I get excited every time I get a new pedal in from one of my favorite companies, Earthquaker Devices. This one is no exception. It’s a fuzz pedal called the Terminal Fuzz modeled after the tone and vibe of the JAX Fuzz. For those who aren’t aware of the JAX fuzz, it’s a re-branded Companion Fuzz made by vintage pawn shop superstar, Shin Ei. These pedals were popular because of their unique buzzy character and interesting decay. Of course, Earthquaker have put their modern spin on the design.
This is a particularly attractive pedal with the typical Earthquaker artwork, but what really stuck out to me this time was the knobs. They remind my of something you’d find on a piece of vintage stereo equipment or heavy machinery. At this point I’m thinking, I don’t care how it sounds, I just want this thing on my pedal board. The knobs read Voice, Treble, Level, and Fuzz. The Voice knob is one of the more unique features of this pedal and its purpose is to shape the mid-range. By turning the knob clockwise you get a boost in the upper mid-range frequencies and the overall effect is a more biting tone, buzzier if you will. By turning the knob counter-clockwise you get a warmer woolier fuzz tone. The Treble knob adjusts the biting top end and allows you to dial in just the right amount of bite. The Fuzz control allows you to dial in the amount of what’s described as blow-out. Earthquaker states that the Fuzz from a gritty or “separated” drive to a pinched and searing grind. Don’t you love the words used to attempt to describe sound? I found this to be pretty accurate. My demo rig is always the same so that I can really hear what the pedal is doing. I know this isn’t ideal for fully understanding certain pedals, but I don’t have the luxury of having a million amps and guitars so what I don’t have in variety there I make up for by trying a few different sources. With my ES-335 knock-off and my Fender Blues Junior (circa 2007) I get a ferocious fuzz tone that doesn’t need any help from the amp to get dirty. The fuzz tone is definitely buzzy and is pretty much the sound I want anytime I reach for a fuzz. I love the controls being for both the mid-range and treble. It really allows you to dial in and shape the fuzz sound exactly the way you’d like.
Earthquaker also states on their website that this pedal sounds rad on Bass! Being primarily a bass player, this certainly caught my attention. So I patched into my bass rig consisting of an Orange Amplifiers Bass Terror 500 and SP212 cab with a Geddy Lee Jazz Bass. Wow! It does sound good on bass. It’s so hard to find a fuzz pedal that sounds great on bass. The problem, I’m convinced, is with the lack of control over the oh-so-important mid-range. The Voice control handles this beautifully. The other problem is not being able to tame the high frequency buzz. The Treble knob handles this beautifully. I found me my new bass fuzz!
Overall, this fuzz really knocks it out of the park as far as I’m concerned. If you’re going for a classic sounding fuzz with lots of control then this is your guy. Great job as usual Jamie, Julie and all the nice folks at Earthquaker.-Gus Green