Posted by
Sep 14, 2020

PettyJohn Rail Fuzz

We had a chance to “meet” the Pettyjohn Electronics Rail fuzz at our latest Portland Stompbox Exhibit in early March, and we are happy to see the first videos of it being published. Hosted in a beautiful, black, blunt compact case, this pedal is a full range fuzz and the first release in the builder’s new Core Series.

The Rail’s circuit takes a unique approach to fuzz: it doesn’t generate it through clipping diodes or transistors, but simply boosts the signal with extreme levels of gain into the voltage rails, with an internal voltage that can go from 7v to around 36v (achieved by doubling the 18v input).

The different voltage options convey different characters to the resulting fuzz. Ideal for heavy riffing, at lower levels, the Rail can deliver more subtle overdriven tones, while it can sound like a gated fuzz when the gain is pushed to the max. 

The Drive knob has 8 positions pushing different amounts of gain. The Low control is placed before the fuzz, while the highs knobs is placed post-gain to highlight or tame the fizziness.

The first pedal in the new Pettyjohn Electronics Core Series, the RAIL is a true full range fuzz machine! In traditional Pettyjohn fashion, we have brought rigorous engineering, creative design and a passion for tone shaping to craft a versatile fuzz for everyone at unmatched value.

The Rail’s circuit takes a unique approach to generating fuzz which does not rely on clipping diodes or finicky vintage transistors. Instead, the pedal literally boosts the signal with extreme levels of gain into the voltage rails and hence the origin of the name ‘RAIL’. 

The RAIL features a simple but powerful four knob control set: Level, Gain, Lows and Highs. Explore each in detail below along with our Pettyjohn Custom Shop options only available from Pettyjohn online. Explore all that RAIL has to offer below.

Features

  • Versatile, full range fuzz and distortion circuit with tones for everyone.
  • Unique 8-way rotary GAIN switch for higher gain.
  • Unique INFINITY gain setting featuring a musical gating effect and our highest gain fuzz.
  • Buffered Level control for no tone suck or loading with other pedals.
  • Re-designed LOWS circuit that sweeps from 30Hz to 1kHz before the GAIN stage, which interacts with the fuzz.
  • Re-designed sweepable HIGHS control, comes after the gain stage with a wide sweep from 22kHz down to 1 kHz, it can powerfully shape the harmonics content.
  • High headroom with internal doubling from 6v-18v power input drawing under 100mA.
  • Quiet bypass relay based true-bypass system for quiet switching.
  • Designed for guitars, bass and keys.
  • Hand made in Oregon, USA.
  • New enclosure by GORVA design.

Gain Control

The gain is set by a unique eight position rotary switch and provides an inordinate amount of tone shaping while being intuitive to use. This is due to the rotary switch providing an increased range of gain which can not be found in standard pots. With this extra gain the RAIL provides significantly improved processing on the high levels at each increment of gain.

Step your way from low gain distortion (which cleans up nicely) all the way up to Infinity mode. Infinity mode simulates infinite gain and is by far our craziest fuzz setting we have ever engineered, complete with a light musical gating effect.

This effect is made even more fun thanks to our dual power rail design, which can scale from +/-6v to +/-18v, with the internal supply mirroring whatever input voltage you apply via the external power supply. Lower the voltage, lower the headroom and increase the clipping amount. There is a sweet spot for everyone, so experiment to find your perfect fuzz tone.

Level Control

The level control has been carefully placed in the circuit to control the overall level of the signal and help deal with the huge amount of gain.

It is also fully buffered from the outside world and will not load or tone suck, making the RAIL one of the few fuzz pedals that actually likes being stacked. Be sure to adjust the level control for each gain step and for each operating voltage.

Lows Control

The lows control has been re-designed for the RAIL and features an active 18 db/octave High Pass Filter with a huge sweep range from sub 30Hz to beyond 1kHz, for precise and powerful control over the low frequencies.

This control is located before the gain stage and greatly impacts how the fuzz engine overloads, so keep this in mind as you experiment with the control at the extremes and you’ll find a vast array of distortion and fuzz tones just by sweeping the low control.

Highs Control

The high control has been re-designed as well for the CORE series and is now fully buffered against any external loading making it more robust than ever.

The RAIL generates a huge amount of high end harmonics and you can easily tame it or unleash the wrath with this active 18 dB/octave, Low Pass filter that sweeps from 20kHz down to 1kHz.

High Voltage Power

The CORE Series is built with an updated dual rail internal power supply that mirrors whatever power you apply. It works great from 6v up to 18v, doubling whatever you put in.

Since the RAIL works by essentially slamming the circuit into the power rails, the voltage you put in greatly affects the character of the distortion and fuzz as well as the output level.

Power Requirements

Clean, regulated, isolated power from 9v-15v (200mA) center tip negative jack (standard pedal adapter).

*Please note that we can not guarantee perfect operation of every power supply. Some are not well regulated and may cause extra noise if used. One known example is many of the voodoo labs power supplies have a high current, non-regulated output that will dip below 9v if used and cause high noise floor. Most customers report it works fine on the 12v outlet. If you hear a high noise floor, try another power outlet!

Quiet Bypass

The RAIL features a big update first introduced in our flagship Foundry MKII line: our quiet bypass switching system. It is a true bypass, relay based system for minimum pop when engaging the effect.

If you happen to use a true bypass looper and want state memory we offer the pedal with Hard Click True Bypass via our custom shop as a post-purchase mod or at time of purchase via our online shop.