MLC has the box in hand, I guess I'll squeeze in my thoughts on the box:
Ok first off I'm a little disappointed.
I thought if I got to play with the box that I'd walk away with a clear favorite.
Not so simple.
Every one of these boxes knocked me back, and I found myself constantly A/B-ing them with some of my own favorites and frequently preferring John's version (not naming names, but I do have some nice fuzzies if I do say so).
John takes classic designs and sounds and really retools them. We're not talking slapping a red dot and changing a pot value...these all seem very well thought out.
The product of someone who really loves fuzz, but understands that most "classic" fuzz pedals had real drawbacks/quirks that could be fixed.
I tried to push out any previous knowledge I had about these boxes in order to give them a fair shake and compare them without being tainted by online speak (if you give someone an electra distortion and tell them it's a tweed style circuit meant to emulate a vintage fender blahblahblah they will tell you it sounds exactly like a vintage fender tweed blahblahblah...)
These are just the first thoughts that came to mind, mostly written down each immediately after putting down my guitar.Fuzzmondo:
My favorite for just plugging in and getting down and dirty with the fuzz. First thought when plugging it in and strumming a chord: fuzzrite
It turns out I was sorta right, it's based on the 2 knob guild foxey lady, which was a fuzzrite).
This ain't your grandpas fuzzrite though. It's still got the classic buzzy tone but it's got balls/is deeper/thicker (twss).
More sustain in the single notes, perhaps smoother, not quite as much of the honky/octavey under(over?)tones on the traditional fuzzrite.
This was the most "straight ahead" pedal in the box, the one I probably spent the most time just playing and not tweaking. It just sounds GREAT.
Just plug in and start a psych/noise/grind/punk band Spooky Tooth:
This is the first one I played, and the one that had a sound that stuck with me long after the box departed.
This thing had an ultra complex decay like a good tone bender, but also a little more muscular...
sorta like a less quirky MKI bender with a bit of the fuzzmondo buzz tossed in for good measure.
This is the do all/be all/end all 60's fuzz.Gnarly:
This thing is like two distinct fuzz pedals for the price of 1.
You can actually hear it when you turn the fuzz knob, it sorta transforms before your eyes (or ears?
It starts off like the lower gain range of a maestro fz1, and as you increase it slowly shifts until somewhere past noon until it what sounds like a 2nd fuzz sets in...
The "2nd" fuzz is like a mkI tone bender but with gobs of sustain, more in the range of a MKII or III while still retaining the unique qualities of a MKI fuzz
(my main complaint about the MKII/III's is they sound almost completely different from the MKI...they fixed the sustain but completely altered the fuzz tone)Squarewave+:
This one I feel like I didn't get enough time with. This one has a deep control set that can really change the range of tones available.
Some fuzzes can do lower gain but really just excel at the higher gain stuff (or vice versa).
The squarewave + reminded me of the Algal Bloom on steroids in that it was a fuzz that was equally comfortable in the lower gain ranges (with diodes off), as well as the higher gain settings (diodes in).
Low gain od, warm slight crunch, thick distortion, nasty splatty fuzz. All there.
I should add that the squarewave+ was never especially hard to dial in...with so many tones available you'd think it might be super touchy, jumping from one extreme to the next at the bump of a knob.
Not so. The clipping toggle helps keep things straight forward (unless you hate toggles).
With a name like squarewave you'd think it's just this droney synth like fuzz (I blame univox
), but this was a really flexible swiss army od/dirt/fuzz box.Zippy:
Super brassy/honky, the name is certainly well deserved.
Despite my inclination to believe this would be the least dynamic of the lot due to the zippy/splatty nature of the fuzz, I actually found it to be ultra responsive to dynamics.
No you aren't going to find any "organic fuzz tones" (whatever that means), but you can really change the um...zippy-ness? just with picking dynamics
It just sorta shifts and blooms/decays differently (without sounding glitchy/broken, you know the sound) in a way you wouldn't really expect from a brassy/nasty sounding fuzz.
This one was just fun to bust out all your favorite single note fuzz riffs.
I hope that made sense or was at least a bit helpful.
I'd have no problem admitting I didn't enjoy playing any of the pedals, but that simply was not the case.
I certainly had my favorites but enjoyed every one of them and could see myself owning the entire box.
I see a spooky tooth in my near future...and I'm sure the others will follow shortly.