Acid Fuzz Italian Fuzz

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Acid Fuzz about the 1966 Italian

The Acid Fuzz 1966 Italian is a faithful clone of the 1966 production VOX Tone Bender, with a few convenient features.  If you're looking for a 60's Vox Tone Bender, but don't want to pay $500+, this is the best bang for the buck.  100% hand made + this one's loaded with Mullard OC76 germanium transistor pair with correct gain and leakage for accurate reproduction of the classic 60's Vox tone.

This is the perfect gigging pedal as it is built like a tank, fits nicely on a pedal board + you can leave it plugged in without killing the battery by using the built in on/off switch.  The pedal powers on when a 1/4" cable is inserted in to the input.  However, when switched to the "off" position the battery is completely disconnected from the circuit so it can be left plugged in on a pedal board. Since germanium transistors are notoriously temperature sensitive the 1966 Italian also includes an adjustable "bias" control to compensate for various room temperatures and to get nasty splatty dying battery and buzzing chainsaw sounds as well.  Original 60's germanium tone benders have been known to just stop working if temperatures get too extreme.  When the bias control is set in the middle the sound is exactly like the original Vox unit.  If the room is very cold, turn the bias a bit clockwise to compensate.  If it's very warm, turn it a bit counter clockwise.  You can also adjust the bias to any degree off center to get different splattering and buzzing fuzz sounds reminiscent of 60's garage bands.  As the original Vox Tone Benders can be very bright + trebly the 1966 Italian also features a "tone" switch for a modest boost in the lower/mid frequencies.

Each 1966 Italian fuzz is tested alongside a 60's Vox Tonebender to assure authentic tone.  This one is extremely faithful to the original Vox Tone Bender's sound + less expensive, more versatile, and reliable.

Features:

  • adjustable bias control
  • tone switch/bass boost
  • on/off power switch
  • Neutrik jacks
  • Alpha foot switch
  • Alpha potentiometers
  • silver shielded signal cables for low noise
  • WIMA input caps
  • 60's Mullard Tropical Fish output caps
  • Allen Bradley carbon comp. resistors
  • wired pnp positive ground just like the originals
  • battery included
  • 100% HAND MADE
  • available with hand selected NOS SFT337, SFT353, SFTxxx, AC125, (Mullard) OC76 or other Germanium transistors (different prices)


Acid Fuzz about the Italian Fuzz

The 1960’s Vox Tone Benders made in Italy by the Jen Company are some of my all time favorite fuzzes.  Pretty much a Fuzz Face/MK1.5 circuit design,  voiced brighter with more articulation. Not really a thick and syrupy saturated sustaining kind of fuzz, but more of an open and airy reed-like fuzz that cleans up very well with your guitars volume knob and retains the general sound and character of your guitar very well.  Don’t get me wrong, she gets dirty, especially through a cranked amp and hot pickups, but she cleans up really well for some rhythm and clean passages. The clean up is just as good or even better than what you would expect from a good germanium Fuzz Face. For me, it’s just about perfect through a cranked AC30, especially with humbuckers.

The Jen Fuzz is really just the Vox TB rebranded as “Jen Fuzz”.  They were all made by Jen with pretty much the same parts and by probably by the same people.  There is some speculation that the early 1966 year of production Vox units in the silver-grey hammered finish case with SFT337 and OC76 transistors, black face, and larger text may have been made in England; much like the early Vox guitars before they moved production to Italy at the EKO factory.

The idea with the Italian Fuzz was to take these two great sounding Italian made fuzzes and blend everything I liked about each of them to get a sort of ideal Vox Tone Bender. The Italian Fuzz features the same transistor combination as the 1966 Vox first year of production pedal on the right, one SFT337 and one OC76, but it’s voiced a little darker and with a little more balls, like the Jen Fuzz on the left.

The Acid Test: To assure authentic tone each Italian Fuzz is tested alongside an original '66 Vox and Jen Fuzz.   

The original pedals each sound amazing in their own way, but as anyone who’s had a classic germanium fuzz knows, they can be a bit of a PITA depending upon what temperature the room is. IMO the Vox/Jen Tone Benders are often just too bright with certain guitar/amp combinations, so in addition to the original “Attack” (FUZZ) and “Level” (Volume) controls, the Italian Fuzz has an external bias control.  This allows easy user control over the bias voltage to the second transistor. So, you can compensate for temperature changes and get some varying shades of fuzz from spitting and gated to smoother and boosted at the turn of a dial. Also features a tone voicing switch to allow some more low/mids giving it a much richer and darker tone if you need it.

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