Monthly Archives: August 2010

Shoutout To Gearmanndude

I’m betting that many guitar players partake of the numerous guitar gear demos on YouTube.  You’ve probably seen great demos and some not so great demos.  A friend of Fat Tone Guitars and a super guitar player and fuzz pedal demo master is Gearmanndude.  GMD as many of us refer to him puts out demos like no one else.  Besides some great playing, he infuses some humor and personality into his demos.

He also sounds a lot like Jack Black.

Anyhow, I wanted to thank Gearmanndude for his hours of service to the guitar players and fuzz pedals and delay pedals on the market.  He makes it a lot more fun for us watching YouTube gear demos.

Enjoy…

The Customer Is King

We are in business because of customers.  We are not here because manufacturers make great stuff.  We are here because there are customers out there that want great stuff.  And customers tell us what stuff they want and how they want to procure that stuff.

They also tell us when the stuff they have bought isn’t great, or if their experience getting that stuff has been less than great.  It’s less frequently that we hear from customers when their buying experience is pleasurable.  However, when we do, it absolutely makes my day.  And if you are wondering, Jon is our shipping manager.  Check these out…

“Hello Fat Tone (or to Jon, who wrote “thanks” on my invoice),

Thanks for the 11% off the Catalinbread Merkin fuzzbox.  I think it was August 8th or something, and it was like 3am, and I couldn’t sleep, and I was all annoyed… then I saw a clip for the Catalinbread Merkin fuzz on I LOVE FUZZ . COM and then a post from one of you about 11% off until midnight.
So I was like “Shit, I can’t sleep; might as well by a pedal.”  And I did and the Merkin is dope.  Thanks again for the deal.
Yer pal,”
and…

“Wow, Phil! If Jon isn’t hip to this thing yet, turn him on quick! I
just plugged the Tone Reaper into my Marshall Studio-15 and Fender Blues
Jr. in series, playing my Gibson SG, and I have now formally ended my
eternal Tone-Bender quest. This thing outdoes my MJM Britbender and
Phoenix Electronics Lady Stardust pedals, hands down. I used to have an
original USA Vox Tone Bender in 1969, and this completely captures that
same, unmistakeably heavy sound–it is totally unique, and you can’t
touch it with a Fuzz Face or any other pedal, really. It has incredibly
chimey harmonics and feeds back in a controllable fashion. I do
believe the Tone Reaper actually has more volume on tap than the old Vox
did. I am just so amazed at the power and the tone that this thing puts
out. I haven’t played my Les Paul through it yet, but I’m sure it’s
gonna shake the room. You know, the packaging of this pedal is
deceptive–I first saw it and thought, oh this is another high-gain,
heavy metal, silicon death-fuzz. Turns out this thing is one of the
best Tone Bender replicas out there, with that distinctive T/B hollow
tone and in-your-face, fuzzy nastiness. It does Yardbirds, Zep I & II,
Mick Ronson/Spiders from Mars, Tommy Iommi, and Jeff Beck/Truth
perfectly. This is the real deal! I haven’t played a D.A.M. replica
yet, but dollar-for-dollar, this has got to be the go-to Tone Bender to
have. Please pass my point-of-view on to anyone who expresses an
interest in this pedal. I endorse it heartily.”

History Of The Big Muff (part 5)

More on the Big Muff

THE OP-AMP ”TONE BYPASS“ BIG MUFF π – VERSION 5

I’ve been asked to remove some of this content. Sorry.

The EHX Big Muff Pi is an awesome sounding pedal and has a rich and complex history.

EHX Big Muff V5 Op Amp

EHX Big Muff Pi V5

EHX Big Muff Pi V5 circuit board

EHX Big Muff Pi V5 circuit board

Our next installment in the EHX Big Muff Pi saga will take us to the currently available Big Muff pedals.

History Of The Big Muff (part 4)

More from our friends in NYC.

THE OP-AMP BIG MUFF π – VERSION 4

I’ve been asked to remove some of this content and I’ve complied.  Bummer.

EHX Big Muff V4 Op Amp Version

EHX Big Muff V4 Op Amp Version

EHX Big Muff Op Amp

EHX Big Muff Op Amp from the side

Selling Guitar Gear

People outside the industry always ask me if rock and roll artists help sell gear like guitars, distortion pedals or guitar amps. The truth of the matter is….yes and no.

What is important to remember is that Stevie Ray Vaughan never played a SRV Strat.

The overall marketplace that gear manufacturers are trying to tap into when developing a signature guitar or amp is usually a less sophisticated marketplace. That isn’t meant to be a slam but a descriptive statement. In my opinion, anything that can help get a young person to pick up a guitar and play it is a good thing.

Getting back to artists selling gear. The absolute top artist responsible for selling guitar gear is without a doubt, Jimi Hendrix. 40 years after his passing, Jimi is still the holy grail of tone for those chasing a signature sound. The difference is that there is really no specific guitar or amp that carries the Jimi Hendrix name (if you forget Gibson’s aborted attempt last year).  Jimi Hendrix sells gear that guitarists generally associate with his overall sound.

Gibson Hendrix guitar

Gibson's Hendrix guitar misfire

The influence that Hendrix has had on gear sales is huge. The fuzz pedal in all its glory has Jimi to thank for its popularity. Of course, David Gilmour and more recently Jack White have helped to popularize fuzz, but Jimi is the founding father.  Other guitar effects that Hendrix is associated with include the Octavio (listen to the octavy leads in Purple Haze for example) and the Uni-Vibe (Band of Gypsys).

You might not realize this but the Fender Stratocaster was an afterthought guitar in the mid to late sixties until Jimi picked one up and figured out the nuances of the single coil. Nowadays, the Strat is the single biggest selling guitar and tons of single coil guitars, by many different makers still reach for that Hendrixian wail.

Fano Alt De Facto SP6 Guitar

Fano Alt De Facto SP6 with Fralin Pickups

Notice the placement of the bridge single coil pickup.  Seem reversed?  Credit Jimi Hendrix and his use of a right-handed Strat played  upside down as the influence on that small but highly important detail.

That Sputter You Hear in Your Head

One of the most popular boutique fuzz pedals is the Fuzz Factory by ZVex Effects.  This cool fuzz pedal came out in the mid 1990s and turned the traditional fuzz pedal market on its side.

Taking their starting point from a germanium based Fuzz Face, the folks at ZVex created a truly unique fuzz that did way more than just fuzz up and distort your guitar sound.  Fuzz Factories twisted, sputtered, howled, grunted and choked the tone, with truly unbelievable sonic results.  And these sputtery fuzzboxes also begat an entire subculture of fuzz makers and enthusiasts.

A cool cousin to the Fuzz Factory is the Mini Wolf CPU, a fuzz pedal made by Mellowtone. The Mini Wolf does its own version of snap crackle and pop.  Listen here and you’ll see what I mean…

History Of The Big Muff (part 3)

This is starting to feel like a soap opera. More great stuff on the history of the EHX Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal from Fat Tone Guitars*

THE RED AND BLACK BIG MUFF π – VERSION 3

I have been asked to remove some of this content and I’ve complied.

EHX Big Muff Pi

EHX Black and Red Big Muff Pi with Box

EHX Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal

EHX Big Muff Pi Red and Black fuzz

Some famous sounds of the EHX Big Muff Pi V3 include David Gilmour on Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins on Siamese Dream.