Dunlop Fuzz Face (Germanium)

The pedal that began my love affair with germanium fuzzes…

This was probably the third or fourth pedal I owned when I first started playing guitar. Of course the only reason I got this one was because it was the same unit the Hendrix used. Now of course it took years before I really understood how to use it. With most fuzzes it’s not as simple as just hooking up and setting the fuzz level. I mean you can do that and get a great tone but you’d be missing out on the real versatility of what a fuzz can do. Also if you don’t run fuzzes into an already hot dirty amp then you are also missing our on another level of what these pedals offer.

For example, if you roll the volume off on the guitar you can clean up the fuzz to a overdrive/distortion type of tone. Stacking it against an amp that is already running dirty and also adjusting the volume on the guitar will get you any level of dirt you can imagine. I would also like to mention that germanium fuzzes work a little better with the aforementioned volume adjustments and in my opinion have a much smoother deeper tone than silicone units. However, the only issue with germanium fuzzes is that they are temperamental to temperature shifts which means they can sound different depending on the day and location you use them. But then again that also makes them a great ton of experimental fun.

The original Fuzz Face is still made like the original Dallas Arbiter even if some units have the classic bread board wiring or a more modern manufactured board. They don’t make use of any vintage old stock germanium transistors but instead use a Samsung unit which does take these down a step in regards to their accuracy but I never really noticed a big difference in tone between vintage units and the newer ones. Also the current large style Fuzz Face still runs on a 9v battery only with no DC power options. One issue though with these guys is the revers in and out jacks along with its size. It’s not board friendly at all…

Another problem with most Fuzz Faces is that they don’t work well with many other pedals in front of them but also don’t like having a wah run in front because they tend to cause the wah to squeal. If you also run these with buffered pedals the Fuzz Face will not respond to any volume adjustments of the guitar. Instead always use these with true bypass pedals in front, wahs included. If you don’t it’ll be one hot Fuzz Face mess!

If you can afford a ZVEX Fuzz Factory or Fat Fuzz Factory I would highly recommend them over the Fuzz Face, but if you aren’t in the market to spend that much the Fuzz Face is a great starting place. I might also suggest going for the mini that has a DC jack and is also pedal board friendly!

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