Well.. At last i can say it: my clone (see back pages/older posts) sounds GREAT. Against this original (2N2614 transistors), with little or no attack pot excursion, aka max it or it wont fuzz, my clone is a pot full of sweet spots. Maxed, it is plain evil. Compressed.
Comparison, original vs my clone:
Still, the original has got so much mojo.. Magic. I will not mod it to bias the transistors better. As the Poets said, THAT’S THE WAY IT’S GOT TO BE.
The first fuzz box.. The Satisfaction horns sound, the star of so many fuzztonic records. I had to make myself the perfect clone! Yes i built a couple of these before, but i wanted to build it properly.. This is what i came up with:
I did find them! A small stash of them actually! And i didnt have to sell my body to get them. Not RCA’s, but NOS 2N270: leaky, gainy, nasty 2N270s!
Next, i set up this testing board with a nice ZIF socket!
First good set-listen:
Q1 hfe 79 lkge 0.12mA
Q2 hfe 168 lkge 0.53 mA
Q3 hfe 131 lkge 0.70 mA
I tried inverting Q3 and Q2 but the distortion was oscillating..
1.5 volts of pure 60es fuzz.
Hot on the heels of “(i cant get no) Satisfaction”‘s success, that triggered sales of the fz1 (a product that lied for its first couple of marketing years virtually in denial), once the stock left of the original model was over, the Gibson/Maestro plants started churning out this, the fz1a.
This is a bit different in sound, still with a very distinctive vintage vibe. If you play garage, this is a must have sound, as this is the pedal thats been taken up by all those garage kids on the wake of the Stones’ USA invasion circa 65!
I didnt have any layout to follow for this, so i had to do it myself from the schem.. works great!
I used some carefully selected ac128 (sub-shit standard Tungsram), oc75 x 2 (crappy chinese Motorola) germanium trannies, NOS ICEL caps, the usual carbon comps.
Q1: hfe 57, leakage 0.08
Q2: hfe 306 (yes..), leakage 0.60
Q3: hfe 2718 ahem.. 358, leakage 0.83 (i really had to wait for this one to settle, but remember these are truly shitty transistors!)
My fave fuzz (after all ive been collecting 60es rock all my life have not i).
Built on a bakelite sheet point to point.
Comparing the fz1 to the fz1a, using a fender strat neck pickup in the following sequence:
Clean – fz1 – fz1a
Started going crazy after a while (the led zappeling in time with the q1 whizzeling until it died screaming). Shame because it was a great build, sounded ace and COMPLETE: AC128 on q1, measured hfe of 30 (!!), some russian trannie on q2 measuring 138, another AC128, hfe 80ish.
Built from scratch again, same components, different trannies, 1n1307 on q1, hfe=136, and two AC128, 100ish, 80ish hfed.
Boxed in a rush to a recording session..
Video of my mate Alle playing his mean 1970 Ibanez thru a Laney valve amp and my mki pedal:
Still room for improvement as it was backing off sustain when Alle would play way up on the fretboard.
After the fuzzface, this was the second pedal i perfboarded more than one year ago when i started building guitar effects.
Today i got together a vero board version.
This is it.
I have not decided which trannies to use yet….my early build had ac128s. And it sounded ok..
We shall see then..