- February 23rd, 2015
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Last week I wrote about the newest addition to my pedal board, The Zvex Fat Fuzz Factory. I really love this pedal and the sounds it produces. What I can’t believe is just how excited I am over a Fuzz pedal. I’ve always been more of an Overdrive to Distortion kind of guy, but this pedal really changed my perspective on Fuzz. Up until now I didn’t “get” Fuzz pedals, but this one not only changed all that, it also took me back in time.
I’ve been playing guitar and bass since the mid 80’s, and I’ve been in bands pretty much since I started playing. With a blog and podcast about guitar gear, I’m sure that information was not a surprise to anyone. What might be a surprise is before I picked up the guitar my main instrument was the trombone. I was in the school band all through high school and one “rock” band I was in was comprised entirely of school band members. We might have played one or two gigs together, so it was not a huge part of my musical development, but thing that stands out was the guitarist and vocalist of the band, PJ.
PJ was one of those musicians where music just flows from every pore. It was easy for him, or at least appeared that way to the observers. PJ was a very creative musician. He was the first person I’d ever met who fashioned his own distortion pedal. Now here was the creative thing, it was not a pedal in the traditional sense, it was a tape recorder he had modified somehow. It only worked if the play and record buttons were pressed down together and I have no idea how the input and output were fashioned. He would just rig this thing and start playing. It sounded wonderful, and I’d never heard anything quite like it, until now. As I have been playing with the Fat Fuzz Factory, tweaking the settings, marveling at the myriad of shades of fuzz and squelch, it made me think of that old tape deck that PJ used. The sounds are so similar, from the thin break up sounds to the fat, warm fuzz saturated sounds, it took me back to a time I had not thought about in years. Remembering that old tape deck and the tones it generated has helped me put into better perspective the difference between Fuzz, Overdrive, and Distortion.
I’ve stated before on this blog that guitar is really my secondary instrument. I’m a bass player at heart, and because of that I never really “got” all the things guitarists would talk about when it came to tone. As a bassist I love solid state. Never really liked tubes, and never understood why I should. It’s only been recently that I have been discovering the joys of guitar tone that the rest of world has known for a long time, and boy and I enjoying this journey.