Tips & Tricks: Germanium Fuzz as a Booster/Overdrive

Tips & tricksThe germanium fuzz was one of the first overdrive pedals that have been available in the first days of history of electric guitars. Those days this effect offered totally new kinds guitar sound.

Unfortunately most guitarists forgot about the fuzz pedal although the wiring is – especially for small pedalboards – pretty flexible.

Hands off the buffer

When you use a fuzz it is important to dispense with a buffer between pedal and guitar. Otherwise the fuzz will sound quite awfully.
Without a buffer the fuzz will, on the one hand sound much better, on the other hand you can also adjust the amount of gain with the “volume” pot of your guitar.
Of course, this is no secret anymore, nevertheless only few guitarists use this trick yet.

More than a one-trick pony

As mentioned above, the fuzz is the perfect pedal for small pedalboards because it is able to create – beside its own typical sound – sounds that can easily replace a booster or anther overdrive pedal.
For this you will only have to turn the “gain” pot full clockwise and adapt the “volume” pot accordingly. By turning the “volume” pot full counterclockwise you can use the fuzz as a booster.
And also overdrive sounds that sound more open than a typical overdrive pedal with OP amps can be produced. The fuzz reacts pretty dynamically and reminds of the behavior of an old tube amplifier.

Boss emulates this rough sound with the Blues Driver and many guitarists love to use the Boss B-2 for almost clean sounds.
With a good germanium fuzz you can also create this kind of low gain sound which will even sound a little more open.

Accordingly the fuzz pedal is not even suitable for the guitarist of a Hendrix-tribute band but also for many styles of music.
Maybe the one or the other will find his personal answer to the question “where to find a transparent overdrive pedal”.

With the sound of a fuzz pedal you can furthermore boost another overdrive pedal.

Click here for a demo of special fuzz sounds.

It’s all about the power supply

Inasmuch as the wiring of a fuzz reacts pretty sensitive to its power supply it is worth it to run the pedal on a battery. Preferably you use a zinc coal battery for this.
Depending on the voltage of the power supply the sound of a fuzz varies.
Therefore Voodoo Lab (and meanwhile several other manufacturers) provide power supplies that gain the possibility to regulate the voltage infinitely. By this you can always reproduce the desired voltage without having to wait for the battery to discharge.
To create this opportunity to control the voltage by yourself , you only need two power supply jacks, a small enclosure and a pot (which leads the voltage to ground). This tool is a must-have for every fuzz owner.
The instruction to build one of these useful little helpers you will find here soon.