Magazine article Guitar Player

Fuzz Face Off: The GP Staff Tests 25 Fuzzboxes

Magazine article Guitar Player

Fuzz Face Off: The GP Staff Tests 25 Fuzzboxes

Article excerpt

Though fuzz is just distortion with a nastier attitude, fuzzes are different creatures than their distortion pedal relatives, which are designed to cop the "sweeter" rounds of over) driven tubes. Many think of fuzz as buzzy and little else, but the range of texture, possible from a relatively simple fuzz circuit can be quite astonishing, and have included some of the most evocative guitar sounds ever recorded. You've heard 'em a million times on tunes that span over four decades of fuzz use--from the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to the White Stripe's "Icky Thump." (See sidebar on page 88 for more fuzzy favorites.) And with fuzz being so in vogue these days, it's not surprising to hear the effect cropping up in pop, jazz, and just about anywhere else that guitarists infatuated by the sound of clipping transistors deem appropriate.

As with all things that come under the guitar geek's microscope, fuzz pedals, and particularly the germanium or silicon transistors that power them, have been analyzed to an obsessive degree. The result being that the DNA of such classic circuits as the Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, and Big MuffPi has found its way to a multitude of boutique and production pedals. Thanks largely to a wave of creativity that brought stompboxes back into fashion in the mid '90s, the sound of fuzz has evolved to the point where now even the most sickly and demented tones a transistor can make are considered a plus.

Many of the earliest fuzzes, however, were hardly one-trick ponies. …

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