Well, the BJFE Candy Apple Fuzz didn’t come in yet, and I just couldn’t wait any longer. It’s only been a few weeks, but seriously……I’ve got 8 fuzz pedals just lying around…no guitarist is that strong. Could this lack of patience possibly be a weakness of mine?……I’m going to say no.

What I’ll do is just take my favorites of these, sell the rest, and then do another shootout when the BJFE comes in. Oh, ya, and I’ve got a Lovepedal COT50 Gold coming in, too. It would be a complete impossibility to have too many shootouts.

InBruges.jpg picture by rypdal95
(“Can’t you guys just talk it over?”
“Don’t be stupid……this is the shootout.”

hehe Gotta love the Irish shootout. Irish makes everything better. It’s like delay.)

So I got the 8 pedals (6 actually, but one is 3 pedals in one). (Whoa! ‘Porcelain’ by Moby just came on itunes. If you haven’t heard this song, please go do so. Life-changing.) Sorry for the side track, but when good songs come on, yikes! What are you going to do? Ignore them? Hmmm…maybe a lack of patience isn’t my problem……maybe it’s an just an incredibly short attention span. Anyway, what was I……oh, ya, the fuzz pedals. Here’s the layout. And for those of you new to fuzz, most fuzz pedals use one of two types of transistors–germanium or silicon. The germanium transistors tend to be warmer and less predictable…even the weather can affect them when they’re inside a pedal. They’ve got that ’60′s Jimi sound. The silicon transistors, in general, are usually a little harsher, tighter, and in-your-face. They sound a bit more ’70′s…Keith-ish. Both are great, and have their own place in certain songs.

And again, since most worship guitarists don’t ever use fuzz, I’ll explain just briefly. Fuzz is a very organic-type pedal that reacts to everything…your guitar, amp, cables, what pedal are before it, etc. This can create some sweet sonic soundscapes when used correctly. It can also get synth-like sounds, harmonic feedback, and give some full, huge, lush chords and solo notes. Mmmm…fuzz. It’s great in worship music for swells, for stackable chordal anti-solos, and for hiding chords in the background. Also, it’s great for the neo-folk/raw ’60′s stuff that’s back in style right now. So, on to the shootout:

The Players

–Monsterpiece Three-Headed Fuzz (NPN silicon, AD2000 silicon, PNP germanium & silicon)
–Lovepedal Karl (germanium, I believe)
–No name, homebuilt (not by me) Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face clone (germanium)
–Axis Research Fuzz Faze
–Hartman Vintage Germanium Fuzz (germanium, of course)
–Skreddy Top Fuel (I believe silicon, but it’s not a true fuzz pedal so maybe neither)

The Clean Tone (to get an idea how these pedals react to this type of rig)

–Gerard Melancon Strat (ash)
–Lindy Fralin Blues pickups (mostly neck pickup in the videos)
–Lava ELC cable
–All 8 pedals (again, some definite tone suck with all these pedals and no bypass box or buffer, but they’re all getting the same treatment)
–Lava ELC cable
–Mike Holland EL84-based amp
–65 Amps Cab with Celestion Alnico Blue and G12H-30
–Little stock mic on a digital still picture camera that happens to have a 4 minute video setting. hehe :)

My Personal Biases

–I’m having an absolute love affair with fuzz lately. So I’m most likely just going to keep them all.
–The Monsterpiece looks like it’s from ‘That Thing You Do’, which can never be a bad thing.
–I played the Skreddy in my latest overdrive shootout, and I’m still swimming it’s tonal euphoria a bit. But just a bit.
–And the no name clone and the Axis Research run off of only batteries, and that’s just annoying. Always having to change the batteries out, wondering what it would sound like with a brand new battery in, even if the battery is only a few days old, etc. So this two would have to just kill the others to win a spot on my board.

Alright, here are the shootouts. There’s 3 of them so that I could realy put everything in there. And if you make it to the end of part 3, there’s an amusing surprise solo in there during which I break two very important guitar laws:

1) Play tastefully.
2) Never attempt to face melt if you are in fact incapable of face melting.

Ya……I definitely forgot those rules with 8 fuzz pedals staring at me. Very unfortunate for the listeners.

Part 1:

Part 2:

 

Part 3:

The Findings

–Monsterpiece Three-Headed Fuzz (NPN silicon, AD2000 silicon, PNP germanium & silicon)
Really stoked about this pedal. I’ve never played Monsterpiece before, and I was really surprised by the tone and the headroom in the pedal. The silicon side was nice and even warm, along with its characteristic focused-ness (entirely possible that this word is made up). The AD2000, though too harsh and angry for my style, definitely did what it was supposed to do very well. And the PNP was just great. Very warm and harmonic.

–Lovepedal Karl (germanium, I believe)
A little disappointed with this one. But with fuzz, a lot of times the pedals just don’t react well to certain rigs. But I couldn’t get any definition without it going trebly, and I couldn’t get any warmth without the notes being indistinguishable.

–No name, homebuilt (not by me) Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face clone (germanium)
Man, this stupid pedal……I bought it from some guy on e-bay years ago, and it just will not leave my board. It sounds so good! The harmonics are vitrually unmatched, and it’s able to get huge and dirty while still letting the notes stack on top of it nicely. Very real, organic sound. Maybe the most transparent of the whole group.

–Axis Research Fuzz Faze
Really liked the sound of this pedal. It has five gain settings, which makes it very versatile for getting the right tone for that night. Very warm and full.

–Hartman Vintage Germanium Fuzz (germanium, of course)
Wow. Maybe my new favorite pedal. Rich and absolutely full. The dirtiness just seems harmonic and stacked, rather than dirty. Which I love. And the sustain and synth like sounds that this thing does are amazing. And it does react to your actual tone, which is very good. And overall, without all the sound talk mumbo jumbo, it just flat out sounds great!

–Skreddy Top Fuel (I believe silicon, but it’s not a true fuzz pedal so maybe neither)
Still really loving this pedal. It is so very nice to have a high gain pedal that sounds like the dirty/synthiness of a fuzz, but without the craziness and unpredictableness.

The Keepers

–No Name Fuzz Face clone
I do believe the Hartman beat it overall, but there’s a still a certain sound in this pedal that I have never heard elsewhere. I’ll keep it when I need a really, really organic, earthy sound.

–Hartman Vintage Germanium Fuzz
My new favorite fuzz pedal. Sounds amazing…what else can I say?

–Skreddy Top Fuel
My high gain/compressed/fuzz/not a fuzz pedal. Very, very amplike pedal.

The Not So Keepers

–Monsterpiece Three-Headed Fuzz
Loved this pedal, and was totally going to keep it for when I get called on for those particular sounds. But money is tight right now, and I will probably end up using the germanium Hartman 9 times out of 10 anyway. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Lovepedal Karl
It’s possible that I just need to dial this one in more. But with the sound I’m getting from the other fuzz pedals, I probably won’t take the time with this one. So, off it goes.

Axis Research Fuzz Faze
Great pedal……the Hatman just does what this one does slightly better in my humble opinion.

So there you have it. Hopefully this can help a bit……and I’m looking for something mildly amusing to tie this all up with tonight, but I am quite sleepy now. Weekends are long. But good……better with fuzz.

Splendid.
Karl.