Friday, April 15, 2011

(Fuzz) Face the Truth

Tonefactor Huckleberry V1
Tonefactor / Mojo Hand Hucklerberry Review

Fuzz! You know, that hairy, gnarly, creamy, magic goodness that a few transistors, resistors, and capacitors can slather all over your guitar signal? I love that fuzz! I’ve spent the last few years seeking out the perfect fuzz pedal and I’ve played a lot of them. But for close to nine months now, my go to fuzz has been the Tonefactor Huckleberry. From what I’ve been able to dig up, the Huckleberry is a Fuzz Face circuit with the addition of a Big Muff tone stack. It’s also a hybrid fuzz – meaning it uses one germanium and one silicon transistor. What this all adds up to is a versatile little fuzz that can cover a lot of ground.

I’m playing mainly a mix of humbuckers and P90s these days so keep that in mind while you read my descriptions. Although, because I play mostly Reverends, I have the bass contour control which allows me to roll off some bass and make my humbuckers a little more fuzz-friendly.

The Huckleberry is my go to fuzz for live use now. It’s the first thing in my chain. I tried it before and after my (buffered) Hot Cake and it certainly sounds best with an un-buffered connection. Coming after the buffer, it sounded thinner and didn’t respond nearly as well to rolling off the guitars volume. That said, the sound coming after the buffer could be great for recording. That’s just my reminder that you shouldn’t be afraid to try your pedals in different (unorthodox) orders.

Back to live use, the Huckleberry cuts through amazingly well (something not every fuzz can do). No, it doesn’t sound exactly like a fuzz face, a muff, or a tone bender. But it can get pretty damn close to those first two. And the folks that come to see my band, aren’t the type to say “he totally should have used a Mk II Tonebender for that part!”

So try a Huckleberry. Tonefactor offers a great return policy, but my guess is you won’t be using it. For $150, you simply can’t go wrong.

For more fuzz reading, RG Keen has a great article on the Technology of the Fuzz Face. If you are into fuzz, you should check it out. It’s pretty technical, but should help to understand how such a simple circuit is so magical. Tonefactor Huckleberry review

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