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Fuzz history for nerds

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BillMason, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    I've been reading up here and there trying to follow the many threads of the history of fuzz effects. Are there basically three distinct fuzz types, the Tone Bender (and all the Mk's), the Octavia, and the Big Muff's? Everything seems to descend from one form or offshoot of one of those three designs - does anyone know if this is correct?
  2. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    I'm pretty sure the first commercial fuzz pedal was the Maestro FZ-1, the so-called 'Satisfaction' fuzz. It uses 3 transistors. There's several types of Tone Benders, most have 3 transistors too, but the Vox 'Tone Bender' is basically a Fuzz Face circuit (two transistors). Not sure if the Tone Bender or Fuzz Face came out first.

    The Big Muff came later, it uses 4 transistors, clipping diodes and is a more complex design than earlier fuzzes.

    Here's a post of mine from a while back, me pontificating on fuzz circuits...
    Types of Fuzz (circuit topololgy?)

    Pedal nerd-ism is a thing, I'm sure there's detailed info out there if you look.

    A couple of websites to check out:
    DiscoFreq's Guitar Effects Database
    freestompboxes.org • Index page
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  3. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Where does a gated Mammoth type fuzz fit in? To me it doesn't really sound like the others.
  4. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    The Zvex Wooly Mammoth is pretty much a silicon Fuzz Face circuit - still just two transistors - with a couple of tweaks to it: 1) Basically HUGE value capacitors for the bias bypass and output coupling, these allow the deep bass frequencies to fuzzed up, and the large coupling cap keeps the bass volume high. 2) Variable pot on the negative feedback resistor, I think it's called the 'bite' control.
  5. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    All I know is it is considered "gated".

    I have one of those, a Little Bear clone, and stacked with the Green Russian reissue it all sounds damned nasty!
  6. I guess brassmaster (and follow ups) are Octavia but with a fuzz and clean section and filters?
  7. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    I believe it’s technically distortion, versus fuzz - but I’m not the one to say that definitively by any means.
  8. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    It's a Fuzz Face.
  9. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    The D*A*M forum is dedicated to all things fuzz. Lots of history, lots of great builders, lots of knowledge.
    (Full disclosure, I'm an admin on the forum, but was a user for long time before that).
    jazznrick, RickyWoo and mikewalker like this.
  10. Buzz Allgrin

    Buzz Allgrin Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2016
    Whosetown, Texas
    WEM made some pretty interesting fuzzes that didn’t follow the usual circuit designs.. i built one that was an 8 transistor fuzz. It was a pretty odd circuit that seemed to be loosely based on a transistor power amp circuit. Definitely something to look into if you are going down that rabbit hole.

    It should be included in that DAM forum somewhere, that is a great resource. I think I found it at La Revolution Deux
  11. J.D. Detroit

    J.D. Detroit

    Nov 12, 2015
    Just wanted to pass this doc along in case you haven't seen it.

    BillMason likes this.
  12. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    That looks really awesome, I will bookmark it.
    J.D. Detroit likes this.
  13. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello Bill. This account works for me:

    Fuzz and Distortion Timeline
  14. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    rfa9dynvt2b6evb6tejw. My brother had one of the Gibson/Maestro fuzz pedals that came with the Gibson combo amp he bought circa 1960, at that time it was the shiznit

    Currently I own one of these although I seldom use it because I have fuzz capabilities built into several other pedals I own
    BillMason likes this.
  15. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
  16. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
  17. Pug the Pig

    Pug the Pig Banned

    Mar 21, 2018
    Some very early fuzz... Keystone-Cops-1912.
    Buzz Allgrin likes this.

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