The Chop Fuzz is the latest in the Dr Freakenstein, er, dynasty!
It was called 'DRFF-4' for a long time while it was in development.
It has the same gated fuzz circuit as the previous ones - but this time it has a brand new feature; hard squarewave tremolo, which is basically adjusting the level of the signal up and down before the noise gate part of the circuit. This has the result of switching the gate on and off, hence 'squarewave' - and no 'depth' or 'waveform select' controls.SOME BACKGROUND
Back in the day when I was doing lots of sessions I often used a non-optical squarewave tremolo with a really light on/off footswitch to flash in machine gun-like bursts of stuttering tremolo at key places in the track, kind of like a drum fill. I just loved it - added a kind of 'KLF' type of flavour to things!!!
So when it came to thinking about a new Dr Freakenstein Fuzz, I knew I wanted an extra facility on it, and reckoned some sort of momentary effect like this would be so cool
And because of the noise gate, this was relatively easy to do.
But it also had to do all the key things it did before with Igor; wah-wah-like expression-y 'Overtone' control, bringing the overtone modulation in and out, plus this momentary effect. PLUS you had to be able to switch the stutter to be in all the time - cos otherwise your foot would get tired...!
This was very hard to do, and involved a maze of switching to achieve it (not least because there's a knifeswitch, main 'on/off' footswitch, 'modulation' switch and 'Chop' switch before you even get to the Igor operation!). And along the way some compromises had to happen, for instance on some settings the 'Overtone' knob doesn't do anything.THE EYE
The meters always used to come from sorely-missed Maplin stores in the UK. When they went under we had to source them from somewhere else, and the first new batch that arrived looked exactly the same - except the panel behind the meter's back panel was opaque, and couldn't be backlit like before. We could remove this panel OK, but what should we put in place instead?
Graphics guy Rich DiMaio said ".... well, you could have an eye there?"
OK. Worth a try - he supplied the graphic and we got a bunch made, put them in place, and.......... MY GOD!!! WHAT IS THIS THING WE HAVE WROUGHT???!!!!!!
I considered putting a warning somewhere, 'do not look for too long into the eye!', but that's maybe going too far. It is a problem though, because - if you're anything like me - it'll be the next hour and a half gone in hypnotic reverie....
I cannot believe we've come up with something that just about eclipses the attitude of the knifeswitch.
And then when we got it all working with the red chop LEDs flashing each side of the meter......!!!!!!!!
That was a good day!
The enclosure is the same flared desk-type as before that we get custom-made (with the sexy overhanging sloping panel at the bottom edge), but again, slightly smaller than the previous one, and has brand new edgy artwork. In fact the whole thing is edgy, weird, cute, dangerous - with tons of attitude. Kind of like me really!
It doesn't do swampy atmospheric, gently throbbing. No subtle overdrive grind. It's a hard, fast, on/off attacking Chop Fuzz.