Friday, January 29, 2016

Fuzz Box Fiasco: Part #2. Fuzz 292 by. JDM Pedals

Analog War Cry
-presents-
Fuzz Box Fiasco
A collection of unique and superb stompboxes




  • Builder - Joe Dochtermann 
  • From - Berlin, Germany
  • Years in the Game - 2 Years
  • Pedal - Fuzz 292 - 2-knob version

For the second FBF feature I am proud to announce a small hand built company that I came across by mistake. It was through searching for some instruction vids for a nephew of mine that I discovered JDM Pedals. Through my experience in hunting down gear it is always in these situations that I am blown away and equally surprised at how much unknown gear is out there waiting to be discovered. JDM Pedals are hand built in Berlin, offering everything from their line of classic based circuits to completely custom builds modded to your liking to work with your root tone. The website also posts tips for building your own DIY projects, giving you some really cool tricks to push your builds to the max. Below is a simple 2-knob fuzz box that delivers some radical fuzz tones! It's perfect for those of you looking for a great go-to stompbox.

Fuzz 292 / 2-knob version
  • True Bypass
  • High Gain Silicon Design
  • Also available in 3-knob
  • Volume - control the output
  • Tone - tame the fuzz
  • 3-Way Switch - choose your flavor 
 
Would you look at what we have here? A super simple stellar sounding little fuzz box that I was so glad I came across! This proves that you don't always need some flashy website to have an amazing product. Good gear is good gear and Joe's pedals are exactly that. Guys I'm telling you right now before I get going on this review, if you get a chance grab one of these little boxes go for it - the price is right and they sound really amazing.


The Fuzz 292 is a killer little fuzz box that comes packed with a ton of tone and a wide range of choice.With it's two knobs and selector switch the 292 can cover what most pedals with double the controls do. It's volume knob has a great amount of output and sounds really sweet when pushed to the limit. The tone control works more as a way to warm up or create and all-out extreme cut-through anything fuzz sound. The pedal's golden feature for me is the selector switch - a 3-way switch that can turn the 292 into treble boosted fuzz, mellower warmer fuzz, or freak nasty high gain fuzz for those of you into the blurred out rock and roll thing. This pedal also comes in a 3 knob version which JDM will voice to your liking - for more info on that go to their website and check out their choices.

As a starting point for this review I began with a killer sounding Plexi and custom built Strat. I found myself having so much fun with this choice of amp and guitar that I found no reason to swap them out for any others. With Plexi style amps I always enjoy cranking them to a moderate overdrive tone when using them with a fuzz box of any kind, this gives you the best possible platform to stack any kind of fuzz or distortion tone. I started by setting the Fuzz 292 with it's volume pushed a little hot to give the fuzz effect a little more oomph, set the tone at noon, and set selector switch in it's treb boost setting. I clicked on this little pedal and "WOW'! The amp was screaming and squealing like a classic rock tone sent from some timewarp from the 60's. The richness and thickness of the fuzz's effect came through quite nicely. My chords blared and played with absolute clarity, the licks sliced with a sword like precision, and solos cut through insanely well. For those of you into the classic fuzz tones of yesterday this pedal is for you. Cranking the pedal's volume control I found the pedal was able to deliver more and more and not more of the same. You see the pedal doesn't come with a standard fuzz control, instead the 292 is set at it's max which gives you the ability to tame on the go, with either your own touch and dynamics or guitar's volume and tone controls. It still definitely gives you the ability to choose how much or how little fuzz you like. For those of you who like your fuzz a little warmer and not so bright the low setting on the selector switch is a nice choice. It gives your tone this really sweet sounding buzzy, beefy, and fluffy sound. This tone setting works great when you just want a nice little fuzz to noodle around with and don't want to get too extreme. Still though, slap down on your strings a little harder and you'll notice it's still capable of some really inetresting sounds. In all settings the pedal is capable of some pretty extreme fuzz tones, but this isn't more true than in it's high setting. The sweet spot for me in the high gain setting was bridge pickup, tone at about 25%, volume at about 75%, and my guitar's tone control rolled back a tiny bit. This created that beehive hardcore buzzing fuzz effect that is so much fun to play along with. My chords exploded in a saturated explosion of creamy fuzz and my single note fuzz licks became much bigger than they actually were. It was all very exciting. I honestly thought at first that there wouldn't be much controlling the overall fuzz without the pedal lacking a fuzz control, but this was not the case. It gave me just as much control over the fuzz and I found it was really nice to have it all at the controls of my guitar. Making the sound a more personal thing and giving my playing dynamics a true chance to shine.

For a 2-knob fuzz box this pedal is quite amazing. It's the design of this pedal that I believe Joe got just right that gives it it's ability to rock so hard. I had a chance to plug this little box in along with a handful of other boxes - from modulation pedals to overdrivers, and all in all it was very user friendly. For my taste I found the Fuzz 292 worked best through some natural tube driven overdrive, didn't matter the amount of watts on the amp or how big and bad. Playing the 292 through a 5 watt amp was just as satisfying as it was playing it through the Plex. This tells you what? It simply tells you we got a contender here.

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For more info on JDM Pedals go to www.joedocmusic.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fuzz Box Fiasco: Part #1. OctaFUZZ by. Fuzz Puppy

Analog War Cry
-presents-
Fuzz Box Fiasco
A collection of unique and superb stompboxes




  • Builder - Tim Weghorst
  • From - Bradenton, Florida
  • Years in Game - 2 Years
  • Pedal - OctaFuzz

And so it begins... another killer collection of what we think are some of the best fuzz pedals out there right now. The years have gone by and the originals and favorites of times past still make their permanent home on many of our pedalboards and rigs. It wasn't until I began this site that I realized there was so much more out there, not to take anything away from the amazing fuzz pedals that have been delivering decade after decade. I decided to hunt down the scene for something new - and low and behold what I'd discover was an entire community of one-man operations, small indie companies, and startups that were building higher quality, longer lasting, and insanely great sounding stompboxes. I've tested a ton of pedals throughout the years, not all have made it on the site, but for those that have I truly believe they are the cream of the crop. The underdog deserves his day in sun from time to time, and today we let him have.

Something completely new for you guys, or at least it was new to me up until a few weeks ago. I present to you guys and welcome FuzzPuppy! A small handbuilt stompbox company run by the one and only Tim Weghorst - a cat with a passion for great tone, a love for music, and a proper background in electronics engineering (what more could you ask for?). Put it all together and wallah! FuzzPuppy is born. So far so good, and what makes this little pedal outfit even cooler is not only do they create killer sounding pedals, but with every pedal you buy they help a dog charity in need. Pretty freakin' cool if you ask me. Who doesn't dig that? Effects pedals and helping pups! I'm sure I'll be bringing you guys some more features from FuzzPuppy, for now...

The OctaFuzz / fuzz - octave fuzz

    • True Bypass
    • Built with vintage germanium clipping diodes
    • Super cool octagonal enclosure
    • Compatible w/standard center (-) power supply
    • 9V battery not included
    • Current consumption 20ma.
    • FuzzPuppy will donate 5$ to dog charity w/purchase
    • Free shipping



    Having taken a long hiatus from the blog I thought I'd get back and have trouble finding new and interesting companies to sink my teeth into. So far that has not been the case, take this little number The Octafuzz - a two part fuzz box that gives you a mean grinding fuzz and a grilling octave fuzz in it's second position. It's design is quite pleasing to the eye, from the odd shaped enclosure, hip artwork, and bright colored layout. It isn't all some gimmick though let me assure you. The pedal kicks out some of the most fuzz friendly tones I'm yet to come across.

    I took the pedal and ran it through my number one guitar - my Tele w/humbucker in the neck, I also rocked it with a Strat for some classic rock gorgeousness. Amps of choice were a small 5 watt tube amp and my 4x10 tricked out Deville. I began by plugging into the larger amp and setting the root tone at it's cleanest and most sparkling. My mission was to see what the pedal could do to a completely crisp signal. Some fuzz pedals don't deliver on this avenue and work best when played through overdriven tones, which is fantastic, but I always tend to discover that the fuzz boxes that deliver proper fuzz tones on their own are always the most user friendly to an overall signal. Just as expected the Octafuzz pasted the test and delivered a killer sounding warm yet crunchy fuzz tone that converted the amps clean tone into something all it's own. If you've read my reviews you'll notice I really love using fuzz boxes though verb and compression. I've created a sound I like to call "The Screaming Banshee", which is really brutal sounding when matched up with the right fuzz pedal. I ran the Octafuzz's regular fuzz setting through my invention and was very happy with the outcome. I also had a blast playing it's octave fuzz setting through my signal, but where this fuzz sounded best was through an already overdriven tone. I tried a few different things, ovedriving the amp itself, overdrive pedal in front of the OcaFUZZ, and cranking the low watt amp to it's most. All of these sounded warrior crazy cool through both the pedals flavors! I quickly discovered for my liking the best setup was the 5 watter, the Tele, and a bit of verb along with this pedal. I was able to push out big fat single note fuzz licks as well as some of the most groolish grinding fuzz chords known to man. My fingers felt they did their job with simplicity as they flew along the strings bending and grabbing onto chord to lick. Jamming along with some buddies I noticed the pedal didn't drown out any of the bass or drums, and cut through the mix just where it needed to be heard. It's a simple choice this pedal, it delivers not only on one but two fronts and does it damn well.


    With fuzz boxes you always need to be careful of two main things. The fuzz sound drowning out everything the more you crank it, and the inability to dial in a decent high-low mix. These are two problems that many people don't notice until they bring their pedals home and turn them up full blast. The Octafuzz sounded and performed beautifully both in it's lowest and highest levels. I didn't matter if it was stacked up against a Les Paul or Strat, vintage or modern amp, or stompbox overdrive or natural. The OctaFUZZ does the trick with absolute ease. I am looking forward to hearing what a Fuzz Puppy overdrive pedal can do, let's hope one comes in soon!

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    For more info on Fuzz Puppy go to the link here http://fuzzpuppy.com/ 

    Monday, January 11, 2016

    Let'em Chime



    If for some reason you haven't gotten hip to the Mod Kits DIY pedals and amps, I'm happy to be the one who brings you this very cool like no other little company. Perhaps you've been living under a rock? No matter you know now... consider yourself in the cool kids circle. Mod Kits DIY is a fantastic outfit that offers some of the greatest DIY projects available today. For you cats looking to dive into the do-it-yourself arena, Mod Kits has everything from simple to medium difficulty overdrive, distortion, and fuzz box kits - for you kids with a bit more experience looking to up your game there's also octave fuzz pedals, modulation, and time based effects - Then for you experienced builders that have been at it for a while they even have some really cool tube driven pedals, amp kits, and verb tanks. All in all it's a great stop for hunting down your next special tone. Build them, mod them, paint them as you like, and show them off to the world in your next session, gig, or pedalboard setup. Not to mention they make stellar gifts for those buddies and husbands of yours that geek out at the Analog War Cry level. 


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    THE SUSPENDED CHIME
    Chorus - Chorus/Delay



    • Blend Knob
    • Selector Switch
    • LED Indicator
    • Standard 9v (-) Power Jack
    • In - Out Jacks
    • On - Off Footswitch
    • Heavy Duty Predrilled Enclosure





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    The simplicity and user friendliness of the Suspended Chime was straight forward and easy to maneuver. Along with the footswitch on board the pedal comes with two controls - a selector switch that flips from chorus to chorusing delay, and a blend knob that adds or cuts the intensity of the chorusing effect in both settings. The delay effect is set at 190 milliseconds which works great with an array of different playing styles and sound effects. I found the pedal sounded pretty amazing on it's own through both clean and overdriven amp tones, and also had a good time throwing some other pedals into the mix to achieve some of my favorite effects. I plugged the pedal into a couple different amps and guitars, setting the pedal in it's mellowest to most intense settings. 

    My self built custom Strat type guitar was first in line. I plugged it into the normal channel of my buddy's 65' Deluxe, set both treble and bass at 7, and worked my way up to full blast on the volume control. I wanted to hear the Suspended Chime through a crisp and clear a tone ass possible, to get an idea of how it affected the overall sound. With the lone chorus setting I was able to dial in everything from hauntingly subtle chorus effects to some crazy cool intense mind whirling chorusing. The sweet spots for me were just outside of noon on the blend knob, from about 10'0'clock to 1. Surprisingly enough the chorus sound was quite warm and very lush to the touch, especially when manipulating my guitar's tone controls and switching into the neck pickups. I picked away and some of my favorite songs and riffs, finding myself warped into the psychedelia of classic rock and grunge songs past. My chord play sounded beautiful! With just a hint of effect the Suspended Chime gave the guitar a hidden shimmer that bloomed just enough to tickle my ear's curiosity. For more of a Leslie effect I set the blend from about 70-100%. I'm a huge fan of volume pedal swells, both with chorus and delay, it gives me some interesting nuances and gives off some great whispering, strange, and tripped out sound effects. This pedal was perfect for experimenting with these types of techniques. Backing off on the guitar's tone, kicking the amp's treble up almost full blast, and keeping the bass at 7 gave me the perfect overall tone to play with. Pushing the amp's tubes into a mild grind also worked well with the pedal's chorusing effects. I'm usually not a big fan of overdrive and chorus but it was hard to ignore that this pedal delivered pretty damn beautifully. 

    The real magic began once I flipped that little selector switch though. In came the Suspended Chime's delay and it was time to plug in the neck bucker Tele. Something I gotta point out is the quality of this pedal's delay effect. I was really impressed at how crisp and clear, yet warm and lush the delay was. I had a blast just rolling the chorus back and just playing around with the pedal's delay capabilities. Now remember, it is fixed at 190ms but you will be surprised at how much spunk you can get out of this setting. I cranked the Deluxe well into it's overdriven state and spanked away at the guitar neck, holding notes and bending others into my will. The delay delivered and broke in a voodoo like quality that was something really special to listen too. You'd be blown away what a hint of great sounding overdrive, a bit of chorus, and some proper delay will get you! For the ultimate and most exaggerated effects I brought in one of my favorite fuzz pedals. I pushed the overdriven tone into a squealing buzzing growl, clicking in the Suspended Chime's for a badass spaced out rock assault which had my friend jealous he didn't have the guitar in his hands. Again I really dug the delay of this pedal with just a hint of chorus. I'm a sucker for holding a note as long as I can, bending it into bird like squawks, and listening to the sounds distort in collections of rude harmonics. I guess you can tell I had some fun with this little darling, and this is only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible when finding a cool pedal like this.

    I'm always excited whenever Mod Kits send us anything from their DIY arsenal. It gives me the opportunity to up my building and soldering skills, schools me further into the world of stompboxes, and in the end hands me something I've built with my own two hands that I can customize any way I see fit. The Suspended Chime I will admit gave me a few head scratching moments, but only because I'd been rusty on my soldering and all around pedal building patience. Once I powered through it though and reached the light at the end of the tunnel, I was granted the gift of something worth writing home about.





    For more info on The Suspended Chime and the rest of the MOD Kits DIY collection go to www.modkitsdiy.com Look out for more from our MOD Kits friends in the near future.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016

    Live & Direct: A new AWC installment of gear adventures live from the stage.

      Live & Direct


    Coming this year new to the site the AWC crew and family will be taking the gear that gets submitted and we will be taking it out on live gigs, recording sessions, and other adventures. This will give us and you guys another view as to what it is the fantastic pedals and other gear that comes in is capable of. We will be shooting photography of our ventures out on the city, video, and getting insight from the players and audience. I will also be taping new a podcast show where I will be discussing the gigs and giving our thoughts on all angles. Please continue writing in with your suggestions on gear to check out, companies to look out for, an for those of you new builders out there please get in touch with us so we can get our hands on your builds. 

    Live & Direct will also keep our ears open to any artist willing to demo our gear in their sessions, recordings, and gigs. Los Angeles is jammed packed with venue after killer venue, stone cold rocking local and traveling bands, and full of word of mouth speakeasy hole in the wall hangouts all ready to showcase their vibes and talents. Email me directly for more info on how to work with us on this grand new adventure!



    -Alfie

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

    Coming Soon: Fine Tuning and Revamping AWC

    To everyone who has supported the site throughout the years,

    First let me take the time to say thank you so much for keeping the blog alive while I was on hiatus. It has been a real blast getting to know so many different gear companies throughout the world, and having a chance to try the gear that comes in is the cherry on top! AWC was a simple idea I had years ago when writing quick experiences of my gear adventures while writing on another social media site. A few readers and followers of that blog suggested I start a proper blog and so the Analog War Cry site was born! I've had some suggestions and constructive criticisms that I've taken into account and will be using to make the site even better. Look out the next couple months for changes to both the writing and look of the blog. I also have a bunch of new companies jumping on board which I'll be offering discounts for purchases on their pedals/gear. Audio bytes and podcasts will be making an appearance, as well as video demos get giveaways, artist features, and other fun stompbox features. Be on the lookout and keep on digging into the material.

    -Alfie