D’oh! I omitted a circuit from the Fuzz Detective video. It’s the germanium version of the Shin-Ei Companion Fuzz FY-2. So here’s a brief Fuzz Detective Appendix.
The silicon version of the FY-2 is a cult item, a nasty little thing best known for its appearance on Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy album. The germanium version (which I didn’t even know existed until reader Bear pointed it out!) is a very different beast. Most notably, it lacks the silicon version’s signature midrange scoop, delivering a thicker, fatter sound.
As noted in the video, I replaced the stock B50K gain pot with a B5K. (The overall range of tones is pretty much the same, but this way, all the variations aren’t crammed into 10% of the knob’s range.) Construction details and testing procedures are the same as they were for the 12 Fuzz Detective pedals.
The circuit’s most interesting detail is a feedback resistor between the base of the first transistor and the emitter of the second transistor, just like on the Tone Bender “Mk 1.5″ and the Fuzz Face. As a result, you get huge variations in gain when you lower the guitar’s volume pot. But unlike those two better-known circuits, the cleaned-up, lowered-volume-knob sound is heavily filtered-sounding, quite different from a clean, bypassed tone. (On a good Fuzz Face, the lowered-volume sound can be almost indistinguishable from a no-fuzz clean sound.) Also intriguing is the super-saturated, proto-metal timbre.
Despite this omission, the response to the Fuzz Detective video has been downright flattering. The Guitar Player guys were super-supportive, as were the forum participants at diystompboxes and freestompboxes.org. (The threads are in the members areas at both sites, visible only to folks who have registered with the sites — which you should do immediately if you have any interest in DIY guitar effects.) The diystompboxes thread included fascinating commentary from such DIY luminaries as Joe Gagan and Mark Hammer — which promptly got lost during a site glitch last week.
These resulting conversation provided TONS of interesting ideas to
exploit for my own selfish ends share with you. I’ve got many interesting things in store — but they’re going to have to wait till after the weekend, ’cause I’ve got rehearsals for a couple of very interesting gigs with a favorite artist I’ve never played with before. (I’m not sayin’ who yet, in case she fires me on Day 1.) Details to follow…