Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Peachy Fuzz

The Peach Fuzz clone
This one is a little off my main path (or the king's highway) towards the ultimate fuzz. The PeachFuzz is one of those new boutique, over-the-top fuzz boxes which you see by the hundreds. Actually, some of the best pedals you can get today are made by little boutique companies which have an enormous amount of pedals or at least update their catalog quite often. Because a lot of them are hand made or partly hand made they can change their designs quite fast and have a new pedal on the market every month, be it a modern clone of a classic fuzz, a newly designed fuzz, vintage overdrives, delays, you name it. To pay some tribute to these great manufacturers, here's a short and partial list of boutique pedal brands:
D*A*M , Analog.Man, Keeley Electronics, El Nano, Frantone, Skreddy Pedals, Wampler, Catalinbread, Devi Ever, ZVex, Fulltone, Love Pedals, Way Huge and the list goes on and on.

All these boutique brands sell top quality, great sounding pedals and they all have some unique designs which make them stand out. Some focus on their own designs while others focus on getting that vintage tone of the great legends of the past. Luckily you can't start a pedal company without having a killer fuzz box on the shelf, so the number of fuzz circuits and variants grew over the past few years from dozens to hundreds, hence...the fuzz explosion, or as I call it, fuzz-plosion.

One company that had some great designs but went out of business is Frantone and for a long time I have been looking at their offerings and always wanted to build a "Cream Puff" clone which sounded very interesting to me. As my want-to-build list just got longer I forgot about it for a while until I stumbled upon an article which ranked the best 50 distortion, overdrive and fuzz pedals of all times. Needless to say, every pedal I have ever built or wanted to build was there: Big Muff Pi, Tube Screamer, Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, Klon Centaur, Maestro Fuzz Tone, Pro-Co Rat, Range Master, Tycobrahe Octavia, Hot Cake, Fuzz Factory, Boss BD2, you name it. Wow....what a list....you should really check it out, I have building noise boxes for a while now and I can safely say that the most important pedals in rock history are definitely there:

Going over the list it turns out that the Frantone PeachFuzz, which I've never heard of before, reached number 47! very nice. Had to listen to it a few times on Youtube before I set my mind on building one. I figured it's kinda like a Big Muff style of sound, but the Schematic looked different and I thought I maybe I can learn something new. Took me a long time to get around to it, and decide on the layout and version to choose from.

The Frantone Peach Fuzz. Entered the top 50! all-time distortion pedals 
Well, for the good things: It's a fuzz, it's tight and focused and it sounds like a good mid gain BMP clone...but......, it's just not that much of a fun-to-play with pedal. It has limited versatility with it's best with the FUZZ knob over half, and working the TONE knob can get you some Big Muff Pi op-amp style from the 70's. Not bad. But that's it. I figured it might be good to get some wicked sounds putting the fuzz in front of a real Muff or an overdrive so I decided to keep it and box it. After pairing it with some amp-like overdrive pedals I can say that I finally got it to sound good, focused and interesting.

Blue knobs, blue LED, blue texts and peachy gradients
Yellow faced and Blue "fonted" as on the original, Blue "knobed", blue LEDed and turned vertically for smaller rig footprint. I used the original circuit so there was no real way to change the name of the pedal. I just had to add some "peachy" texture so I painted the enclosure to give it more peach gradients.

Over the past few years I have tried a lot of circuits which didn't get boxed and remained naked in a drawer. This one got boxed because it's just a good sounding fuzz. It behaves well in a band setup and it gives great chords and solos.

So, the verified layout can be found on the Tagboardeffects blog:

The schematic I used is given here: http://i50.tinypic.com/1zc1eg4.jpg

The fact that this pedal is extinct by now makes it a better collector's DIY item and I think that recently I have grown more and more fond of its thunder.

FuzzBoxGirl's youtube video was removed for some reason so I added this video as there aren't many other PeachFuzz videos on the web anymore: 


And if you can handle the power of this pedal, just listen below. I played a single coils tele through the PeachFuzz clone on a HiWatt 70's emulation amp. Listen to the various settings and then with a ROG Thor just behind the fuzz. Some of the riffs are also played with a treble booster in front of the PeachFuzz. This baby really roars. Take care, rock on!


1 comment:

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