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smoothest or funkiest fuzz?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bongomania, Jan 31, 2006.


  1. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I know there are a lot of threads and posts about the various fuzzes available, but what I haven't found is discussion about the more "reserved" side of fuzz, the non-manic, non-squalling, non-squelchy-gated stuff.

    Here is a soundclip of the Chunk Systems Brown Dog from their site which I totally dig. It's sort of farty, not smooth, but I love it anyway. Very ZZ Top. You ask, why don't I buy a Brown Dog then? Because I totally hate all of the other sounds they have recorded on the site. Nasty and unmusical (for my purposes).

    I have read HC reviews of a few different fuzzes that claim to be on the softer/smoother side of the fuzz, but of course most of those reviews are based on use with a guitar and a small tube amp.

    So, any of you that have actual hands-on (and bass-on) use of various fuzz pedals, which ones do you think provide the "mellowest", "silkiest", "bluesiest", or "funkiest" fuzz? With plenty of bass booty?

    P.S. Oh yeah, I just bought an EH English Muff'n... It's pretty good and smooth, but IMO kind of lacking in booty.
     
  2. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I quite like the Nick Nitro in this respect much more smooth than most fuzz's and very vintage sounding, it works fine after a buffer (I run it after my Barber LTD which is always on) but it doesn't like a really hot signal.

    Just don't use the octave up side because then you get crazy synth sounds
     
  3. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    P.S.

    I'm just gonna sit here and let the Gain King Davidmwilson chime in as if he hasn't tried it, it doesn't exist :p
     
  4. That Brown Dog is super. I tried for like 30 minutes in a store. The fact that you can blend in some clean tones is very nice!!
     
  5. Im glad i found this thread. Im looking to buy the brown dog ;)
    Can the gate be turned off? As in, when the control is completely to the left, is the gate still noticable?
     
  6. +1 on david. That bloke is the distortion guru :p
     
  7. Mr_Dave

    Mr_Dave

    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    hi

    i tried the brown dog for about 15mins in a shop with a 73 pbass...

    sounded cool. fairly flexible for a fuzz, a little grit with the blend mostly to the clean side and cool gated fuzz tones, for more extreme synthness... not sure how much low end is retained though because i only tried it through a 112 combo...

    nice pedal, from memory, the gate wasn't noticable at all when turned down
     
  8. benevan

    benevan Supporting Member

    May 2, 2002
    Memphis
    I've been looking for a more mellow fuzz myself. I think the Lotone is fairly tame, but I have no actual experience with it.

    The Brown Dog sound clips do make the mouth water. I may pick one of those up regardless...
     
  9. One thing you have to remember, is that they are just sound clips. IME alot of clips from the actual site, arent the GREATEST respresentation of what the pedal can do.

    I think any thing with a blend function should hold the low pretty damn well. And also adds the flexibilty for smoother/tamer fuzz tones.
     
  10. also, the way theyve designed the brown dog, with a specific out jack for a 00Funk Mark II is very clever/smart.
     
  11. John C. Reilly

    John C. Reilly

    Feb 24, 2004
    The frantone Lo-tone is very smooth. you can set so that it's almost a very warm overdrive. Frantone also just came out with a germanium Bass Sweet. that one is a lot crazier. check out a lo-tone if you can. Black cat Bass octave fuzz is very raspy spitty nasal if you want that sort of thing. I currently have all of these plus others like
    Dredge tone Angler
    Barber deep fryer
    T-rex bass juice
    Bjfe Blue berry bass overdrive
    Sib fatdrive'
    sib varidrive
    sib tube overdriver-prototype to be released as the "barracuda"
    xotic Bass BB

    Used to own
    Zvex wooly mamoth
    Prescription Depth charge
    vintage rat
    vintage Eh hot tubes (the one without tubes,go figure)
     
  12. pacojastorius

    pacojastorius Guest

    May 21, 2005
    usa
    why did you drop the mammoth? too over the top?
     
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I had a Mammoth too for a while, and sold it. "Over the top", yes, but the real problem for me was there was no musical context in which it sounded good to me. And I mean I tried it in some crazy loud experimental-noise band settings too, and frankly it didn't do anything for me even in that context. It was basically just obnoxious, and in reality I find that a strong clean tone is the best way to cut through noise.
     
  14. +1 to the frantone. Awesome pedal. It can go from hard fuzz like in Mean Mr. Mustard to a smooth bluesy feel like Jack Bruce.
     
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've been down to a music store I-don't-know-how-many times, fascinated with a pedal called Xray Bass, by Black Box. Very light distortion; it's rich in low harmonics (I mean low-order, not 'sub'-harmonics); can impart a growly, 'burpy' kind of sound. It has an extraordinary amount of 'natural compression' before clipping. It can make double-stops sound freaky - slightly ring-mod-like; slightly 'octavia'-like.

    It's this thing:

    http://www.blackboxmusicfx.com/xray.html

    The site's audio samples are fairly worthless because they're all guitar, and because I think they're demonstrating it as a boost pedal to get more amp distortion.

    There are some reviews on harmony central, and they're fairly-great reviews, but one guy says it hardly has any compression; the one I've been using amazes me as to how much it compresses. Here are those H. Central reviews:

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Effects/Data/Blackbox/X_ray_Bass_Fuzz-1.html

    Also, the company - and one of the H. C. reviews - says that it can do perfectly-clean boost. I didn't find any setting that was perfectly clean; it always brought out low harmonics. Fifths and tenths and octaves sound grindy and cool; fourths on the high-strings sound smooth, yet somehow 'robotic' and ring-mod like.

    Anyway - one of my worries, with these conflicting reports about their voicing character, is that maybe they're inconsistant pedal-to-pedal - which would be bad for someone ordering one, but it makes me want to quick go and put money down on this certain ONE I've been playing with.

    Does anyone else know about these?

    Joe
     
  16. pacojastorius

    pacojastorius Guest

    May 21, 2005
    usa
    they look great
     
  17. benevan

    benevan Supporting Member

    May 2, 2002
    Memphis
    A blend control helps, but if the fuzz itself is harsh, then it is hard to smooth it out at all. Case in point: the Black Cat BOF.
     
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Hey John C. Reilly, what made you get rid of the P.E. Depth Charge? How would you describe its sound? Also, of all the boxes you listed, are there any that are good at getting the farty blues tone of that Brown Dog soundclip?
     
  19. John C. Reilly

    John C. Reilly

    Feb 24, 2004
    went thru a faze where i sold all of my pedals to buy a pre cbs fender. which never happened by the way. I think also it was because with very hi output pickups it sounded terrible. at the time i had an ebo and a rick. i will probably get one again and also the depth charge that one was very tasty.

    Bongomania: i got rid of the depth charge because of the reason stated above. the depth charge is the best fuzz that also lets you blend in the original signal. it has a very strong forceful meaty tone. For the farty blues thing you just have to try a Bjfe Blue Berry Bass Overdrive. not to be confused with the guitar blue overdrive. the BBBOD can be very subtle it can turn a clean solid state amp into an svt. it does roll off some highs though. the only problem is that they are made in sweded and the exchange isn't so favorable to the dollar. i think they go for 279. used to be 219. I like this pedal so much i have two. i think there are only 25 or so around.
     
  20. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK, so here's a review of the EH English Muff'n in this context (smooth/non-harsh fuzz):

    First, I'm using an Ibanez MC980 (set up as a four-string), a PJ Briefcase, and a few different compressor pedals.

    Initially I thought the Muff'n had sucky low end. I would crank the bass EQ on my bass, and the Muff'n just sounded weaker. It's not that the low frequencies were cut off, they were just too quiet, and muddy. But today I thought to switch off my onboard preamp and run the bass passive, and voila! All of the low end came back. The Muff'n just hates my preamp output. It seems to really respond well to the passive mode, though.

    Now, I do feel that the low end does get rolled off unless I turn the Muff'n's bass knob all the way up. So if I turn that knob all the way up, and then switch the pedal on and off, I hear pretty much the same amount of bass either way.

    The pedal has a pretty wide range of tones, from "warm" to "breaking up" to "fuzz". But almost all of the distortion and fuzz is in the higher buzzy range. So with mid-point settings, fingerstyle playing gets "warmed up" but with high end buzzy distortion at each sharp peak. This might sound pretty good live, as the buzzy attacks would add a bright percussive element to the mix. But it doesn't sound that great by itself in my room. If you dial the gain all the way up, you get nice creamy singing fuzz. Really great smoothness and naturalness. But again, it's almost all in this high-frequency range. With some heavy EQ tailoring after the Muff'n, this is my favorite sound from this pedal. I just wish the natural frequency range was lower, both from the tubes and from the EQ knobs. I think I may pop open the hood and see about replacing a couple of caps in the EQ.

    It takes maybe 15-20 minutes or so for the tubes to warm up and sound their best, which is inconvenient but not a big deal. It's also worth noting that I had the output level down almost all the way off at all settings, as otherwise there was a huge volume jump any time I would switch the pedal on. This would of course be a bonus if you want to use it as a gain booster for solos.

    Overall, this is an awesome pedal, but I think the sound is just not what I'm looking for. Super-smooth, yes, but I just don't like high frequencies! And I'm not going to get a separate EQ pedal just to run after the Muff'n.