B.G. Harding D:P Fuzz
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As much as I love vintage fuzz boxes with germanium transistors, the delightfully distorted tones they deliver come at a price.
Firstly, the transistors are all ancient - even the NOS ones. The most sought after components were manufactured half a century ago, if not longer! They don’t wear out like valves, but even so, reliability can be an issue, if you can even lay your hands on them in the first place
And speaking of reliability, the Achilles heel of germanium is the temperature sensitivity. If your germanium fuzz gets hot, the gain and background noise can get out of control, and if it gets cold, you can lose signal altogether. You can compensate for these issues with circuit tricks such as bias trimmers, but at the end of the day, under extreme conditions, the pedal becomes a brick.
Lastly, there is the issue of grounding. Vintage germanium devices use a “positive ground”. This means you need to run them off batteries or use a power supply with isolated outputs. If you attempt to daisy chain their power supply with modern pedals that use a negative ground, you run the risk of damaging the whole pedal chain.
With this in mind, I wanted to offer some fuzz pedals that would retain certain attributes of germanium fuzz pedals, namely pleasing musical distortion and a good ability to clean up on the volume control of the guitar - BUT - without the drawbacks outlined above.
The D:P aim to reproduce the tone and feel of a fuzz face type pedal, the D:P using a hybrid combination of 2 silicon transistors and 2 germanium. It have plenty of gain on tap and clean up beautifully with the guitar volume. It feature a negative ground so will play nicely with the rest of your pedalboard.
D:P pedal also has a tone control of sorts, although it’s more like a way to fine-tune the pedal to work best with your guitar. Fully clockwise works best with single-coil guitars, whereas the other direction is more suited to humbuckers.