The distortion cleans up nicely when the guitar’s volume control is backed down just slightly, allowing players to easily dial in the desired fuzz effect, from just a touch of hair to full-on fuzz assault at will.
The Silicon and Jimi Hendrix versions deliver the most gain, with the Hendrix being the less aggressive of the two, while the Germanium version sounds sweeter and darker.
Whereas most vintage effects will not lose significant value if minor, non-cosmetic modifications are made for the sake of function, it’s best not to even think of altering a vintage Fuzz Face, no matter how bad it may sound.
Analog Mike tells us what to look for in an original: “The early Fuzz Faces generally used a pair of metal can NKT275 germanium transistors, and usually had a flattened yellow output film capacitor and blue electrolytic capacitors for input and power filter.
Of all the early fuzz-pedal circuits, the Fuzz Face is by far the sweetest sounding, with smooth and even sustain, harmonic overtones that complement the base note and chords (instead of fighting them), and compressed attack that provides violin-like tones.
This has made the Fuzz Face the choice of discriminating tone connoisseurs throughout the ages, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Joe Bonamassa and many other guitarists of note.
With its two transistors, three capacitors and a handful of resistors, the Fuzz Face is the simplest of circuits, but just the right combination of these components can create a tone that for some guitarists is simply sublime.
Production of the original Fuzz Face continued into the mid-seventies, Crest Audio made a version of the Fuzz Face in the mid-to-late eighties, and finally, Dunlop Manufacturing bought the rights to the Fuzz Face name in the early nineties and has made various reissues since then.Performance The magic of a Fuzz Face is how well it integrates into the signal chain, becoming an active, dynamic part of it instead of just a component to switch in or out at will.The square-wave distortion it produces is undeniably over the top, but it’s warm, smooth and one of only a rare few true fuzz effects that sounds good with chords.Features Dunlop offers three different flavors of the Fuzz Face Mini: Germanium, Silicon and Jimi Hendrix, which come in red, blue and turquoise cases, respectively.All three feature volume and fuzz controls, true-bypass switching, a laser-bright status LED, AC power jack and easy-access battery door while they retain the classic round shape and skip-pad “nose” of the original, albeit at less than one-third the overall size.