It’s funny. In looking at my past Drive Quest entries, I keep listing sounds or tones that are often an amp turned all the way up that is driven even more by a fuzz or overdrive pedal. For example, I mentioned the modern dirty blues. The White Stripes and Black Keys are using old tube amps with fuzz pedals in front of them. But I’m not liking what I hear in my fuzz pedals. I’m hearing way too much fart sound and not enough singing fuzz. It just sounds too broken up and cheesy. Too in your face. And often too muddy.
I’m sure a big part of this is just my inability to play. It is also impacted by the fact that I am rarely pushing my amp. It could also be the fact that I have an EL34 tube in my amp right now instead of the more American “fender-esque” sounding 6L6 tube. That is one nice thing about my amp, I can swap out a bunch of different tubes to get the “feel” that I want. The base palette is very open depending on what power tube I put in there.
My experience with the Vox Valve-tone V810, which is really just an Ibanez TS808 clone, really made me realize that I’m not a big fuzz guy. I like the low end chug of the Russian Big Muff Pi, but not for very long. I like the buzzing power chords played on the bridge pickup through the American Big Muff Pi, but not the single string fart noise. It doesn’t sing and sustain a la David Gilmour. It sounds too choppy or broken up.
I like the smoother drive of the Vox. Perhaps I’ll prefer the Ibanez Tubescreamer TS808 more than my noisy Boss SD-2 Dual Overdrive. Perhaps I’ll like it more than my “good for classic rock power chords” Marshall Guv-Nor Plus GV-2.
I also read in my September 2011 copy of Guitar Player all about fuzz that in the old days, each guitarist used one dirty pedal to get their sound. James Santiago said,
For a long time, if you were a Hendrix guy, you had just a fuzz. For blues it was the Tube Screamer, for modern rock it was a Boss DS-1, and so on. Now we see players that want to create with all those colors and more in the same rig.
I guess I’m turning into more of a “blues” guy, less of a Hendrix guy, and less of a modern rock guy. But I certainly want to create with all those colors and more in the same rig. How do you create your colors with your rig?