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Germanium Fuzz recommendation & wisdom sought

jbd3

Please Don't Sell Me Any More Gear
Gold Supporting Member
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2,792
OK, you guys win: I'm going to try a Germanium Fuzz.

I've got two questions:

First, what pedal would you all recommend? I don't like those really splattery, spitty fuzzes, or the over-the-top, no-dynamics Smashing Pumpkins-style fuzzes either. I'd like something a little more musical and versatile, instead of a one-trick pony, and I will cop to being pretty traditional in terms of the tones I like. I'm not Nels Cline or Thurston Moore.

I really like what Audrey Freed gets out of his Beano Boost, but I imagine that might have a little bit to do with his fingers, just maybe! I heard a demo of a Wren and Cuff Caprid that sounded good, but I like the simplicity and amp-like quality of the Beano Boost. I love Gilmour's tones--who doesn't--but I do have a Skreddy fuzz which is awesome for playing the solo from "Time," but isn't very versatile, and doesn't really clean up at all. And part of what has me thinking about a germanium fuzz is how all you guys say how well they clean up on a guitar's volume knob. The ability to get a little bit of grit and compression on a mostly clean tone just by turning my guitar down would be super useful. I like those Fuzz Face reissues, but the fact that their huge and round is kind of a drag, as far as pedal board space allocation goes.

Second, I want to make sure I've got no buffers between my guitar and the fuzz, right? Or is that not true anymore.

Thanks!
 

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,234
Yep, your Germanium fuzz pedal wants to see your guitar first with no buffers. I usually run my Ge fuzzes into my Wah, then the rest of the chain.
The Germanium MJM London fuzz gets a lot of love here. Someone just confirm that is the Germanium version.
Apart from that, there is a host of Ge fuzzes out there. Analogman was one of the first guys taking the FF circuit, and adding truebypass into a smaller saner sized box. The NKT's are discontinued parts now, but any Ge fuzzface with his name on the box is something that will be pretty much guaranteed to sound good.
Another stellar choice is the BYOC Germanium Fuzzface. It is a kit clone build, and the Germaniums are negative ground, not positive ground. This means that they can use all the same power supplies as your other pedals. Unless you want to use a battery with it, then a power supply isn't needed.

Generally as far as the structure of fuzzes and boosts go that use transistors...

Rangemasters/Treble boosters: 1 transistor stage
Fuzzfaces. MK 1.5 Tonebenders: 2 transistor stages (one tran. stage feeding the next.)
Tonebenders : 3 transistor stages (or, a Rangemaster belting into a Fuzzface)
Muffs: 4 transistor stages. Pure compressed sonic annhilation.

Germanium transistors are temperature dependent, they're a bitch to bias properly in summertime heat, which is why they sound shite in hot temperatures. Silicon transistors are completely stable and I have found to clean up reasonably ok on the guitar's vol knob.
 

gtrbarbarian

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,021
Rangemasters/Treble boosters: 1 transistor stage
Fuzzfaces. MK 1.5 Tonebenders: 2 transistor stages (one tran. stage feeding the next.)
Tonebenders : 3 transistor stages (or, a Rangemaster belting into a Fuzzface)
Muffs: 4 transistor stages. Pure compressed sonic annhilation.
Thanks for the run down...I did not know this...
 

fieldsroyal

Member
Messages
2,071
Try finding a used Addrock Geranium - it uses the NKT transistors and sounds amazing. Works better than most with a Fender amp too as it features a "bright" switch.
 

Lolaviola

Member
Messages
8,622
Get a Beano Boost AND a Fuzz Face, then you're in Fuzz heaven =D
Beano is a great pedal for what you describe and I would say go for it, but you may find it cant do heavy saturation, just a nice controlable edge. Later just get the fuzz. I use these together and love the sounds.
 

small axe

Member
Messages
2,914
if u like the beano get an analog.man sunface....the fulltone 69 original is my fave though
 

FuzzFaceJ

Member
Messages
1,305
FoxRox CC Hybrid!

it's a germanium/silicon hybrid fuzz face, best of both worlds, smooth darkness of germanium, clarity and bite of silicon

very musical fuzz
 

sacakl

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,290
I know what the OP's referring to. A lot of fuzzes I've tried have been pretty devestating and hard to use in a live band/gig situation. The ones that I've liked some dynamics have been the Fulltone '69 and the Octafuzz in normal fuzz mode (I think the latter is silicon though).
 

Jet Age Eric

Member
Messages
7,677
Blackout Effectors Blunderbuss is Ge hybrid and incredibly versatile (despite its Muff origins), but it doesn't do clean up. It DOES have tons of output, stacks well with a wah, runs off a psu, and sounds great. -E
 

jbd3

Please Don't Sell Me Any More Gear
Gold Supporting Member
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2,792
Hey, thanks you guys, this has been incredibly helpful, actually.

I'm going to give the Beano Boost a try. Dip my toe in the germanium pool, so to speak. That sounds like the easiest to handle, and might be the most useable for me. But there have been a couple good suggestions here, so that might just be my gateway drug to being one of those dudes with 11 fuzzes, and a big awning for my pedalboard for outdoor gigs, so the sun can't shine on my germanium and turn it to mush!

Anyway, I'll report back once the Beano Boost arrives. Thanks to all for putting their .02 in.
 

theanalogdream

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,478
Ya I would recommend looking at buyanalogman.com :) The trouble is...once you start buying his stuff, it's hard to quit!
 

SCREAMIN SETH

Member
Messages
61
I usually put a buffer in front of my fuzz but make it true bypass switchable to take it out when I dont want it.

A buffer in front will let you put wah -> fuzz and get really good tone sweep with the wah. I can usually get more wah range with the wah first instead of after.

However, two big points to be careful about:
1) If the buffer isn’t designed right it can actually kill the fuzz. It can make it sound like it is dying
2) With a buffer first, your volume knob sensitivity isn't as good. You will have to crank the volume know more to clean the fuzz up. I like to do this when I play, so then I turn the buffer off.
 

ChicagoJoe

Member
Messages
3,074
Analogman sunface all the way. Just make sure you have the cheap non alkalyne battery in there. Nice, small pedal enclosure too.
 

korby

Senior Member
Messages
10,264
Germanium Fuzz pedals are all raunchy if you use them with your regular amp settings .

To clean them up and smooth them out you need to turn your amp bass all the way up and your treble all the down and use the pedal and your tone knob on your guitar to dial in the sound your looking for . These pedals were made to brighten the dark amps of the 60's , new amps don't have that problem .
Marc Ford taught me that .
 

hyde

Member
Messages
168
Germanium Fuzz pedals are all raunchy if you use them with your regular amp settings .

To clean them up and smooth them out you need to turn your amp bass all the way up and your treble all the down and use the pedal and your tone knob on your guitar to dial in the sound your looking for . These pedals were made to brighten the dark amps of the 60's , new amps don't have that problem .
Marc Ford taught me that .
This is an important point if you are new to fuzz face type pedals. You need either a cranked tube amp or a good OD after the fuzz or it will probably not sound like what you expect.

I just picked up a MJM London fuzz that is really straightforward and sounds great. Can't really offer a comparison since I usually play muff type fuzzes...but I'm really happy with it so far.
 






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