looking for fuzz, too

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by kludge, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Trying to find something for a specific guitar/amp combo. Guitar is a Tele with EMG-X pickups and a SPC tone control - imagine a really excellent Tele where you can dial in more mids at will. Amp is a 1980s Marshall Lead 20 - basically a solid state JCM800 (don't laugh, it's a little monster!).

    What I've tried so far, from the piles around the house, in order of success:

    Prescription Electronics Germ - gets splatty on attack, otherwise great.

    Keeley modded Rat - old and flaky, maybe too compressed, awesome tone

    Devi Ever Soda Meiser - hard to control and too much gain, but killer sound

    ZVex Wooly Mammoth - harsh attack, fantastic sustain, no DC option

    Skreddy Screwdriver - too crisp, usually great with this guitar but not this amp

    Way Huge Swollen Pickle - too polite, lacks aggression, smooth

    Vintage Technology Orange Sunshine - silicon harshness, brittle (hates active pickups), no DC option

    So what I want is something distinctively fuzzy with some distortionish tones, and moderately aggressive mids - like an old Rat, only fuzzier, or like a Soda Meiser, only more controllable, and without a splatty attack.

    Whatcha got, fuzz nerds?
     
  2. The Dust

    The Dust Member

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    Can't say that I know what your rig sounds like but try a Wampler Velvet Fuzz. It has all that you want, fuzzy tone with a distortion-like character, mids and good sustain.
     
  3. ChampReverb

    ChampReverb Silver Supporting Member

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    Based upon your described fuzz experiences I would suggest you check out the following flexible fuzz variants to see if they hold any interest for you:

    > Basic Audio Alter Destiny for Muff sounds

    > Basic Audio Shore Bird for Rat sounds


    Check the current Basic Audio Tourbox thread for clips.
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1496796

    Good luck in your search for fuzz Nirvana.

    -bEn r.
     
  4. cklug2

    cklug2 Member

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    Walrus Audio Jupiter. I'm not the BIGGEST fan of fuzz, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I needed to have it. Crazy awesome sounds and it looks cool too.
     
  5. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    What's killing me is that a while back, I ran across a used Hartman LM308 and was thinking about buying it, then talked some other dude in the same shop into buying it instead! Too nice for my own good. :) Might have been just the ticket, if I could get the fuzzier kind of Rat tones from it. Kinda big, though. I'd also like something small if possible.
     
  6. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    Can't the brightness be adjusted out of that screwdriver? That is a great sounding pedal. And are you listening at home or in a mix?
     
  7. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I sat back and I hiccuped and looked back on my busy day...

    So I bought TWO fuzzes today - an Empress Fuzz, and a Resonant Electronics Acceleron Fuzz. Took 'em home, tossed them in the woodchipper, and this is where things stand.

    The Empress is really nice. It's super well built, very flexible, and doesn't have a bad sound anywhere, and it's totally cool about the EMGs in my favorite guitar. To best describe the sound, well... there's this sort of blurry line between distortion and fuzz. The Rat sits just on the distortion side of the line, so it has a lot of fuzz character. The Empress sits on the fuzz side of the line, so it has lots of distortion character. Not a weird, buzzy, splatty thing like so many fuzzes. I think this pedal would make a lot of people really happy. Separate (and well voiced) bass and treble give it remarkable tonal flexibility.

    The Acceleron Fuzz is also well built, and significantly more beautiful than the utilitarian Empress. Three position switch moves between smooth and spitty, and the overall character is dark - dark enough that I wish I could brighten it a bit. Great fuzz range, though, and fantastic response to picking and volume knob.

    Tried them both at home against the old Rat and the Screwdriver (tweaked for better sound with the Marshall). The results were... interesting. I can't declare a rank.

    The Rat SCHOOLED the new fuzzes for both playability and mojo. Too bad the footswitch is getting increasingly unreliable in its old age (I've had it for almost 30 years!). Keeley mod, switch to the left (the bassier tone). Wow, that Rat is great. I think I need to find a modern Rat or well-made clone that cops that sound.

    The Screwdriver did what it does best, which is translating the natural stringiness of the guitar. It isn't as dirty or as dark as the rest, but it's really natural. The Screwdriver has been terrific with my Tele through a whole string of amps. A little tweaking, and it's right back in the game.

    The Empress was the most civilized, most flexible, and most playable of the crew. That said, nobody really likes the head of the class. In a way, it reminded me of PRS and Taylor guitars - that sense of civilization and perfection that almost takes the fun out of playing for me. So it was the "best", but probably my least favorite. That said, it copped the Rat's tones closely enough that I probably wouldn't care in the heat of a gig, AND its switch doesn't flake.

    Finally, the Acceleron. It's the most distinctive tonally, and least flexible. But it's amazingly responsive to playing (second only to the Screwdriver), and had nearly as much mojo as the Rat.

    So... the Rat is out of the running for reliability reasons. It's in semi-retirement. The Empress is probably a keeper for its good manners. The Acceleron is probably a keeper for its unique voice and mojo. The Screwdriver is back in the game too. And I'm gonna wind up with too many pedals again.
     
  8. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Now my brain is thinking of trading away the Empress for a Hartman LM308, or some other primo quality Rat clone...
     
  9. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Oh, and some of the other interesting fuzzes I tried today...

    HBE Lorba Fuzz - Beefy and soulful. Great option if you like a thick old-school fuzz tone. Didn't like my EMGs, though.

    Evil Tweaker OK Fuzz - Tiny, vicious. Almost grabbed it.

    Keeley Fuzz Head - Not nearly enough gain for me, but super toneful and civilized. Perfect if you want a warm germanium kinda fuzz that cleans up well.

    Boss Fuzz (COSM) - Incredibly awful.

    ZVex Fuzzalo - Like a one-note version of a Fuzz Factory. Great if you want that ZVex sound in a tiny footprint.

    Death By Audio Interstellar Overdriver - Not fuzz per se, but really an awesome overdrive with lots of kinda-fuzzy gain on tap.
     

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