Monday, May 21, 2012

130 greatest fuzz songs of all times

You can never have too many fuzz pedals
After writing and reading so much about the various Fuzz pedals, schematics and the history around them, I thought it would be a good idea to build the ultimate playlist of songs which incorporate the Fuzz, The Ultimate Fuzz Playlist -

130 all time greatest fuzz songs

While some songs are very well known others are quite obscure and even rare. Nevertheless, they all present the fuzz effect in one way or another, mostly on electric guitar but also on bass and even keyboards (Mike Ratledge of Soft Machine). 
These kind of lists are always partial, of course, but the scope of material here is both wide and deep. I gathered a lot of smaller lists from all around the web and added some of my own. You are welcome to comment, correct or add your own ideas so that we can further lengthen the list.

Rating | song | artist | Year

I believe that most of the songs on the list can be found on Youtube or GrooveShark if you want to listen. I'll try to turn this list into a YouTube playlist in the future for better convenience.

If you are new to the world of fuzz listen to the first 10 songs and you'll get the idea. If you are well acquainted and consider yourself a fuzz master check out some of the really rare stuff here. There are some beautiful gems hidden down the track.

Some viewers complained that this list is mostly 60's and 70's and doesn't reflect the fuzz era of the 90's and the 21st century. Well, it is true that the 60's and 70's saw the emergence of fuzz pedals and exploited this sound to great extent and thus the fuzz purists would say that the 1st fuzz era is the real deal. Nevertheless, I did add a lot of newer stuff which, I believe, do justice to the fuzz idea, like Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus and the Mary Chain and other bands who really used fuzz pedals to the extreme).


|1|Blue's Theme|Davie Allan & The Arrows|1968|

|2|(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction|The Rolling Stones|1965|

|3|Spirit in the Sky|Norman Greenbaum|1969|

|4|Incense And Peppermints|Strawberry Alarm Clock|1967|

|5|The 2000 Pound Bee (Part 1&2)|The Ventures|1962|

|6|Pushin' Too Hard|The Seeds|1966|

|7|Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass|Buck Owens|1969|

|8|Mr. Soul|Buffalo Springfield|1967|

|9|Dark Eyed Woman (Album Version)|Spirit|1969|

|10|Think For Yourself|The Beatles|1965|

|11|Over Under Sideways Down|Yardbirds|1967|

|12|The devil's rumble|Davie Allan & The Arrows|1965|

|13|In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida|Iron Butterfly|1968|

|14|You're A Better Man Than I|Yardbirds|1967|

|15|You Don't Remember|Twentieth Century Zoo|1996|

|16|I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night|The Electric Prunes|1967|
|18|Heart Full Of Soul|Yardbirds|1967|
|19|Easy Money|King Crimson|1973|
|20|Rocket|Smashing Pumpkins|1993|
|21|Think About It|Yardbirds|1967|
|22|Evil Hoodoo|The Seeds|1966|
|23|Yekermo Sew|Mulatu Astatke|1970|
|24|Moonage Daydream|David Bowie|1972|
|25|Bluebird|Buffalo Springfield|1967|
|26|Shapes Of Things|Yardbirds|1967|
|27|The Pusher|Steppenwolf|1976|
|28|Iron Man|Black Sabbath|1970|
|29|Death Of An Electric Citizen|Edgar Broughton Band|1969|
|30|American Woman|Guess Who|1970|
|31|To Cry You A Song|Jethro Tull|1970|
|32|Diddy Wah Diddy|Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band|1965|
|33|Nothing To Say|Jethro Tull|1970|
|34|Purple Haze|Jimi Hendrix Experience|1967|
|35|Psychotic Reaction|Count Five|1968|
|36|Dropout Boogie|Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band|1967|
|37|Dole Song|Fresh Maggots|1971|
|38|Cherub Rock|Smashing Pumpkins|1993|
|39|Mayonaise|Smashing Pumpkins|1993|
|40|Journey to the Center of the Mind|The Amboy Dukes|1968|
|41|Sexo Galactico|Piel De Pueblo|1972|
|42|Let's Spend the Night Together|Muddy Waters|1968|
|43|21st Century Schizoid Man|King Crimson|1969|
|44|Sioux City Blues|Majic Ship|1969|
|45|The Nile Song|Pink Floyd|1971|
|46|Search Your Soul|The Shadows Of Time|1996|
|47|How Many More Times|Led Zeppelin|1969|
|48|Bad Little Woman|Shadows of Knight|1968|
|49|Just Like Honey|The Jesus and Mary Chain|1985|
|50|Sunshine Of Your Love|Cream|1967|
|51|Paranoid|Black Sabbath|1970|
|52|Action Woman|Litter|1968|
|53|Balloon Song|Fresh Maggots|1971|
|54|Driving South|Jimi Hendrix|1998|
|55|Cinnamon Girl|Neil Young|1969|
|56|Civilization Machine|The Plastic Cloud|1968|
|57|Tomorrow Is Plastic|Freeman Sounds & Friends|1970|
|58|Jammin|The Savage Resurrection|1968|
|59|Earthquake (Remastered)|13th Floor Elevators|1967|
|60|Thing in E|The Savage Resurrection|1968|
|62|Ramble Tamble|Creedence Clearwater Revival|1970|
|63|Surf-Ari|The Challengers|1966|
|64|I'm A Man|Q65|1965|
|65|Shake|Shadows of Knight|1968|
|66|Nobody But Me|Various Artists|1968|
|67|Mary, Mary So Contrary|Can|1969|
|68|I Think I'm Down|Harbinger Complex|1968|
|69|Fault Line|Deep Purple|1969|
|70|Communication Breakdown|Led Zeppelin|1969|
|71|Tom Cat|Muddy Waters|1968|
|72|The Width Of A Circle|David Bowie|1971|
|73|Almost Cut My Hair|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young|1970|
|74|Futilist's Lament|High Tide|1969|
|75|The Gift|The Velvet Underground|1968|
|77|My Ancestors|Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family|1974|
|78|Moonage Daydream|David Bowie|1972|
|79|Father Cannot Yell|Can|1969|
|80|Nitrus|Dick Dale|1970|
|81|White Light/White Heat|The Velvet Underground|1968|
|82|I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife For You, Sugar|The United States Of America|1967|
|83|Coming Down|The United States Of America|1967|
|84|Daddy's Blazin' BBQ|Pepe Deluxe|2003|
|85|I Wanna Be Your Dog|The Stooges|1969|
|86|Split [Part Two]|Groundhogs|1971|
|88|Hibou, Anemone and Bear|Soft Machine|1969|
|90|Hello, I love You|The Doors|1968|
|91|Fisherman|Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family|1974|
|92|The Musical Box|Genesis|1971|
|93|Pictures Of Matchstick Man|Status Quo|1968|
|94|Down by the River|Neil Young|1969|
|95|Pushed, But Not Forgotten|High Tide|1969|
|96|Soul Typecast|The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion|1993|
|97|Silver Rains|Ivory|1973|
|98|Revolution|The Head Shop|1969|
|99|Coast Road|Gravy Train|1970|
|100|Starless|King Crimson|1974
|101|machine Gun|Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys|1970
|102|Questions and Answers|T2|1970
|103|Rama|Cold Sun|1969 (any song on this great album)
|104|Bat Macumba|Os Mutantes|1968
|105|Explosive Corrosive Joseph|John Schroeder|1969
|106|Man With the Harmonica|Ennio Morricone|1968
|107|Don't Worry|Marty Robbins|1960
|108|Time (Solo)|Pink Floyd|1973
|109|Only Shallow|My Bloody Valentine|1991
|110|Polar Bear|Ride|1990
|111|Who was in my room last night?|Butthole Surfers|1993
|112|Train to Nowhere|Rare Earth|1969
|113|Sleepy Son|Sleepy Sun|2008
|114|Mother Sky|Can|1970
|115|Fu Manchu|Godzilla|1997
|116|Touch Me I'm Sick|Mudhoney|1988
|117|Voytek|The Heavy Eyes|2011
|118|Walkabout (Solo)|RHCP|1995
|119|Are You Gonna Go My Way|Lenny Kravitz|1993
|120|Fool in the End|Graveyard|2007
|122|I Don't Know Anything|Mad Season|1995
|123|Get Ready|Rare Earth|1969
|124|There's No Satisfaction|Vampires' Sound Incorporation|1970
|125|Sonic Youth|Starfield Road|1994

|126|Sonic Youth|100%|1992
|127|A Girl Like You|Edwyn Collins|1995

|128|Dead Meadow|Sleepy Silver Door|2000

|129|The Monks|Pretty Suzanne|1966

|130|My Bloody Valentine|Slow|1987

will soon add:
Beck ?? 

White Stripes ?? 

The Mars Volta ??
Pavement ??
The Flaming Lips ??
Ween ??
Fern Knight

Have fuzz !!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A No Fuss Tone from the Above and Beyond

My FuzzQuest started off with the goal of getting that elusive sound of the mid-sixties Fuzz like the Maestro FZ-1 or the FZ-1A. But getting the Schematic and actually building one turned out to be quite a challange, so I started with simpler designs. Over the course of a year I truly fell in love with each pedal I built and I started to really understand what's going on in this world. 

The world of Fuzz is all about getting the right tone for the job. Some fuzz boxes sound like a reed instrument giving you a buzzy effect while some sound like a plain old loud distortion. Over the years the trend changed, from the buzzy Maestro and the scratchy Mosrite to the singing sustain of the FuzzFace and Tone Bender. After that you got the Octave Fuzz and the Super saturated BigMuffs. While some fuzzes are great for solo playing they can be difficult to control in a band structure and can really be hard to mix. This post is about a fuzz which sits just right in the mix.

The Astro-Tone was a simple fuzz designed for the Sam Ash Musical Instruments shop which sold it during the late sixties and early seventies. The fuzz is known for it's soft and creamy tone which, at the time, was the opposite of the out-of-control Fuzz Face character.

So once I built a few Fuzz Faces I was interested to see what this fuzz is all about. The thing that really turned me on was a live show by Jazz-prog band "Sweet Smoke" from 1974 where the lead guitarist Marvin Kaminovitz plays a Les Paul through this Sam Ash unit and it just sounds sooo....sweet and juicy. 
The build is quite simple, I used a couple of cheap BC109 and 2N3904 NPNs, and the results were awesome.... the unit is a winner. It has a very smooth drive that sound super fluid with chords, unlike the heavy Fuzz Face, and the TONE control is very effective. No matter what the setting was I could always get pleasing results and it sounds equally well with Humbuckies and Single coils.

What more could I ask for? well there is another little thing I love about the unit. Roll off the volume knob on your guitar and baaammm, you get a biting sparkly Hendrix-like tone with smooth edges that is just to die for.
The unit really deserved a different touch on the exterior so I gave it a kidney shaped metallic candy box and painted it to give the right Astro-mood. It's a no-fuss Fuzz. As always, I'll post some riffs played with this unit, but you gotta ask for it and put in some comments as I am still null on the comments page. You can get the schematic here.

Now here's a long audio clip which shows the different colors of the pedal all around the FUZZ and TONE knobs with the new addition of a larger cap on the input which gives a much stronger bass response than the original designers have intended. Cool! Listen closely to the areas where the guitar's volume knob is rolled off a bit. The sound is very edgy and Hendrix like. Super Cool!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

From darkest night to brightest light

Before moving on to more distorted sounds created by fuzz boxes and overdrives, I'd like to share with you a great circuit that has become a crucial part of my pedal board. Playing around with all sorts of amps, guitars and pickups, I realized that I could definitely use some clean tone shaping capabilities.
I started looking for a nice tone stack (EQ) schematic that would give me more voicing flexibility, a clean boost/volume control and a good buffer design. By voicing I mean the characteristic tone of an amp. My Zebra Humbuckers often need a bit more treble to get that shine. A clean boost or volume is very helpful when you place the pedal first in the chain. You can really shape your pickups for more MIDs or less BASS whenever necessary. The buffer compensates for tone sucking when working with many pedals in the chain which are not engaged (OFF position). So after some looking around I realized that the wonderful guys at runoffgroove have done all the hard work already and designed the perfect guitar tone stack in a simple circuit named the Tone Mender. It's a dual stage operational amp with a tone stack between the two stages which gives clean and tunable boost. 

Once I breadboarded this design I knew it was love at first site. Placing the unit between the guitar and a fuzz (not all of them) gave my the freedom to really change the fuzz behavior because you control the BASS content. Fuzz pedals react strongly to the bass content coming in (more bass = stronger harmonics = more fuzz). The MID is like a volume control so you can control the fuzz amount by just lowering signal going in. When placing it after one of the amp emulation pedals you can really achieve different voicings by tweaking the knobs, but it doesn't end there. You can get scooped mids or roll off the bass for less mud. It even has a MID SHIFT switch to choose between the MID control at 400Hz and 700Hz. Cranking the TREBLE knob at the end of the chain gives you extra clarity which is always needed. From darkest night to brightest light. It's all there.

Wow... what a great addition. This pedal just blew me away...mainly because it gives you so many options no matter where you place it. Because it was such a jungle of sounds I decided to paint it tropically and name it The EQUATOR. If you are in need of some tone shaping don't miss out on this one, its simple and super flexible. BTW I ended up using the NE5532 dual op-amp and it sounds great. You can get the schematic and details here.