The Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face has been available since 1966, and shows no indications of dying in the near future. With the designs past you’ll find all sorts of different variations within the fundamental original circuit, from PNP Germanium to NPN Plastic, along with a numerous quantity of fuzz pedals that derive from it.
The Fuzz Face continues to be performed by nearly every famous guitarist which has ever resided, and will likely continue for many years.
Here’s a schematic from the original Germanium transistor form of the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face:
Arbiter Fuzz Face ()” />
What’s Inside…The Plastic Years
As time continued, that old germanium transistors were gradually being replaced in support of the greater stable and consistent Plastic versions. Consequently, Dallas-Arbiter started equipping the Fuzz Face pedals using these new transistors with various seem results. They aren’t the same as the initial Germanium versions, usually having a more harsh and aggressive clipping instead of the soft clipping characteristics of Germanium. There is just one part which was altered within the circuit apart from the transistors.
The 470-ohm resistor was substituted for a 330-ohm. The positioning of the 33K and also the 330 resistors are complete opposite of what they’re within the Germanium version. The 470 is at the middle in the last version, however it’s gone to live in the outdoors near the 20?F capacitor. The transistors that were utilized in these versions incorporated: BC108C, BC183L, BC109, BC109C, and BC209C. Most, if not completely, of those transistors continue to be created and can easily be bought. The circuit has BC183L transistors, that have the B-C-E pinout. The rest of the transistors which were used possess the more standard C-B-E pinout, if you stumble upon a Fuzz Face with something apart from the BC183L, the bottom and collector leads is going to be twisted around to operate correctly.
The Brand New Fuzz Faces…Arbiter Reissues
Recently there’s been an enormous resurgence of great interest within the original Arbiter Fuzz Faces, most likely fueled through the very mediocre sounding Dunlop Fuzz Faces. A few years back, the Arbiter company designed a limited run of reissue Fuzz Faces, filled with AC128 transistors. Should you check out the schematic below, you will see that it is not quite a reissue, but a better form of the initial.
The 470-ohm resistor that’s in series using the .01?F output cap continues to be substituted for a 1K resistor, which reinforces the creation of the circuit a great deal. The collector resistor on Q2 continues to be decreased from 8K2 to 6K8. This will raise the current being provided towards the transistor and most likely fattens in the seem a little. The output capacitor seemed to be altered from .01?F within the original issue pedals to .047?F within the reissue pedals. This transformation will raise the bass reponse from the pedal. The final change may be the Volume pot. The 500KA original value continues to be substituted for a 100KA, which enables more highs to obtain through. These modifications are a few great enhancements towards the original circuit, and are the mods being done by DIYers and custom effects builders.
It’s impossible to attract a conclusion regarding which version is “better” compared to other, because many people such as the Plastic versions, and a few people don’t. It’s reliable advice, however, the Plastic versions will clearly be free from one significant problem that plagued the Germanium Fuzz Faces…temperature instability. It’s been noted many occasions over when they get too hot…they’ll cease working.
It had been also much simpler to create more consistent sounds from unit to unit using the Plastic versions (whether individuals “sounds” were good or otherwise remained for that purchaser of pedal to determine). An issue with Plastic transistors that does not appear to exist with Germanium is they might have an excessive amount of gain. An excessive amount of gain may cause a Fuzz Face to seem horrid. With Plastic it might be tough to stick to the Q1 hfe of 70 and Q2 hfe of 120, since most Plastic transistors are excess of 120 to start with. Someone in Aron’s Stompbox Forum stated that putting a 100pF capacitor over the Collector-Base junction from the transistors inside a Plastic Fuzz Face clone is needed control the gain and oscillation, so if you choose to build this version, remember that.