Name That Fuzz!

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blacktiger
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Name That Fuzz!

Post by blacktiger » Thu Jul 04, 2024 7:32 pm

Ok, there are actually two, and one guitar is going through a wah, but if anyone has a good idea of what basic fuzz type is going on here, please chime in.

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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by fuzzjunkie » Fri Jul 05, 2024 8:54 am

I have been a Telescopes fan for a long while but I never got to see them live, so I don’t know for certain what they used for fuzz, but I would be really surprised if that’s not from the Shin Ei FY-2 or Univox Superfuzz family.

David Fitzgerald died young a few years ago and he was the main noise maker, so it’s probably him playing the fuzz wah and Jo Doran playing the straight fuzz guitar. I remember seeing pictures of David playing a Jaguar and Jo playing a Strat in the late ‘80s. No idea on the amplifiers.

1988-89 was the transition period when bands inspired by Jesus and Marychain noise, Cocteau Twins dreampop and Sonic Youth experimentalism coalesced into early shoegaze and the Telescopes were front and center. You can definitely hear the JAMC, Spacemen 3 and Einstürzende Neubauten influences.

Shin Ei fuzz pedals seem to be more common in the UK than the US at the time and JAMC used the fuzz wah version of the Superfuzz. The FY-2 was commonly branded as the Companion fuzz, but there are other variants like Jax that are all the same fuzz circuit.

It sounds like the Shin Ei STR-6 fuzz wah and a Univox Superfuzz, or some similar rebranded version for the 2 guitar sounds. I have a Roland Bee- Baa that sounds just like the straight fuzz sound and when run into a Vox fuzz it sounds like the fuzz wah, so you don’t need the exact fuzz, as almost any high gain Japanese fuzz will do.

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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by blacktiger » Fri Jul 05, 2024 10:20 am

Many thanks for the input! I was watching some early Telescopes live videos in hopes that I might catch a random shot of a fuzz pedal, and at least one from 1988 was pre-fuzz, with David on the Jazzmaster copy pictured with Jo on the back of the Fierce live record, and Jo on a Tele. Without the fuzz, they almost sounded like a grunge band.

I have a Super Fuzz copy, and it definitely gets into the ballpark, but I’m not hearing the octave effect of a “normal” Super Fuzz. So, maybe some SF variant without the octave?
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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by fuzzjunkie » Fri Jul 05, 2024 12:54 pm

The Roland Bee Baa can do that Japanese buzz saw fuzz without adding any octave. The Shin Ei FY-2 is another and was available as a cheap fuzz pedal. I know Will Sargent and a few others used them in the ‘80s.

In the US the Foxx Tone Machine was popular for heavy fuzz and it had a switchable octave, but I don’t think it was readily available in the UK? Something like the Ampeg Scrambler or Fender Blender has even more octave than the Superfuzz.

There were various Tonebenders around then, with variations like the Bam fuzz. Most versions don’t sound like that. Possibly a Buzzaround? I think they were relatively rare though? Robin Guthrie and the Edge had Big Muffs, but I think they both picked them up in NYC and they generally sound smoother than this.

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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by blacktiger » Fri Jul 05, 2024 2:12 pm

I had a Univox Super Fuzz in the early 90s that I paid $50 for. The problem was that this was pre-internet, and I didn’t even know about the octave, so I struggled with why it sounded so weird on chords. I just wanted something to sound like Smashing Pumpkins. I undoubtedly would have been better off with a Big Muff at that point. The one I have now has an interior trim pot to adjust the octave, and I have it cranked pretty high. It almost sounds like a Blue Box at this point. I should probably dial it back a bit if I’m going for the Telescopes tone.
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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by fuzzjunkie » Fri Jul 05, 2024 9:35 pm

I have never seen any photos of them playing live from the ‘88-89 years, just promos.

There are some more recent pictures from reunion shows where David is using a Rat into a Crybaby for the fuzz wah sound. He could have been using that setup back then too, or it could just be that these pedals are easier to source. A Rat in front of a wah could easily sound like that with a Jaguar.

I don’t know of any pictures of Joanna’s pedals and she would have been playing that big buzzsaw fuzz. It looks like David has a Colorsound pedal at the end of his chain. The type of box the Tonebender MK-3 and 4 came in, but also their tremolo and a few others so nothing definitive. That era Tonebender can make that full, ragged edge sound and would have been available at that time. The Buzzaround is similar to the MK-3.

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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by fuzzjunkie » Sat Jul 06, 2024 1:22 pm

The Telescopes have a FB page that has a lot of stage shots from shows. Nothing from the early days, just the reunion era from 2013-19.

From what I could tell the pedalboards changed every tour, so you can’t really say anything definitive about this pedal or that is key to getting the Telescopes sound, but it looks like there’s a general sound they were going for and they tried any of a number of different pedals to get there.

So there’s the 2 Rats before a Crybaby and Digitech Whammy pedal into a few others with some kind of Colorsound at the end. Then later there’s some Death by Audio pedals replacing the Rats, an Apocalypse and a Fuzz War with a Pog replacing the Whammy and a Vox replaced the Crybaby.

I’m also seeing some shots with a vintage Ibanez Standard fuzz, along with a NYC Big Muff and a Boss HM-2. For other noises there’s an Electric Mistress and Ibanez Flying Pan and a Cathedral reverb. Those 3 seem to be consistent. On a later tour the Big Muff and HM-2 are replaced by what looks like a Fuzz Factory and a Mastodon (some kind of zVex pedals) and they also switched to a Colorsound wah.

So it definitely looks like they are trying to replicate the big, buzz saw, vintage Japanese fuzz sounds. And as you can see, there’s no reason to fixate on one definitive piece of equipment to get there.

Edit to add: The Death by Audio Fuzz War is as good as any for getting both that buzz saw fuzz and hot rodded Big Muff Smashing Pumpkins sounds if you can’t dial out the octave on your Superfuzz.

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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by blacktiger » Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:47 pm

The current band is completely different from the 80s/90s iteration, other than Stephen. They get some cool sounds too, but not quite the same as the OG band. However, I happened to be watching videos of the Ibanez Standard Fuzz the other day, and that one really had the vibe. Unsurprisingly, its circuit is very close to the FY-6. I’m flirting with the idea of getting a Fredric copy, but I can probably get there with my Super Fuzz clone, which has both germanium and silicon options, and a tone knob, so I can dial in the mids to my liking. I do also happen to have a Tone Bender MKIII copy, and I just bought a used op amp Big Muff, so in reality, I’m probably really covered for fuzzes, I just need to futz with what I have.
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Re: Name That Fuzz!

Post by sal paradise » Tue Jul 09, 2024 8:46 pm

blacktiger wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:47 pm
The current band is completely different from the 80s/90s iteration, other than Stephen. They get some cool sounds too, but not quite the same as the OG band. However, I happened to be watching videos of the Ibanez Standard Fuzz the other day, and that one really had the vibe. Unsurprisingly, its circuit is very close to the FY-6. I’m flirting with the idea of getting a Fredric copy, but I can probably get there with my Super Fuzz clone, which has both germanium and silicon options, and a tone knob, so I can dial in the mids to my liking. I do also happen to have a Tone Bender MKIII copy, and I just bought a used op amp Big Muff, so in reality, I’m probably really covered for fuzzes, I just need to futz with what I have.
I’ve selling a Fredric unpleasant companion pretty cheap if the FY-2 would do it for you.
I have nothing to offer anybody, except my own confusion?

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