Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

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blacktiger
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Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by blacktiger » Thu Jul 28, 2022 8:48 am

Is it possible? I picked up an MJM London Fuzz (germanium with bias control), and although the sound is rather undefined for my tastes, the tone hits a pleasure center in my brain after decades of listening to Hendrix and The Stooges (I know there is some debate about which fuzz Ron used, but the ‘60s germanium tone is definitely there). Is there a way to bring more note definition to this sound, or is the lack of definition just the nature of the beast?

Also, I know that this type of fuzz is famous for cleaning up when you back off the volume knob, but I’m going from full fuzz to basically clean with the slightest decrease from the guitar’s volume knob. Is that normal? I’m playing a Jazzmaster with a vintage spec wiring harness.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Thu Jul 28, 2022 9:11 am

blacktiger wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 8:48 am
Is it possible? I picked up an MJM London Fuzz (germanium with bias control), and although the sound is rather undefined for my tastes, the tone hits a pleasure center in my brain after decades of listening to Hendrix and The Stooges (I know there is some debate about which fuzz Ron used, but the ‘60s germanium tone is definitely there). Is there a way to bring more note definition to this sound, or is the lack of definition just the nature of the beast?

Also, I know that this type of fuzz is famous for cleaning up when you back off the volume knob, but I’m going from full fuzz to basically clean with the slightest decrease from the guitar’s volume knob. Is that normal? I’m playing a Jazzmaster with a vintage spec wiring harness.
I'm not an expert on this by ANY means, but I wonder if the fact that your volume pot cuts off the gain so drastically in a short distance, is because of the difference between pot values. I'm not sure about The Stooges, but I'd guess that Hendrix's Strat would have a 250K volume pot vs the vintage Jazzmaster 1K pot value.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by blacktiger » Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:05 am

Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 9:11 am
I'm not an expert on this by ANY means, but I wonder if the fact that your volume pot cuts off the gain so drastically in a short distance, is because of the difference between pot values. I'm not sure about The Stooges, but I'd guess that Hendrix's Strat would have a 250K volume pot vs the vintage Jazzmaster 1K pot value.
Yeah, I was wondering if that might be at least part of the equation.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by hulakatt » Thu Jul 28, 2022 4:05 pm

Ehh, going full fuzz to full clean with minimal sweep of the Vol knob is pretty standard for the Ge fuzz Faces.

I find the Colorsound Fuzz Box (AKA, the One Knob Fuzz) to be similar to the Fuzz Face but with more clarity and transparency to it. I'm a pretty big fan of the Fuzz Face but I'm finding the One Knob to be my dream fuzz.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by MechaBulletBill » Thu Jul 28, 2022 4:51 pm

that coloursound 1 knob, despite only having one knob and some different value components, is a fuzz face
blacktiger wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 8:48 am
The Stooges (I know there is some debate about which fuzz Ron used, but the ‘60s germanium tone is definitely there)
there's some evidence that he had a vox tonebender and - surprise! - those are also basically a fuzz face, with some altered values

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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by MrShake » Thu Jul 28, 2022 5:20 pm

FWIW, I have the same result. With my AVRI '62 JM, the rolloff trick just doesn't work. Plug in even my wife's '90s budget Squier Strat and it's all the shades of fuzz, whether it's silicon or germanium Fuzz Faces. I've always chalked it up to pot values.

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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by blacktiger » Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:26 pm

MrShake wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 5:20 pm
FWIW, I have the same result. With my AVRI '62 JM, the rolloff trick just doesn't work. Plug in even my wife's '90s budget Squier Strat and it's all the shades of fuzz, whether it's silicon or germanium Fuzz Faces. I've always chalked it up to pot values.
I do have some fuzzes that clean up a lot more gradually (a Tone Bender MK III copy and a Torn’s Peaker). My NYC Big Muff doesn’t really seem to clean up at all.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by hulakatt » Thu Jul 28, 2022 7:47 pm

MechaBulletBill wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 4:51 pm
that coloursound 1 knob, despite only having one knob and some different value components, is a fuzz face
blacktiger wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 8:48 am
The Stooges (I know there is some debate about which fuzz Ron used, but the ‘60s germanium tone is definitely there)
there's some evidence that he had a vox tonebender and - surprise! - those are also basically a fuzz face, with some altered values
Yep. And given how few parts there are in a Fuzz Face to begin with, changing a few can do a lot. Honestly, quite a lot of fuzzes from that era weren't really all that different. There were only a small few base designs, tweaked to taste by a large group of manufacturers into an even larger number of pedals. The fuzzRITE's were pretty close to Fuzz Faces too and they can sound quite a bit different as well. I mean, you really had the Fuzz Face topology and the Tone Bender topology (with at least one TB bending pretty close to the FF anyway) and then the muff topology grew out of a later version of the TB topology. Fuzzes didn't really start to branch out of the nuclear family tree until Japan started making fuzzes like the Companion Fuzz and stuff like that.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by NBarnes21 » Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:04 am

I've only used an NKT sunface and full tone '69 mkii but I've had good results with my AVRI JM volume knob. 7 is still more distortion/overdrive-y with it not really going to full clean till about 5 or so. The 69 is a mainstay on my board now, and with the volume knob rolled back a bit it has really nice responsive dynamics depending on how hard you dig in. Could be that specific pedal- is there a way to adjust the input level on the pedal? The 69 has a nice knob for that to dial it a bit off of full on so it doesn't fart out as easily
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by MechaBulletBill » Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:34 am

hulakatt wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 7:47 pm
given how few parts there are in a Fuzz Face to begin with, changing a few can do a lot
absolutely. honestly, a good fuzz face with a bias control can fake being a lot of different 60s fuzzes.

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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by del » Tue Aug 02, 2022 10:40 am

I often use either a Dunlop JHF1 silicon fuzz face (the big blue Hendrix model) or a Fulltone '70 (a very close approximation of the JHF1 with an external tone control and internal bias trimpot (which I wish was external)).

Both pedals can achieve note articulation just fine with slightly reduced guitar volume, and with some bias fiddling on the Fulltone it's possible to have some pretty screaming, but articulate, single notes on the Fulltone at full tilt volumes.

And I wholeheartedly agree that by adding bias and tone controls, the fuzz face circuit can be adjusted to hit lots of different fuzz styles from creamy to spitting.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by johnnysomersett » Tue Aug 02, 2022 12:56 pm

My Sunface BART is the thickest, heaviest fuzz I could hope for on 10 and clean as a whistle on 7 on both my old Jag and my MIJ JM....it blew my mind how reactionary it was at first. The range of drive from such a small movement of the guitar volume is something that I wasn't expecting at all - but already love.

Pretty much every other fuzz I own has been relegated to the shelf now.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by blacktiger » Wed Aug 03, 2022 12:18 pm

Thanks for all the input (no pun intended)! Yesterday, I put a Creme Brûlée (a Klon clone, basically) in front of the London Fuzz, and the clean up became a lot more gradual. I ordered an Axis Fuzz, which is basically a tweaked silicon FF. We’ll see what that one is like. I was planning on selling whichever fuzz is working for me the least, but I had the London Fuzz, Tone Bender MK 3 clone, and Big Muff all out yesterday and was digging them all for different reasons. I guess this is how you turn into a fuzz freak…
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by hulakatt » Wed Aug 03, 2022 2:52 pm

del wrote:
Tue Aug 02, 2022 10:40 am
And I wholeheartedly agree that by adding bias and tone controls, the fuzz face circuit can be adjusted to hit lots of different fuzz styles from creamy to spitting.
And then we go back around to the Zvex Fuzz Factory. Not a complaint, I have several.
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Re: Note Definition with a Fuzz Face?

Post by hulakatt » Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:05 pm

blacktiger wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 12:18 pm
I was planning on selling whichever fuzz is working for me the least, but I had the London Fuzz, Tone Bender MK 3 clone, and Big Muff all out yesterday and was digging them all for different reasons. I guess this is how you turn into a fuzz freak…
Don't sell. Every fuzz is kinda unique in it's own way, that's how you end up with piles of boxes like these...

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