Posts Tagged ‘fuzz’

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From the brand-spankin’-new Circus Freak Music is their latest pedal release, the Bearded Lady Fuzz. Give it a listen…

Personally, I’ve never been much of a fuzz guy myself, but at 2.04 in the clip, that tone was something that I’ve never been able to get. I just love that percussive type of tone! But I was also digging that totally squishy tone, and started thinking that I could use squished, square-wave sounds like that as background. Really need to check this out… 🙂

Anyway, as mentioned in my previous article, look for a release time of early-December; specifically, the first week of December.

Now one thing I didn’t mention about my conversation with the Circus Freak guys was on the topic of the name of the company. The explanation they gave was very cool: Just like a real circus freak, they wanted their pedals to be memorable; not just from the perspective of tone, but of looks as well. Look at that enclosure! The graphics are distinct, but the shape of the box is totally memorable! They also fabricate their own knobs! A LOT of thought went into creating this pedals, and I totally applaud what they’re doing!

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Why? Because some of us will pay ungodly sums of money to have some gear. For instance, this morning a friend of mine sent me a link to an eBay item:  A 1967 Marshall Supa Fuzz pedal. The seller is asking $4,999.00. That’s under $5,000! Wow! And shipping is included! What a deal!

Granted, this was Pete Townshend’s favorite pedal back in the 60’s and 70’s; I get that. And I totally get the vintage mojo with a pedal like this. But $5K? Not sure about that. And besides, if memory serves, this was a clone of the Tone Bender.

But there’s no rhyme or reason to getting gear, so I would never begrudge anyone for spending their money on something they want. For me though, paying several thousand for a pedal isn’t for me.

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Never really been into fuzz that much, but some of my latest stuff could really use some fuzz, so I was pleasantly surprised this morning to receive Fat Tone Guitars’ newsletter this morning that featured an announcement that they’re the exclusive sellers for Earthquake Devices’ new Zap Machine Fuzz. This is a brand-new pedal, released just this past Monday, and from what I can tell, it sounds VERY COOL! Here’s a video:

As I mentioned, it’s only available through Fat Tone Guitars, and this is a limited edition pedal, so get ’em while they’re hot! 🙂

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In a previous post, I asked, “Where have all the overdrives gone?” For the last couple of years, it seemed that a new overdrive pedal would hit the market every week. Then suddenly, about a month ago, it seemed that the well just dried up. Excuse the pun, but did the overdrive market become fully saturated? Looks like it…

It seems I’m seeing another trend, though not quite as profound as I saw with overdrives, and that is the emergence of fuzz pedals. And like overdrives, fuzz pedals seem to come in different varieties. The most basic is the original FuzzFace design which uses two transistors to create a bunch of gain so that practically everything that goes into it gets converted to a square wave. After that, you get pedals like the Zvex Fuzz Factory that gives you control over various aspects of the fuzz tone.

Personally, I haven’t spent that much time with fuzz pedals. It’s not that I don’t like the sound; I do, it’s just that my playing style really hasn’t leaned towards a “fuzzy” type of sound. For those unfamiliar with the fuzz tone, here’s a good demo.

The Difference Between Overdrive, Distortion, and Fuzz Pedals

I’ve been doing a lot of research on getting the fundamental differences between the three types of distortion, and the following is a synopsis of what I’ve found:

  • Overdrive – First is overdrive. This can be used as either a verb or noun, but from a sonic standpoint, overdrive produces the gentlest type of distortion, commonly known as soft clipping. Overdrive and booster pedals produce this type of sound. Using “overdrive” as a verb, it commonly means to overpower the pre-amp tubes of an tube amp, though technically it’s simply overpowering the input. Overdrive pedals simulate this with clipping diodes so you can get that overdriven sound at lower volumes.

    Overdive pedals include: Tube Screamer, Bad Monkey, OCD, Holy Fire, Swollen Pickle, etc.

  • Distortion – Here we get into a bit of a grey area because technically, any pedal that uses a transistor to clip or distort a signal is a distortion pedal, so the Tube Screamer and OCD fall into this realm. But many distortion pedals such as the TS also add signal gain, so they also overdrive the front-end of the amp. The big difference between Tube Screamer types and dedicated distortion pedals is in the type of clipping they produce. Distortion pedals produce a harder clipping of the input signal in their transistors at any volume level.

    Distortion pedals include: DS-1, Metal Zone, Holy Fire, Rat, Saturator, etc.

  • Fuzz – Fuzz is square wave distortion produced by a couple of cascading transistors that amplify the input gain so much that it produces a square wave when looked at in an oscilloscope. The tone of the fuzz typically has a lot of bass, and tons of odd-order harmonics. It’s ugly, but in a good way, and applied properly, can produce some spectacular tones. Jimi and SRV were masters of the fuzz.

    Fuzz pedals include: FuzzFace, Fuzz Factory, Graphic Fuzz

Note that I didn’t want to get too technical here mainly because the technology is less important than the tone. As in all things, you need to hear and play them for yourself to see what you like.

By the way, I found a great wiki article on distortion, which goes into a more technical discussion if you’re interested. Check it out!

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Back in the early 1990’s, Jeorge Tripp started Way Huge and created a line of pedals starting with the “Fuzz Box” that for all intents and purposes started the whole boutique pedal movement. Later in the decade, he decided to go on to other stuff (I believe he went to Line 6). I didn’t play much electric guitar back then, but I do remember a couple of guys I knew who used to rave about Way Huge pedals. I had never heard of them, and as a primarily acoustic guitar player, didn’t really pay too much attention because distortion was not part of my tonal palette. That all changed when I started focusing on electric guitar a few years ago. I’d visit forums and lurk discussions about how people were paying hundreds (never saw any go for thousands, but apparently some did) for these rare pedals. I was amazed. These pedals must’ve been something special if they were in such high demand.

Then a few weeks ago, I had heard that Jeorge Tripp struck a deal with the Jim Dunlop company to resurrect Way Huge. I did a google search to see if I could find any info, and came up pretty empty-handed. Even the Way Huge site had no information – until I did another search about ten minutes ago, and saw that a search on “way huge” produced the result “Jim Dunlop – Way Huge” as a search result. Naturally, I had to click the link, despite the seemingly sexual undertones the link title might have implied.

To my everlasting surprise, the Way Huge site was completely transformed from the comic book-like line drawing theme into a real site, replete with Flash graphics! But to be clear, the fact that it’s Flash did not get me excited. It was the fact that it was a real site. You have to check it out!

Featured on the site are the three pedals Way Huge is offering right now: The Swollen Pickle Mk II, The Fat Sandwich, and the Pork Loin. The Swollen Pickle is a pure Fuzz machine, while the Fat Sandwich and Pork Loin are soft-clipping overdrive pedals. Each has a very unique voice. The sound samples really display the capabilities of each pedal, so I encourage you to check ’em out.

Personally, I’ve never been much of a fuzz guy, but I do love soft clipping pedals. So naturally, I gravitated toward the Fat Sandwich and Pork Loin pedals. Very nice sounds indeed!

Visit Way Huge at http://www.wayhuge.com

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Fuzz pedal? Me? GoofyDawg? I know, I know… I’m an overdrive and overdrive/distortion pedal kind of guy. I usually prefer soft clipping pedals that throw just a hint of clipping and lot of input gain at an amp to make the amp’s tubes saturate and overdrive. And up until this point, I haven’t even discussed any fuzz pedals. But after hearing some of the sound clips from the new Algal Bloom from FH(fx), I have to say that I’m now rethinking my predeliction for overdrive pedals only. But don’t let me do the talking. Check out the clips on the Fuzzhugger.com site!

This pedal looks awesome! And from what I could tell from the sound clips, it’s capable of producing some gnarly fuzz and, as the guys at Fuzzhugger.com say, “[the Algal Bloom’s] name is inspired by its tone – thick and destructive – but very alive.” From the sound clips, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description of the Algal Bloom.

It’s weird isn’t it? I’m normally not into that kind of sound, but it’s so ugly, it’s lovable! I had a little dog like that when I was growing up. It was a mix of Chihuahua, Toy Poodle, and Wire-haired Fox Terrier. Ugliest freakin’ dog you ever saw – like a little rat. But I loved that dog! He was smart and playful and so loving! Sorry, reminiscing… not that I could say that about the Algal Bloom, but there’s something about how it sounds that I just dig! Check it out!

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