I think I want a fuzz...

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Unrepresented, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    But have yet to like a single soundclip posted here or on retailers' sites.:meh:

    With absolutely no disrespect intended to those who take the time and effort to try and bring us samples and reviews, I'm left wondering if it's the recording process or the fuzz "genre" itself that's leaving me cold.

    Am I misunderstanding what a "fuzz" should sound like? Is the big slab of biting, but thick and brassy, slashed speakers, but gated and still thoroughly controllable goodness in my head more in the distortion family?

    Does fuzz into a soundcard lack all the special speaker and amplifier qualities that transform it into something special instead of the oversaturated sound of fizziness?

    Andrew Seward gets a great tone at the end of "Animal" and searches have led me to believe he uses a Prescription Electonics Depth Charge on this track, however, any clips of the Depth Charge seem lacking in whatever studio magic was there during Against Me!'s recording, and I'd prefer not to drop $250 on a pedal I only assume I'll like...

    Oh, and dare I mention that I really love Tim C's tone on Evil Empire or will that derail this thread?

    I know I'm not looking for smooth. I know I'm not looking for sustain. I know I'm not looking for excessive bright overtones, but at the same time don't want something dark that will fall into the bottomless chasm of a rockband mix...

    Something that grunts. Something organic. Something that's controllable, and still allows for the rhythmic aspect of the bass to play its role. Something with enough clarity to hear the notes.

    Help me Fuzzy Talkbassers, you're my only hope.

  2. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    I think a Fuzz Face or clone would be good for your description.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I don't. ;) To me the Face has always meant smoothness and sustain.

    FWIW I do think something marketed as a "distortion" will probably get you closer to the sound you're describing. Fuzzes pretty much always muddy up the signal (in a good way, if that's the sound you want).

    As far as "studio magic", it's worth noting that a lot of pro productions involve two or three channels for the bass, each channel processed differently and recombined "to taste" by the engineer. It's hard to get those tones just plugging a bass into a single fx pedal and then into a single amp. Also the recording/mixdown devices themselves are often a key part of the tone.
  4. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    The reason I recommended a Fuzz Face is because when you roll down the volume knob a little on your bass you can get a grittier sound.
  5. brucebruce


    May 26, 2008
    I hate to burst your bubble... but in my experience, good fuzzes and distortion and/or O/D pedals do NOT come cheap. I use the Colorsound Bass Fuzz, $300. In my opinion the warmest fuzz on the planet (no tone suck). In terms of O/D I use the Tech21 XXL Bass Edition; it's not the most brutal O/D available... I use it as my dirty channel, very gritty sound... combined with an EQ it gets the job done...

    I really don't think you'll find what you are looking for in a $100 pedal... and I totally agree with 'bongomania', ignore studio tracks... you can create boundless tone with modern multi-track recording (especially with a big budget)... listen for the sound you seek through a simple set up BASS > PEDAL (?) > AMP...

    Hope this helps... NB: I totally agree with you regarding the online samples... often they are a complete misrepresentation of the product/pedal in question...
  6. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Sustain doesn't have to be a dealbreaker for me, but I really want something that's got enough chop to it that I can control the notes when needed.
    I know there's gray areas over how much clipping qualifies as fuzz v. distortion and that's part of my question, since there doesn't seem to be an international convention over where the official boundary lies... perhaps I like more distortionl-like fuzzes but less extreme versions?
    Absolutely. And on the other end of the spectrum home hobbyists recording bass samples directly to their soundcard are likely not going to sound as good as a quality bass and rig live in person will. I'm just trying to figure out how much of the issues lies in the limits of home recording ease, and how much of it is me not knowing which end of the distortion v. fuzz spectrum I think I want.

    Would you consider the Tendbender and clones to be a fuzz or distortion?
  7. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I think the cheapest pedal I own is $150 street price, I'm aware I'll need to drop dough, and prepared to go the boutique route if need be.

    I'm open to suggestions, and while cost will likely play some role in making a decision, I mostly used the example of the $250 for the Depth Charge to complain about the difficulties of experiencing and hearing the pedals. I'm okay with spending $250 on a pedal I like. I just don't want to make it a habit of dropping that on pedals I don't.;)
    Yeah, that's my issue. I have a feeling I'm writing off quality pedals because of what I may presume are unflattering clips.
  8. brucebruce


    May 26, 2008
    The Colorsound Bass Fuzz I mentioned earlier is the Tonebender tailored specifically for Bass... both made in London by Colorsound...
  9. (b)Assman


    Jun 22, 2008
    Champaign, IL
    If you're going to get a fuzz for the love of god get one that still has bottom end to it or else you might as well be playing 6 string. I have a MXR 181 which is nice. I hear Bassballs and Way Huge Swollen Pickle are good too.
  10. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Ah, I think that's actually what I'd been thinking of. There's a clip of it on youtube sounding very much like what I have in mind.

    I've been curious about the Barber Trifecta because it's a clone of the Tonebender as well as two other fuzzes if it can comp the tone in a smaller and more convenient package as well as have more versitility then it might be worth picking up.

    I definitely want to retain low end, but tone is equally important to me. I have a blender that I can run it through if need be to get fundamental back -- the Guyatone TZ-2 clips are promising for that reason. There's a youtube clip of a guy biamping one and it sounds great.
  11. rhcp32291


    Aug 19, 2007
    Long Island
    Big muff loses a lot of articulation.
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Classic example of somebody reading the thread title but not actually reading the post.
  13. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Actually, I love when that happens. More curiously interesting reading.
  14. bass_is_lyfe815


    Jun 13, 2008
    i'd say go to your local music store and try the mxr d.i. pedal. i find that pedal to be amazing
  15. dannster


    Aug 20, 2000
    Check out this article from Bass Player Magazine.

    Tons of audio clips. from all kinds of pedals. Although limited to one tone track per pedal. I found it an awesome starting point.
    I ended up getting the T-Rex Bass Juice for its versatility and tone.

  16. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    The MXR Blowtorch remains pretty usable and tight even when cranked and has lots of tone control on-board, plus a clean blend, and you might even find one in a store you can try out to see if you can get a sound you like out of it.

    Also, have you listened to the samples on Chunk Systems' website for the Brown Dog? That's about as sharply gated a fuzz as I've ever heard, but it's very modern-sounding - not sure if that's what you're after.
  17. B.C.

    B.C. Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
  18. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Used to own a Blowtorch. Felt it was too "fizzy" and not nearly organic enough for my tastes. The samples suggest the Chunk Systems is too, but again, that's my issue, how to tell if the samples are doing a pedal justice?
    I've checked that out before, it's hard to imagine the pedals actually being run into the tone changing qualities of an amp/speaker set up, there's a lot of potential for coloration...

    Found what was perhaps the worst sample of the Bass Juice (for my tastes at least) on youtube by what sounds to be a talented bassist...

    Definitely the opposite sound of what I'm going for, again hard to tell if it's the active bass, the poor eq, the recording itself, or the pedal....
    I'll check it out. I've got a good local boutique pedal dealer I've gone to before to check out bass fuzzes from and that time I ended up buying my BassDrive.:meh: Happy with the bassdrive, but getting that craving for a fuzz again to expand the possibilities.
    Yeah, I didn't want to say outright in my first post that I'm not looking for a muff clone, but was hoping it was kinda implied...
  19. Devi Ever makes a few gated fuzzes that retain a lot of low-end, although they tend to be on the synthier side of fuzz, not as organic as you're probably looking for. The Bass Fuzz, the Bit and I think the Cherry Pop are all known for retaining a fair amount of low-end. There is a clip in the wiki of me playing a Bit through my rig, and then miked (albeit with a crappy computer mic), so its a little different than a direct-to-soundcard clip.

    Also, have you thought about a Zvex Wooly Mammoth? I would consider that one organic yet gated
  20. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Found some clips of the Devi Ever stuff on youtube. It sounded as if it had some boominess added on and the tone wasn't quite what I'm looking for.

    I've tried the Mammoth out twice with high expectations, neither time was what I was hoping for. I remember having issues with it using a G&L bass, probably because of the high output, and it wasn't a standout, especially for being a $300 one trick pony.