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I've been dabbling in overdrives, distortion, and fuzz pedals lately.

I find I can hear a good tone from a Overdrive and Distortion (even a combination of the 2), but Fuzz just doesn't sound good to me.

Is this an effect that sounds great on recordings, but out of speaker cabinet, just sounds like buzzy noise?

The first "Fuzz" pedal I had was an Angry Fuzz by Visual Sound (now Truetone).  But that only sounded good when the Octive feature was engaged.

I've tried to get a good tone to my ear out of the Fuzz with my new BBE Windowpane Silicon Fuzz.  But that only sounds decent when the volume is up and the gain is down.

Even then, I have to turn down my guitar volume knob down to at least 7 before I can get a distinguishing sound out of it that sounds like a note.

When I turn the fuzz gain up, power chords sound like mush and only single notes stand out, but they have like a lo-fi stutter.  

Is this what a fuzz pedal is supposed to sound like?

Am I doing something wrong here?

 

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Billy Gibbons gets some pretty good results using a fuzz or five.

I used to hate fuzz pedals until I accidentally dialled in one of the best od sounds I had ever heard come out of my amp  using a fuzz pedal.

Theres so many flavours and levels of fuzz its hard to know where to start.

Mike Hermans demos are as good as any place to start just to get an idea what kinda range a fuzz pedal can cover.

Here is one

 

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1 hour ago, Polo said:

When it comes to fuzz, it's all about the riffs!

 

 

Guess I don't need a fuzz pedal, just a Dallas Range Master and tune my guitar down to C sharp.  I'll need to find some heavy gauge strings.....

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2 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

Guess I don't need a fuzz pedal, just a Dallas Range Master and tune my guitar down to C sharp.  I'll need to find some heavy gauge strings.....

Say what?

I was just trying to point out that fuzz pedals generally work best as a tool to color the tone of a riff, particularly, riffs that implement a lot of single note playing. It seemed that Andy's demo was a good example of such.  

I guess I kinda just look at the "fuzz" pedal as the overdrive pedal for riffs, while the overdrive/distortion pedals are better suited for soloing. Unlike an overdrive or a distortion pedal, I've yet to find a fuzz pedal that can be left "on" for the entire song without having to fight that "mush" you'd described. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Polo said:

Say what?

I was just trying to point out that fuzz pedals generally work best as a tool to color the tone of a riff, particularly, riffs that implement a lot of single note playing. It seemed that Andy's demo was a good example of such.  

I guess I kinda just look at the "fuzz" pedal as the overdrive pedal for riffs, while the overdrive/distortion pedals are better suited for soloing. Unlike an overdrive or a distortion pedal, I've yet to find a fuzz pedal that can be left "on" for the entire song without having to fight that "mush" you'd described. 

 

I've always associated with Fuzz being a nasty overdrive, but I am thinking more Hendrix and other heavy stuff.  I guess what I think of as fuzz isn't really fuzz.  Just lots of drive and downtuning?  Who knows. 

Revisiting a video about stacking pedals and guitar rig essentials from JHS.

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"Back in the day"  fuzz was all you really had.  FuzzFace was the main one around here.   It was the "Hendrix" sound, along with lots of other songs.   

My Fuzz Face walked off one night, as did my Vox wah.    I got a Boss Tone, but most of my distortion came from the fact that my Guild Thunderbird amp was usually running flat out at that point.  

I also had  a Fender Blender which was really strident and raspy.   In the end,  I prefer a simple tube screamer to most fuzz pedals.    Add in a Soul Food, or other Klonish pedal and you've got a lot of room covered.   

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2 hours ago, Polo said:

... I kinda just look at the "fuzz" pedal as the overdrive pedal for riffs, ... I've yet to find a fuzz pedal that can be left "on" for the entire song ...

:thumbsup:  Truth.

 

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I think the real only Fuzz is Germanium OC44 Transistors et similia (or very close)
The silicon one is a Muff when using 4 Transistors
I like them both, but I think it's something like Pizza or Blues, every pedal maker do one but not all are doing the real thing.

The Fuzz itself is all you had back in time (as TalismanRich said) and best used for really driving the amp, after making lots of search, for me it's not too difficult to understand that buying or trying just another Fuzz is not going to make much sense (at least IMO).

Jimmy Page - ToneBender MK II - Whole Lotta Love
Robert Fripp - Burns Buzzround - Starless
just to quote a couple of examples

the circiut was and is still a the simplest straight to the point, as it should always be IMO, but if you want to hear the true Fuzz Grit then it's a Germanium based

the list of real Fuzz boxes is huge, current makers are doing a good job in EU or in US no doubts
Macari's in London made a true replica of it, since they were among the first selling it, and they sell it for £899.00
they have a lot of them, different circuits and versions and flavours
 

US makers are many you might want to check:

 https://www.ramblefx.com/twin-bender
 https://www.basicaudio.net/
 https://www.lumpystoneshop.com/shop.html
 http://britishpedalcompany.com/
 http://www.macaris.co.uk/colorsound
 Sola Sound
 http://www.williamsaudio.co.uk/
 JEN Fuzz (vintage)
 https://badpixel.weebly.com/fuzz.html
 http://www.manlaysound.com/ronnohome.html

the list can get long (some more reading here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

enjoy ?

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3 hours ago, Polo said:

 

I guess I kinda just look at the "fuzz" pedal as the overdrive pedal for riffs, while the overdrive/distortion pedals are better suited for soloing. Unlike an overdrive or a distortion pedal, I've yet to find a fuzz pedal that can be left "on" for the entire song without having to fight that "mush" you'd described. 

 

I do not agree entirely, it depends on a number of things, the Amp, the genre, the guitar the player...I find the Fuzz used by many through the guitar volume, the Fuzz is not jus an On or OFF stomp box IMO

again Jimmy Page showed many time how using the same Fuzz switching the PU selector with PUs volumes at different levels, it's typical usage of a Fuzz



some more video reosources:

 

and I almost forgot Land Devices and Farm Pedals and Mythos Pedals

another interesting (GE based) is CostaLAB Moon Drive

 

Edited by Gianluca
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... I kinda just look at the "fuzz" pedal as the overdrive pedal for riffs, ... I've yet to find a fuzz pedal that can be left "on" for the entire song ... What about Satisfaction? I think that riff went on during the entire song. It sounded sax like. We all wanted that sound as kids.

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15 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

I've been dabbling in overdrives, distortion, and fuzz pedals lately.

I find I can hear a good tone from a Overdrive and Distortion (even a combination of the 2), but Fuzz just doesn't sound good to me.

Is this an effect that sounds great on recordings, but out of speaker cabinet, just sounds like buzzy noise?

The first "Fuzz" pedal I had was an Angry Fuzz by Visual Sound (now Truetone).  But that only sounded good when the Octive feature was engaged.

I've tried to get a good tone to my ear out of the Fuzz with my new BBE Windowpane Silicon Fuzz.  But that only sounds decent when the volume is up and the gain is down.

Even then, I have to turn down my guitar volume knob down to at least 7 before I can get a distinguishing sound out of it that sounds like a note.

When I turn the fuzz gain up, power chords sound like mush and only single notes stand out, but they have like a lo-fi stutter.  

Is this what a fuzz pedal is supposed to sound like?

Am I doing something wrong here?

 

I think Fuzz pedals can sound outstanding, but they are much harder to use in a subtle fashion, and much harder to learn to use than an overdrive or a distortion. I posted this fuzz clip last week, but in the clip you can hear two distinctly differences in the way I used it.

 

Subtle... Listen at 21 seconds in when I start playing those single note runs and the answering two note chords. It's almost as if the fuzz is doubling the notes and adding a harmonic sparkle on top. In the first Led Zeppelin album you can hear this kind of use on Jimmy Page's Tele.

Not so subtle... 1:43 when I open the fuzz up it sounds like my guitar amplifier is demonically possessed. 

The stutter you mention is sometimes refers to as spitting, which is from too much bias on the transistors. Some fuzz boxes have a bias control to control that, mine does. But some people use that stutter, or spitting, as an effect.

Good fuzz boxes do something that many overdrives don't, they retain high end when the volume on your guitar is turned down. And people that really know how to use a fuzz many times play with the volume controls of their guitars pulled back and only crack them open when they want more of an aggressive fuzz tone. As I said, they are harder to learn how to use than overdrives or distortion. And there's another thing, germanium fuzzes sound different than silicone, most people prefer them, but the problem is they change tone with heat, whereas silicone fuzzes are more stable with temperature.

Edited by rockabilly69
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8 hours ago, rockabilly69 said:

I think Fuzz pedals can sound outstanding, but they are much harder to use in a subtle fashion, and much harder to learn to use than an overdrive or a distortion. I posted this fuzz clip last week, but in the clip you can hear two distinctly differences in the way I used it.

 

Subtle... Listen at 21 seconds in when I start playing those single note runs and the answering two note chords. It's almost as if the fuzz is doubling the notes and adding a harmonic sparkle on top. In the first Led Zeppelin album you can hear this kind of use on Jimmy Page's Tele.

Not so subtle... 1:43 when I open the fuzz up it sounds like my guitar amplifier is demonically possessed. 

The stutter you mention is sometimes refers to as spitting, which is from too much bias on the transistors. Some fuzz boxes have a bias control to control that, mine does. But some people use that stutter, or spitting, as an effect.

Good fuzz boxes do something that many overdrives don't, they retain high end when the volume on your guitar is turned down. And people that really know how to use a fuzz many times play with the volume controls of their guitars pulled back and only crack them open when they want more of an aggressive fuzz tone. As I said, they are harder to learn how to use than overdrives or distortion. And there's another thing, germanium fuzzes sound different than silicone, most people prefer them, but the problem is they change tone with heat, whereas silicone fuzzes are more stable with temperature.

Daniel, you really know how to bring it.  Absolutely phenomenal stuff, as usual.  

I bought my BBE Windowpane Silicon Fuzz because its designed to be really close to a germanium fuzz.

Honestly, there are so many fuzz options out there, I really can't try everything. 

JHS offers some very unique, spectacular fuzz pedals, but they are all a bit too much for my blood. 

This one caught my eye... has five classic fuzz pedals and one of JHS fuzz pedals in one box:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Muffuletta--jhs-muffuletta-6-way-fuzz-pedal

Unfortunately, I like my cheap pedals.  Most expensive pedal on my board is a $100 Dunlop Mini-Crybaby.  Everything else was less than $100.

 

Edited by DetroitBlues
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4 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

Daniel, you really know how to bring it.  Absolutely phenomenal stuff, as usual.  

I bought my BBE Windowpane Silicon Fuzz because its designed to be really close to a germanium fuzz.

Honestly, there are so many fuzz options out there, I really can't try everything. 

JHS offers some very unique, spectacular fuzz pedals, but they are all a bit too much for my blood. 

This one caught my eye... has five classic fuzz pedals and one of JHS fuzz pedals in one box:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Muffuletta--jhs-muffuletta-6-way-fuzz-pedal

Unfortunately, I like my cheap pedals.  Most expensive pedal on my board is a $100 Dunlop Mini-Crybaby.  Everything else was less than $100.

 

DB, I went through a bunch of Fuzz pedals before I found one I liked, but that was mostly because I didn't ever put the time into learning how to use them. My close friend Ryan who built my pedal spent a lot of time with me showing me the in and outs of how they work and that really helped. He is ridiculously knowledgeable when it comes to fuzzes so it really helped me. Frankly if it wasn't for him, I would still hate fuzzes. Not only did he teach me the basics, but he has drawer full of fuzz boxes so got to hear what the different circuits sound like.

Another thing I failed to mention is that they don't play nice with other pedals so you really have to learn how to use them by themselves to find out how they are reacting with your other pedals. For years I refused to use them because of my lack of knowledge! And they don't really work well in my acoustic rig so I don't use them live. But for recording I will definately start incorporating them into songs.

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:56 PM, rockabilly69 said:

Another thing I failed to mention is that they don't play nice with other pedals so you really have to learn how to use them by themselves to find out how they are reacting with your other pedals. For years I refused to use them because of my lack of knowledge! And they don't really work well in my acoustic rig so I don't use them live. But for recording I will definitely start incorporating them into songs.

RB69 is correct with them not playing well with other pedals. That has been my experience with the exception of one pedal. For close to 20 years I used a Hendrix fuzz face pared with a wha wha pedal. Another 10+ with a 1st generation Ratt and a wha. That was it. I was at a seminar many many years ago when an engineer from ProCo demonstrated what a fuzz does to a sound wave using an oscillator. The fuzz squares a sound wave technically cutting off some of the highs. That is why many of the pedals come with a volume control. I remedied the situation with a wha wha pedal using only the treble setting. Instead of turning up for a solo I would use a tone shift to cut through the mix of the other band members. Worked well for me for many years. Just like an amp it takes time to set them up and dialing them in to achieve the tone you are chasing. 

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1 hour ago, Genericmusic said:

RB69 is correct with them not playing well with other pedals. That has been my experience with the exception of one pedal. For close to 20 years I used a Hendrix fuzz face pared with a wha wha pedal. Another 10+ with a 1st generation Ratt and a wha. That was it. I was at a seminar many many years ago when an engineer from ProCo demonstrated what a fuzz does to a sound wave using an oscillator. The fuzz squares a sound wave technically cutting off some of the highs. That is why many of the pedals come with a volume control. I remedied the situation with a wha wha pedal using only the treble setting. Instead of turning up for a solo I would use a tone shift to cut through the mix of the other band members. Worked well for me for many years. Just like an amp it takes time to set them up and dialing them in to achieve the tone you are chasing. 

I have a few first generation Rat pedals (one at home, one at my studio), so I may have to try that out!!!

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+1 on fuzz & wah

fuzz actually works best with a cranked amp, IMO. then you have more range from fuzz to cleaner, by using the gtr volume

if you use a fuzz with a low volume clean amp, won't be as versatile

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I'm running my fuzz as the first pedal in my effects, then running that into my Wah.  All the other pedals (boost/distortion/overdrive) are after the wah.

Still not sold on it, but I've got some other weird issues to sort out right now.

Some reason, not sure if its the Waza Tube Expander or bad cables/power supply... But if I really push the drive in my amp, I get the loudest feedback squeal I've ever heard.  When I'm playing, it subsides, but when I'm not playing... wow. So annoying.

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3 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

I'm running my fuzz as the first pedal in my effects, then running that into my Wah.  All the other pedals (boost/distortion/overdrive) are after the wah. Still not sold on it...

I believe you are experiencing what is called frequency cancelation. Maybe one of the egg heads around here can explain it. I understand the concept but there is no way I would try to explain it. The remedy from what I understand ( and I could be full mature) would be to change the frequency output of your pedals slightly. Don't ask me how. I don't know. I got the concept from some music tech magazine some years ago. Like RB69 wrote they don't play well with other pedals. 

3 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

... but I've got some other weird issues to sort out right now. Some reason, not sure if its the Waza Tube Expander or bad cables/power supply... But if I really push the drive in my amp, I get the loudest feedback squeal I've ever heard.  When I'm playing, it subsides, but when I'm not playing... wow. So annoying.

This is why I don't play with effects anymore. They are a pain in the ass. ? Good luck with that. ? 

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On 1/24/2020 at 12:04 PM, Gitterman said:

Didnt Gilmour use a Muff on his solo's? His sounded very violin like

yep, I think into a Fender Twin on some of the Dark Side material. you can see footage of him recording in Abbey Road on the Pompeii video

*edit* actually that may have been pre-muff? but it was a fuzz of some sort

Edited by bolero
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I like the Keeley Monterey Fuzz in front of my old Twin Reverb, with an Exotic Effects RP. Get most any sounds with that set up, and the modulation side of the Moterey is killer as well.

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