In the last article I explained how the sound of Fuzz was discovered and how it became the staple sound of the 1960s. In today’s short article I will explain briefly how you can achieve Fuzz sounds from your own gear.
One of the characteristics of Fuzz is gain, and loads of it. Let us use and apply it:
One way to achieve the Fuzz sound is by simply putting the gain control of your amp to the max, keep the mastervolume at listening levels and play. What you will get is a maxed out distortionsound which does work as a Fuzz. When you hit the strings harder you will notice that the sound actually does not get any louder. Why not? Because your amp has reached its headroom point!
A better and more satisfying sound can be achieved by using pedals combined with the distortion channel of your amp: Put the Gain control of your amp on Full [or almost] push the sound up with any distortion pedal you have, again, put the distortionlevel of your pedal quite high, and adjust tonecontrols to your liking. Keep the tonecontrols of your guitar way down. Use the neck pick up for playing musical ideas on the unwound G, B and E string. Use the bridge pick up for playing ideas on the wound D, A and E string. Just play riffs and melodies and enjoy that eversustaining sound.
If you are not into some of the primitive garagerockbands of the 60s [who is not???!!] but are more into intellectual, intelligent, melodic solos listen to Robert Fripp. How does he get those sustaining sounds, and what about the Elephant sounds? Mmmmm, sounds like a Fuzz? Yep, it is, combined with using a trem, try it and you will be in King Crimson Land.
Any pedals which work well for this application?
Just keep it mind to put your highest gain pedal first in the chain, and boost the gain all the way up.
Using a Boss FZ-2 and a BD-2 in combination works very well: Use the FZ-2 in boost mode, push gain, and adjust volume to unity level, let the BD-2 be pushed by the FZ-2, and let the BD-2 push your amp a bit. I did use a preamp to keep the overal volume at a sane level.
Overal I can say that any pedal will do this trick, just try and see what you get while bearing some of the basics in mind: Keep your tonecontrols on your guitar down, play mainly riffs and melodies as chords will turn into mush!
Did I use valveamps or transitoramps or? I acctually combine both type of amps, but that is the subjectmatter for another blog, I will also discuss more about the hype around valveamps and some particular makes, will discuss more about the “magic” of Marshall amps.
Just to show you that the 60s were not only about the sound of Fuzz I would like to leave you with a song which was enjoyed by Frank Zappa as well, just enjoy and hope to see you next time, Eddie