Nov 29, 2018

In all likelihood, you are familiar with Rainger FX’s Dr. Freakenstein Fuzz and its little Igor pressure controller; even a quick look at it tends to generate a lasting impression.

The London based builder recently unveiled a new fuzz called Bleep that uses that pedal’s same “full-on” fuzz circuit but fits it in an enclosure that about four times smaller, while also adding the following improvements:

  • More low-end,
  • LFO speed adjustable on-the-fly
  • the chip-destabilizing ‘bleep’ facility is now accessible via a front panel knob

We asked company owner and designer David Rainger to explain the “Overtone’ knob, here’s how he put it:

“The ‘Overtone’ effect is basically a resonant peak in the mid to mid-high frequencies, and when the ‘Bleep/Fuzz’ knob is turned anti-clockwise one chip inside is de-stabilized and emits a repeating bleep at the start and tail of a note, the frequency decided by ‘Overtone’ – or by an LFO to slowly modulate it.”

Of course, Igor is a welcome if not necessary addition to this pedal, allowing the player to modify the ‘Overtone’ knob or the LFO speed through foot action.

Here’s the first official demo of the Bleep fuzz.

The Bleep is the most fun, most out-there pedal in the Rainger FX line! It’s a compilation of various sounds from the range of Dwarf pedals recently discontinued, but in a more usable format. Using the same full-on fuzz circuit from the Dr Freakenstein Fuzz pedal, it has more low-end, the LFO speed is adjustable on-the-fly, and the chip-destablising ‘bleep’ facility is now accessible via a front panel knob.

The ‘overtone’ is controlled by knob, LFO, or Igor controller. With Igor plugged in, the Bleep is highly controllable while you’re actually playing – no huge-and-heavy expression pedal needed. The dual-sensitivity pressure pad in effect adjusts the ‘Overtone’ knob, or the LFO speed. The built-in noise gate is always in operation, ensuring the pedal is totally silent when there’s no signal; that means zero background hiss – at whatever volume you’re playing at.

The green-on-green LED display changes with every new phrase you play – or every bleep, graphically showing what’s going on in a truly mesmerising fashion.

This pedal covers a wide palette of sounds, from hard chunks of uncompromising fuzz, to edgy lead tones that are guaranteed to cut through a mix. The sustain can morph into robot alarm sounds, the signal degrading into rhythmical proto-synthy pulses, their pitch actually playable in real time. With the LFO on, the ‘overtone’ is automatically modulated to produce a slowly scything tonal movement – like an extreme phaser, and with the ‘Bleep/Fuzz’ knob and Igor pressed the speed ramps up, moving into psychotic chirping like some fiendish arcade game…