Germanium FF users, some real life gig questions and placement in chain...

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by fabulusfab777, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. fabulusfab777

    fabulusfab777 Member

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    Hey guys,

    So one pedal or type of pedal I should say I keep coming back to is a germanium Fuzz Face. I love the tone, love the cleanup, the interaction with the guitar. Thing is, in real life gigs (not playing at home) I've often gave up, cause it just didn't work the way I wanted them to. I've owned multiple very nice FF type, so it's not really the model but more the understanding of how to make it work and make it practical. As a reference, I've owned a few MJM London Fuzz, a Hartman Fuzz, Solidgoldfx if 6 was 9 (special germanium one), Oxfuzz, Dunlop Bonamassa FF, Fulltone 69, and probaly others that I forget.

    Also my current pedal lineup is : MJM Ulysse wah // Korg Tuner // Mojo Vibe // Keeley comp+ // KOT // Keeley Caverns v2 // Tremolo/boost //

    So first, do you always run your germanium FF first in chain ? I know the best results are with it this way, but I also like the sound of Vibe into fuzz, so anyone do this or you just run Vibe with overdrive instead ? Also same thing with Wah ? This has been beaten to death, but even with a buffer in the wah it doesn't guaranty it will work with the FF.

    Also in terms of types of tones and pedal stacking, I've ran FF into other pedals like overdrives or boosts before to make it cut more, but do you always do that at gigs to make it work ?

    I play mostly in cover bands, and I'm trying to find if I can use a FF as another tool with all it's great tricks or if it's too complicated....

    Never ending question I guess, what do you guys think ?
     
  2. PSQRCL

    PSQRCL Member

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    Personally I do. Depending on the Vibe I may run my Sunface before it. Otherwise, just Vibe into TS or HotCake for me.
    Don't run a wah so won't be able to contribute there.

    I always run the Sunface into my TS ala early Eric Johnson style for leads. Live amp is a Marshall SLP.

    The Bonamassa FF is great before or after the Vibe.
     
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  3. FokenBusker

    FokenBusker Member

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    Are you using a pedal switcher? Makes life a lot easier with a germanium unit. If I'm just using germanium dirt I'll want it first in the chain, every time, but if you have a switcher you can activate your wah or vibe pedal, having them placed before the fuzz unit in the switcher. This means you won't have to worry about losing your germanium twinkles when you deactivate your wah or vibe pedals.

    Furthermore, Fuzz Faces might benefit from a booster, depending on your band. I find them to be pretty sparkly and definitely cut through better than most Muff variants, but they sometimes don't poke through the mix as effectively as one might expect. A booster with a mid-hump, or even a treble booster, might get you closer to where you want to be.
     
  4. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Outdoor gigs with sun and it’s game over, might as well not even bring it. My fuzzes like to before the wah.
     
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  5. fabulusfab777

    fabulusfab777 Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I think a switcher makes sense the way you described it. I had one at some point (was a cheap one, Vitoos I think) But I find it's more cables, and of course more space on the board. If I was designing a board from the ground up, I would probably use one but not for now, although something to keep in mind. Regarding boost, I run one side of my KOT as overdrive/distortion and one side kind of a dirty boost, so that could be interesting after a FF
     
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  6. Narwhal0514

    Narwhal0514 Member

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    I’ve struggled with making Ge fuzzes cut through a band mix, too. I think Mike even warns about this on his Analogman FF page.

    I think they should go first in the chain. You really don’t get the same cleanup otherwise.

    From there, I hit it with a boost first to shape the tone a bit beforehand, which I’ve found helps. Try using the KoT to boost it. Also, and this is a HUGE help, I’ve found that if you roll your guitar volume knob off a bit it really helps it to brighten up and cut better.

    Besides that, you just have to pick spots in your set where you won’t be competing with another guitar or keyboard for that sonic space.
     
  7. fabulusfab777

    fabulusfab777 Member

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    When you say you hit it with a boost, you mean before or after the Fuzz ? Also I agree that in a one guitar band, there would no issues, or a lot less. When in a cover band with another guitar player most of the time, like for me right now, this is where it can be more challenging. The cleanup tones are still super useful and semi dirty ones, but it's more the ''volume knob on 10'' full on Fuzz that I've struggled to make work and cut. But I think you are correct, picking the right spots to use it will still be the best thing to do...
     
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  8. FokenBusker

    FokenBusker Member

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    Pete Thorn recently released a great video about how you want your germanium pedal first in the chain because by design the pedal is supposed to create a circuit with the guitar's pickups, which is a big part of their characteristic sound. Any unit placed between the germanium unit and the guitar will almost definitely break that circuit, which will dull the tone significantly.

    I don't know how effective a line switcher like the BOSS LS-2 would be at getting you where you want to be (BOSS units are normally buffered). Aside from a pedal switcher, I really don't know what would solve this problem. It's a real head scratcher!
     
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  9. FokenBusker

    FokenBusker Member

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    Boost after fuzz. Fuzz can compress your signal so a boost going in before it might make the fuzz sound thicker but won't boost volume or help you cut through.
     
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  10. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    Before my Analogman NKT red dot, I've got an old Vox wah with a Foxrox wah buffer installed and a Jam Pedals Retrovibe. I had the wah modded to true bypass as well. I still get the interaction with m y volume knob.
     
  11. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    it might help a bit to have a good output volume on the vibe (as with my Mini Deja) and input bias control or input level control on the fuzz, as with the '69 fuzz. Then you can fine tune the interaction with vibe before fuzz. This takes time to dial in, and is not just click on and go.

    Then you also need mids control with your fuzz live, as with the '69.

    And you need to be able to dial out woofiness and muddiness live, as with the '69.

    Can you now guess a reason why I run a Deja into a '69?

    You have to tweak everything at once and find sweet spots where the pedals marry and the sound is reasonable. With many vibe/fuzz combos, this is not possible. With most?

    YMMV, but this was my attempt at a solution.

    Fuzzface always goes first in chain otherwise, for me. But if you make an exception, you need to spend time setting it up.

    With wah into fuzz you also need to plan ahead.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  12. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Supporting Member

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    Fuzz > low gain OD will help it cut. A TS is a good choice because it cuts some of the muddy bass and adds mids. It may be a bit too much bass cut if you like your fuzz tone to be wooly. Whichever OD you use keep the gain low. Youre mostly using it as an EQ.

    Another thing that helps cut, assuming you have a strat or tele is to use the bridge pickup. Jimi used the neck pickup extensively with fuzz but guys like Jeff Beck, Gilmour and Richie Blackmore mostly used the bridge pickup to great effect.
     
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  13. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Member

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    I absolutely love the fuzzface but it presents several problems, as mentioned. It wants to be first in line, doesn't have enough mids to cut well in a dense mix, and germanium transistors can perform inconsistently depending on the environment.

    For mids, many run it into a TS or other pedal to sculpt the tone a bit. EQ pedal would be ideal for this 'cause you could cut some lows too.

    Switcher is a good solution to the first-in-line dilemma but it adds complexity. More wiring, more that can go wrong. And more expense.

    As for vibe, I've always preferred it into an OD for more of a classic vibe-with-cranked-amp-type tone.

    I agree that the best solution for the OP might be something face-like rather than a FF. The abovementioned Fulltone '69 sounds like it could be a good alternative. Haven't ever had one of those myself so I can't offer an informed opinion.

    My choice was the Lovepedal Fuzz50. It cleans up as well as a FF (including those beautiful Jimi semicleans), cuts better in a band mix, is reliable at any temperature (not germanium but it has the sound), and is foolproof & consistent because there's only one adjustment, a volume knob. Importantly for me, it also sounds fabulous with many different guitars. Some might balk at not being able to tweak the drive, but it's tuned perfectly and really you adjust the gain with the volume knob on your guitar.
    http://www.effectsdatabase.com/model/lovepedal/fuzz50/royale#info
    [EDIT - There isn't much on YouTube about the Fuzz50, only a demo by somebody who thought the volume knob was a drive control and demo'd the dynamic nature by picking softer, without really showing how it sounds when you play it with the guitar rolled back. It actually does clean up very well indeed when you do.]

    One further thought - for the OP in this case (mostly cover bands) perhaps a ToneBender might be more appropriate & useful. It cleans up nearly as well as the FF and sits much better in a band mix. Also good with slide. Perhaps slightly more of a 70s-type sound to my ear than the pure-60s-psychedelic fuzzface, but it plays well with others and the tone is definitely a rock n roll classic. Just a thought.

    Have you ever considered a Bender?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  14. fabulusfab777

    fabulusfab777 Member

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    Thanks for all the good replies guys. So I do mainly play a Strat these days, and that's why I wanted to go the FF route again. But I did try ToneBenders, a few great ones in the past and I agree they might be more fit for a full band mix. However, I'm wondering if I should give a good SI low gain FF a try. I'm a little biased when it comes to SI FF, I didn't like them as much, anyway the ones I've tried so far. I find them too bright and lacking the ''magic'' I hear in GE ones, for lack of a better word.
     
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  15. swampstomper

    swampstomper Member

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    Is this true even if the pedal in front of the germanium is true bypass?
     
  16. CJReaper

    CJReaper Member

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    I have run a TB wah in front of my Ge Treble Booster with no issues, sounded fine.
     
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  17. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    A Strat directly into a germanium Mini Fuzz Face, into a Xotic wah into a Green Rhino and then out to a Marshall Jubilee was tonal heaven at last night’s rehearsal.

    It sounded so good I may have convinced my drummer to buy a Strat - he has all the other components but doesn’t know how to make them pop yet. :D
     
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  18. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    BC 183 silicon are the warmest sounding silicon transistors to my ear. That's your best bet for a close to germanium sounding silicon fuzz face. Solidgoldfx "If 6 was 9" BC183 or Analogman BC183 Sunface would be solid choices.
     
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  19. Kevy_Metal

    Kevy_Metal Member

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    I've added a Fulltone 69 back onto my board and it's always a great reminder how awesome this pedal has been for me. Started riffing away on ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" and that's all it took.
     
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  20. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    I like ff pedals, and it is up to you what type of transistors used.
    I usually prefer Wah-Octavio-fuzz-treble boost-KOT/TS

    I like to pre-boost the ff with an Octavio style pedal as long as it’s true bypass and not buffered.

    I like the wah running into the ff as long as it has a fuzz friendly buffer and is true bypass.

    A treble boost after a ff gives a nice lift to the sounds, and can help with a woofy tone.

    An overdrive like the kot or tubescreamer can also help give a variety and sound better live than it does in the bedroom.

    The vibe sound I prefer is vibe before ff, but I’ve had a couple vibes and some sound better placed first and some don’t, as far as preserving the clean up.

    Hope that helps. I use a Jimi Hendrix ff, a Teese rmc10, a Phoenix Ranger tb, and a Dunlop Octavio cheese wedge. I also use a phase90 script reissue (non led), because I got tired of messing with vibes, and it can all run off batteries. I place the phase after the ff.

    Everything is up to you, as always, but remember how to set it up, and what works with what, then work on adjusting the sound with your guitar controls.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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