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Revisted, Revamped, Tweaked and now Renamed………. Vintage Fuzz with Independent Boost
I have been working on this project for quite some time now and finally I have my latest effects pedal ready to take its place in the BigZed line up.
Let me take you back to the 60’s when the choice was to slice your amp speaker with a knife or spend lots of money and use the latest technology at that time on an effects pedal to get that now classic fuzzy sound that has become iconic in so many guitar rock solos. So now well into the 21stcentury and with all the latest digital technology and microprocessors do we need to revisit the old analog designs? Only really you can possibly know the answer to that! The music from the 60’s 70’s etc is still a big part of our lives (well mine anyway) and I personally love hearing the old classics being played out live at venues around the world and sometimes only the right equipment will do, especially the early germanium fuzz pedals when played harder and louder the fuzzier the sounds…a pedal with feeling!!! So why my Vintage Fuzz pedal? Here are some of the reason why….
Although the Vintage Fuzz has its own Volume knob along with Bias and Fuzz you can hit the Boost, which has it’s own Boost level which allows you to instantly crank up the volume when you need it especially solo lead break work. This side of the pedal is independent which means it can boost any effect thats daisy chained and not just the Fuzz it shares the enclosure with…useful little addition! You can also use the Boost turn the volume down for home practice while keeping the settings saved on the Vintage Fuzz.
Underneath the pedal is a compartment where the Transistors are accessed. You will find on opening the panel a PCB with sockets for the PNP Germanium transistors, one designated “1” and the other “2”. This helps you to choose where to put the high and low Hfe transistors. The hFe, (“Hybrid parameter forward current gain, common emitter“) traditionally the Transistors Q1 and Q2 were at different values and this is what gave this classic pedal the iconic fuzzy sound. Now you can interact and add in your own combination even works with silicon transistors so long as they are PNP (Positive Negative Positive). On the other hand if you are lucky enough to have access to some original transistors dating back from that era then here is your chance to try them out without de-soldering and getting all tangled up with complications…just “Plug and Play”.
Another useful and interactive feature is the Bias trimpot, normal factory set is now a main control on top of the box. This allows for the necessary trimming of the Bias to the Q2 transistor and also provides the opportunity to try out different settings changing the Fuzzy output, again adding to the user interface!
Polarity and Pedalboard Chain
The other feature regarding the Vintage Fuzz is the small touch of magic! The polarity back in the original effects pedals of the 60’s was PNP, this meant that the lead from your guitar and the lead out to the amp, the plugs tip and shank were reversed polarity, (tip now ground and shank positive). Not really an issue then but now with most pedal boards where NPN is the norm means you cannot mix PNP with NPN so a separate chain just for those would be needed but with the Vintage Fuzz a small chip has taken care of this BUT still enables the use of PNP to be used in the way they were designed for yet keeping the jack plugs Tip positive and Shank ground (0v). So you have the best of both worlds.
Probably the best feature of all is the fact that adjusting the volume control on your Les Paul, Stratocaster or what ever axe you use interacts with the Fuzziness output so defining that the pedal is truly interactive and has feeling! With the Boost you can increase or decrease keeping your favourite setting on Fuzz.
So just to recap, I have removed the voltage indicator, slightly bigger enclosure, new name, battery box with opening underneath for PCB with interchangeable Transistors. The transistors that are included can vary, I only use PNP Germanium transistors I have at the time of building that sound great..in my opinion that is!!
Here’s Daz Keenan giving the Fuzz Face Pro (now Vintage Fuzz) a once over!!