Using fuzz live

Jess 1971

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,770
I want a big and nasty-sounding fuzz pedal that can cut it in live situations without having to be boosted or stacked with another pedal to be heard over the rest of the band. Any of you guys who play out, what do you use?
 

James M

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,658
Depends....you talking for chords or solos? I use a Stress FX Muff and it works great for me live...
 

SUPROficial

Member
Messages
422
This probably isn't the answer you want but...it really depends on a large number of variables.
Are you the only guitar player in your band, or are you competing for frequencies with someone else?
Are you playing through a clean amp, or an amp that is on the verge of overdrive, or is your amp already good and dirty without the fuzz turned on?
And of course...what kind of tone are you looking for, specifically?

In practice, sounds that are satisfying when you're playing alone or at low volumes don't work as well in a live situation. What we perceive as "warm" or "natural sounding" can easily become inaudible mud when battling it out with bass and drums and another guitar. Often it is the tones that sound harsh or overly bright that cut best through a live band. Context is everything.

Fuzz guitar lacks in attack compared to undistorted guitar, and this is what gives it the illusion of being "buried" by other instruments. If you are trying to combat this with fuzz set above unity gain, keep in mind that an overdriven amp won't react to the volume boost the same way a clean amp will. In many cases it will simply get more overdriven and wooly sounding, thus defeating the attempt at a volume boost. To complicate matters further, a fuzz will lose a lot of its cutting buzzy harmonics when fed into an overdriven amp, yet at the same time many people dislike playing a fuzz into a clean amp because to them it sounds too buzzy and unnatural. This, of course, is a matter of taste - do you want to sound like Jimi Hendrix or Davie Allan?
 

spofftastic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
240
i use a hudson electronics mr. soul with 2 oc76. it has a good amount of boost (not really over the top) and enough high end to make it "cut" in a live setting. for live i think it works better than my analogman modified dunlop fuzzface.
 

goodhonk

Member
Messages
4,684
This probably isn't the answer you want but...it really depends on a large number of variables.
Are you the only guitar player in your band, or are you competing for frequencies with someone else?
Are you playing through a clean amp, or an amp that is on the verge of overdrive, or is your amp already good and dirty without the fuzz turned on?
And of course...what kind of tone are you looking for, specifically?

In practice, sounds that are satisfying when you're playing alone or at low volumes don't work as well in a live situation. What we perceive as "warm" or "natural sounding" can easily become inaudible mud when battling it out with bass and drums and another guitar. Often it is the tones that sound harsh or overly bright that cut best through a live band. Context is everything.

Fuzz guitar lacks in attack compared to undistorted guitar, and this is what gives it the illusion of being "buried" by other instruments. If you are trying to combat this with fuzz set above unity gain, keep in mind that an overdriven amp won't react to the volume boost the same way a clean amp will. In many cases it will simply get more overdriven and wooly sounding, thus defeating the attempt at a volume boost. To complicate matters further, a fuzz will lose a lot of its cutting buzzy harmonics when fed into an overdriven amp, yet at the same time many people dislike playing a fuzz into a clean amp because to them it sounds too buzzy and unnatural. This, of course, is a matter of taste - do you want to sound like Jimi Hendrix or Davie Allan?

this should be on the box of every fuzz pedal; a surgeon general's warning of sorts.
 

dougf.

Member
Messages
352
fuzz > treble booster. In my setup, this works well. It's the kind of sound that can be piercing when playing alone, but sounds very appropriate for solos in a band. It seems to me that treble boost maintains the characteristics of my sunface fuzz better than a clean boost. When I push it with a clean boost, the fuzz loses some of it's character and gets kind of muddy and still doesn't cut through. The treble boost gives it a nice spike, yet still maintains that dynamic, buzzy organic-like behavior.
 

ev333

Member
Messages
205
Deviltone Jezebel Standard. You can order them from eric-d on the forum. Extremely versatile!!
 

strat68

Member
Messages
783
Still haven't found my way in that regard. I have a working band that is more pop oriented, and also play with some other guys in a jam band situation for fun to just cut loose. In the live group, I haven't been able to get any type of fuzz to work well in comparison to my other OD pedals such as Catlinbread DLS or Barber DD.

However for the jam band, I have a fuzz only rule and it's been great. We play in a small room about 15x13, set up like a studio. So we are mic'd for recording, but the room sound has been great too. I use an 18w EL84 amp with a 1x12, and have had great results with both tone bender clones and FF clones.

For recording, I couldn't see any other way but fuzz as od's sound so boring by comparison. Unless it was a rhythm track for a stereotypical (i.e. commercial) hard rock sound, I would always go with fuzz now for recording.

I'm almost the opposite playing live, leaning toward op-amp type pedals. (Note: I don't know if the DLS is op-amp or not, but to me it behaves like one).

Expecting a response that it's not the component, but the design etc., but I have a perception/expectation of what sounds like an op-amp, what sounds like Ge or Si... so sorry in advance :)
 

Cado

Member
Messages
614
Building on an earlier post: If your amp has a gain control, like a Mesa MKIV, your fuzz will not get enough boost to cut through. If you use an amp without a pre-amp gain circuit, the same fuzz will have more than enough boost; provided you still have plenty of clean headroom left.
 

Jess 1971

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,770
This probably isn't the answer you want but...it really depends on a large number of variables.
Are you the only guitar player in your band, or are you competing for frequencies with someone else?
Are you playing through a clean amp, or an amp that is on the verge of overdrive, or is your amp already good and dirty without the fuzz turned on?
And of course...what kind of tone are you looking for, specifically?

In practice, sounds that are satisfying when you're playing alone or at low volumes don't work as well in a live situation. What we perceive as "warm" or "natural sounding" can easily become inaudible mud when battling it out with bass and drums and another guitar. Often it is the tones that sound harsh or overly bright that cut best through a live band. Context is everything.

Fuzz guitar lacks in attack compared to undistorted guitar, and this is what gives it the illusion of being "buried" by other instruments. If you are trying to combat this with fuzz set above unity gain, keep in mind that an overdriven amp won't react to the volume boost the same way a clean amp will. In many cases it will simply get more overdriven and wooly sounding, thus defeating the attempt at a volume boost. To complicate matters further, a fuzz will lose a lot of its cutting buzzy harmonics when fed into an overdriven amp, yet at the same time many people dislike playing a fuzz into a clean amp because to them it sounds too buzzy and unnatural. This, of course, is a matter of taste - do you want to sound like Jimi Hendrix or Davie Allan?
I'm mostly looking for a fuzz pedal for lead work, occasional rhythm stuff too though. I play mostly Telecasters and a Reverend with minihumbuckers, mostly through my Marshall JCM 900 head and a few different Bogner heads. I usually play with a tone that's on the dirty side, but not over the top--we do a lot of alt-country stuff like Uncle Tupelo or the Jayhawks. I love Gary Louris' Fuzz Face tones, so that's sort of what I'm going for. I am one of two guitarists in my band.

Yes, I understand the different dynamics of playing in live situations and how gear reacts differently under different circumstance--I've been playing out in bands and gigging regularly in NYC for about 20 years now.

I'm really just looking for some opinions from some of you who also play out regularly with fuzz pedals--any ideas or thoughts really.
 

SUPROficial

Member
Messages
422
alt-country stuff
First one that comes to mind is the Jordan Bosstone. It will go from "almost amp-like overdrive" to full-on fuzz and responds to your guitar's volume like a fuzzface. I am not familiar with any of the current repros (Mahoney?) but out of my pile of 60s and 70s fuzzes, the Bosstone is one of the two that actually works in a live setting and will cover a pretty broad range of dirt with great aplomb. These were used extensively by country players (both guitar and steel) in the 60s, tonally it may very well fit the bill for what you're describing.

The other one is a Mosrite Fuzzrite, but that may be too over-the-top for your purposes. One thing for sure, it will cut through anything, no matter how many instruments you're competing with. The relatively inexpensive Ashbass sounds pretty much indistinguishable from my original. These are extremely buzzy and treble-happy through a clean amp, but take on a whole different (and much more ear-friendly) personality through a cranked amp, especially rolled down (they blend in clean signal in the lower ranges of the fuzz knob, for some reason no one uses those settings - in all fairness they sound pretty weird through a clean amp but are very cool through a cranked one).

As much as I love them for recording, I would stay away from octave fuzzes of any kind (unless you're doing some kind of Hendrix thing), they are the most difficult to dial in and control in a live setting, at least with my setup. Even when you get them sounding decent, they only do full-on crazy psych fuzz, no milder flavors available. My SuperFuzz actually gets weirder when you turn down the fuzz control or the guitar volume!
 

Jess 1971

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,770
First one that comes to mind is the Jordan Bosstone. It will go from "almost amp-like overdrive" to full-on fuzz and responds to your guitar's volume like a fuzzface. I am not familiar with any of the current repros (Mahoney?) but out of my pile of 60s and 70s fuzzes, the Bosstone is one of the two that actually works in a live setting and will cover a pretty broad range of dirt with great aplomb. These were used extensively by country players (both guitar and steel) in the 60s, tonally it may very well fit the bill for what you're describing.

The other one is a Mosrite Fuzzrite, but that may be too over-the-top for your purposes. One thing for sure, it will cut through anything, no matter how many instruments you're competing with. The relatively inexpensive Ashbass sounds pretty much indistinguishable from my original. These are extremely buzzy and treble-happy through a clean amp, but take on a whole different (and much more ear-friendly) personality through a cranked amp, especially rolled down (they blend in clean signal in the lower ranges of the fuzz knob, for some reason no one uses those settings - in all fairness they sound pretty weird through a clean amp but are very cool through a cranked one).

As much as I love them for recording, I would stay away from octave fuzzes of any kind (unless you're doing some kind of Hendrix thing), they are the most difficult to dial in and control in a live setting, at least with my setup. Even when you get them sounding decent, they only do full-on crazy psych fuzz, no milder flavors available. My SuperFuzz actually gets weirder when you turn down the fuzz control or the guitar volume!

Very helpful! Thanks.
 

The Whiz

Member
Messages
5,950
I have a rejuvinated lust for fuzzface type fuzzes (si and ge) now that I have fully accepted that, for me, they sound like flabby muddy ass if my guitars' volume pots are fully cranked. Put them on 9 or less...SWEET JEBUS. :)
 

dougf.

Member
Messages
352
Big Cheese.
+1. I built a OLC Chunky Cheese kit and it is a really great, versatile fuzz that you can easily dial in in a live setting. It's not on my board only because I don't trust my build quality enough to gig with it.
 




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