Dec 7, 2018

Pedal “workstations” focused on one specific effect have been around for years, yet nobody has yet come out with such a pedal for fuzz. Wampler’s new Fuzztration is an attempt to deliver exactly that: a do-it-all fuzz box.

The Fuzztron doesn’t feature “multi-mode” algorhythms like your favorite Strymon pedals, but packs a series of controls that allow you to get a lot of different tones out of it.

First and foremost, there’s an Octave circuit with its own separate footswitch that can be applied pre- or post- fuzz.

The EQ section is generous, with the classic three bands EQ affecting carefully picked frequencies and a “Tone Voice” switch that lets you choose between a more tight/compressed and a more open/dynamic sound:

The voicing switch can take it from classic, tight response to dark, sludgy and writhing with a depth to it like piping hot magma bubbling just below the surface.

The manufacturer seems eager to convey the notion that the Fuzztration is NOT a pedal designed to “play nice”:

It’s brash, raspy, doomy, in-your-face fuzz from top to bottom. […] This pedal isn’t designed for sparkly edge-of-breakup tones, so even fully counterclockwise [the fuzz knob] yields a thick, sputtering result that works great for alt-rock and grunge.

BUT, it can, when asked

This is not to say it can’t get some classic Floyd sounds.

So the key word here is flexibility, which is what modern guitar pedals – although not necessarily fuzz pedals – have been all about in recent years.

Check out some recent demos of the pedal, below.

Fuzztration (noun): The torturous feeling of desperation when searching for THE perfect fuzz.

The search for the perfect fuzz can be an exercise in frustration. On one hand, there’s always the desire to emulate the classic, vintage-inspired tones like the Rock Gods before us. They used what was available at the time to forge some of the most memorable songs in history with unbeatable sustain.

On the other hand, there are players who desire to break outside of the norm and push their own boundaries, using fuzzes that are over the top, like a tsunami of fuzz ready to envelop their guitar’s signal. Despite the already incredible credentials some fuzzes have by being on such iconic songs, they weren’t without their shortcomings. Many of those pedals were simple and lacked some EQ controls that could really make a great pedal extraordinary — or not so much, due to the manufacturer using whatever parts they had available, which led to major part tolerance issues leading to each of the pedals sounding potentially drastically different.

The three-band EQ gives full sculpting capability to dial in whatever tone you want without needing magic vintage mojo. The voicing switch can take it from classic, tight response to dark, sludgy and writhing with a depth to it like piping hot magma bubbling just below the surface.

The Fuzztration isn’t a pedal designed to really play “nice.” It’s brash, raspy, doomy, in-your-face fuzz from top to bottom. This is not to say it can’t get some classic Floyd sounds, but this isn’t just another classic with some added EQ options. It’s rough, it’s gruff, and it’s like an angry lion trying to bust out of its cage. When the search for the perfect fuzz leads to a plethora of choices, the end of your Fuzztration comes when everything is packed into one, do-it-all fuzz box. Want the classic sounds? Done. How about some raunchy doom metal or sludge rock? Yep, it does that too.

The volume knob is pretty self-explanatory, but it controls the overall output of the Fuzztration. The Bass controls the overall low-end response of the Fuzztration. Noon is standard, counterclockwise it removes some of the bottom end that warrants a more searing tone, where taking it clockwise will increase the bottom end tremendously, going from a raspy fuzz to full-on doom machine. Mids controls the mid presence of the circuit. Center is fairly flat, counter-clockwise will scoop the mids and become much more aggressive and cutting, almost distortion-like. Clockwise will add in some mids, which helps combat the scoop that lead many of those old classic fuzzes to be lost in the mix with the full band. The treble control effects the overall high-end and brightness of the circuit and has a tremendous effect on the overall way of shaping the tone of the fuzz.

Noon is standard, going counter-clockwise will yield in a much thicker, saturated fuzz tone that sounds like a wall of wool coming from the speakers. Clockwise will increase the brightness, and thus the raspiness and spit of the fuzz depending on where you have the voicing switch set. The Voicing switch gives you two very different but usable sets of tones. On the Tight setting, it has a classic, more modern sound that’s…well, tighter, less sag and acts more as a fuzzy distortion that totals up to a sum of a whole lot more than that magical number of 3.14.

The Open setting is much woolier, darker, saggier, and an overall thicker and sludgier fuzz tone. The huge Fuzz knob controls the overall amount of fuzzy goodness. This pedal isn’t designed for sparkly edge-of-breakup tones, so even fully counterclockwise it yields a thick, sputtering result that works great for alt-rock and grunge. Turning the fuzz knob clockwise unleashes a torrent of fuzz, leading to massive sustain combined with some compression, classic velcro sputters and everything in between.