Here’s a quick review of the newest acquisition to my guitar gear, (thanks to a gift-card, and my selling of a bunch of older gear)— Fulltone’s 70’s Fuzz:
I ran the ’70 Fuzz into my USA made Fender Blues Junior, and played my USA made Fender Roadhouse Stratocaster. I set the amp to a clean sound as my starting point. To avoid uneven jumps in volume when engaging the pedal, I kept the volume setting on the pedal at about at 9 o’clock (i.e. about 1/3 volume).
So what does the 70’s Fuzz sound like?
TAKE 1: Well, “fuzzy,” of course! With the “fuzz” control all the way up, the “mid” control on the pedal at about 2 o’clock, and the volume knob on my guitar all the way up, the 70’s Fuzz emits a massive, thick, “fuzzy” tone, capable of sounding like about a 100 chain saws running at the same time—it’s awesome, but not for the meek. Chords sound like chunky concrete blocks of tone, and I felt like I could practically stand on the sounds coming out of the thing. Single-note lead lines are rich and creamy, but with a bit of “fizzyness.” (which is good or bad depending on how one feels about that).
Slightly rolling back the volume on the guitar generates a very nice, clean sound, with lots of sparkle and chime, with just a little grit. This fuzz seemed a bit more responsive to guitar volume knob adjustments than other fuzzes I’ve played (including Dunlop’s JDF2 Fuzzface). The JDF2 Fuzz Face uses germanium transistors, whereas the 70’s Fuzz uses silicone, so maybe that’s the difference.
The Bummer: The pedal picked up radio station frequencies*—yeah, that’s right, when I rolled back the volume knob on my guitar, “Adele” was singing through my amp. Don’t get me wrong, I like Adele, and think she has a great voice, but I wasn’t planning on hearing her at that moment. (I’ve heard that fuzz pedals can be problematic in picking up radio stations). However, by reducing the gain (i.e., the “fuzz”) to about ¾ (or 3’o’clock), the radio interference was not as bad, but then there is the sacrifice in fuzz. Further, reducing the fuzz setting tends to “muddy” up the sound, but that can be adjusted a bit with the mid control (That said, I think the fuzz sounds best with the fuzz almost all the way up).
*Note, when I plugged my amp into a different electrical outlet, in a different room, and added the fuzz to the chain of other pedals I use, the radio interference disappeared for the most part.
TAKE 2: I added the 70’s Fuzz to my chain of pedals. The order is as follows: guitar to (1) Fulltone OCD, (2) 70s Fuzz, (3) Danelectro Dan-Echo Delay, and (4) BBE “Boosta Grande” clean boost. With a mildly overdriven setting on the OCD, the 70s Fuzz (with the settings as earlier) added a searing lead tone that would sustain for days, even with the single-coil pickups on the Strat. Kicking in the BBE tends to take away a bit of the “fizzy” high end, and it really helps sculpture a “smooth” tone. Add some delay to the above, and playing solos all day long won’t get boring.
I think the best part of the 70’s fuzz though is that all by itself, it is probably versatile enough that one could get by with just it. Rolling back the volume knob on the guitar is very effective with this pedal, and I can’t wait to try it live with a full band (Maybe I’ll add an update to this post once I get to play it live). That said, fuzz pedals are somewhat of an acquired taste, and unlike many “distortion” pedals, it takes a bit of skill in manipulating the guitar’s volume control in order to fully utilize the fuzz pedal.
The Bottom Line: If you are into fuzz pedals, I’d give this one a chance. Here’s a link to Fulltone’s description: http://www.fulltone.com/products/70-bc-fuzz