Fuzz Trek

Below are various fuzzes I've built and my comments about them.
Click the circuits' titles for a website where the schematic can be found.
Some of the entries didn't "make the cut" and were scrapped, others are in storage since I don't use them as often.
Circuits that were constructed on the breadboard are not listed here.

Muff Fuzz15 November 2000Two transistors, with diode clipping on the output. Not very responsive to picking dynamics, but a nice edgy sound. One control: output.
Listen to it!
designed by Jack Orman
28 November 2000Full-sounding single transistor circuit with diode clipping between collector and base of transistor. Very smooth. One control: output.
Listen to it!

Techincal Notes:

Experimented extensively with different parts, final conclusion is that stock is best. Realized for the first time that designers probably chose certain values for a good reason.

designed by Joe Davisson
24 February 2001 Single transistor, not too different from Muffer, but has a slight pinched/static wah-wah resonance to the sound that is nice. One control: output.
Listen to it!

Techincal Notes:

Added 100k audio pot for a Volume control.
Used a single 470k for the collector-base resistor.
Substituted a 1N914 diodes for the stock 1N4001 diodes. Not for taste, just didn't have any.
Used two 33k resistors in series for the 68k, and two 330 resistors in series for the 680.
Used a 2N5088 for the transistor

Bobtavia with Doug Hammond's mods11 March 2001 Not a real fuzz, an octave-up generator. Sounds a lot better when being driven by a fuzz, so it is a sort of fuzz accessory. Very simple build. Two controls: Gain, Level. Currently in storage.
Listen to it!
Silicon Fuzz Face 2 April 2001The classic design, but I used NPN Silicon transistors matched to the same specs as PNP Germaniums. Later modified with a different fuzz control (the Gagan pre-gain). Two controls: Pre-gain (fuzz level), Output. I enjoy this one.
Listen to it!
Germanium Fuzz Face 13 April 2001 Germanium PNP version. Seems a bit woolly at times, and the Fuzz control robs a lot of character from the sound when turned down. Not a very high output. Two controls: Fuzz, Output. Dismantled and replaced with EasyFace (see below).
Electra Distortion May 2001 Simple one transistor with diodes to ground circuit. Has a good sound, but seems a bit tame at times. I spent a lot of time experimenting with different diodes. One control: Output.
See the Electra Distortion page for more on this circuit.
Listen to it!
Tonebender Professional Mark II 29 May 2001 Germanium PNP high-gain fuzz face variant. Loud and very fuzzy (and feedback) at maximum fuzz. I've only recently felt like I was able to nail a good sound with it, after many experiments. The three knob version (below) was less frustrating. Two controls: Fuzz, Output.
Check out theTonebender MK II page for detailed notes.
Listen to it!
Green Ringer 12 June 2001 Pseudo-ring modulator with no controls. Very clanging and dissonant at times. Like the Bobtavia, works beautifully in conjunction with a fuzz. I like it more than the Bobtavia.
Listen to it!
designed by Aron Nelson
29 June 2001 A more metal-esque fuzz, closer to a full-on distortion. Had to modify the hiss out. Decent enough, though. Three controls: Gain, Tone, Output. Dismantled

Transistor voltages (using 2N5088 with Bias trim set to "sweet spot")
Q1: C= 9.34, B=5.8, E=5.3
Q2: C= 1.453, B=.732, E=79mV
Q3: C= 4.71, B=1.452, E=.821

Scrambler 3 July 2001 According to Dan Armstrong, his Green Ringer was based on this, and it does sound similar. Having controls makes it a better stand-alone box than the Green Ringer, but the Scrambler doesn't work as well in tandem with other effects. Gets pretty wacky when set to 100% blend, 100% texture. Two controls: Blend, Texture(octave).
Listen to it!
Bazz Fuss
designed by Christian (né Hemmo)
11 August 2001 Ultra-simple one transistor fuzz. Has some synth-like texture. I've built a few of these, later versions use a Darlington transistor, which imparts a bit more definition. One control: Output. Check out the Bazz Fuss page.
Listen to it!
designed by Jack Orman
18 August 2001 High gain Fuzz Face variant. Sounds similar to the Rocket, but simpler. Two controls: Fuzz, Output. Dismantled.
designed by Gus Smalley
22 August 2001 Modified Mosrite Fuzzrite-style design. I was able to duplicate some sounds of the Scrambler with it! The fuzz control has a wide range, but none of it really outstanding. Two controls: Fuzz, Output. Dismantled.
Fat Gnat
designed by Jack Orman
22 September 2001 Op-amp with diodes to ground. Three controls: Drive, Tone, Volume. I was never satisfied with the Drive and Tone controls, probably should do some experimenting. Dismantled.
EasyDrive II
designed by Joe Davisson
9 December 2001 An excellent updated version of the EasyDrive (mentioned above). Addition of a Gain and Volume control (which I'd already added to my first EasyDrive) makes the unit more versatile. Still has that cool, slightly pinched sound but can clean up with the Gain at minimum. Currently in storage.
3-knob Tonebender 23 December 2001Smoother than the 2-knob Tonebender (mentioned above). Lots of range in the tone control and a great sound at any setting. One of my favorites. Three controls: Tone, Gain, Volume.
Listen to it!

Techincal Notes:

Removed the 10k resistor from the .1uF tone cap to ground. This resulted in more bass volume.

Replaced the .1uF cap with a .22uF, also for a bit more bass. Not sure if it is an audible gain (I didn't do a comparison), but did it anyway.

Found that for the treble tone cap, a .0068uF sounded better than the stock .0022uF. Less mosquito-like. I did try removing the 10k resistor, but it resulted in a higher than tasteful treble output level. I eventually decided that the 10k offered the best unity between the opposite extremes of the Tone control.

Substituted a 100uF power supply cap.
Omitted the resistor between the Tone and Volume pots for more output.
Used 100k linear pots for the Fuzz and Tone pots, 100k audio for the Volume.

Transistor voltages (using salvaged germaniums and 9.18v battery source)
Q1: C= 3.611, B=1.55, E=1.452
Q2: C= 3.611, B=1.453, E=1.329
Q3: C= 4.29, B=50mv, E=0

Jordan Bosstone 4 February 2002A simple circuit with a raggedy vintage sound. I had to spend some time trying to tame some oscillation, but finally have it where it matches what others have said about this circuit. Almost totally clean at minimum Attack settings. Two controls: Attack (fuzz), Volume. Currently in storage.
Foxx Tone Machine18 February 2002Capable of amazing amounts of fuzz, but the real demon lurks in the Octave switch. Hitting a power chord with the Octave on sounds like the chestburster's squeal in Alien. Four controls: Sustain (drive), Tone, Volume, Octave switch. Dismantled
More information on the Foxx Tone Machine page.
Listen to it!
Uglyface v3.1
designed by Tim Escobedo
3 April 2002Electronic mayhem courtesy of a square wave fuzz and oscillator. Four controls: Volume, Frequency, Gate/Threshold, Oscillator switch. Currently in storage.
Big Muff Pi 15 April 2002The classic. Three controls: Sustain, Tone, Volume.
More information on the Big Muff Pi page. Currently in storage.
Listen to it!
designed by Joe Gagan
27 April 2002A more evolved Fuzz Face. Many different sounds and textures, much more versatile than its ancestor. Three controls: Pre-Gain (Fuzz), Tone, Volume. Photo on the Tightwad page.
designed by Joe Davisson
22 July 2002The latest version of the heavy metal Obsidian. Truly a heavy pedal, with good control over the sound. Three controls: Gain, Tone, Volume. Currently in storage.
Listen to it!

Transistor voltages (using MPSA18 and 8.6v battery source, measured under load)
Q1: C= 3.865, B=1.214, E=.593
Q2: C= 4.60, B=1.930, E=1.318
Q3: C= 3.849, B=1.216, E=.597
Q4: C= 4.61, B=1.923, E=1.313

Crash Sync
designed by John Hollis
25 July 2002Another flavor of electronic mayhem courtesy of a 555 timer. Similar to the UglyFace. Two controls: Frequency, Depth (volume). Currently in storage.
Harmonic Jerkulator
designed by Tim Escobedo
27 July 2002A simpler interpretation of the Harmonic Percolator, providing an edgy, lo-fi sound. Two controls: Gain, Volume.
More information on the Harmonic Jerkulator page.
Listen to it!
Untavia17 September 2002The Tycobrahe Octavia, minus the octave-up. Thick, rich fuzz. Two controls: Intensity, Volume. Currently in storage
More information on the Untavia page.
Listen to it!
Differential Distortion19 September 2002Similar to the Harmonic Jerkulator, a unique, edgy distortion. No controls!
More information on the Differential Distortion page.
Listen to it!
Tycobrahe Octavia23 September 2002Another octave-up pedal, but with a gloriously nasty fuzz. Very interesting at maximum Intensity. Two controls: Intensity, Volume. Currently in storage
Listen to it!

Transistor voltages (2N5087 for Q1, 2N5088 for Q2 & Q3)
Q1: C= 2.74, B=3.35, E=4.04
Q2: C= 8.62, B=2.74, E=2.18
Q3: C= 4.65, B=2.18, E=1.54

designed by Joe Davisson
20 November 2002A traditional distortion that is closer to metal than rock. I liked it best set at low Gain. Two controls: Gain, Volume. Currently in storage
Listen to it!
Sam Ash Fuzz Boxx29 January 2003A simple transistorized diode clipper that offers a suprisingly good sound. I removed the nearly worthless Tone control. Two controls: Gain, Volume.
Listen to it!

Transistor voltages (Q1, Q2: 2N3565)
Q1: C= 2.44, B=.643, E=0
Q2: C= 9.23, B=1.92, E=1.29

Uglyface v7
designed by Tim Escobedo
3 March 2003A later version of the Uglyface mentioned above, with envelope control of the frequency. Truly unique. Four controls: Volume, Frequency, Sensitivity, Threshold.
Listen to it!
Mid-Mod Clippah
by Gary Burchett
31 March 2003A fresh sound from an familiar design. One control: Volume.
Listen to it!

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