Caught By The Fuzz
February 29, 2008
So i took some time out yesterday and tried a bunch of pedals that Dave Jenkins and Rusty Squeezebox recommended. I usually try out pedals through my favorite (affordable) amp, a Dr. Z Maz 18w 1×12 combo (loaded with a Celestion Vintage 30 loudspeaker). This amp is, to me, perfect in every way. It has all the things I like about a Fender Deluxe but none of the issues, HEADROOM for days and a CUT knob just like a Vox AC30. As i like to say, it’s like having a sexy girlfriend who only wants to have sex and never wants to talk.
So, the variety of guitars I used (and it’s always good to go down the line although if i’m being honest here, i NEVER use Fender Strats. I hate them with a passion.) were a Butterscotch Blonde ’52 re-issue Fender Tele, a SWEET ASS Victorian Cherry ’67 Gibson SG Special (w/ 2 – P90’s) re-issue, a 2008 model Gibson Les Paul Standard (Ebony, w/ Humbuckers) and a Reverend H90 (Humbucker in the bridge position and a Joe Naylor Special “mean 90” in the neck position), which is a limited run hot-rodded Daredevil.
Although I tried a BUNCH of pedals out (and i’ll refrain from saying which ones i DIDN’T like, for fear of influencing someone NOT to buy a certain pedal. it really is subjective and what my ears hear, yours MAY NOT!), the ones that broke of from the pack were:
King Of The Britains, by MENATONE. These are the guys that make the Red Snapper (Rusty uses the Old Snapper with 3 knobs…the newer ones have 4 knobs…try and find the old one if you can…big difference). The King Of The Britians is interesting in that it is 2 Overdrive pedals in one. See, you can set your Level, Gain adn general EQ. THEN, you have a choice of 3 difference Marshall Amp era settings (60’s, 70’s, Now). This is great for me, as someone that plays songs covering that spectrum. Then, once you have YOUR sound dialed in, you have a BOOST button! Yes, Nancy, there IS a Santa Claus! So when you need to jump above the blend of the other guys, step on the boost (which also has a Level button) and watch the sound guy freak out and start twiddling knobs.
Next up was my Fuzz choices. And trust me; I tried out SOooooooooooo many Fuzz pedals. Not just yesterday but all weak. And they come in all shapes and sizes, all colors, all styles, something for everyone. The one that blew my mind was:
The 70’s Fuzz, by Fulltone. I really dug the Fuzz quality and I think this is based on one of those old Hendrix Fuzz faces, albeit a more later sounding model. Funny thing is that so many Fuzz companies claim to have soemthing that’s similiar to Hendrix’s Fuzz pedal but to me they all fall quite short of the mark. The 70’s Fuzz pedal has Level, Mid and Fuzz. The Level is VERY responsive and the Mid dial has a wide tonal range. I’m one of those guys that likes to dial the Mids down a bit so having a choice like that goes a long way with me. I dialed in that “Johnny Echols” fuzz sound, which I think isn’t a fuzz pedal. I think, quite honestly, Johnny just CRANKED the amp up! That’s what’s great about those old late 50’s Fender 5 watt Champs; you crank them to “10” and they fuzz out like crazy. (for the record, I love low watt amps with an EL84 tube in it. But then again, who wouldn’t?) So this Fuzz got the “Thumbs Up”.
On deck next was the VIBE stomp box by Lovepedal, that Dave Jenkins said I HAD to try out. And I did. And it was the sh*t. This pedal is almost impossible to describe but I’ll try. First off, it just has ONE BIG STUPID KNOB! That’s it. Rotate to the left and you can get that sweet VERY VERY subtle Jimmy Page “Phase Shifter” sound, which I love. Rotate it at about “12 o’clock” and it’s more watery but still cool, with a bit of a Rotary-like sweep to it. Rotate it all the way right and you get a full-on Phase 90 Rotary/Leslie sound, without the Phaser aftertaste (we used this sound ad nauseum AND WITH PRIDE on 68% Pure Imagination). So, finding this pedal means I no longer need the MXR Phase 90. Sorry about , little fella.
Last on the menu was the Supa – Trem by Fulltone. I played with this quite a bit and found that I could dial in my favorite slow Fender Tremolo sounds but also dial in that “Seven & Seven Is” 60’s fast Tremolo sound as well. The pedal has two big knobs (Speed/ Depth) but also has a HARD/SOFT button which is really handy for some super cool “Radiohead” type of sounds, esp. if you use it with a Delay pedal. And the Supa TRem was head and shoulders better than ANY of the other Tremolo pedals I tried (and I tried ALL the “cool” ones).
So there you have it, my pedal situation is resolved. Now the project will be to fit them in my pedal board! OK, I better start working on that now…