Industrial Fuzz

Based on Z.Vex Fuzz Factory


ZVEX Fuzz Facory Right-600x600.jpg

This is a five-knob fuzz using two new old-stock sixties germanium transistors. The circuit is not modeled after any classic fuzz design, but should have been around when Leary was still lucid. Although the five knobs are named for the parameters over which they seem to have the most control, please don’t hold me to it. They are controls for various operating levels and biases, and basically shape you a personalized fuzz.


Volume – Output level.

Gate – Squelches noise after end of sustain. Turn to right to eliminate squeals, hiss and buzz, stopping just as they disappear, or use to tune in exact feedback pitch, if you’re that kind. Turning to left opens gate.

Compress – Adds attack characteristic when turned to left, which gets softer to right, and suddenly pinches tone when all the way right. Also use to tune in fat feedback fuzz, if you’re that kind. Lower the Stability and see what happens to this control.

Drive – Increases distortion when used as a “normal” fuzzm and adjusts feedback pitch and tonal thickness, if you’re that kind. This control becomes meaningless when Compress is all the way right.

Stab – Use all the way right. Do not adjust this control below 2:00, unless you like your fuzz soft and squishy. Use to control feedback pitch.


Many ‘incorrect’ settings on this pedal squeal. This may annoy the faint-hearted. If you use the example settings, you won’t get hurt. I don’t want to see anyone hurt. Unless you’re that kind. Don’t forget to memorize or write down your favorite settings.

Example Settings

Hi compression fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 3:00 | Comp 9:00 | Drive 5:00 | Stab 5:00

Velcro fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 7:00 | Comp 5:00 | Drive 5:00 | Stab 2:00

Cleanish hi octave intermodulation: Vol 10:00 | Gate 2-3:00 | Comp 7:00 | Drive 7:00 | Stab 5:00

Smooth fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 7:00 | Comp 3:00 | Drive 5:00 | Stab 5:00 (lower Stab is more mellow)

Radio fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 7:00 | Comp 10:00 | Drive 12:00 | Stab: Lower from fully clockwise while playing open ‘A’ with left hand. Stop at most interesting tone.

Reference Videos

Triangle Fuzz

Based on Electro-Harmonix® Big Muff Pi®



In 1969, Bob Myer and Mike Matthews designed the Big Muff Pi, a fuzzbox that added a bass-heavy sustain to any guitar sound. It is described by the company as “the finest harmonic distortion-sustain device developed to date”. Originally this was intended to be a pedal that would mimic the fuzz tones of Jimi Hendrix and other guitarists at the time, but the result was a mix of a fuzz and distortion pedal with a very heavy sound. It also made small amps sound much better and allowed distortion at any volume.

The pedal sold well and was used by Carlos Santana, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson of Rush and, later, Metallica’s bassist Cliff Burton, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and in the 1990s KoRn’s rhythm guitarist Munky, Jack White of The White Stripes, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., The Edge of U2, and Billy Corgan (on The Smashing Pumpkins landmark album, Siamese Dream). The band Mudhoney titled their debut EP Superfuzz Bigmuff.

Reference Videos

Arbitrator Fuzz

Based on Arbiter FuzzFace®



Arbiter Electronics Ltd. first issued the Fuzz Face in 1966. Later units bear the “Dallas Arbiter”, “Dallas Music Industries Ltd.”, “CBS/Arbiter Ltd.” or “Dunlop Manufacturing Inc.” name.

The earliest units used germanium transistors. Silicon transistors were used in later editions of the pedal. Silicon transistors provided for a more stable operation, but have a different, harsher sound.

The electronics are contained in a circular-shaped metal housing. Ivor Arbiter “got the idea for the round shape when he one day saw a microphone stand with a cast iron base”. The design was originally intended to be used as a microphone base for guitarists who sang. The pedal uses two knobs, one for volume, and one for the amount of distortion the pedal produces. The arrangement of controls and logo on the box suggests a smiling face.

The circuit is based on the shunt-series-feedback amplifier topology – a standard in engineering textbooks. Sola Sound and Vox had been using the same circuit topology for some of their Tone Bender pedals earlier in 1966.

Dallas Music Industries made a final batch of Fuzz Face units in 1976 or 1977, shortly after moving to the United States. The company bought Crest Audio in the 1980s and although it was operating under that name when it reissued the Fuzz Face in 1986, the units still bore the Dallas-Arbiter name. They made about 2000 Fuzz Faces until 1990. In 1993 Dunlop Manufacturing took over production, making a variety of Fuzz Face units until this day. Several germanium and silicon models are available. In 2013 smaller versions with status LEDs and AC power jacks were introduced.

In the late 1990s Arbiter reissued the pedal as well.

The Fuzz Face’s continuing popularity and status as a classic may be explained by its many famous users. Among them are Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Duane Allman, Pete Townshend, Eric Johnson and George Harrison.

Reference Videos

Vermin Dist

Based on Pro Co RAT



The origins of the Pro Co “The RAT” can be traced back to the mid-1970s, when Pro Co engineers Scott Burnham and Steve Kiraly repaired and hot-rodded existing distortion pedals, such as the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. Burnham decided he could build a superior product from the ground up, and designed “The RAT” pedal.

In 1978, “The RAT” was being built as a custom-order product. Only twelve of these pedals (including one prototype), commonly referred to as the “Bud Box” RAT, were produced. Each pedal was built in a standard project box, hand painted, and hand drilled. By 1979, as the pedal became more popular, Pro Co began mass-producing them. This iteration was built in a custom designed, rectangular sheet-metal enclosure, with an L shaped removable top/back section giving access to the internals. The top panel was labeled with Pro Co Sound “The RAT” and the three control knobs as Distortion, Tone and Volume.

In 1983, Pro Co switched to a smaller, U-shaped enclosure. Finally, in 1988, the RAT2 was introduced, which included an on/off LED. Various RAT2 circuit board layouts and wiring configurations have surfaced in the last few years, including the noted “RAT3 version A and B” all under the RAT2 moniker. The RAT2 model is still available today, but in 2008 production moved to China and is now manufactured by Neutrik for Pro Co Sound.

Notable users include Kurt Cobain, Krist Novaselic, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, and Joe Perry.

Reference Videos

Hedgehog D9

Based on MAXON® SD9 Sonic Distortion



Since its original release in the early 80’s the Sonic Distortion has gained a huge cult following among tone connoisseurs, including the likes of guitar legends Scott Henderson and Mike Landau.

The SD-9 provides a smooth distortion that covers a wide range of Gain levels from mild overdrive through pseudo-fuzz.  Regardless of the Gain setting, the SD-9 remains articulate and responsive to note dynamics, providing excellent sustain without crossing over into super-compressed Metal territory.

The SD-9’s Tone knob has plenty of top end on tap, yet notes still retain a round, full-bodied tonality with the low end presence usually associated with amp distortion.  The pedal’s midrange response is smooth and even – present without seeming spiked.

Since its humble origins to its current place in the pedalboards of the stars, the Maxon Sonic Distortion has proven itself to be a timeless classic that has only improved with age.

Reference Videos

Top Secret OD

Based on DOD® OD-250



The DOD OD-250 Guitar Effect Pedal is one of the most well-known overdrive pedals in the history of rock music. It’s famous for its ripping, crunching guitar tone and for providing tons of boost along with the instant ability to push an amplifier into breakup mode.

Just two controls provide a huge tonal palate and face-melting boost. Gain controls the amount of overdrive, ranging from the slightest grit to a powerhouse grind. The Level adjustment increases output, which can be used to push any adjustments made to your amplifier’s or pedal’s settings. For example, when you turn the Gain setting all the way down, crank up the Level to jack up your volume and cut through during your solos. Alternatively, just crank both knobs to produce driving sounds to match hard beats.

The 250 is a great addition to either tube or solid state amps or a preamp. It targets the upper-mid frequencies of a tube amp’s signal to create grinding output that is portable to many music genres. When used with a solid state head, it provides stronger signal power, thus making the output optimized and ready to send through several other pedals or any other audio effects system.

Reference Videos

Compulsive Drive

Based on Fulltone® OCD


fulltone ocd.jpg

The Fulltone Obsessive Compulsive Drive is an overdrive pedal that responds to picking dynamics and touch sensitivity – not to mention enhancing beautiful harmonics. It also reacts beautifully to big fat chords and fares well with leads and solos. Roll back the guitar’s volume and you’ve got a new palette of sounds to play with. The best thing about the Obsessive Compulsive Drive is your guitar will still sound like your guitar – just a bit better!

The list of Fulltone fans reads like a who’s who of guitar heroes. Both Ron Wood and Keith Richards have Fulltone gear in their touring rigs, as does Nigel Tufnel from the legendary British metal band Spinal Tap, and Boston bad-boys Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton. Punk/rockabilly mainstay Reverend Horton Heat is a Fulltone convert. Other notable Fulltone users include Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, Jack Bruce of Cream, perennial alt rocker Lou Reed, and Tom Petty along with Heartbreaker Mike Campbell.

Reference Videos


Based on Klon® Centaur



The Klon Centaur is a guitar overdrive pedal developed by Bill Finnegan between 1990 and 1994. The pedals were made manually by Finnegan. The Centaur is characterized as a “transparent” overdrive, meaning it adds gain to the signal without significantly altering the tone of the guitar.

About 8,000 units were built between 1994 and 2000. Guitarists praised the clear, uncolored tone of the boosted signal. The circuit had unique characteristics, most noticeably the use of an IC MAX1044 voltage converter. The voltage converter drives 18 volts to the operational amplifier which is the core of the circuit; at this voltage the response of the amplifier is different than at 9 volt, since its slew rate depends on the voltage supply. Higher the voltage supply, higher the order of harmonics the operational amplifier will generate, and more metallic the sound. Depending on the position of the knobs, the overdrive effect could be created in the amplifier instead by the circuit itself. The circuit had two germanium diodes to perform clipping. The “gain” knob is a double potentiometer (a “dual-ganged gain pot”), which controls bass and middle frequencies. Other knobs are treble and volume.

Nowadays, original units cost upwards of $1500 and are considered collector’s items. The Klon centaur is often used as a standard to compare new distortion pedal designs.

In 2014, Finnegan sold the same effect under the name “KTR”. The KTR features the same circuit, but uses surface-mount technology to make the pedal smaller than the original, and to make it compatible with mass production. The diodes, however, are still the same as the original pedal. Screen printed on the front of the KTR are the words “kindly remember that the ridiculous hype that offends so many is not of my making”, in response to the cult following garnered by the original Centaur.

Among the guitarists who use the Klon Centaur are Jeff Beck, Robert Friedrich and Jason Lamont, as well as Warren Haynes, Britt Daniel (Spoon), Nick Valensi (The Strokes; CRX) and John Mayer. Nels Cline of Wilco once said, describing his Klon “…It’s an amp in a box. No more worries in the world of ‘amp du jour’ about overdrive tone. It will be OK. The Centaur will take care of it…” Thaddeus Hogarth, a guitar professor at Berklee College of Music, describes the tone of the Klon as “dynamic…[it] works in combination with your guitar sound…

Reference Videos