantone Peach Fuzz but I plugged up my Seltzerado today and twiddled knobs and found fascinating tone combinations.

What's your favorite?

2

Built in fuzz in Thomas Vox amps... other than that, the 1967 lafayette fuzz sound, a gnarly fuzz 4 sure

3

@DCBirdMan - I'm endlessly enthralled by the big box fuzzes. I checked out a youtube vid. Pretty rad! I saw a vintage ad for one of those for $14.95. Inflation's a bitch!

4

As of a month ago from this posting, it’s the Electro-Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff Pi mini pedal.

For the past year or so, it was the EarthQuaker Devices Spires box, and a homemade Foxx Tone Machine that had a home on my pedalboard. The Spires is a two-in-one pedal based on a vintage Rosac Electronic Nu-Fuzz, and a silicon-version of Earthquaker’s Dream Crusher.

I love Fuzz!

The Green Russian is a very creamy fuzz box. It can get a little fizzy when pushed in the high end - but it’s not irritating. I never push the tone up that high, so no worries from me!

At the moment, the Green Russian Big Muff is my One Desire... I really hope this honeymoon period lasts a long, long time!

5

@Phil T - Interesting! I've got a Big Muff (and another Big Muff) but I never compared them to a Green Russian version. Will check out the history on the Rosac. Thanks!

6

Devil's Tool My son has an early 90’s Russian Muff that I was in love with — he told me to check out the Russian mini... which I did... which is now my main fuzz.

Have I mentioned that it’s really creamy?

7

Ah, Fuzz. I've been on a bender for the last year. I retired the black Russian E-H which I'd thought was the ultimate Muff. I've found several that are more ultimate...and reacquainted myself with a couple variant golden oldies which are not at all Muffy...and found new stuff by which I continue to be entertained.

For best all-rounder, which can do Muff but SO much other stuff you don't want to make it muff all the time, it's Blackout Effectors' Musket. OMG. (And I never use webspeak.)

For most elegant, bulletproof, quiet, smoothest, and best-built Muffster: Thorpy Fallout Cloud. I mean, technically, maybe, the Musket covers the same ground (and then some more), but once I held in my hand the polished stainless and orange enamel majesty that is the Cloud, I was a goner. What a luxury ride!

For crazy, highly musical versatility (probably subsuming muffitude, but why waste it on that simple task?), full of surprises from gated spitting effects to thick and creamy to crunchy and punchy, it's hard to beat the Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler. It's not that it can do ugly as well as it does gorgeous - lots of fuzzes do ugly really really well - it's that when it's ugly, it's still somehow polished and musically useful. Fun fun fun.

Finishing out the modern miracles is a pair from Earthquaker, the Hoof Reaper and the Fuzz Master General. The HR combines EQD's take on the Muff (which is a good one) - the Hoof - with the Reaper, their take on another, older, rawer sounding fuzz. Both can be dialed from (relatively) mild to wild, with enough eq to keep from getting bored - AND stacked. Topping it off is a one-button octavia effect, also stackable with either or both of the other. A dandy double-up pedal with lots of range. The FMG is a horse of an entirely different color, which can't really be explained. With Tone and Fuzz dialed back to nothing, it barks in a clippy manner something like a simplified ring-mod - similar to the octavia effect, but somehow unique. And at higher settings, it's a rude roarin' buzzsaw ripper of a thing.

Do I NEED all those fuzzes? No one NEEDS that many fuzzes. But they're all fun, and relatively cheap thrills.

As for antiques that I don't think have ever been bettered, I have a reissue Fender Blender to replace the one I had as a youthful musical miscreant - and a boutique Russian-made reissue of the old and rare Ampeg Scrambler, called the Fox (I think) Tone Scrambler. Guy in Moscow builds'em for 80 bucks, and it's a hoot.

I think that adds up to 7 fuzzes. They all have their own voices (or range of voices), all have their own texture. I'm in the process of building an auxiliary pedalboard just for them to live on.

The disease has so many symptoms.

8

Ha! Thanks Proteus! I knew you had some insight.

If you had to "lifeboat" them, which Fuzz would reign supreme?

9

The Fuzz Disease

I forgot to mention that the fuzz I try to emulate, is a cross between David Gilmour and Robert Fripp, both of whom are HUGE influences on my playing.

I went with the Muff because of the Gilmour relationship — Fripp says he can get the same tone out of any fuzz... yeah well... I think he’s an alien!

10

If you had to "lifeboat" them, which Fuzz would reign supreme?

A Sophie’s Choice, eh? Musket or Frazz Dazzler, I suppose.

I was aware of fuzz from “Satisfaction” onward, and wanted to make all the fuzzy noises from the 60s and early 70s. But though I’d heard (and loved) Hendrix and the Fuzz Face, the first uber-saturated creamy sustaining guitar tone that REALLY stood above all others to me was Randy Bachman in “No Time” - and I don’t know what he did that with.

But that prepared me for Fripp and Howe, both major influences, and both equally Muffy but in unique ways. Gilmour, of course - but his tone seemed so much more naturally overdriven and “organic” than Frppenhowe that I had no idea he used a Muff till years later, in the Internet age of rig rundowns.

But those are my first fuzzy loves, more than the ruder grittier nastier tones. Which of course have their place, and are fun. But even though I heard those much more brittle, less expressive fuzzes first, it’s the creamier - even less conventionally guitaristic - tones that sank in deeper. Fripp for sure - but for me side 3 of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans, “ The Ancient,” with Howe’s Muff tour de force, is the real textbook.

11

I have an old Rosac Nu-Fuzz I love ... i have an FZ1A clone which is great too... depending on the amp.

But Hallmark have reissued the Nu-fuzz and they look great and this demo sounds exactly like my original. Love the variety you can get with your volume knob and the pedal tone like he does here toward the end o demo

12

One of my faves is the JHS Little Foot: https://www.jhspedals.com/p...

It's small, pretty cheap, and packs a ton of useful fuzzy sounds into that tiny footprint. I have no doubt there are better and more versatile fuzzes, but I don't think many compete on sound, price, footprint AND versatility.

13

how many? how long have you got? LOL. my favorites of my plethora of fuzzes are:

MXR Distortion+: splits the difference between overdrive and fuzz. great for more restrained Neil Young sounds and 70s Jerry Garcia tones.

Earthquaker Tone Reaper and Sound Shank: the Tone Reaper is a Tonebender III design, and the Sound Shank takes after the Burns Buzzaround, which was Fripp's favorite fuzz in the 60s. they're both pretty vicious; the Tone Reaper wants to harm you above the chest, while the Buzzaround more wants your solar plexus.

FuzzHugger Algal Bloom and 3-knob Great Wall: the Algal Bloom is a wonderful all-round fuzz that'll take you from mild to wild, and the Great Wall (which has been supplanted by the Sonic Shroom) is an incredibly dense, over-the-top fuzz that's perfect for My Bloody Valentine sounds.

Wren and Cuff Tall Font Russian: this is a Russian Big Muff clone, which they took incredible pains to get right even down to the pot taper. it's the only Muff i've ever liked.

there's also:

Devi Ever Truly Beautiful Disaster, a nasty oscillating fuzz with an effects loop that allows you to utterly destroy things by patching a second fuzz into the loop.

Bixonic Expandora II: this only really works on the extreme settings, but in those modes it's totally insane. i love it, but it's kind of much for most applications.

there was a bunch of stuff i liked that i had to sell off, including two Marshall Guv'nor IIs which were particularly great run in series. and probably more stuff that i've forgotten and can't possibly be dredged up from my memory at 10:30 on Monday morning.

my board is currently torn up, but i had the MXR, the two EQDs, the Great Wall, and the Tall Font Russian on the board for years. at the moment i use the Great Wall, the Distortion+, and the Expandora most.

14

I mostly don't get on with oscillating destructive fuzzes, but I do have the ridiculously unruly EQD Data Corrupter. It takes an already-over-the-top fuzz as its starting point - and goes from there into madness.

Its virtue that it IS possible to dial in settings (particular to each guitar and sensitive to any effects coming before itself) which you can just barely ride safely for just long enough to say something interesting.

15

i don't use the oscillation functions...i've never found a musical way to use them. i have, though, seen a demo of Devi's Muff clone where the player used the oscillation like a backing drone; it was quite lovely and nothing like the sound you'd associate with oscillating fuzz.

16

I’m holding at a dozen now. I’ve been on a fuzz quest for quiet some time.

17

And mostly the real original vintage stuff. Nice collection!

19

The Vox is my most recent. I’ve wanted one for years. I was lucky and got a buy one get one free kind of deal!

20

I see some goodies in there... Vox Tone Bender, Maestro Fuzz...

21

Super impressed by all the suggestions/collections!

I'm super interested in comparisons, since I know that some fuzzes are fat and thick and some are thin and spitty, and some are just raucous. I haven't delved into the youtube wormhole that I know that will be - but here's another question - and it might not easily be answered.

In your opinion, fuzz-hounds, do newer units that have more knobs lend themselves to being more pedalboard friendly? Or do you find that the old vintage ones live pretty happily within your pedalboard environment? Like, a lot of knob tweaking required?

22

The newer ones are "quieter" when not in use - and often when fuzz is engaged but you aren't actively blasting a note. Lower noise floor. That's a thing. The new ones are pretty universally standardized on the usual center-negative 9v power jack as well; old ones may or may not be conveniently powered.

Old ones can also be hard to mix with newer pedals - impedances, I suspect. It can certainly be done, and fuzz is finicky about its order with other pedals anyway...but the nu butiq ones are better pedalboard citizens.

I'm not sure having more knobs makes them better citizens - and you actually do less knob-tweaking with the old ones, because they have fewer knobs. But the extra knobs - which are usually EQ - on the new ones do help position the fuzz in a mix, where you might be searching for just the right tone on a vintage piece, not quite be able to get there, and have to use an EQ before or after it to compensate (if you're really being picky).

23

Not a pedal, but gets used occasionally

24

I had a silver-face Big Muff in the early daze. Was prone to knob breakage, often the stems, which appeared to be some kind of nylon, would fracture deep inside the pot. This was in the days before Crazy Glue and nylon was not the easiest substance to glue back to itself.

After a couple of annoying instances I stopped using it.

Wonder what happened to it...? Have not seen it for a couple or three decades. It's around here somewhere, though.

Mostly, I play clean, and have done so for a long time, so I actually don't have one that works in my kit. But like Prot, I have had the occasion to lust after Bachman's "No Time" tone, so there may be hope for me yet.

25

A bud of mine knows a guy that somehow got ahold of a schematic of the original fuzz that Peter Cornish built in the ‘60’s, unlike the pattern he sold to Vox in that the Vox is missing a couple of little components.

The fella wanted to make just a few and sell them but wanted to figure out how to make a Cornish connection without violating any laws by using Cornish’s name. Just for a joke at a gig, I mentioned to my bud that he could call it the “game hen”, thinking nothing of it. He only ever made, like, 4 of ‘em.

With a Les Paul Special? Total “Spirit In The Sky”.


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