Instruments for a New Electric Music

There’s no Future in Fuzz

There's no Future in Fuzz is a series of limited-release fuzzboxes that indulge nostalgia for obsolete parts and circuits while channeling it toward something new.

The first in the series is a run of six pedals (one prototype, five for sale) that evolved out of experimentation with the germanium Fuzzrite circuit. The most exciting part of the Fuzzrite is that the "Depth" control pans between outputs from the two gain stages: naturally out of phase and each with different tone and gain characteristics. In doing so, it creates options for discrete tones on each end of the control and, more importantly, a range of tones in between where the signals partially cancel each other out.

This first NFIF circuit expands upon that by adding a third stage that can also be blended into the mix. The controls on the face of the pedal are a volume at the top (it gets loud!) and two blends that control the balance of output from the three signals.

This is probably a good time for a helpful diagram:

The three signals, when soloed, are:

  1. A dark boost that stays mostly clean (CCW left and right)
  2. A thick fuzztone that resembles a germanium Fuzzrite but with more bass (CW left, CCW right)
  3. A scrambled, somewhat thin garage fuzz (CW right)

The magic, though, is in the in-between settings. Exploration is key! Your best bet is to get to know the solo sounds alone then turn both blends to 12 o'clock and tune to taste. An even mix of 1 and 2 with just a little 3 makes for a fantastic bass fuzz, complete with clean blend. 2 and 3 make for a pleasing balance of straight thick fuzz and weirdness without the natural harshness that 3 alone may have. Because of their phase coherence and the way the blends work, blending 1 and 3 introduces positive feedback to the circuit, increasing gain a bit and subtly changing the overall character and feel of the circuit.

The construction of the circuit is inspired by the pre-PCB era hand drilled phenolic method used in several iconic fuzzes. Parts include new old stock Russian germanium transistors in combination with carbon comp resistors, full size Alpha pots, genuine Hammond enclosures, Cornell Dubilier film caps, BC electrolytics, and a couple of silver mica caps for good measure.

The circuit is designed for use with a standard 9VDC negative tip supply. That means you don't have to worry about special power supplies or relying on batteries. As one of the other small concessions to modernity, the true bypass switching does include a status LED.

The enclosures are screen printed in-house on a brushed aluminum top surface with the sides and lid in a contrasting black. The footprint measures 4.8x2.6 inches.