Wednesday, 13 April 2011


So all electric guitarists go on forever about their favourite fuzzbox/distortion pedal, and how there's never been anything to better it. It's all Tubescreamer, Big Muff, Fuzzface, Rat, etc etc. So what's an aspiring pedal builder to do when people are stuck in the products of 30 or 40 years ago?

Make copies of them, of course.
Sure, tweak a few values here and there - but basically make clones. But it just doesn't seem like progress to me.

So, you know I'm thinking of new ideas to make... Well what about a box with all that lot inside in one go - and get it over with?! Fuzz upon fuzz upon fuzz; a Great Wall Of Fuzz; fuzzes in series; in parallel fighting each other, gnarly twisted waveforms in stereo. How fucked up can you get the sound?

Quite a long time ago I was writing for a monthly musicians' magazine, and was asked to do a distortion pedal round-up; basically phone round every company I could think of and get them sent to me to review. After about ten days I was OD'ing on overdrive, but testing and comparing away like a trooper. At the end, of course the editor wanted to know what they sounded like all plugged in at once, so I managed to get 38 jack-to-jack leads together and plugged that many in...

It's safe to say the resulting sound had a nice lot of sustain. In fact, play a single note into the top of it, and a pure flatlining tone was emitted at the other end, which, as the string vibration gradually died away, was gradually overwhelmed by a sort of huge outboard motor sound effect... the background hiss amplified to a whole new order of magnitude.
It soon became apparent though that the most important effect would be the last one; whatever that one passed through or didn't pass through - that's the decider.

So this is the ideal one I'd put last.
All others are rubbish.

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