Although I’m not really keen on all those vintage pedals that every “boutique” manufacter is releasing now with all the possible marketing gimmicks, I’ve always found the fuzz face interesting. Not in its original form though.
Few little tweaks can bring it to so higher levels. It’s a shame that almost no manufacters do that, always the same old crap. But it’s no surprise considering that guitarist is a temple of conservatism and idolatry.
Here’s the latest idea, a modern version of the circuit. I didn’t put a buffer in front of it to keep the “clean up” ability and therefore it still has the default of all fuzzes, loading down the guitar’s pickup but it can help sometime, tame a harsh tele. The nice thing, if you put a buffer in front of it, just use the fuzz pot to increase the input impedance of the signal and everything will be nice. The input cap can be changed for whatever value your like, lower value means less bass coming into the circuit, therefore a more “precise” distortion. You can put a cap selector instead to act as a “pre-eq” setting. Seymour Duncan used that idea in his tweak fuzz. Actually every components can be changed with audible modification.
the trimpot needs to be set at Vcc/2 with the buzz control at 0. But you can mess with it and see what you like the most. The buzz control just fucks up the bias and gives you a kind of really synth, broken, radio-like, scratchy fuzz.
However, I’m not really convinced by the tone control. It works as expected but I wanted something less brutal. I’ve once found an interesting tone control but I don’t remmeber what I’ve done, stupid me…Besides, the sound can be really thin on the treble side and you have to adjust the output level with the tone control (which increases gain).
Don’t get it wrong, it remains an interesting circuit as it, full of possibilities, from old buzzy overdrive to massive distortion. The fuzz pot makes a big difference compared to the original which does…nothing.
I’ve even made a PCB if I had the idea of going further (and considering the fact that it is to replace and old circuit in a small Hammond B box, it needed to be really compact).
You can do whatever you’d like with that PCB, although it hasn’t been tested yet. You can populate only the fuzz face circuit if you wish so, it’s also viable as it, just a fuzz face. I just need to tweak few things on the pcb and it will be availabe soon if there’s any interest.