The 1966 Dallas Arbitrer Fuzz Face has become the holy grail of Fuzz tones. It enjoys the most enduring reputation probably due to Jimi Hendrix use and abuse of this pedal. But not all the Fuzz Faces sound the same, in the old days, players sorted through dozens of pedals at a time to find the best sounding fuzz of the store. Why is that?
In this project, we are going to build the perfect Fuzz with all the knowledge and experience that we have nowadays while keeping the tweaks and old character that make this vintage pedal to sound warm, round, and harmonically pleasant.
The FF circuit is rather simple: 4 resistors, 3 caps, and 2 transistors. Seems like pretty simple stuff, and in principle it is, but there is plenty of black magic and mystery associated with a good sounding Fuzz circuit, and it takes a lot of effort to get the things sounding just right.
The gain (Hfe) and leakage current inconsistency of the germanium transistors (the sound signature of this pedal) and the lack of ability/will to use the right components could make a huge impact on the tonal heart. The circuit layout in a pedal with a huge gain like this is critical and the component selection will leave its footprint on the sound.