The JDM “Blue Velvet” Germanium Fuzz – A Psychedelic Face-Melting Machine
The classic 2-transistor fuzzes, the Fuzzface and the Vox Tonebender (aka “Mk1.5”, “Italian Tonebender”), share a lot in terms of circuit design, but they sound very different. The Vox Tonebender is known for it’s midrange bite and presence in the mix, whereas the Fuzzface gives you that “bloom”, saturation, and beautiful full cleanup we crave on our psychedelic rock adventures. Each one has it’s place, but oh how I need to have both.
I want to stomp on fuzzface/mk1.5 sounds, but not also add a handful of fuzz pedals to the board. So we started with our flexible “Fuzz 292” pedal with it’s 3 gain voicings, and developed the “Velvet” control. Now you can start with the midrange bite of the Mk1.5 and dose it with velvety lows, melting your guitar’s sound into unpredictable waves of gooey acid fuzz loveliness. And since germanium transistors are a must around here, we tested a wide variety until settling on a pair of vintage AC125 transistors, giving us perfect performance for the FF & Mk1.5 tones.
For the tone purists among us, the Blue Velvet is, at the left extreme of the “Velvet” control, a *true* Mk1.5 style circuit. As you blend in “more velvet”, the circuit morphs into a fuzzface style fuzz, with the full original fuzzface character at the maximum “velvet” setting. This is a complicated bit of gear to assemble, but worth every bit of effort, as now you can finally access the skanky midrange sting of the Mk1.5, the full blossoming acid fuzz of the fuzzface, and a wide spectrum of tones in between to match what your song calls for.
The “Blue Velvet” uses our 3-way voicing switch introduced with the Fuzz 292. It’s fine tuned for this Germanium-driven circuit, and along with the Bias, Velvet, and Gain controls , you’ll cascade down waterfalls of classic fuzz sounds, from shimmering germanium-soaked “clean” tones, stabs of honking midrange mk1.5 fuzz blasts, to mellow or fanatically fuzzy full-range fuzz-in-the-face freakouts with all the controls dimed!
The 3-knob, side jack version lives in a standard 1590B enclosure. Controls: Volume, Vibe (Bias control) and Velvet as well as the 3-way voicing switch.
The slightly larger 4-knob “Blue Velvet” is housed in a slightly larger enclosure, allowing top-mounted jacks. The additional “Gain” control adds a wider range of sounds – straight full-fuzz, or back it off for a more overdrive-like growl. Compare the “lo” gain switch position with “Gain” control cranked to “hi” position with the “Gain” control rolled back – the first is classic fuzz, the second creates a smoother fuzz voice that can, of course, go to 11 with the gain control dimed. Roll back your guitar’s tone, and kick in the treble switch to create a unique EQ curve, conjuring both violin-like warmth and sustain along with an extra glassy clarity on top. Ooh yeah!
YouTube demo coming soon – We’re still reeling from the pandemic, and workshop move and some bad luck in traffic *ouch*, but getting back on track!