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How many distinct types of Fuzz Circuits do you think there are?

Barnzy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,491
I'm fairly new to fuzz. So here's a question for those who know the history of fuzz... I ask because there are alot of pedals on the market that seem to be variations on just a few types, like a Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face, or the EHX Big Muff Pi. What seem to be the most archetypal circuits? And if anyone has a link to an article or thread that covers this topic, I'll take it!
Thanks,
Barnzy
 

Aquinas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,624
Depends on what you mean by "distinct" and "Fuzz"...

Electronically, there are only a few ways that they work - the big ones being pure-transistor (Fuzz Face) and diode clipping (Big Muff, SuperFuzz), with or without an "octave" component (rectifier). Within those few frameworks, there is a whole lot of variety, and two pedals that nominally use the "same tech" may actually act quite different. In the end, it all hinges upon how you define "fuzz"!

Archetypical circuits include the Big Muff PI, Fuzz Face, Tonebender (mk2 and later, 1 and 1.5 are very similar to Fuzz Face), and Shin-ei (Superfuzz, companion). A lot of the nominally distinct designs are actually derivative of something else, intentionally or not - Foxx is derivative of Shin-ei, for an obvious example.

The history of fuzz is pretty convoluted and crazy, but you should be able to find a lot of info through judicious searching of the interwebz...
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,321
^ :aok

'cept the Maestro Fuzz-Tone and Tone Bender MkI actually use capacitors in between stages, unlike the Fuzz Face and later Tone Benders, in which the part of the circuit that generates the fuzz is a pair of DC-coupled transistors.
 

Barnzy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,491
Thanks of the responses guys...i think I'll go to Youtube and search those pedals to get an idea of how they compare to eachother. Trying to learn what type of fuzz I want is a bit of a challenge....
 

Adam Strange

Member
Messages
182
What do I win if I guess the correct amount?






If it's the same amount in black jelly beans I will lie. What? One is enough, what would I do with ---
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
25,709
Thanks of the responses guys...i think I'll go to Youtube and search those pedals to get an idea of how they compare to eachother. Trying to learn what type of fuzz I want is a bit of a challenge....
it might be best to pick a few types and actually try them..... for more than 20-minutes, if possible.
as well, different folks can do very different things with precisely the same fuzz, so..... keep that in mind while watching YT videos etc.
 

Aquinas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,624
it might be best to pick a few types and actually try them..... for more than 20-minutes, if possible.
as well, different folks can do very different things with precisely the same fuzz, so..... keep that in mind while watching YT videos etc.
:agree

Pete Townshend vs Gary Louris (Superfuzz), J. Mascis vs Dave Gilmour (Big Muff), and so on...
 
Messages
2,258
Thanks of the responses guys...i think I'll go to Youtube and search those pedals to get an idea of how they compare to eachother. Trying to learn what type of fuzz I want is a bit of a challenge....
do any bands you like use fuzz? do you want to cop their tones? listen out for fuzz in songs you like, and then research the gear. that's a good spot to start - with what you like.
 

ERGExplorer

Member
Messages
6,076
I start with the sounds I like, and don't really get into how it's made until I'm working with it.

@The OP - When you did research on fuzz sounds you really liked in recordings, what gear produced those sounds?

If you don't know, and are starting with what is out there with written descriptions, instead of actual sound... you have things backwards.
 

cbm

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,942
What seem to be the most archetypal circuits?
At the risk of being pedantic: what exactly is fuzz? I ask because there are no real definitions of fuzz, distortion and overdrive. People throw these terms around as if there were good definitions, leading to the accurate categorization of different types of devices but, in fact, these are mostly marketing terms, or terms that have come to define different flavors of dirt sounds, from a player's POV. You can't really point to a circuit and say that it's a fuzz, a distortion, or an overdrive based on circuit topology. There is nothing in a circuit that absolutely makes it one or the other.

Overdrive is the closest thing to having a definition of "one stage having more output amplitude than a following stage can handle, resulting in distortion," but this is really clouded by a lot of commercial overdrive devices using diodes to clip the signal.

One of my favorite fuzz tones, the PTD Mini-bone, cleans up so well when I back off the guitar volume that it barely distorts at all, but with the guitar cranked it does crazy trombone fold-back of the signal. The Big Muff is considered a fuzz by most people, but it was marketed as a distortion/sustainer. These distinctions are arbitrary, and have contributed unnecessary confusion to the dirt world, I think.
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,052
I think fuzz is typically a sound that you can't actually get out of an amplifier that is in good working order. It's nice to think of it as a low voltage solid state circuit where the non-linear behavior comes from transistors, not diodes or op amps going off the deep end. Distortion and overdrive do sound like a guitar amplifier beyond clean. OD being on the cusp and Distortion being well beyond the cusp. ymmv

[edit] I will admit that the outliers are hard to classify. To me, the Univox SuperFuzz is a distortion sound more than fuzz, but the Garnet Herzog is a fuzz sound and is really a Fender Champ into a resistor, with some extra tone shaping. American Woman is as much fuzz as all that early Randy California stuff with Spirit...Jordan Bosstone in his case.
 
Last edited:

Squatch57

Member
Messages
3,744
Yeah, fuzz was the furthest thing from my mind when I bought a Big Muff in '73
It was the 'smooth creamy sustain' machine. Nobody wanted Shi-Nei's in the 70's, most of them got binned when they broke
 

Barnzy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,491
I start with the sounds I like, and don't really get into how it's made until I'm working with it.

@The OP - When you did research on fuzz sounds you really liked in recordings, what gear produced those sounds?

If you don't know, and are starting with what is out there with written descriptions, instead of actual sound... you have things backwards.
I am not really taking one approach, but actually trying out several things at once. I am asking questions here, watching Youtube videos and have been trying pedals as well. I have just had the pleasure of sampling 3 Basic Audio fuzz pedals in the Canadian tourbox. My learning isn's one direction at all. Alot of pedals are described as being a derivative of an earlier design and one thing I need to do is gain some insight into how these earlier designs sound. As other posters have noted, fuzz is a blurry concept and it has captured my interest, but I'm really a novice with this pedal type, unlike with overdrives. The more I know, the less mistakes I make in purchasing gear.
 

Barnzy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,491
I might be bit late on that, but I wrote this article recently:
http://www.coda-effects.com/2015/08/the-different-types-of-fuzz.html

Remember that the list is not exhaustive, and that there are other fuzz types that are less common (Ampeg Scrambler...etc)
Hi Coda11,
I went back through this thread and found your post. I read the link and really enjoyed the information you provided. Thanks for taking the time here and well done on the article! I hope others who want to put all the different types of "Fuzz circuits" into perspective get a chance to read what you wrote.
Cheers,
Barnzy
 
Messages
10,346
At the risk of being pedantic: what exactly is fuzz? I ask because there are no real definitions of fuzz, distortion and overdrive. People throw these terms around as if there were good definitions, leading to the accurate categorization of different types of devices but, in fact, these are mostly marketing terms, or terms that have come to define different flavors of dirt sounds, from a player's POV. You can't really point to a circuit and say that it's a fuzz, a distortion, or an overdrive based on circuit topology. There is nothing in a circuit that absolutely makes it one or the other.

Overdrive is the closest thing to having a definition of "one stage having more output amplitude than a following stage can handle, resulting in distortion," but this is really clouded by a lot of commercial overdrive devices using diodes to clip the signal.

One of my favorite fuzz tones, the PTD Mini-bone, cleans up so well when I back off the guitar volume that it barely distorts at all, but with the guitar cranked it does crazy trombone fold-back of the signal. The Big Muff is considered a fuzz by most people, but it was marketed as a distortion/sustainer. These distinctions are arbitrary, and have contributed unnecessary confusion to the dirt world, I think.
I think you can tell by the circuit. FUZZ is a simple tranny based circuit.
 




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