Are vintage fuzz faces normally low gain?

MrMoose

Member
Messages
2,106
This is a question mostly geared towards the fuzz aficionados, I recently picked up a wonderful fuzz face build containing NOS 60's Newmarket NKT275 transistors (the exact same ones that were in the early fuzz faces). One thing surprised me though and that is how low gain it is overall, I mean it's wonderfully clear and articulate with great dynamics and cleanup, but it's just missing that exploding sun, amp cranked to 11 sound, it sort of seems to stop around 6 or 7. Just curious to hear some thoughts on the topic, I really like this fuzz a lot but I was (possibly falsely) under the impression that vintage fuzz faces were huge and massive fuzz beasts.
 

Custom50

Member
Messages
8,536
I've never owned a vintage fuzz face so I can't say for sure but I know they changed/tweaked them frequently so I'm sure there are lower gain versions. I imagine the germanium ones are not as aggressive as the silicon ones for instance.
 

Gracehoper

Member
Messages
254
Some of them are. Lots of people will tell you to run it into a slightly dirty amp for better results. Personally I like a good fuzzface into a clean amp as well. But if you need more gain you can try that or add a drive pedal after it. Or maybe even a clean boost before it. Experimentation is key I guess.
 

InAbsentia

Member
Messages
1,519
A lot of the germanium fuzz faces I've played throughout the years have had a little bit of overdrive sound to them, not quite as crazy and ferocious as their silicon counterparts. The key for me to get an insane fuzz tone out of them was to play them into a cooking amp. If the amp is breaking up and you slam it with a cranked germanium fuzz face, you're gonna have a good time.
 

analogmike

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,940
Very few "NOS NKT275" are real (maybe 5% max), and they are usually very low gain. We were buying them any time and anywhere we could find them, but gave up as there were no good ones, just wasted money.

The old ones were quite high for germanium.
 

superslidetail

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
977
Yup, I find that they need an overdriven amp and possibly another drive pedal to get that sound you are describing. A lot of current pedals with germanium transistors do a better job, higher gain wise than a lot of those vintage ones.
 




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