Germanium Conditions

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by mahler, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. mahler

    mahler Member

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    Since just recently I got a germanium fuzz, and another one on the way, I know these tranny's can be 'unstable'. So what conditions should I avoid, any solutions to these? (Bias pot maybe?). Also once they are subjected to these bad conditions are they done for, or when they are put back in normal conditions they go back to working great. What effects do the conditions have on sound?

    Thank You!
     
  2. JLee

    JLee Supporting Member

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    Too much heat and you get more spit and gating. Too much cold and the gain gets muted. MKIIs tend to be a bit more forgiving than a Fuzz Face in temperature extremes, or at least more usable. If the temp is too hot, throw the fuzz in the freezer for 5 minutes. Too cold, then set the pedal on top of your amp to warm up.
     
  3. mahler

    mahler Member

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    Okay, so nothing too bad!
     
  4. wingwalker

    wingwalker Fuzzy Guitars

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    No worries on perment damage and like my man said Benders (at least MK II's and III's) tend to be easier to deal with than Fuzz Faces...
     
  5. cj_wattage

    cj_wattage Supporting Member

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    As temperature increases, so does the relative gain of the transistors (especially germanium). So what you want to avoid is change in room temp. :)

    External bias control is helpful with germanium fuzzes. And it's fun with silicon, as you can go from smooth to gatey/sputtery.
     
  6. mondo500

    mondo500 Member

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    I've heard that occasionally a Germanium transistor won't return to its "normal" state after being subjected to extreme conditions, but that's to be expected with any product that fluctuates in its attributes. Most of the underperforming ones will have been weeded out by the builder during the selection process.
     
  7. Don A

    Don A Silver Supporting Member

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    I can tell you from personal experience that a Fulltone '69 Pedal sounds pretty bad in direct sunlight on a 95 degree f day. Putting it in the freezer and adjusting the bias did not help. I used a homemade Si backup.
     
  8. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    Germanium sounds great, no doubt. But anyone who is gigging or touring, the last thing they want to do is constantly bias their fuzz in order to get the sweet spot.

    Silicon is practical because they are not heat sensitive like germanium. Yes, Si sounds different but you can warm up the tone and have the advantage of setting/forgetting your adjustments.
     
  9. cj_wattage

    cj_wattage Supporting Member

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    You hope. ;)
     
  10. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Other than as mentioned, outdoors in direct sunlight, I think most germanium aren't THAT sensitive (at least, I've never experienced it) as long as you are in "room temperature", which most gigs are, right?

    Adjusting the fuzz knob by ear should go a long way to fixing small variations.

    I'm no expert though, these are just my thoughts on it.
     
  11. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    Again, it depend on the gig. A lot of the rooms I've played get pretty warm... it doesn't necessarily take direct sunlight to affect the germaniums. I found myself having to adjust the bias all the time... no set and forget in my experience.

    Adjusting the "fuzz" knob doesn't quite do it... you have to adjust the bias. But if adjusting the "Fuzz" knob works for you, then who am I to say it's wrong.

    Again, there is nothing against germaniums... they sound great. They are too fickle and you have to go through a bunch before you can find the ones with the proper gain for fuzzes. Not fun.
     
  12. charmboy

    charmboy Member

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    I've had very few issues with my Ge fuzz and temperature instability that couldn't be quickly and easily adjusted with the external bias. I live in upstate NY too, so plenty of loading in during subfreezing temperatures into overheated bars. Also, a fair amount of outdoor stuff in the summer.

    Instead of overthinking it, if you prefer the sound of Ge (particularly in a fuzzface circuit), just be sure to get one with external bias.
     
  13. Purplexi

    Purplexi Member

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    Whoa, the more I read this thread the happier I am with my Dunlop JH(silicon) Fuzz Face. Hendrix to Gilmore in any climate and plenty warm with a mid increase and proper guitar vol usage.
     
  14. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    It was just my little experience with them. I bow down to your advice here, and didn't realize that they were still so finicky...I thought there were design tricks now to minimize the drift...

    But I'd go with your advice over mine. It was just an idea using the fuzz knob, but if it doesn't work, then it sounds like you ought to be sure to get a fuzz with bias knob...
     

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