In part one I talked entirely about the Fuzz Face clone that I built, but I feel the other fuzz pedals I've built also deserve a little more attention. So in this edition I'll be displaying each fuzz pedal I've made and talking a little bit more in-depth about it. What better place to start than with the very first pedal I ever built? Aside from starting with the first fuzz pedal I ever built, they will be presented in no particular order.
This is my bazz fuss circuit that I've dubbed the Fuzz Throat. I had wanted to build DIY pedals ever since the mid 2000s but I lacked confidence and never took charge in making that dream come true until January 2020. When I started looking around for easy pedal circuits the Bazz Fuss was the most talked about beginner build, so I dug through my parts bin and found what I thought I needed. Eventually I found out I was using a transistor with the wrong pinout, and kept testing transistors until one finally worked. The first transistor that worked is the transistor I stuck with.
The Fuzzy Throat is a gritty (and dare I even say shitty) gating fuzz because the transistor was just what I happened to have on hand, and I never dared to bias it correctly. This build stays as it was built the first time it functioned (at least semi-) properly. With this it's either all go or no go, as it will gate out completely with even the slightest adjustment of either the guitar or the pedal's volume control. Packed inside a Sucrets tin with a yellow knob to simulate the lozenge this little bastard started it all.
This is my EHX op-amp Muff Fuzz clone. I did discuss this one previously, so there isn't much left to say, but I felt it still needed to be included in this entry for the sake of completion. I built this circuit in September of 2021 and never really knew what to do with it, until I started formulating a plan to keep it much like the original EHX Muff Fuzz and cram it into a 1590a enclosure. Once it was all done I can say it's a pretty neat little fuzz that sounds pretty good.
Besides guitars and guitar equipment, something else near to my heart are vintage video games. When I first heard the Shoe Pixel fuzz I knew I had to find a way to build one for myself, and here it is. The 8-bit tones that can be dialed in with this thing are incredible, not to forget there is an absolutely useable musical fuzz that is hidden in there as well. The overall design choice is meant to evoke the totally radical and carefree childhood of the late 80s and early 90s with its vibrant colors. The input is designated green and the output designated red, with a red power input on the very front of the pedal. The LED came from a McDonald's Super Mario toy (a little too on the nose?) that constantly shifts through a handful of colors when engaged. This is the one pedal that makes me feel happy just by looking at it.
Finally we have reached Purple Face, my Fuzz Face clone. I was originally going to add some form of triangular material by the footswitch, in the same vein as a real Fuzz Face, but I decided against that. After I finally heard this circuit's true voice, through Kali, I put it into a purple enclosure and finished it off with antique bakelite knobs that I plan on putting googly eyes onto. Again, I'm not sure whether this sounds anything like a true germanium Fuzz Face, but I get a really nice range of tones from it. Fiddling with the knobs I can get anything from an almost overdrive crunch to a thick fuzz. Don't tell the others but I think this one is the most versatile, and probably my favorite, fuzz pedal. But only by an exceedingly slim margin over my Shoe Pixel clone.
So will my building schedule and a fuzz circuit ever crossed paths again? YES! Pardon me for shouting at you there, but yes, yes it will. You see, a few years ago That Pedal Show and Josh Scott went to Macari's in London to test Tonebenders, and in doing so they made me fall in love with the MKI. One of them can even be quoted as saying "That sounds like modern gain to me.", which I completely agree with. To my ears, so take that for what it's worth, the MKI has a very fuzzy edge, but sounds very much like a modern high gain circuit. That type of characteristic, whether right or wrong, is almost like what I can dial in with Purple Face, albeit Purple Face is more like an overdrive pushing a 5 watt tube amp to her screaming point, but DAMN does it sound amazing. So, a MKI tonebender circuit will be on my build schedule at some point, even though I've read many times it's a real beast to dial in correctly. I feel I'm up for the challenge! At least I feel that way currently, we'll see how I feel as I continuously fail to get it right when that time comes.