The Figure 17 Simplex is an elegant PTP-based turret board fuzz that affords a surprisingly diverse range of tones, from mild, crystalline overdrives with plenty of available boost, to searing and harmonically rich vintage fuzzes reminiscent of the earliest 60’s pedals. Our priority in designing this pedal was to create a fuzz with a penchant for the wild but that would easily be able to be dialed back for distinct and focused overdrive-like tones, thus providing a much more comprehensive range to suit a great number of players and styles.
The lowest end of its range is characterized by a touch of tube-like grit and a tasteful sweetening of the higher middle frequencies, perfect for accentuating overtones or bringing a flat or strangled amp to life. As the saturation control is turned up, those shining mids develop into singing, lush octaves and harmonics which are accented by an increasingly sputtery, swirling fuzz that remains open and responsive. At the highest of its gains it can become massively squeezed and compressed, especially with hot or bass-heavy pickups. The octave content is at the forefront here and can be manipulated into ring modulator-like tones with dissonant small chords or double stops. Throughout the entirety of its range, the Figure 17 remains extremely responsive to picking strength and playing dynamics, drastically cleaning up with lighter playing at all but the very highest of settings.
The guitar’s volume knob acts as an extension of the pedal’s saturation control, allowing for on-the-fly, fine-tune adjustment of the gain characteristics that is equally precise across the entirety of its range. The bass response is full and precise, providing the necessary power to ensure that the pedal never sounds anemic or weak. Despite its pronounced mid presence, the overall presentation is consistently natural and organic.
Equally at home as a subtle addition or a drastic augmentation, it succeeds in providing a huge range of musical, useful tones, all of which were tuned to be as interactive and inspiring as possible. Our combination of vintage and modern components in the Figure 17 reflects a desire to create a balance between edgy, biting presence and woolly, vintage warmth. We used only NOS Allen Bradley carbon composition resistors, the period-correct choice for the replication an early fuzz. This batch has a date code of 1964, which perfectly coincides with the production of the very first fuzz designs. The capacitors are a mix of vintage NOS Sprague Orange Pacer and some very unique NOS Gudeman blue epoxy films. The heart of the pedal are its pair of American-made NOS silicon transistors, complete with gold-plated leads and metal casings. We tried many different modern and vintage transistors in the design process but ultimately settled on these for their mature and reactive sound that avoids the empty, brittle immediacy that often comes with silicon transistors. We use Switchcraft ¼” jacks, Cliff true-bypass 3PDT switches, and Alpha potentiometers – top-of-the-line components that will ensure long-life and lasting reliability. Additionally, we managed to fit it all into a tiny 1590B sized enclosure – making it the smallest point-to-point or turret board pedal that we have seen available.