Fuzz face problems

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by cfguitars, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. cfguitars

    cfguitars Member

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    A few months ago I bought an Eric Johnson signature fuzz face which has never quite sounded right. I always thought that it was just not agreeing with my then solid state amp but now that I have bought a tube amp and it's still having problems I wanted to ask for help here. It seems to break up the signal too much especially on the lower notes. Also I run a wah in front of it. (I have to because I want the wah on all my pedal chains, which I have three of) but I do have a boss pedal in between as a buffer to stop the wah noise. The fuzz face always breaks up too much but while using the wah I can't even tell I'm using it other than a sudden signal jump at a certain spot in the movement of the wah pedal. Need some advice.
     
  2. winkofaneye

    winkofaneye Member

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    Try turning the volume down on your guitar ( fuzz on ) to get a more useable sound. You can also back the fuzz level on the pedal down a little. It sounds like what you are hearing is just what fuzz pedals do. The buffer before the pedal isn't going to help but even with that fuzz is a hard beast to tame. Remember it wants you to give up, keep trying, they are the most rewarding of pedals. I speak as a fuzz user of two decades. Currently using Sunface NKT 275.

    Ideally, crank the amp to where you hear the amp break up,( not too much gain) ,adjust eq to taste but not too much bass. If using single coils, set the pedal fuzz level at full and volume at full, and work backwards, but use the volume knob on your guitar too. You may find a sweet spot that way. Humbuckers require more volume adjustment due to higher output.

    It's a tricky one, fuzz....
     
  3. phil esposito

    phil esposito Member

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    Try with just the fuzz alone to figure out what the base sound is....then add pedals so you can interpret the effects of buffers/impedance. Fuzz face is a tricky thing to incorporate.
     
  4. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    The Boss pedal will indeed stop the wah being eaten up by the fuzz, but since it's constantly present (even when you're not using the wah), it will also mess with the guitar->fuzz relationship. I'd remove the Boss pedal to see if the fuzz doesn't start sounding better. If you have problems with the wah not working right with the fuzz, you can install a buffer in the wah itself. That way, it will only be present when the wah is turned on. Check out the FoxRox Wah Retrofit for more info on that bit.
     
  5. steam-powered

    steam-powered Member

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    Simple solution: put your wah after the fuzz. Every wah pedal I've owned/tried, even with "fuzz friendly buffers" are useless when placed after a fuzz.
     
  6. coolhand78

    coolhand78 Supporting Member

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    yeah fuzzface circuits are invariably finiky...

    best advice play the pedal on it's own, if you dig it, start adding pedals from there, generally speaking putting a buffer in front of a fuzzface will never work.... there are specific buffers that get put in wahs (area 51 etc) that allow you to put the wah in front but a standard buffer in a boss pedal is unlikely to work...

    the upshot being that most often the fuzz needs to see the guitar before anything else ie. fuzzface needs to be first in the chain...
     
  7. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    I have a Clapton Signature Strat that has active electronics and buffer that I run into a Sunface NKT275 White Dot Low Gain, a Hartman Vintage Germanium w/AC 128's, and a Demeter Fuzzulator w/diodes and LED's. No problems with the Demeter. The Sunface and Hartman have "Input Trimmers" that minimize any issues when I turn the trimmers down. The main effect from the buffer is that it brightens the tone, especially with the NKT275', but I can adjust the tone controls of the guitar and amp to make it sound killer.
     
  8. softclipper

    softclipper Member

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    Apart from buffers and other signal chain issues, maybe EJ Fuzz Face is biased too low for some tastes. As I can remember the second transistor bias is about 3v-3.5v or so. This kind of biasing gives a very compressed and gritty tone to the fuzz. The Bonamassa Fuzz Face is biased a little bit higher and so the Hendrix blue one. In this way, as higher the voltage, the cleaner, open and uncompressed the sound will be (taking into account that it's not an overdrive, it's a fuzz and it's dirty, rude, etc.). It's all personal preference and EJ likes this kind of saggy fuzz.

    Anyway, back on the pedal there are two mini trimmers for setting biasing: the trim for the second transistor (Q2) set the bias lower or higher, so you can experiment by ear or with some tools for getting a more friendly voltage. You can set the meter for volts and place one lead into input and the other on the emmiter of Q2. Then insert a jack into input connecting the battery and take some measurements as you turn the bias looking for nicer and warmer tones. Take note of the factory setting and play with it. Be careful because the trimmer is very weak and tiny, so go up with little increments with a very small screwdriver. You can see here the trimmers (in this one it's a Bonamassa fuzz but it's the same in the EJ Fuzz Face).

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Major Dude

    Major Dude Member

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    Hmmm....this doesn't make sense dude
     
  10. loocnmad

    loocnmad Member

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    Another vote here to take it out of the chain. I have the EJ model, too, but I made the mistake of putting it after my TU-3 when I first put it on the board. Sounded terrible and I panicked for a bit till I realized what I did.

    Also, what kind of wah do you have? A fuzz friendly wah is only going to keep it from squealing when the wah is engaged. If it's not TB it can still do the same thing as a buffered Boss pedal.
     
  11. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    That's where I'd start too. Buffers in front of fuzz faces is a recipe for disappointment.
     
  12. steam-powered

    steam-powered Member

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    Not sure I understand....which part doesn't make sense? If you had half a heart you'd tell me, my friend.

    Great handle, by the way, easily the best studio band EVER.
     
  13. moemoe6434

    moemoe6434 Member

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    Most all ge fuzz I have played are much better before wah.... or anything for that matter.
     
  14. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Just re read your post, word for word. I'm sure it was just a type/brain fart but you seem to be advising to do the very thing that sounds "useless"
     
  15. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    Simple tips:

    - Wah after the Fuzz (no pedals in between or before the fuzz)

    - Use the volume knob on the guitar to dial in a cleaner sound (even on 9 should be fine)

    - Turn the tone knob on the guitar to about 2-3 with volume maxed for liquid leads (American Woman, Cream tones)

    - Decrease lows on the amp if it still sounds too muddy

    - Play with some, but not too much, gain from the amp for sweeter (but compressed) tone

    One last tip: vintage fuzz circuits sound ALWAYS very dirty and lo-fi compared to modern, more refined tones, it's their essence! But if you learn how to play them, you can get awesome tones! :)
     
  16. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    And use both pickups for fatter tones!
     
  17. cfguitars

    cfguitars Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the great advice. I will be trying some of these tips out to see what works best. If I have any more questions I will ask here.
     
  18. wishbenash

    wishbenash Member

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    What about using a fuzz with a wireless?
     
  19. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    No go for a Fuzz Face, but might work with other designs.
     
  20. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    Another trick is to use an almost dead, cheap carbon-zinc battery: they sound best in vintage fuzz circuits!
     

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