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Lets have a last word on fuzzfaces, wah wahs, and buffers

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,587
its been years since i had a wah pedal but i've been getting the itch again. However, the majority of my higher gain lead sounds come from a fulltone soulbender fuzz with notoriously finnicky nkt275 germanium transistors. As you know fuzzface and tonebender fuzzes are very reliant on getting proper impedance from the signal for their tone and their clean-up ability when rolling down the guitar's volume or pick attack. The last time I had a wah wah it was a vox clyde mccoy wah with true bypass and it would just make oscillation and squishy noises when running into my soulbender or fuzzface, BUT it would work ok when i turned on my vibe pedal in between the wah and the fuzz (which i presume raises the impedance).

Obviously some fuzzes (like the Analogman sunface) have built-in circuits that help them work with wah wah pedals, but most of us living in the dark ages I figured we could try to put together a list of workarounds and protocols when mixing fuzz and wah. Now, i haven't tried all of these but just using inference and extrapolation here are some ideas:

1. wah after fuzz (yuck)
2. wah with a buffer built in (i.e. either a drop-in mod, a switchable buffer like the fulltone clyde, or a wah with a built-in boost circuit set to just around unity gain)
3. second pedal switched on between wah and fuzz (like the vibe example i gave earlier - downside is not everybody wants to add another pedal's tone and its extra tap dancing)
4. buffered pedal in a true bypass loop with the wah - throwing in something like a boss tuner or even a standalone buffer that doesn't need to even be on is a nice alternative for people because it doesn't mean extra tap dancing or changing the tone. you put the wah pedal and your buffered pedal in a loop at the beginning of the chain and kick the loop on when you need it - that way your buffered pedal doesn't mess with your fuzz tone when you're not playing the wah wah. i also hate trying to kick on the wah so a bypass loop is sometimes preferable for me
5. i'm not sure if this one works so can someone confirm but i think old-style wah pedals have a built in input buffer (generally of dubious signal quality) that might be useful for when they run into fuzzes... so if you use a vintage wah with no true bypass or an off-the-shelf gcb95 crybaby or v847 vox wah then it should be good when going into the fuzz, just less than ideal when the wah is off and you have a buffer feeding into your pedal. Again, i'm thinking if i were to grab a plain jane vox wah and run it in a bypass loop into my fuzz it should thus engage the buffer when the loop is on (wah + fuzz) and retain the tone and dynamics when the loop is off and the wah is not in line with the fuzz. anyone doing this?

any other methods i'm missing?
 

Skreddy

Member
Messages
2,307
The oldschool wahs did not feature a buffered bypass but rather a simple tone-sucking arrangement wherein the signal was always connected to the circuit's input even in bypass mode.

New, off-the-shelf Dunlop wahs do feature an extra input buffer, but this is not to buffer the bypass but rather to simply present less of a tone suck to the bypass line since they are still not wired as true bypass.

Now, there is a common practice of making output buffers in boutique wah pedals. Geoffrey Teese builds his standard RMC with an output buffer (which really the wah circuit ought to have, although the presence of an output buffer does change the tone and response of the sweep--it makes it more accurate and stable, which might be regarded as a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much you like the vintage wah's idiosyncrasies).
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,587
i already have a true bypass box so i'm leaning towards just grabbing any off the shelf wah and putting it in a loop with this bad boy... can't go wrong for $17 and doesn't require any modifications
 

fuzz guy

Member
Messages
512
I run my germanium Tonebender MkII before my wah and I prefer the way it sounds. Some silicon based fuzzes I own sound better afterwards. I don't necessarily prescribe to the wah first in the signal chain theory, it depends. Right now one of my boards has the Tonebender, then a Ge Rangemaster copy, my Foxrox Octron3 and then my Dunlop Hendrix wah (which I modified for true bypass and removed the input buffer). For me that's how everything sounds best.
 
Messages
3,059
Here's my take on it: I'm a Fuzz Face guy and always run my Vox style wah after the fuzz. Despite my RMC10 having an output buffer, I just don't like the sound of it running into a fuzz. It totally messes with the tone. The wah itself sounds glorious, but no matter what I do, I just don't like the sound of wah into fuzz. It takes some time to make it sound good, but it's worth it.
 

Skreddy

Member
Messages
2,307
i already have a true bypass box so i'm leaning towards just grabbing any off the shelf wah and putting it in a loop with this bad boy... can't go wrong for $17 and doesn't require any modifications
The likely problem with this approach is that vintage style fuzzes do not like to have any active gain stage in front of them that features a low-impedance output. Almost certainly a plain buffer like the one linked above will fit that description. Its output would need to be padded with some resistance to get along with the input of a vintage fuzz.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,587
The likely problem with this approach is that vintage style fuzzes do not like to have any active gain stage in front of them that features a low-impedance output. Almost certainly a plain buffer like the one linked above will fit that description. Its output would need to be padded with some resistance to get along with the input of a vintage fuzz.
you mean padding the output of the buffer or the wah? is this done by adding a resistor or is there some other way?
 

espinete

Member
Messages
389
Hendrix's tech installed a 10k resistor at the output of his wah. Just barely enough resistance to fix the squealing issue when running it into a Fuzz Face.
Hi ! What wah pedal is this ? I'm searching information about the Hendrix wah wah pedal recorded in the E.Ladyland album . Thanks
 

Jim Marciano

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,459
Hi ! What wah pedal is this ? I'm searching information about the Hendrix wah wah pedal recorded in the E.Ladyland album . Thanks
I can't really find much information either but you probably can't go wrong with a vox 846 or thomas organ with a tdk inductor (that's what in the picture) I had one...it needed work but had an excellent sound, tdks are not as sought after as some of the others but were popular at the time
 

espinete

Member
Messages
389
Thanks. I saw "Jimi 69" inside and the man who posted it talking about the extra output resistor and I thought it was the real one :)
I've been trying to find a tdk 5103 but it seems to be a impossible mission
 

ndparse89

Member
Messages
497
its been years since i had a wah pedal but i've been getting the itch again. However, the majority of my higher gain lead sounds come from a fulltone soulbender fuzz with notoriously finnicky nkt275 germanium transistors. As you know fuzzface and tonebender fuzzes are very reliant on getting proper impedance from the signal for their tone and their clean-up ability when rolling down the guitar's volume or pick attack. The last time I had a wah wah it was a vox clyde mccoy wah with true bypass and it would just make oscillation and squishy noises when running into my soulbender or fuzzface, BUT it would work ok when i turned on my vibe pedal in between the wah and the fuzz (which i presume raises the impedance).

Obviously some fuzzes (like the Analogman sunface) have built-in circuits that help them work with wah wah pedals, but most of us living in the dark ages I figured we could try to put together a list of workarounds and protocols when mixing fuzz and wah. Now, i haven't tried all of these but just using inference and extrapolation here are some ideas:

1. wah after fuzz (yuck)
2. wah with a buffer built in (i.e. either a drop-in mod, a switchable buffer like the fulltone clyde, or a wah with a built-in boost circuit set to just around unity gain)
3. second pedal switched on between wah and fuzz (like the vibe example i gave earlier - downside is not everybody wants to add another pedal's tone and its extra tap dancing)
4. buffered pedal in a true bypass loop with the wah - throwing in something like a boss tuner or even a standalone buffer that doesn't need to even be on is a nice alternative for people because it doesn't mean extra tap dancing or changing the tone. you put the wah pedal and your buffered pedal in a loop at the beginning of the chain and kick the loop on when you need it - that way your buffered pedal doesn't mess with your fuzz tone when you're not playing the wah wah. i also hate trying to kick on the wah so a bypass loop is sometimes preferable for me
5. i'm not sure if this one works so can someone confirm but i think old-style wah pedals have a built in input buffer (generally of dubious signal quality) that might be useful for when they run into fuzzes... so if you use a vintage wah with no true bypass or an off-the-shelf gcb95 crybaby or v847 vox wah then it should be good when going into the fuzz, just less than ideal when the wah is off and you have a buffer feeding into your pedal. Again, i'm thinking if i were to grab a plain jane vox wah and run it in a bypass loop into my fuzz it should thus engage the buffer when the loop is on (wah + fuzz) and retain the tone and dynamics when the loop is off and the wah is not in line with the fuzz. anyone doing this?

any other methods i'm missing?
Most buffered wahs are still true bypass; the buffer is only on when the effect is engaged. So with wah off you'll still get the right response out of your fuzz. Of course it will affect the tone of your fuzz with the wah on, but that's the compromise you have to make if you don't want the squealing. The only "right" answer is a wah friendly fuzz. The analogman sun faces actually don't have any added circuitry that makes them wah friendly, they're vintage accurate and they squeal just like any fuzz with an unbuffered wah before them. I know of 3 strains of fuzzes that are wah friendly: Big Muffs (completely different sound, I don't really categorize them as fuzz personally), the Effectrode Mercury tube fuzz (awesome but expensive), and Roger Mayer style fuzzes (Octavia, Axis, Band of Gypsies etc). The fulltone octafuzz with the octave turned off might be a good option for you.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,587
i actually bought a fulltone clyde wah with the adjustable buffer a few months ago. works perfect with my soulbender. too bad fuller turned out to be such a maniac lmao
 




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