Fuzz Pedal Dork Off

Some like 'em and some don't, but I bet everyone has at least a couple — Analog Delay, Digital Delay, Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Tube Overdrive, Transistor Overdrive, Fuzz, Octave Fuzz, Tremolo, Vibrato, Compressor and the list goes on!

Fuzz Pedal Dork Off

Postby Sol Cotlier on Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:06 am

Me and a couple buddies got together in Brooklyn and threw our pedals together to do a quick and dirty comparison of our distortion pedals...I thought I'd share some of our thoughts...and some photos of the dorkeness...welcome to fuzzcon 2006

Image

From top left to bottom right
Keeley Java Boost
Fulltone '70 Pedal
Foxx Tone Machine
Analog Man BiCompRosser
Chicago Iron Octavian
Fulltone Octafuzz

Fulltone '69 Pedal
Z.Vexx Machine
Z.Vexx Fuzz Factory
Black Cat Super Fuzz

BSM Finest Treble Booster
Pro Mk II Tone Bender Clone
Fulltone Soul Bender
Analog Man Sunface
Chuck Collins Harmonic Percolator

Schultz Lion
Z.Vexx SHO (American Flag Paint)
Menatone Red Snapper
Boss SD-1 (Analog Man TS808 Silver Mod)
Ibanez Tube Screamer (Analog Man True Vintage Mod)
Boss DS-1 (Analog Man Mod)

Test Amps
1979 Hiwatt DR103 (2 inputs, Turret Board) into Audio Bro SE4123 Cab with Fane Reissues (Set up used for most comparisons)
Victoria Deluxe

Guitars
Fender Custom Shop Nocaster
Early Nineties Jazzmaster
1961 Les Paul Jr. (SG)
Travis Bean 1000

Results
We ran the testing in four phases:
Overdrives - Boosters - Octave Fuzz - Straight Fuzz

Overdrives
Menatone Red Snapper, Boss SD-1 (AM Silver Mod), Ibanez Tube Screamer (AM True Vintage Mod)

I thought this was the most interesting of all the comparisons. With all controls set on 12 and volume adjusted to be equal, we found that:

Red Snapper - tons more gain than the other two pedals - but on the flip side kept the bass response of the Hiwatt good and solid. Using the Les Paul Jr. (old grindy P90) with the Hiwatt gives a really nice low range hump (you can feel the cabinet breathing when palm muting chords on the E and A strings), The Red Snapper did the best job of NOT eliminating the bass "breath"

The SD-1 Silver Mod - more gain than the True vintage mod Ibanez, but also had a top end sparkle that the other two pedals don't have. In terms of bass response, this pedal landed somewhere in between the Red Snapper and the Ibanez TS-9 True Vintage Mod, but unfortunately the bass "breath" was completely gone.

The Ibanez TS-9 True Vintage Mod - least gain of all three pedals and the most pronounced mid hump, bass "breath" with the hiwatt was gone. But, this pedals gain had the nicest (i.e. sweet, harmonically pleasing) grit of the bunch

With the pedals set in boost mod (dist off, tone off, volume 5 o'clock)
Red Snapper = Had the gain of the other two pedals at 12'oclock...so its kind of hard to judge it as a booster
SD-1 Silver Mod = Almost flat (bass cut still robes the bass "breath") - clean boost
TS-9 True Vintage Mod = Pronounced Mid Shaping - clean boost

Boosters
Keeley Java Boost, BSM RM Treble Booster, Z.Vexx SHO, AM BiCompRosser

Hands done winner for me was the Z.vexx SHO...very flat response...gave the Hiwatt with the Travis Bean just the right amount of gain kick

The Java Boost did a really good job in all three ranges (treble, full, bass)...the tone control was useful for taking some bite off the nocaster in treble setting. I loved the mil spec wiring on the inside...I would almost buy this pedal just for the construction (any Hiwatt lover would be very happy at the innards of this pedal)

The BSM RM Treble Booster...well it does one thin well...its a great treble booster...tons of germaniumy grit in the upper mids...In a way closer to a mild distortion...lots of harmonic information

We threw the BiCompRosser in this category since a lot of people seem to use an Orange Squeeze as a semi boost (we didn't really test the Ross side)...Sounded incredible with the Nocaster in both the Hiwatt and the Victoria...Did what you would think it does (squash with lots of air and upper mids) with other guitars and other amps...but It sounded stellar on the Nocaster...just really added some meat on those great trebly tele pickups

Octave Fuzz
Foxx Tone Machine, Chicago Iron Octavian, Fulltone Octafuzz, Black Cat Super Fuzz

For shear Ring Modulated fun the Chicago Iron Octavian was great...starting at the 12th fret all sorts of sci-fi weirdness started kicking...sweetish gain characteristic

Fulltone Octafuzz - least apparent (maybe tied with the Black Cat Super Fuzz though) octave effect...felt more like a shift in tonal quality...Similar (but not exactly) to the Chicago Iron...but I would rather play the Chicago Iron if given a choice

Black Cat Super Fuzz - Crazy super tonal shaping fuzz - octave sounds more like a deep tonal shift that moves the distortion into the low mids...has a certain trashy charm...sounded best when used punky style with the Nocaster

Foxx Tone Machine - Similar to the Super Fuzz, but better, tonal shaping was not quit as extreme. The best noisemaker of the bunch, I had the most fun with this pedal. "Wild" is the best adjective I can come up with to describe it

Straight Fuzz
Fulltone '70 Pedal, Fulltone '69 Pedal, Fulltone Soul Bender, Professional MkII Soul Bender Copy, ZVexx Fuzz Factory, Analog Man Sunface, Harmonic Percolator Reissue

So many pedals were to start

Fulltone '69 - softest and lowest kicker of the bunch - I personally thought it sounded very weak with every guitar in every set up.

Analog Man Sunface - does what the Fulltone '69 pedal is trying to do...soft gooey germanium fuzz. Not a harsh bone in its body. Sounded incredible when used for blues licks. I thought this pedal was going to suck (I don't know why), it really surprised me, Nice character and easily controllable

Fulltone '70 - the hardest fuzz of the group, definitely showed-off its silicon design. The beast of this bunch (None of us were that impressed and it didn't get all that much play time)

Chuck Collins Harmonic Percolator - The Hybrid design of the group (one germanium, one silicon)...crazy fuzz (close to Fulltone '70 for hardness) with some wild tonal shaping...closest thing to the albini sounds on 1000 hurts...My personal favorite (only because I've found a thousand uses for it)...doesn’t clean up as well as Analog Man Sunface when using volume knob

Z.vexx Fuzz Factory - All right this is the craziest...words can't describe what its like when you realize you can use your volume knob to control theremin like oscillations. Very versatile - comp and gate do exactly what they say...bite controls the high frequency response.

Professional MkII Tone Bender Clone - hotter than the Analog Man Sunface. But another pedal we all liked. Again, sounded best in blues "lick" context, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Fulltone Soul Bender - Way more gain on tap than the Professional MkII Clone. In our fickle and unprofessional judgment, we all preferred the Professional MkII Clone. So this pedal was neglected through most of the evaluation

Conclusion
At this point we ran out of time, so we were not able to test the Z.vexx Machine, Schultz Lion, Analog Man DS-1 Mod, some MXR yellows we had laying around, and some various rat pedals. Maybe next year.

I thought it was interesting that we (one blues country guy, one progy metal assfactor4 tool kind of guy, and one diy punky hardcory jesus lizard this heat kind of guy) felt the same about most of the pedals. Fulltone consistently ranked low, though the pedals sounded good, we all felt that there were other pedals that did "said thing" better than the Fulltone pedals...If played in isolation, with no comparison, by professionals, or people with hearing less damaged than ours...the results would have varied

If we dissed your pedal...sorry...
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Postby bobster on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:23 am

8)
nice review!

for next one , wire them all up together and go into t :lol: he next room!!
beelzebub.....be boppa loobub
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Postby juggernaut on Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:15 am

Thanks for posting that , much appreciated. 8)
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Postby jan on Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:53 pm

Very, very informative for me, as I have the same type Hiwatt head.
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Postby cubba65 on Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:08 am

Good job felluhs, thx!
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Postby madjackhatter on Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:19 am

Great review.... 8)

Waaaay too much time on your hands.... :P :wink:

Which one was the American flag clad stomp? Very cool looking regardless of tonality...
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Postby madjackhatter on Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:21 am

SHO!.....Doh, read with more comprehention skills next time Jack... :oops:
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Postby edred on Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:45 pm

Excellent review!

Thank you


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Postby Sol Cotlier on Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:56 pm

madjackhatter Wrote:
Waaaay too much time on your hands.... Razz Wink


All was done in about two hours.
Now Mystery Boy
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Postby AbbeSauniere on Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:13 pm

The MKII should have a lot more gain than the Soulbender. Kind of wierd that you guys found the opposite true. I had a Soulbender for years and always thought it fell short of my gain needs. Not so with my D*A*M!
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Postby peter horvath on Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:52 pm

sol- some things...

1. thanks for the quick review. i have thought about getting one of those harmonic percolator things. they look cool if nothing else...

2. hoover used to own my old band's van. i loved hoover.

3. it's nice to see someone that knows who assfactor4 were.
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Postby chrism on Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:50 pm

peter horvath wrote:sol- some things...

1. thanks for the quick review. i have thought about getting one of those harmonic percolator things. they look cool if nothing else...

2. hoover used to own my old band's van. i loved hoover.

3. it's nice to see someone that knows who assfactor4 were.


The PA/DC Hoover? Wow remember seeing them open for Fugazi and a friend did sound for them for a while. Used that Acoustic 6x10" cabinet with a Marshall (?). Fun band.
On a long enough time line the survival for everyone drops to zero.
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Postby peter horvath on Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:52 pm

yeah chris, those guys... my old band(greyhouse) used to play with them a bunch. good stuff. and yeah, that cab moved some serious air!
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Postby Sol Cotlier on Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:47 pm

peter horvath wrote:
it's nice to see someone that knows who assfactor4 were


Well somebody has to...though it's not in the usual discourse for this forum...Punks play guitars to, right :D

For the record I'm the This Heaty...Jesus Lizardy Guy
My buddy Tom is the Assfacactory4y...tooly Guy

chrism wrote:
The PA/DC Hoover? Wow


Oh the Lincoln songs are so good...the drumming...oh that drummer...did I mention the drumming...all three songs of theirs...what a brilliant flash in the pan...I never was able to locate their first 7"

I kind of got more into Regulator Watts rather than Hoover...and I was always under the impression that Hoover went on to become Regulator Watts...but I could be wrong...

But I digress as this post should be about dorky fuzz pedals and such...not the dorky early nineties east cost american underground sound...what’s next some kids in cali bragging about marshal’s and reminiscing over angel hair and swing kids

Thoughts:
I wish I owned an acoustic 6x10
Now Mystery Boy
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Postby peter horvath on Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:59 pm

i will try to keep this post in the fuzz dork realm...

where didja get the harmonic percolator clone? i know song bird music in T.O. has them, but i don't know of a local place. do tell...

now the off topic part:

hoover came before regulator watts, the crown hate ruin, june of 44, and the sorts. i THINK those were all the hoover splinter bands... :twisted:
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