In part one, we spent some time with some vintage fuzz classics. Now let’s move forward in time and take a look at some Fuzzes that are currently on the market (with the exception of one which we’ll get to).
Fuzz, more than any other effect, really comes down to personal preferences. As a result, there is no judgment here with regards to what is the “better” fuzz unit – Just sonic descriptions and details that can help you make some choices depending on the direction that you’d like to go with your fuzz tones.
I have a confession. As a guitarist for well over 25 years, I had always been an “anti-fuzz” person. In fact, I can honestly say I hated and despised the sound of fuzzes that I had heard. I couldn’t understand the point of purposefully making a guitar sound as atrocious and “lo-fi” as possible in mind. A fuzz tone after all, sounded nothing like an electric guitar should.
During this period of time, my search for the epitome of rock tone had to do with capturing rock guitar tones from the likes of players like Angus Young of AC/DC and of course Edward Van Halen. In my mind, any tone that deviated from those was simply bad tone, or at best, “sub-par.”
Electro-Harmonix was founded in the late ’60s with the mission to produce unique and affordable effects for all musicians. Through the ’70s, Electro-Harmonix produced a number of top-sellers such as the Electric Mistress flanger, Small Stone phaseshifter, and Big Muff distortion. While the company eventually folded by the early ’80s, Electro-Harmonix is now back, offering reissues of their classic designs as well as new updated effects. Additionally, Electro-Harmonix (a division of New Sensor) now also produces a line of vacuum tubes, designed to sound like the classic tubes made from the best companies of the past, including Mullard and Telefunken.
Certainly one of the most unusual devices made for guitarists is the Electro-Harmonix Micro Synthesizer. An all-analog design, the Micro Synthesizer boasts the ability to provide the great older analog synthesizer sounds made famous by Moog, Avitar, Art and by using a guitar instead of a keyboard as the input device. Listen to Pink Floyd from the "Dark Side of the Moon" era or recall the theme music from Doctor Who and you’ll get the idea of the analog synthesizer sound. For many of us that were too young to experience the analog synthesizer’s heyday (I was only a year old when "Dark Side of the Moon" was released back in 1973), what a trip the Micro Synthesizer offers with sounds that can be explored for a new generation of players. It’s no wonder that newer bands such as Smashing Pumkins, Beck, and Moby have incorporated the Micro Synthesizer into their own palette of creative sonic tools.