Thursday, December 20, 2012

Trianlge Muff Madness!!!

I hope you all are having an awesome time this festive week.

So I was working on a new post and decided in the meantime to gather up some demos of the OG of big fuzz tones, the original Triangle Big Muff!

rejoice and be glad, in Muffs///

(go to 2:27)

thanks for watching!
and a big thanks to all the demoers, for letting the world into your fuzzy love.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Univox Micro Fazzzzzed

Here is a little youtube demo I came across today of one of my favorite compact phase shifters, the Univox Micro Fazer.
Luckily these are pretty easy to track down, and were also put out by a ton of different manufacturers.

They're good if you want a quick and easy Uni-vibe(ish) tone.

My favorite use is with some fuzz, but unfortunately this video doesn't cover that ground so you'll have to trust me///

thanks for watching!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Two Big demos from Hank III

Here's a couple of nice and heavy demos from Hank III.
The first is an original 1966 Baldwin Burns Buzzaround and the 2nd one is comparing a Companion Psychedelic Machine and a 70's Univox Super Fuzz.

thanks for watching!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Awesome ESR Graphic Fuzz review at :RTJ:

Check out this awesome review and demo our good friends over at Retro-Tone Junkie did of the Earth Sound Research Graphic Fuzz:
Go Here! 

I will repost the demo here as it's pretty extensive and shows off how thick and chunky the fuzz can get (watch in HD for best quality sound!).
One thing I will note is that the "squeeling" sound you hear towards the end is a common challenge with these pedals.  I have read that it is attributed to a bad op-amp chip, but I don't know for sure.  The one I reviewed a while back does not have this problem, but I have heard of many other people who have run into this sound... so be aware if you are going to buy one///

thanks for watching!
and make sure to check out the Retro Tone Junkie Blog///

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DeArmond Tornado & Twister Phase Shifter (1977 / 1979)

Ride the spiral through...

About 25 years before the fuzz pedal was born guitarist Harry DeArmond had jumped into the music world with the first commercially available attachable pickups.  DeArmond (and Rowe Industries) then followed up this success by  introducing guitar players to foot controlled effects units! 

First out was the DeArmond Volume and Volume/Tone pedals, next was the now classic mechanical tremolo, called the Trem-Trol.  DeArmond road the volume pedal train for years until the early 70's when they decided to branch out a bit more.  

With a redesigned case, also used by various other brands like Maestro, the early 70's line of DeArmond effects included the Weeper, the Pedal Phaser, the Optical Volume Pedal, the Thunder Bolt Fuzz/Wah (the evil twin the Tycobrahe Parapedal), and their first true distortion device, the Square Wave Distortion Generator. Then, in 1977 DeArmond decided to take its next que from Electro Harmonix with their Small Stone-inspired pedal called the Tornado Phase Shifter.   

The DeArmond Tornado took the controls and convenience of the Small Stone and doubled down on the tone. Now don't get me wrong, the V2 Small Stone from the same time period is one of my all-time favorite phasers, but it has nowhere near the depth, warmth and liquid-like qualities the Tornado has. But just like the Small Stone, the pedal is pretty easy to figure out and get into; we have 1 knob for Speed and 1 switch for Depth; and the real magic of the Tornado lies deep inside this switch...

The "Mellow" depth setting is just that, it has close ties to an MXR Phase 45 type tone, but with way more character and jet-taking-off capabilities. The "Deep" setting is a complete 180° from the "Mellow" that I can't really compare to any other phaser (except the DeArmond Twister), because it honestly sounds like no other phase shifters out there! It's just insanely fat, full, rich, and funky too.

The Tornado excels at reeeeeaaaallllyyy slooooowwwww and intense phasing. I haven't timed it myself, but I would guesstimate that the full travel of the sweep is around 30 seconds long!!! Compare that to the normal 5 to 10 seconds of most phasers and you have a real mind-melting effect here. On the other end of the Speed knob though, it never really gets that fast. You can still achieve a good little warble, but if you are looking for crazy alien FX, the Tornado might not be for you?

One thing to note about the Tornado; So this is actually the 2nd one that I have come to own. The first one sounded nothing like this guy and even had a few different components inside. It was from 1978 and just sounded weak in comparison. Now there definitely could have been something wrong with it, a bad connection, or capacitor, or something, but I do know that it didn't get nearly as deep as this one. I only mention this because if you happen to come across one of these, you may want to request some gut pics before you decide to buy. (I really need to find my photos of that other one!)

Well 2 years of Tornadoes had passed and DeArmond decided to expand on their phasey ideas, replacing that depth switch with a more precise and user friendly knob.

Enter: the Twister Phase Shifter!

Designed to give the player more control over his sound, and maybe even DeArmond a leg-up on Electro Harmonix with their Bad Stone?, the "Intensity" knob offered all of those in between tones not available with a switch. Although this main feature was really the only "upgrade" from the Tornado, it was just enough for the Twister to become fairly popular in its day. I am not sure exactly which years DeArmond was making Twisters (I would guess 1979-1982), but I do know that they produced quite a bit more of them than Tornadoes.

The overall tone of each is pretty much the same, but there are a few differences we can discuss. Obviously with the added knob for depth you can achieve a much wider range of tones with the Twister. Maybe you want more than a Phase 45-type sound, but not all the way to the mind-melting toxic ooze of MAXIMUM INTENSITY. So the knob allows you to dial it in to taste.

Another key difference is where the phasing sits sonically. The Tornado hits much lower and has an overall thicker response. It works really well with Bass and doesn't chop off any of your lower frequencies. On the other hand, the Twister gives you a beautiful midrangey swirl that never dips down into those sub-tones. I have found that each phaser has its own place in the mix; and although I personally prefer the range of the Tornado, there have been times when adding it in has muddied up everything else, making the Twister a necessity.

The final point of variation is in the speed of the two; the Twister does not get nearly as slow as the Tornado. It is more like what one would be used to with the classics like a Phase 90 or Maestro PS-1. In contrast, the Twister does go extremely fast! Much faster than the Tornado and even faster than most people would find a use for, but I can see it being real cool in a live setting where things are getting crazy and you are down on the ground tweaking the hell out of the "Speed" knob trying to sound like a Moog on fire! Or, if you add a cool filter and some fuzz, you could pull off that warbling vinyl sound.?.

Both of these whacky toys are exactly what makes pedals from the 70s so awesome; Goofy names, cool colors and space sounds! Teaming them up with some fuzz really opens the audio spectrum and brings you back to a time when having a phasing guitar solo just made so much sense...

If you search, you can still find both of these at online auction sites and local CL listings every once in a while. The Twisters are more common, but both are still fairly rare. I highly recommend tracking down at least one, if not both, for any phaser junkies out there. Trust me, it's a flavor you do not yet own!

now, for your nerd pleasures///

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ampeg Phazzer demo, and random skate boarding?

Ok, so this Ampeg Phazzer (discussed at length in an earlier post) just appeared on ebay today and so did an accompanying demo.  It's quick, and doesn't show it with fuzz, but you can hear how "Univibey" it gets!

(also, not sure about the 2nd half of the video? but what the hell right!)

thanks for watching!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

fuzzy Emmons String Machine demos .!.

One of the sweetest fuzz effects ever created, the Emmons String Machine is basically 3 fOXX Tone Machines-in-1.  Although it was made for pedal steel guitars, and all three fuzzes run in parallel, it's still damn cool.

So check it//

thanks for watching!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cosmosound - Italian Fender Blender!

As I prepare the next stompbox article I decided to throw up this new demo of the hard-to-find, early Italian copy of the Fender Blender; the Cosmosound Powerful Sound.

The video is heavily saturated in tons of delay and reverb, but I think you can still get the picture?
(thanks to youtuber, lastar69 for posting a demo of the rare effect!)

thanks for watching!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I want them all!!!

You may have seen this video before, but I figured I would post it here and make it easier to track down in the future.  It's full of amazing fuzzy pedal madness!

can you name them all?

thanks for watching!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Scrambl'd Fuzz Beauty

I'm really surprised at the range of fuzz tones in this guy!
(more in the future)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A/DA Harmony Synth is really weird.

If you've never heard what the A/DA Harmony Synth sounds like, then we have a treat for you today!

It was (attempting to be) an all analog harmony/octave/delay pedal.  But the final product was, well, something totally different and unique...

So check it out, and thanks to youtuber ruk777 for posted these demos!

thanks for watching.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Paine's fOXX Select-a-Fuzz demo (part 2)

 You may remember back in June when we posted Paine's demo of the utlra rare and amazing sounding fOXX Select-a-Fuzz.  Well he's back with a more in depth look at the illusive little bug.
Although the different settings on the Select-a-Fuzz add very subtle tonal changes, you can still pick up from the video that they all sound pretty awesome.

Also, I spy some other fuzzy favorites of ours just chillin' on the floor, like the Rosac Nu Fuzz, the Steelphon Fuzz, and one of my favorite Big Muff clones, the Maxon D&S!

so check it out and get freaky///

Thanks for watching!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"more of a transistor overdrive"

I love the old Colorsound Wahs.

So check out this demo recently posted on the Tube by user, syberraith///

thanks for watching!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where's are my articles!!

so a couple of weeks ago I noticed that the table I used for the "Stompbox Articles" page had been completely reformatted and basically erased. So I took down that page as not to confuse anyone, or myself, until we could get it fixed. 

After checking out the "official blogger help forum" I realized that this was a problem a lot of fellow nerds were having... but fast forward to today, and we are now, finally back in action!

 So thank you google for helping out the little guys who are just trying to entertain their readers in an badass, yet organized, fashion. It is going to take me a few more hours to get it all rewritten, but the Stompbox Articles page will be up shortly.

Thanks for your patience.

Monday, August 20, 2012

nice days, all around.

So I just scored myself another Fender Blender (that makes 5!), and even though that seems excessive, I will tell you that just like the Big Muff, the Fender Blenders do sound different from year to year.  My favorite being from 1974.  So I lucked out today and found another one from that year; paid down, and it's on its way to Nashville!

So in preparation I am playing through my beat up '74 Fender Blender, with a broken switch, that sounds incredible.  Seriously, if you can find one from this year, get it!

full post on the new child when she arrives.
until then, have this crappy camera phone pic///
Thanks for reading! -ed

Special little Honey Fuzzzzz

These things are freaking cool!
finally a straight demo of the Honey Special Fuzz///

for more nerdy info, check this link:here
Thanks for watching!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zonk II, yowzah!

Check out this short, but sweet, demo of an original 1967 John Hornby Skewes Zonk II fuzz.

 And here are a couple of pics of this blue machine of death, thanks to LA Guitar Shop.

Thanks for watching! -ed

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This is actually a really good Fender Blender demo!

There really aren't that many good demos out there, but this one is pretty nice overall.
I'm guessing its a '68 or '69 Blender...
 check it out// thanks for watching.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Swirly Shifting

Check out this sexy gut shot of the Maestro PS-1b Phase Shifter!
(still one of the best)
Thanks for reading! -ed

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guyatone Sustainer FS-6 (1973)


Welcome back!
This week we review and take a look at this strange, circular newcomer to the family. After searching for a few years to find one of these, my persistence had finally paid off and I was able to pluck this muffy disc of DOOM straight from the powerful grips of the Japanese Fuzz World...

The Guyatone Sustainer FS-6 is definitely an oddity of early 70's Japan. It looks like a Fuzz Face, named as if it's just going to be some sort of compressor, and then acts like a full-on Big Muff (with a hint a Jumbo Tonebender thrown in the mix). These were made for just one year, from 1973 through the end of 1974, and were sold exclusively in Japan, where 90% of them still reside today. In fact, I am not sure how many are Stateside, but I personally only know of 1 other FS-6 that currently lives here in the U.S.

Guyatone made some very cool fuzzes in the late 60's and up through the mid 70's. First was the Guyatone Bazz Box FS-1, which you may recognize from my "On the Hunt" page, next were two Super Fuzz clones, the Buzz Box FS-2 and later, the Fuzz FS-3. Then they made a couple of wahs, and finally, the beast we will talk about today... The Sustainer FS-6. Guyatone, much like the rest of the early Japanese pedal makers, put out their versions of already popular effects. Maybe changing a component or two here and there, but overall you could tell where the ideas came from. Although not being purists, I'm sure most of you don't care how the inspiration evolved, as long as it sounds awesome (and looks cool too!). Around 1974/75 Guyatone's line of pedals changed from that original "FS" Series to the newer, smaller, MXR inspired "PS" Series; which then became the OEM manufacturer for VOX's V-Shaped Series.

OK, back to the matter at hand.

First, let's talk about the look of this thing. It's funny when you read old ads for guitar pedals, especially fuzz. So many of them allude to Jimi Hendrix, or flat out say you are going to sound just like him if you use their pedals. But obviously the man himself only used a handful of fuzzes in his live and recording sessions. The most notable is obviously the Fuzz Face. So then it's no surprise that Guyatone decided to make a very Fuzz Face-esque enclosure for the FS-6, even going as far as to try and match the blue hammerite paint of the late 60's Si FF's. But they must not have liked the circuit that much because I can't, off the top of my head, think of ANY vintage Japanese Fuzz Face clones besides the Crazy Face/Sears Fuzz? But I can definitely ramble off about 15 to 20 Big Muff and Super Fuzz clones.

So then what is the FS-6 Sustainer?
What else, but my fav!!!

The FS-6 is a chunky, hairy Big Muff at heart; although it does have a few deviations from it's father circuit. Unlike any version of a true Electro Harmonix Big Muff, it has a FET input stage, hence the 3 transistors instead of 4, and also the output buffer has been omitted, like in a Colorsound Jumbo Tonebender (Thanks Analogguru!).
So what does this mean soundwise?
Well, I really have no idea___.
But I can go into pure detail of what the FS-6 does exactly, and what it sounds like.
so there./.

If I could compare it to any other fuzz out there it would actually be our old friend, the Jordan Creator. Both the FS-6 and the Creator are lower gain than any production versions of the Big Muff. But this doesn't mean that they are weak; just simply that at maximum Gain they are not your typical Muffy all out fuzz devastation!

Instead they like to dim the lights, put on some Hawkwind, take a trip down the spiral galaxy and request that you just chill out, man.

The FS-6 does two things very well; it handles chords amazingly, giving you that great harmonic crunch you expect from a Muff, but without any flubbing or mud in the low end. It also belts out some bad ass singing solo's. For all you classic rock dudes it can easily pull that pure Woman Tone; and like a violin, it seems to glide smoothly from one note to the next (just in case you have any big trippy, reverby soloing urges).

It's really an all around awesome sounding Muff variation. There are only 2 challenges with this pedal. Again, like in most vintage Japanese fuzzes, there is a volume drop when the fuzz is engaged. It's not as terrible as some of the fuzz/wah's, but it's definitely there. Also, unlike most Big Muffs, the FS-6 does not really respond to your guitar's volume changes, and instead it will stay fuzzy all the way down to Mute. Some people will find these things as drawbacks, but I see it as a case of "that's just the way it is." And if those are the worse things about it, that's fine with me :)

The Guyatone Sustainer FS-6 is another gem of early Japanese fuzz-life that get's me even more pumped to continue on and find all of the other stomps from that era. When I do, and maybe with a little help from you, I will bring them here so we can all check em out in gross detail.

Until next time, have a good one everybody.///

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

vintage Tonebender MK I.V demo!

This awesome Tonebender MK I.V just popped up on ebay and the seller was kind enough to let us hear it on the youtubes.

check it out!

thanks for watching!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pretty Solid fOXX Tone Machine demo!

Found another cool demo of a vintage fOXX Tone Machine on youtube this morning.

check it///

thanks for watching!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Octaves, Up!

Stumbled on this youtube demo today and thought I would post it here.

It's a quick comparison of a vintage fOXX Tone Machine, set to upper octave, and a vintage Fender Blender.
They both sound pretty damn gnarly///

Thanks for watching!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Inter Continental Ballistic Muffs

Just found this cool demo on youtube comparing two IC Big Muffs from 1978.
Both have the "Tone Bypass" switches, and both sound pretty damn nice. Like a thick and creamy clam chowda'.


Thanks for watching!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Boss Flanger BF-2 (1980)

Ridin' the Electric Purple Stallion!

I know, I know...
A Boss Pedal!!! and one that's not really even that rare?!?

Well, this post is about one of my all-time favorite modulation boxes, which just happens to be the Boss BF-2 Flanger (with the Silver Screw of course ;). So before you go off navigating to a different blog with cooler posts, hear me out!

Ok, so the story goes that in 1980 Boss decided to shrink down their original flanger, the BF-1, and essentially make the same effect but cooler and smaller. This turned out to be an amazing idea for Boss as they went on to produce the BF-2 from 1980 all the way through 2001! Making it one of their most successful pedals ever. (Which is pretty crazy when you think about it) It has been heard on literally thousands of recordings and is still the #1 choice for live guitar players today. I am not sure how many BF-2's have been produced in that time period, but chances are if you want one, it probably won't take that long to track one down.

So the crazy success of the BF-2 lasted around 2 decades, and in those 20+ years of production it went through a few minor makeovers, some component changes, and a screw and knob switch. But this little guy got his humble beginnings in 1980, which is the version we are going to take a look at today:::

I am sure you have heard the BF-2 by now if not, you can find about 50 demos on youtube pretty easily. Its problem is that she has become such a familiar effect that many people seemed to have lost any appreciation for how good it actually sounds. I consider myself somewhat of a Flanger connoisseur..., and what I have realized is that initially I'm always drawn to the ones that sound real wacky and wild, but then I never really end up using them? I find myself always going back to my 2 favorites, The Boss BF-2 and the ADA Flanger; which along with the EHX Electric Mistress, are actually the most popular flangers ever.

The plight of the flanger, as a guitar effect, is that it is so closely identified with a time in Rock Music that most guitar players today don't want to be associated with. But flangers, in my opinion, are so much more than the effect that sits between an MXR Distortion + and some digital rack reverb! The Boss BF-2 just happens to be the most useable and compatible flanger ever made, making it super versatile and perfect for such "other" uses...

Again, it comes down to taste, but for some reason I just can't get enough of her purple persuasion.?.

Normally at this point I would give the rundown of what each knob does and how it sounds, but again I feel as though everyone knows what the Boss BF-2 sounds like by now. So instead just hear my plea for giving it another chance and opening up your mind to other styles it can be used in and for!

Ok, here are picccooooooS///

Thanks for reading!