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Menatone PoPo fuzz review

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
I've owned 23 Menatones (in addition to a hundred other OD's). I love them. I am a not fuzz guy, usually. I've had and sold multiple ProAnalog, Monsterpiece, ZVEX, as well as assorted muffs, fuzzfaces, and newer designs. Couldn't bond with them.

I DO like fluffy attack, long sustain, creaminess, and a certain fuzzy charm (which is why I have a DoverDrive AND a FET Drive). But I hate the sound of the guitar disappearing, lack of cut, flubby bass, and any spittyness and trumpet/sax/synth tone on most fuzzes.

Could I bond with a fuzz? Because I LOVE the Menatone Chawbox, I took a flyer on the PoPo. Here's my experience.

DISCLAIMER: I set the internal bias trim pot to maximum, for maximum stability and tightness and will only talk about that. I'm sure a person could lower the bias and have an entirely different experience. So what follows is at maximum bias.

I played it at bedroom, loud bedroom, and LOUD rehearsal volume (full gig volume). Guitars were strat, tele, and Collings CL (LP) into a Bruno Cowtipper.

-The tone has that typical Menatone openness and chime.
-The bass is pretty tight.
-The sound of the guitar is preserved.
-So even though it's clearly a fuzz, it's quite articulate.
-And again, it's a fuzz, but it's "transparent" insofar as the EQ isn't radically altered. It doesn't screw with bass, mids, or highs.
-It cleans up very nicely, but not radically.
-It has the character and charm of a fuzz, but the tightness of an overdrive, usually...
-As in the long demo video, if you crank the fuzz and sag, and lower your volume pot, it delivers sub octave madness.
-It works standalone very well, and I felt no need to stack it with others, although I may try it with a treble booster (not that it needs more treble).
-With fuzz and sag at noon, it's kind of a dynamic Tweed or Supro tone. A great setting for Stones and some early Zep (which is what I used it for).
-Cranking higher gives more drive and sustain, and the sag control also contributes much here. I set both around 3:00 and just ride the volume pot.
- It's a lot of fun, has it's own unique charm, and is a welcome, smile-making change from OD and distortion.

To my delight, it has earned velcro (dual lock actually) and is staying. It is a great pedal.

I'd be curious to see what others experience with lower internal bias settings, but I'm not touching it.
 
Messages
1,882
Unfortunately, since this is not a Catalinbread or other trendy/hyped brand, you won't see much attention put on this pedal.
Menatone as you know has never caught the interest of the herd on TGP.

I hope some good demos pop up online soon.
Perhaps you could make one?
 

fieldsroyal

Member
Messages
2,060
Way underrated company especially when you consider that Brian mena pioneered the amp in a can overdrive pedals and the use of jfets to simulate tube stages.
 
Messages
1,882
Way underrated company especially when you consider that Brian mena pioneered the amp in a can overdrive pedals and the use of jfets to simulate tube stages.


Yep, it's true.

But really, it's Brian's own fault...........his websites have always been terribly mediocre, the demo's were similarly lackluster.
Not many demos on youtube either.

Marketing is just non-existent.
He should get PGS to carry his pedals again, that would help a lot i think.
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
Yeah, Brian relies on dealers and walk ins. He hasn't grasped the social marketing thing quite yet. He's a one man shop, even does the silkscreens by hand. And he's really a very good guy. He's a fanatic designer, but no marketer. Still, his pedals are fantastic.

I don't have a Soundcloud account. But I'm tempted to get one and demo this pedal. We'll see. But there is a pretty good long demo on youtube now.

BTW, last night in a rock band I played for hours and only touched the King of the Britians, Top Boost in a Can, and PoPo. And it was great.
 

sstweed

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,161
I have two PoPos. Love them. I've been singing their praises since I got them last year. Was hoping they would catch on with the fuzz crowd here. I liked the PoPo way more than I did my scarab deluxe. It just does so much more. I only wish those internal trimmers were external because they do a LOT to alter the pedals behavior. I have about 20 Menatones right now. Brian just doesn't make a bad pedal.
 

NeilYoungFan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,302
Sounds great on the (only) demo I found on Youtube. Is this a Silicon FF derivative with additional tweaks, or an original design? Also, it seems that one of the two internal trimpots is labeled "bias" (other one being "hi-cut"). How does that differ from the external sag/bias knob?

Gotta agree that their site is mediocre and there are few decent vids around. It's a pity since most reviews seem to highly praise their pedals...
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
There's a pic on the Menatone site.

Internal bias seems to effect stability, external sag effects tightness of bass AND amount of gain.

I've heard it starts like a fuzz face but takes off from there in terms of design.
 

sstweed

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,161
There's a pic on the Menatone site. Internal bias seems to effect stability, external sag effects tightness of bass AND amount of gain. I've heard it starts like a fuzz face but takes off from there in terms of design.
I would second this. But I will say there is something in this pedal that sounds like an amp creating fuzz rather than a pedal, if that makes sense. It doesn't sound like any fuzzface I ever heard and I've owned quite a few. It's also very hard to tell its silicon. It has none of the annoying sizzle that's such a dead give away of a silicon fuzz. The bass frequencies are big and full, the treble true and sweet. It even loves neck pickups, something most fuzzes do not. It's just a very good pedal to play. I make sure it is on the board when I'm taking new pedals out for the first time. If the new pedal doesn't work, I know I can get the PoPo to sound great.
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
I would second this. But I will say there is something in this pedal that sounds like an amp creating fuzz rather than a pedal, if that makes sense. It doesn't sound like any fuzzface I ever heard and I've owned quite a few. It's also very hard to tell its silicon. It has none of the annoying sizzle that's such a dead give away of a silicon fuzz. The bass frequencies are big and full, the treble true and sweet. It even loves neck pickups, something most fuzzes do not. It's just a very good pedal to play.
Well I second all that. Well said, all true. I've wondered if there's a JFET in there, because it definitely has that Menatone open amp-like thing going on.
 

NeilYoungFan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,302
Found this via google images. Seems to be the Popo. Maybe someone more into the technical stuff can now comment on the circuit.

 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
OK, don't laugh: I just put mine in the Emporium. It's great. But I know me, and I won't use it very often. OK, laugh.
 

Jatmosphere

Member
Messages
618
The Popo is simply amazing. Covers so much ground and sits so well in the mix. Killer all around fuzz! My new numero uno.
 

Sensates

Member
Messages
858
This is a sleeper. I love fuzz and have a number of similar priced fuzzbox, but this one surprises me by being at the top! Works great with a clean amp.
 






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