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What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals?

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admin

Joined:
01 Jun 2001
Posts: 1266
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 9:25 AM    Post subject: What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals do you guys like to use with your Beans?

As for myself, I've been using Audio Crowther Double HotCake into a Ibanez Tube Screamer for lead tone/boost. I like to use the Double HotCake to give some thickness into the tube screamer. Tube screamer works great for level boost, and I like the mid frequency bump it gives. I use a looper to get them in line when it's lead time. When not in lead mode.. I just play straight through the amp.

I also played with Fulltone Fat Boost.. which I liked as well. I think the Hot Cake is similar. I just looked at the Fat Boost 2.. seems like they improved that considerably.. hmmm.

I've been looking at getting a fuzz.. I've been looking at the Fulltone 69...

hank/admin

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TomWanderer

Joined:
29 Jul 2008
Posts: 49
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 11:18 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Now keep in mind I play a Kramer 450g and not a Travis bean.
I really like to keep things simple as to not have 50 pedals on the ground, because at that point it doesn't even matter if you have a killer guitar and amp, right? I like to play guitar and not pedals so I usually use one of the following, sometimes two in sequence.
Interfax Harmonic Percolator (Chuck Collins official trademarked reproduction), these things sound fantastic, hands down. I know the owners of the original HP-1's that lent em to Chuck so he could perfect the exact components list and they have said it sounds dead on. It is the real deal. From tons of sustain to powerful gritty overdrive to fuzz, this thing rules. Excellent for bass as well.
Mid sixties Mosrite Fuzzrite (germanium, hand made circuit board) This thing is unbelievable. The volume boost by itself with the fuzz all the way down is a killer HUGE overdrive that's downright fuzzy on it's own, but once you start cranking the fuzz you go from thick and creamy to super compressed blistering evil fuzz and everywhere in between. Cuts right through any mix or live room (so does the HP-1)
Also, I love the classic 70's Electro Harmonics LPB 1 and LPB 2. They were my first overdrives and they make any tube amp jump way past '10' to classic, early 70's overdrive heaven. And, like all classic EH stuff, they crank up to the point of insanity, put the LPB 2 all the way up, and it is a ridiculously loud over driven distortion.
And if anyone is into echo, I can't sing the praises of the WEM/Guild copicat tape echo enough. I have a tube and a solid state model and they both sound absolutely fantastic, though the pre in the tube model is so good it puts the SS model down. The pre itself is also an excellent mic pre for recording, especially on a ribbon mic. The echo is unreal, tape echo is in a class by itself...nothing else like it. These machines go from a short "halo" setting which is very useful and discrete, it is so short it just fattens the hell out of your sound, to a longer delay, to an even longer "repeat". All can be selected together or separate, and the depth and reverb controls let you feedback and repeat into psychedellic or surf infinity.


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1uncertain3

Joined:
02 Aug 2007
Posts: 77
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 12:46 PM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Awe yes, FUZZ! This has been on of the most difficult pedals to place on my pedal board but after trying quite a few, I have found the Matter Disorganizer by Diabolical Amplification:

http://classaelectronics......bolicalamplification.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWlMGdRRwKA

As well as the steadfast Russian (green) Big Muff!



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admin

Joined:
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Posts: 1266
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 12:57 PM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

1uncertain3 ... ah the green box big muff.. nice. I haven't played with one of those in a long time. I'll have to dig one out again.

TomWanderer ... how is the noise on the tape echo? Is it noisy? I've always been sketched on those, thinking they'd be really noisy. I use to play with a old MXR analog delay.. and that thing is super noisy/hissy. I've been playing with the Line 6 delay modeler.. which is cool, and is really getting me to look at tape echos more and more. Like to get the real thing if they're not noisy.

admin/hank

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JohnBR

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20 Dec 2005
Posts: 223
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 9:47 PM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Hank, tape delays are tricky. they sound the best but need to be mantained constantly. The Fulltone Tape Echo, the only true tape delay made today are considered the best. Like any magnetic tape heads, they need to be cleaned and demagnetized regularly. This keeps the hiss to a minimum. They are obviously prone to tape failure and that's why they are rarely used live. I've seen Eddie van Halen use two at a time (old Gibsons, NOT the Fulltone models). My favorite effect is delay and I have tried them ALL. For a short delay, 300 ms, the Way Huge AquaPuss is hands down the king. But they are CRAZY expensive. A maxon/Ibanez AD-80 is a close second. Lush, warm and potent! A Maxon AD-900 is also a GREAT, very warm analog delay with a long 600 ms of delay time.
I started out collecting pedals, so I have or have had almost all of them. The germanium transistor fuzzes are all based on the Dallas/Arbitor Fuzz Face like Hendrix used. But those are really 'in your face'. They are cool though because when you roll back your tone slightly, the fuzz cools down big time.
I do like the subtlety of a Tube Screamer, or it's current day equal, a Maxon OD820. This is a clean boost as well as overdrive and similar to a Klon. Me personally, I use a Way Huge Red Llama, but this is a refined version of an MXR Distortion +. Square wave distortion. The old Russian Muffs are cool, but another honorable mention is the B.K. Butler Tube Driver. That thing has the balls of a big Muff, but it's very spongy. They are really great units.
They are all fun to try.

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1uncertain3

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Posts: 77
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 11:32 PM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Hank,

As JohnBR had mentioned, real tape echos can be a bit tricky and temperamental if they are not cared for. The ideal situation would be for recording, meaning that they are not used in a performance situation as "gremlins" do show from time to time.

One solution - I have tried and liked - is the Roland (Boss) RE-20. It is a digital pedal (I know I know, digital) that was created to have the same "feel" and sound as the Space Echo. Unlike many of the digital pedals out there, this one really does not sound digital - it is warm and thick like an analog delay and you won't have to worry about the hiss or tape issues that plagues the Space Echo. It may not be for everyone, but I really do have to say that I like it.

I hope that this helps.

Best,

Jay

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1uncertain3

Joined:
02 Aug 2007
Posts: 77
PostPosted: 04/09/2009 at 11:38 PM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Oops, sorry for the double post.

I wanted to give four gold stars to the B.K. Butler. JohnBR actually turned me on to these and I can say that it is in deed a worthy pedal. If you decide to buy new, contact him directly and ask about the tube bias mod; I can assure you that you'll be happy.



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sam1716

Joined:
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Posts: 37
PostPosted: 04/10/2009 at 5:09 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

I recently tried several distortion/overdrive pedals and was pretty surprised at my findings. The most surprising was the EH Metal Muff. I normally like EH's stuff and own a Hog that I like a lot. However, the MM sounded __terrible__. It sounded like the worst solid-state amp distortion I'd ever heard. The ZVEX "Box of Metal" had a similar bad sound and the noise gate on the one I tried was really squirrely.

I tried another "boutique" pedal from some company that I hadn't heard of and it sounded good, but not as good as....

I ended up buying a Homebrew Electronics "Big D" which sounds great, but is pretty noisy and requires you to unplug it instead of just turning it off to save battery life (drag). The diode selector really gives it a lot of different sounds. Everything from Boris to ZZ Top :)

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sam1716

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Posts: 37
PostPosted: 04/10/2009 at 5:14 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Sorry meant to include this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlAuhjl0kHE

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TomWanderer

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Posts: 49
PostPosted: 04/10/2009 at 7:06 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Hank, in regards to tape echo, I have had virtually no issues with noise. I clean the heads and make new loops of good, thick stock, beyond that it pretty much takes care of itself. That's what I really like about the WEM copicat as opposed to an Echoplex or Space Echo. Those are both excellent machines that I have fooled around on, but they are more complicated than they need to be and the tape path is like a jungle. The Copicat takes one loop approx 20in, all the heads and controls are right there, and there really isn't too much to go wrong. I had to fix a seized motor on one of mine, re solder a record head on the other and that's about it. One unit is from about '65 and the other about '68 and you can get noise out of them if you want (cranking the 'reverb' control to feed the signal back over and over) or you can turn the delay volume way up, reverb all the way down and get a very clean, loud, serious echo. I have used them to record in a variety of settings. I've also played out with them, there is really nothing to falter on these machines unless you break a loop. When I bought the first one, I didn't know what to expect. I thought it was going to have a sort of novelty sound. I was dead wrong, and very impressed. It's a very versatile tool. I believe Wem/Watkins made the first commercially available tape echo (the Copicat) in the late 50's for The Shadows. Ovethe last 50 years it has turned into dozens of models that are still highly sought after. I encourage anyone to give one a try if you have the chance.

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soarshoulder

Joined:
09 Jul 2007
Posts: 32
PostPosted: 04/10/2009 at 7:23 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

My main problem with the BK butler (aside from the extremely starved-plate voltage it runs at) was how much of my tone it was sucking -primarily the low end- that was what motivated me to build my own...(insert spam here)

I have never gotten into any of the EH stuff. Tried a few of their "tube pedals" when I was in the development stage of mine and found them to be a bit harsh (in my opinion.)

I own a rat that at one point I really liked, but at the end of the day it sounds exactly like a rat.
Has anyone used any of the older sansamp stuff? there was one that an engineer once threw in front of my bass rig that was pretty ******* ballsy and kept most of the lows sounding natural --I don't remember the model...



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BoulderBean

Joined:
04 Feb 2004
Posts: 309
PostPosted: 04/10/2009 at 8:24 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

I've had an Ibanez Tube-Screamer (modded by Analogman) for a few years and like it a lot, but I recently dropped it from my pedal board because I got the Analogman King of Tone (KOT) pedal. The KOT has two channels and it sounds amazing. It doesn't have a real heavy fuzz sound, but it the boost and tone it creates sound great to me.

For really heavy distorted sounds I use the lead channel of my Mesa. No pedal I've played through can touch that.

We're heading into the studio tonight and tomorrow. The sonic adventure continues.

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soarshoulder

Joined:
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Posts: 32
PostPosted: 04/10/2009 at 8:53 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

yes, the analog man pedals. the guitar player in my band used to use a one of his Treble Boosters. -that was a good sounding pedal!!! really built well too.

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dialectric

Joined:
19 Mar 2009
Posts: 9
PostPosted: 04/11/2009 at 7:18 PM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

Haven't gotten a chance to try the analogman pedals yet but plan to. Of the fuzz pedals I've tried, I like the foxx tone machine a lot; its more tweakable than some pedals, and has some odd ring-mod overtones when a switch is flipped. Apparently the newer reissues can be somewhat fragile, however.

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theNewTerritories

Joined:
13 May 2008
Posts: 34
PostPosted: 04/14/2009 at 11:33 AM    Post subject: RE:What fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals? link

As far as tape delays are concerned, there are a few companies making units that claim to be modernized to sufficiently lower things such as hiss with the added benefits of higher fidelity. (Hiwatt, Guyatone)
I have no experience with these modern units, so I can't vouch for them, but if these things are a concern for you, they may be well worth investigating. As has been said earlier, a Roland RE 20 might be a good compromise.

I personally use an old Roland Chorus Echo, the RE 501, which at the time was considered the best of the Roland space echos in terms of features and fidelity. It is a very unpredictable effect, with strange variations in pitch, tape wow and flutter and some hiss, which I like. It should also be noted that you can hear the point in the tape where the splice is and as an effect it is really an acquired taste. I personally love its unpredictable behaviour and am also a huge fan of tape's intrinsic qualities- in fact, I prefer it when the tape is older and more prone to hiss! But to each his own.
There is also a rackmount version of this chorus echo, the SRE 555.
It does require some care and maintenance however, so be prepared.

As for distortion, live, I have mainly use and still do use an old Ibanez SML Super metal, which is basically an Ibanez SM 9 in a cheaper, plastic housing. I like it because it has pre and post amplification distortion controls and a tone control which allows for a range of tones- from weird, trebly lo-fi radio sounds to fat, girthy distortion. Sometimes I even use it as a clean boost. It is handy, although somewhat noisy at more extreme settings. When I was a teenager I had a whacky DOD pedal called a buzz box, which had the most nasal, trebly, annoyingly piercing distortion with an octave down control. Loads of fun.
I also sometimes use an MXR blue box, which is good for fuzz, but is really only appropriate for certain uses. I mainly use this with synths.

I have used it the SML for recording on occasion, but prefer to use EQ pedals with the chorus echo as a pre-amp to push tubes into overdrive.

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