BJFe Candy Apple Fuzz Review & Demo

This is the coolest looking pedal I have ever seen.

And that was almost the end of the review. See, I bought this pedal because BJFe effects pedals are like, all the rage right now amongst the boutique snobs (and I mean that in the nicest possible way, especially considering that some might consider me one of their kind). They’re handmade in Sweden by Bjorn Juhl, and it’s rumored that he has learned the ancient Swedish art of enslaving mini-gnomes to run on treadmills inside the pedals to allow the signal to be not just analog, but actually alive. Well…close. Some of the rumors are not that far from saying he has ‘mini-gnomes.’ I’m serious. People get crazy about tone. And about…uh…who has the most handmade-looking pedal. But, because of all the hype, I really had to try one out for myself.

Now, they’re a little expensive for my blood, so I fully expected to sell it after demo-ing it. I’m always a little skeptical about pedals that get hyped with rumors of fairy tale men living together inside them. But then I pulled it out of the package. It was like opening a box of rejoicing. Here, let me show you the rejoicing:

bjfe-caf2

See what I mean? Fabulously deep and swirled, bowling ball-textured wine red in color. And that led? Yep. Brilliant blue. And it even has that handmade touch of the lettering being written in that craft paint your Mom used to let you play with as a kid in the ’80′s if you were able to go a whole week without convincing your sister she liked baseball so she would spend all her birthday money on your baseball cards so you would have more money for more baseball cards. (Uh…) So anyway, when I first held the rejoicing in my hands, I knew that I would have to keep this pedal so that I could have an automatic win in the unspoken but oh-so-real game of ‘Who has the coolest pedalboard at the gig’ that we guitarists silently play with each other every time we get together. 

Luckily, I have no money right now, so I knew I could only keep this one or my current fuzz, the Hartman. So after gazing at it from a respectful distance and with the proper lighting a pedal of this magnitude requires for a good few hours, I was finally able to plug it in and demo it. Here’s the video…with extremely poor lighting so that you will be able to judge the pedal’s sounds objectively without getting hypnotized by its rejoicing. (Actually, I just forgot to turn my desk lamp on.)

So this pedal has the most fuzz I have ever heard in a single pedal. It’s fuzz knob at 11 o’clock is most fuzz pedals’ fuzz knobs cranked. You can really go crazy with this pedal. It’s like it’s able to compress all those harmonics and fullness into this incredible sustainy tone…but without the compression. I’m not sure if that makes sense. But it’s like all the goodness of compression without squashing the tone. And that nature knob is very useful because of it’s built-in gate. So you can crank the fuzz sounds and get this over-the-top fuzz, but the gate keeps it from becoming un-playable. Overall, a huge sounding pedal, with more fuzz and more useable sounds in it than any fuzz I have played as of yet. Beautiful harmonics, almost too much sustain, and a lot of guts. It is a more vintage-voiced pedal, and there is not a tone knob. It’s definitely a good voice, but a vintage one. A little thinner than some of the more modern sounding fuzzes out right now. But it’s still a germanium fuzz, so the sound tends to just spread out and saturate, which makes it warm and full, even though the actual voicing is a little more in the upper range. Very clear, and fairly responsive at the lower fuzz settings. The high ones, obviously…well, once you get to setting the fuzz there, you’re looking for nasty fuzz sounds, not responsiveness. But just gorgeous, rich, and full sounds coming from this pedal. Looks and sounds beautiful.

If I had not yet played the Hartman fuzz, this BJFe would have been a keeper; and I would have won all the silent pedal wars of coolness. But alas, for my uses, the Hartman is a little warmer, and a little deeper-voiced. And off went the BJFe. One day I’ll meet the guy I sold it, too. And his pedalboard will beat mine…because of the BJFe Candy Apple Fuzz I sold to him. And there will be no more rejoicing. I’m told that pedalboards are about tone, and that I should be keeping the pedals that sound the best. I’m seriously wondering right now if I shouldn’t just be picking the coolest-looking, rarest, and most handmade-looking-magic-mojo pedals. Would my rig be less toneful? Maybe. Would it be cooler? Absolutely.

Look what the pursuit of tone does to us.

Splendid.
Karl.

19 thoughts on “BJFe Candy Apple Fuzz Review & Demo

  1. That is a hot looking pedal. The fact you had to wait for it so long is great too- makes you automatically assume its great!
    By time my Tim and Toneczar show up (Feb and March respectively) I will have the coolest board and tone, even in my mind just having waited that long.

  2. Dan–haha ya, they’re pretty expensive. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t like mine enough to keep. And the EGDM is supposed to be pretty sweet…I played the Mad Professor LGW which is supposedly the same circuit design by Bjorn, just not handpainted. And no, I haven’t heard the Movie Fuzz. Is it good?

    Larry–hehe I know, isn’t it horrible that we judge tone so much by the looks? lol I really wish I coulda kept it because it was so blasted cool, but…oh well. In the end, tone winds, I guess.

    Good times on the Toneczar. What did you order? The Openhaus?

    Kenrick–um, I bought it right when the euro was dropping, so I think I paid $325 US. I think it’s back up to $375 US, with the used prices ranging from $425-$475. Now, for a multiple-preset delay pedal, I don’t have a problem paying $300 or $400 dollars. But for a ‘it does one thing really well’ fuzz pedal? At least for me, that’s pushing things just a bit. hehe :)

    Although, of course, if I had happened to like it better than my current fuzz, who knows what rational I would’ve come up with and subsequently blogged about, in order to keep the pedal. hehe ;)

  3. I actually ordered the Echoczar.

    PSYCHE!!!

    The new pedal, the Dove- lower distortion that ‘might do’ overdrive sounds. At 18v and an expression that changes the gain range (yeah, like SLIDE into full gain) I cannot wait. I get giddy just looking at the pics and how cool it looks.

    Speaking though…. what is with you and the Echoczar? You have been mostly quiet about this product :)
    He just created a companion called “angel baby” which is another pedal that gives you one more delay channel, but with modulation as well. It stacks on the Echoczar to make one big pedal (like Transformers!).
    All in all, thats like $1000 delay setup.

    ANd I haven’t bought the think yet, but Ed of Toneczar has the best customer service. EVER.

  4. Well I think it sounds great, in fact it inspired me to visit proguitarshop(dot)com and wander through their videos for fuzz pedals, and really their are not any that sound like it. But $375, wow. The most expensive pedal I have right now is the fulltone mosfet 2, which might kill my cool factor, but I think it sounds good with my setup; I think its worth what I paid for it for sure. Do you have any reccomendations for fuzzes in the sub 200 range? I think they are killer for octave type phrases, and for some killer lead tones. Most of the fuzzes I have tried through my setup come across sounding like solid state distortion from a 10watt amp.

  5. Karl – I think you’d enjoy the movie Fuzz. It shows a lot of the interesting characters making pedals these days including Bjorn. I rented it on netflix last year but someone put it up on dailymotion recently. It may make you buy more pedals though. ;)

  6. Larry–nice. I’ve heard good things about the Dove, and the Openhaus is amazing.

    As far as the Echoczar, I’m sure it’s an incredible sounding delay pedal, but I don’t use untimed delay enough to justify having $1,000 in one. If I were pro, then sure, I might have an Echoczar for the couple measures a week I actually use untimed and un-preset delay live…but…hehe…being quite far from pro as it were, I just can’t justify it. Now, if he were able to add some tap tempo, I’d definitely try it against the Memory Lane. Or if I found one used with the Angelbaby for $100. Offers, anyone? ;)

    Kenrick–the Fulldrive is a great pedal! I’ve actually been re-looking into those the last couple days. As far as fuzzes, I’m with ya…$375 is a bit steep for a pedal that just does one thing, and on top of that, that one thing wouldn’t be used all the time. Currently, I’m using the Hartman germanium fuzz, and it is what made me sell the BJFe. I picked it up for somewhere between $100-$150, I think. It’s a bit deeper than the BJFe, though. For that exact Candy Apple sound, the Axis Research might do.

    And I did do a fuzz shootout a few months back. Hate to send you to my own blog, but there don’t seem to be too many shootouts of fuzz pedals floating around. So here it is. Maybe you can listen to these versus the BJFe clip, and maybe one of them sounds close. :)

    http://guitarforworship.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/fuzz-pedal-shootout-the-first/

    Dan–haha I thought you were recommending a pedal…and I thought it was called a Movie Fuzz. So when I clicked on your link, I was looking for a demo of the ‘Movie Fuzz.’ And I was like, ‘Wait, that’s an MKII. Must be the wrong link.’ hehe Please forgive my idiot-ness.

  7. Am I the only one that just doesn’t like fuzz? I’m sorry – I’ve tried several fuzzes, listened to enough fuzz to make a blanket, and lord knows I’ve tried – I’ve really tried to like them.
    But I just can’t. I don’t like ‘em. Not one bit. As far as I’m concerned the only thing fuzz is good for is clogging the lint trap in the dryer. Or filling navels. Or a 16 year olds mustache.
    I’ll always be an overdrive and distortion guy I guess.
    Sorry!

  8. haha No worries, Tom! Some effects just don’t jive with certain people. For instance, I’ve met plenty of people who don’t like phase; but I really like it. But I can’t ever stand flange.

    Fuzz is definitely specialized, and you need to use it more for texture, and use picking dynamics to really get it to feel right. I put this in my post on Using Fuzz in Modern Music, so I don’t mean to be redundant, hehe, but one of the best examples of fuzz being used well is U2′s live ‘Love is Blindness’ from the ZooTV tour. If you like Edge’s tone there, then maybe it’s just that I’m demo-ing it poorly in my videos. lol Which is very possible. ;)

    But if you don’t like it, no worries!! Overdrive and distortion can totally do it. And actually, I love it when you or anyone else on here has different opinions on stuff. It helps us all learn a bit.

    ’16 Year Old’s Mustache’ does hit a little too close to home, though. I definitely had that going on, and I definitely thought I was way cooler because of it. I wasn’t. :)

  9. great review!

    you know, bjorn puts magical swedish fairy dust in these, and that is why they sound so GOOD!

    loved your demo of the pedal, it is one of the best fuzzes ever made!

    bobby d

  10. I’m from sweden! And I can tell you that it isn’t just our pedals that’s magic!
    We also have guitars, like Hagström (Or hagstrom as you americans say :P)
    And we got Ulf Ekman, Hendrik Lundquist, ABBA and me!
    And we also ride polar bears to school when the weather is as worst. (Snowstorms and such..)

  11. lol You ride polar bears?! Comment of of the day, brother. :)

    And Hagstrom guitars are awesome! (I would’ve put the little dots over the ‘o’, but I have no idea how. hehe)

  12. Hahaha :P
    Isn’t is a button left to the enter button with a ^ and ¨?
    You just press that button and then O direct after so it become a ö :)

    And we don’t ride polar bears.. I don’t think we even have any in sweden at all. But it is pretty fun couse many americans acctually beleve us when we say that.

    But Sweden is a great contry :)
    You should come over here and have a little guitarworkshop in Word Of Life Gothenburg :P We have some amazing guitarists in our church.. Like me and me.. and ehm.. noone more. But I could bring some guitarplaying friends from other churches to :P

    But I don’t think my church will pay the gas from US xD

  13. Hahaha :P
    Well… Here in Sweden does we acctually think that you americans is much more stupid then us.. xD
    We have heard so much funny storys about mothers not alowing ther kids eating apples couse that is unhealthly and force them to eat hamburgers and such :P

  14. Elia–I can’t seem to find that button! But I’m also on a laptop, so…less keys. And I would love to do a little guitar session over there! I haven’t been overseas since I was 2. Think we can work it out? ;)

    Nick–seriously. It’s making my night reading all this! :)

    Elia–lol So awesome, bro. :)

  15. Haha :P
    Well, if you really want to come can we prob. work it out :)

    Sweden is a beautiful place to have a little vacation in the summer so you could do a lot more things than just have guitar sessions :P

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