Usable Fuzz?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by mcknigs, Mar 21, 2006.


  1. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    Over the years I've tried to work various fuzz pedals into live shows and have never had great success. I've mostly been looking for a reedy/raspy '60s fuzz ala Satisfaction, Heart Full of Soul, etc. A more Hendrix-ey fuzz might be cool too, if I could find one that works for me. I'm wondering what others are doing and whether their solutions might work for me. Here's what I've tried:

    -Old Big Muff Pi and Guyatone TZ-2. Setting up for the night I set them so that they're as loud as everything else. Hit the switch during the set and the sound of the guitar disappears. Reach down and turn up the output and the guitar is not distinct until it's louder than the rest of the band combined. I think this is a case of the sound being so huge - big bottom, big top - that it doesn't fit into the mix. The Big Muff has a switch that alows you to bypass the tone knob. That switch broke and I hardwired it into bypass mode. I've since put the tone knob back into the circuit. Perhaps that will help. I haven't tried it yet. The Big Muff has other issues that render it less than ideal for me (e.g., size)

    -Fulltone '70s pedal. This has worked best of all but it's tricky. Trying to pare down the girth of the sound with the mid and fuzz controls sometimes results in the pedal cutting out entirely, even when there are no buffered effects before it in the chain (which I've heard can cause problems). Most of the time the sound is a little bigger than I'd like. Adjusting dynamics with right hand or guitar volume is not effective. I pretty much need to be huge or not play.

    Vox Tone Bender RI - this is a cheesy pedal - so much so that I was warned *not* to buy it by the salesman in the used gear store. I'm sure he thought I was looking for something more massive and modern sounding. I've used this at shows and found it much more managable than the other fuzzes, but it was noisy, not quite fuzzy enough and a bit *too* thin. Still, it did the best job of sounding like a cheesy '60s fuzz effect of anything I've tried.

    So I'm thinking the next step in the experiment might be any one of the following:

    1. Try bringing a "big" fuzz and use it with a cocked wah to pare down the frequency range some,

    2. Try modding the Tonebender to inprove the sound,

    3. Try yet another fuzz. I was watching a friend's Eric Johnson DVD the other day and he was demonstrating the Fuzz Face, which didn't seem to huge-ify the sound too much.

    Comments? Suggestions?

    -Scott McKnight
     
  2. Curt

    Curt Member

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    I play a lot of 60''s stuff with Fuzz (Blues Theme etc.) Someone suggested a reissue Maestro Fuzz Tone. I didn't like it at all.
    You might want to try a Treblebooster into a Fulltone Soul Bender. It works.
     
  3. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I keep harping on...one of the best things you can buy is a good EQ pedal. If you go with Boss, the GE-7, be aware you will have to have it modded to get rid of the excess noise it generates (even when cutting frq.).

    But really, a great EQ pedal can do wonders for OD's, Fuzzs, etc.
    It might be a pain or unusable for some folks that can't accept having to hit two pedals to play...but if that is the case one could always put it in a seperate loop, with both pedals on all the time.

    Behringer makes a real cheapie (but reportdedly sound reallly good) version also of 7-band EQ that is reportedly quieter also than th GE-7.

    You can tailor your sound with that.

    I also have had it happen on stage, hit the Dist (in my case) pedal and jst all the oomph is gone..this little wimpy sound, even though I thought it was set right...same as you describe. Just got the EQ pedal after that though, and it can make mediocre pedals shine.

    Can also be a great thing in its own rite, for clean. EQ seems to me like one of the most underappreciated and most overlooked fixes around.

    ESPECIALLY...if you are going for that "Satisfaction" sound, as I recall it...seems like you could notch it QUITE a bit, and get it to easily cut through, without getting huge, I bet you could get damned close with just 2 or 3 bands raised, and some of the bassier ones dropped a bit on an EQ, plus you can adjust the overall boost/cut to boost if needed to get the right volume when using the fuzz!
     
  4. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    It ocurred to me that an EQ pedal would also do the trick, though I kind of hate to schlep along one more pedal just to make the fuzz usable. Another approach might be to borrow an EQ pedal long enough to figure out what frequency(ies) I want to filter out and then mod the pedal or create some smaller bypass-able passive filter box to go in line with the fuzz. Sounds like kind of a pain though. What did you think about the cocked wah idea? Granted, it's bigger than an EQ pedal, but I can use it as a wah in addition to using it as a filter.

    -Scott McKnight
     
  5. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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  6. Jacobpaul81

    Jacobpaul81 Member

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    I'm a broken record when it comes to this, but I love Phoenix Custom Electronics and their pedals. Some of the cleanest, best sounding pedals. Im running the Lady Stardust and its everything I ever have wanted from a fuzz. Really has the vintage vibe, both the 60s and 70s. Combined with a chorus and a compressor, theres very little I can't mimic, from Stones, Beatles, to Page or Ronson. Very cool stuff. The charecter behind it, Alex Anest, designs a lot of different fuzzes (and boosts!) with a lot of different voicings, so check out his pedals... all of which are reasonably priced and sound great.
     
  7. KustietheKlown

    KustietheKlown Member

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    Yo scott, i've probably seen you play with LTH at Iota at least 30 times. Good times.
     
  8. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    Cool! Bet you haven't seen me using a fuzz with them. :)

    In my original post I mentioned using a Vox Tonebender. I did that with the Graverobbers a few times, maybe you saw one of those shows.

    Say hi next time you see me at IOTA.

    -Scott McKnight
     
  9. trucks

    trucks Member

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    You might check out Skreddy's Mayo. His pedals are very nice plus he offers a flat mids option to keep your fuzz from getting lost in the mix.

    I also sent you a pm with some more information.
     
  10. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    Try the Demeter Fuzzulator. Two different fuzz settings in one pedal, "Tight" (LED's) and "Loose" (Germanium/Silicon) plus an innovative "Tone Pre-Emphasis Circit" that preserves your tone and gives the fuzz focus that doesn't disappear in the mix. I think that's what you're looking for.
    FWIW,
    Rick
     
  11. Platypus

    Platypus not in rivers, but in drops

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    I've heard good things about the Homebrew Electronics UFO Fuzz/Octave. The guy who works there is great and responded to my extremely detailed email question in about an hour. I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on one shortly.
     
  12. Enjoyer

    Enjoyer Member

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    From what I've read (not yet experienced) the BJFE Pink Purple Fuzz sounds like it would fit the bill for what you are looking for. The PPF is presently very high on my GAS list.
     
  13. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Of course, it's your decision and only you know what will work for you, but I just wanted to point out...an EQ pedal wouldn't necessarily just be to the fuzz. You might find it really enhances the other pedals too...you might find a setting that sounds great clean, as well as cleaning up the fuzz a little. I'd hate to be without an EQ pedal, and I too don't always have it on my board...it goes off and on depending on my mood, but it is a really great thing to have.
     
  14. cander328

    cander328 Member

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    Just got one of these and I am pretty impressed so far. It works nicely with my Mojo Vibe and after my Fox Rox Mod Picture Wah.
     
  15. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    Addrock Geranium Fuzz is the most useable and musical fuzz I've found. Kinda like a slightly refined Fuzz Face with more volume and fuzz available. Works well with a guitar's volume knob...it cleans up nicely. I find that the Addrock doesn't exert too much in any frequency band, either. Pretty well balanced. Uses NKT275 Ge trannies. It really is a great sounding box.

    Also has a hi-cut switch to use with a brighter amp.
     
  16. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    I think I know what you're looking for... Yep, go to www.skreddypedals.com and check out the Top Fuel. A special mid-rangey fuzz that won't get lost in the mix. The perfect lead fuzz! Very nice...
     
  17. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    My first thought after reading this... "hmmm, and I have a Mojo Vibe and a Picture wah, maybe I ought to check this out, I need a fuzz that can go well with them."


    My second thought "wait...a MODDED Picture wah?"


    Could you let me know, what does the mod do? I moddded my GCB-95 wah improved it tons by changing the travel of the pot, but when I got the Picture wah...I was in heaven. Wouldn't want to change a thing. Since then got a couple of pedals (Zendrive and MI BLues Pro mainly) and I don't know...it seems like maybe they don't play as well with the Picture wah as my j & H pedal did...not sure, maybe it's me.

    But anyway, would really like to hear what the mod is?
     
  18. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the reponses folks. :)

    I ended up looking through the fuzzes for sale in the pedal emporium and made a deal on an MI Audio G.I. Fuzz. It looks like it'll have the tweakability to make it cut through the mix. I'd be greatful to hear from anyone who's had experience with this pedal.

    -Scott McKnight
     
  19. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I have the Big Muff USA reissue and what I do is set the level to the volume I want, then the sustain till it is singing the correct way, then I slow turn the tone knob until it is just right. I find it usable. I also have tried this trick I found from a David Gilmour tone site where you run the Muff into another OD and use the OD (for me it's a Bad Monkey) to modulate the tone and level of the Muff.
     

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