Germanium and Silicon in Fuzz – What’s the Difference?

germanium and siliconGermanium vs Silicon... this is often an intensely debated topic. Learn the difference between these two types of diodes and how they affect your fuzz pedal's tone.

Let’s talk about the difference between germanium and silicon transistors and what it means to guitar players and audio in general, especially fuzz.

The Fuzz Effect

Fuzz is a type of distortion that guitar players use. It is most often found in an effect pedal and it creates a buzzy tone that is associated with an overdriven amplifier or a torn speaker. Transistors play a vital part in the design of this effect and their germanium and silicon diodes can sound quite different in the final result.

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Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

banez TS9 Tube ScreamerThis legendary pedal is used by hundreds of the greatest guitar players out there, including Metallica, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and The Edge

The original Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of the most popular and imitated overdrive pedals of all time, and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer reissue is made in the same factory, with the same parts, to get the same tone. This pedal has three controls to help get the tone you need. Continue reading “Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer”

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Overdrive

soul food overdriveThe Soul Food Overdrive is sensitive to your playing and you can control the amount of overdrive by using a softer attack or with your volume control.

The Soul Food Overdrive is yet another great effect pedal from the people at Electro-Harmonix. This is their representation of the KLON CENTAUR overdrive pedal, one that can cost thousands of dollars. This pedal features boosted power rails to give the guitar signal more headroom and definition. Continue reading “Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Overdrive”

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive

mojomojo overdriveA very expressive overdrive, the MojoMojo is very responsive to the way you play, as many great players, such as Vernon Reid, Larry Mitchell, Johnny Hiland, and Boz Boorer have found.

The TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive is designed with extra headroom and precise control in mind. Made in Denmark the pedal features an inner circuit that boosts the voltage three to four times the amount of most overdrive pedals. This extra voltage is what adds the headroom, similar to some other pedals where you can swap out a 9-volt adapter for an 18-volt adapter, to gain more headroom. Continue reading “TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive”

Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive Pedal

electro-harmonix crayonThe Crayon does clean up quite a bit, with Volume and Gain, a two-band EQ with two independent controls, and Bass and Treble controls designed for a wide range of usable tones.

The Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range pedal is designed to overdrive the full frequency range of the signal, unlike most overdrives which concentrate on the midrange frequencies. Continue reading “Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive Pedal”

Mini Toggle Switch (DPDT) – Use This to Coil-Split a Humbucker Pickup

mini toggle switchYou can use any kind of switch, but since the mini toggle takes up very little space once it's in place, you might agree that it's the best choice for this kind of project.

Why a Mini Toggle Switch?

A humbucker pickup contains two coils, and with a simple modification we can use a switch to “shut off” one of the coils, causing it to sound and act like a single coil pickup. The choice to use a mini toggle switch is purely aesthetic; you can use absolutely any kind of switch that you want to but you will need to modify your guitar to hold it. A mini toggle requires drilling a hole that is less than 1/4 inch and takes up very little space once it is in place.

If you have the type of guitar that requires you to drill a hole through the wood, into the electronics compartment to add a toggle switch, then I recommend taking it to a pro, unless you really know what you are doing. If you’re lucky enough to have a Stratocaster or another type of guitar with those large pickguards that give you access to the electronics by removing them, then you can probably drill a small hole in the pickguard and add the toggle switch yourself if you are very careful and have the tools.

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Buzzing and Crackling Problem with Marshall MG10

crackling problemTry your amp and guitar in someone else's house. If you still have the problem, try a different guitar, then a different amp. This should lead you to the buzzing and crackling problem.

Phillip from Wales asks:

“Hi, can you help please. I got this Marshall MG10, and I’ve had this buzzing and crackling problem when I play the Strat. I sent it back to them and they listened to the sound recording I had of the buzzing and they said I had a loose earth connection or the cable I was using to connect the guitar was no good.

Do you have a diagram of how to check the earth connection; would be most grateful to you.”

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How Does a Fuzz Pedal Work?

uzz pedalYou’ve heard of Fuzz pedals, and probably used one. But do you know how they work?

Fuzz

Fuzz is a type of distortion that was originally marketed in the early 1960s as a device that you can use to emulate the sound of Orchestra instruments such as the Trumpet, Cello, Bassoon, Saxophone, etc. It was a Saxophone sound that Keith Richards wanted for the beginning of “Satisfaction,” that prompted him to try out a Fuzz pedal. It was also during this time that the Kinks, Link Wray, and many other early Rock & Roll and Blues guitar players reportedly punched holes in their speakers to get a fuzzy sound. You can hear a torn speaker in “Rocket 88” (the first Rock & Roll song), by Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston. Other notable songs from that time that feature Fuzz are “You Really Got Me,” by The Kinks and “Rumble,” by Link Wray. The aggressive Fuzz tone of this song actually caused people to feel fearful, so the song was banned from the radio.

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Coil-Splitting a Humbucker Pickup with a Push-Pull Pot

push-pull potHave you ever wanted to turn off one of your humbucker pickup coils?

Well, here we’ll talk about how to wire a humbucker pickup so that it can be split into a single coil pickup using a push-pull pot. For the split you need a four-wire humbucker; you cannot split a two-wire without first modifying the pickup itself. Each coil has a Hot and a Ground, and a determination must be made as to which is which before we get started.

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