Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fuzz Week/Part #5: Tortuga Effects Sasquatch

-Analog War Cry-

Fuzz Week
A collection of unique and superb fuzz boxes


Ever since these pedals landed on the scene I have been nothing but curious to see what they're all about. Something about them, the look, the style, the art, and the vibe all had me hooked before I even had a chance to plug into one. When someone pays this much attention to detail you know it's going to translate into every area of the design, and this could not be truer of the Tortuga Effects pedal line. All the great things about vintage and modern rock tones come screaming from these intelligently designed pedals. Your guitars will love for it, your amps will find themselves speaking new languages, and your overall sound will come together in a symphony of splendid ear torture. For those of you looking for an effect pedal that sports class, looks, killer tone, and originality look no further.

Tortuga Effects
Renton, Washington
Builder: Matt Johnson

Years in the Game: ?
Pedal: Sasquatch Ger Fuzz

Oh how I love these pedals! If only you guys knew how long I had been hunting down someone or somewhere that had these awesome stompboxes. In the end it was Tortuga that hooked me up with the chance to put them through their paces. The reason for such unique and innovative pedals? The mind of Matt Johnson. Being that he runs this one-man operations gives him the freedom and space to create whatever the hell he wants, and why not? He's damn good at it. A lot of the creativity and experience for building pedals came before Matt even began building. Having worked in the guitar shop environment gave him the chance to listen to what players really wanted out of their stompboxes. It's these cats that always end up building us the best and most user friendly products. Having an open-mind and open ear has definitely given Matt the ability to create some super hip pedals. The pedal AWC chose to feature here? The Sasquatch Germanium Fuzz of course, and what a fuzz it is. The name says it all, mysterious, legendary, wild, and hairy. The birth of the Sasquatch is rooted in the infamous Arbiter Fuzz Face circuit, picking up where the vintage design left off. If you're a fan of the Fuzz Face this pedal will sit right at home with you, it has all the sounds of the vintage model and many many more that will keep you busy for a long long time. It not only sounds amazing through guitar but it rips when played through bass as well. This is one of the most powerful fuzz boxes I have ever plugged into, it had my amp shaking and thumping in a way I have never seen and heard. It's controls go as follows... Find Him switch: on/off switch, Make Him Mad switch: switches into the pedal's more extreme mode, works with Anger knob, Howl knob: controls the volume and output of the pedal, Growl knob: sets the amount of fuzz/effect, Hungry/Full toggle switch: switches between a fatter and thinner fuzz tone, Anger knob: sets the amount of freak-out fuzz/effect the pedal dishes out, works with Make Him Mad switch. It definitely shows how much work Matt put into the design of this pedal, the controls all work great together, and the sounds are all fantastic. We first started with some traditional, vintage, Fuzz Face era tones. To get these sounds was easy, simply set the Sasquatch to Full on the toggle switch and go to town with the Growl until you find a classic tone you dig most. It is very very easy to get authentic classic rock fuzz tones from this pedal, from the Growl's lowest to it's highest levels. I can only imagine what a cat like Jimi would have done if he had a Sasquatch in his pedal arsenal. We tested this pedal through a clean tone only, using a Fender Hot Rod Deville 4x10 with all the controls set to noon. Getting a good sound out of this pedal is as easy as plugging it in, matching the volume to your amp, and setting in as little or as much fuzz as you want. Tube amp and good guitar definitely adds to the killer sound and size of this pedal. Adding different effects like vibe, wah, and phaser also work great through this pedal, definitely plays well with others. Set in it's mid fuzz settings is where I think this pedal shines the most, as least for me. It gives a solid, smooth, yet broken-up growly fuzz that works great with guitar chords and is perfect for layering your overdrive guitar tracks. We did some stereo rhythm guitar tracks with one side played through a tube amp's natural distortion and the other side through the Sasquatch. The outcome was one of the richest, biggest sounds we have ever produced in the studio. An awesome pedal for lugging around to gigs. I mean think about it, with this one fuzz box you can dial-in every fuzz tone you need and sound killer doing it. The pedal maintains all your clean tone's eq and punch without eating away from the sounds' body and character. As we began to pump more fuzz out of the pedal we noticed one thing which was a surprise to all of us, the ability to control how much noise and madness you want from the pedal. We all know how old school fuzz pedals can tend to be a bit noisy, if you're good at controlling your guitar you can use the noise to shape some pretty interesting sounds, if not you're stuck with with one sound. With the Sasquatch you have all the control you need. Want just a hint of screeching? Not a problem. Want the whole darn circus? You got that too, all at your fingertips. It really is amazing just how many ground this pedal can cover, this is where this fuzz pedal separates itself from many others, and why Matt is quickly becoming one of the stompbox world's most recognized builders. Every guitar we threw at the Sasquatch sounded awesome, Strat, Les Paul, semi-hollow body, P90's, Tele, you name it. This is not just a great pedal for gigging, this is a true magical tool for the studio.


For more info on Tortuga Effects go to www.tortugaeffects.com or click the logo in our links. Go on and dare to sound different, get your hands on these and change the sound of music.

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