“My introduction to fuzz was before I had any on my face”: Alex Lifeson takes his pedalboard journey back to the start with Lerxst’s The Snow Dog – a limited edition octave fuzz with bark and bite

Lerxst The Snow Dog
Alex Lifeson with The Snow Dog (Image credit: Lerxst / Mojotone)

Lerxst has launched a new signature fuzz pedal for Alex Lifeson. The Snow Dog is a limited edition octave fuzz that the Rush guitarist describes as being capable of generating “the most horrific fuzz in the Universe!”

Only 500 units of The Snow Dog have been made, and they are available exclusively via Reverb. The all-analogue design is the latest guitar effects pedal to come from Lerxst, and is a Fly By Night themed sibling to the By-Tor boost/drive pedal that is designed for vintage and modern fuzz tones.

Well, we are calling The Snow Dog a signature fuzz but can it be a signature fuzz when the brand, Lerxst, is a collaborative endeavour between Lifeson and Mojotone? Either way, it’s going to put a lot of Lifeson’s electric guitar tones on your pedalboard, and a lot more besides. This thing is eminently tweakable.

Sharing the twofer configuration of the By-Tor, with footswitches for the octave and the fuzz side of the pedal, this is a pedal inspired by the young Lifeson’s search for tones in the style of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Erik Brann.

“My introduction to fuzz was before I had any on my face,” says Lifeson. “My first pedal was the glorious Fuzz Face and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida never sounded better!” 

The fuzz side of the pedal is a three-dial affair. Sustain, Volume and Tone. The Snow Dog circuit is based upon a 1970s-style silicon fuzz with a wide sweep of gain that can take your tone from seminal vintage fuzz to thick and saturated super-sustaining sounds, with the fuzz’s character shaped by the Tone dial. You can have it up-front and screaming or dial back the high-end for a more tucked in sound. 

It’s the Snow Dog that really screams. It can produce the most horrific fuzz in the Universe!

On the octave side there are controls for Level and Gain. A mini-toggle switch in the middle of the pedal allows you to choose between running the octave into the fuzz or the fuzz into the octave. With the fuzz disengaged, the octave circuit can give you those quasi-synth tones. Lerxst also says it can be a useful gain boost too. 

Pairing both is where you’ll get all the fun of the fair with octave fuzz thrills, harmonic content all over the place from that octave up, and assuming you have followed protocol and dimed your guitar amp, your power chords should sound like Bigfoot. Just the thing for writing the next In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Lifeson says it is a real screamer and makes a faithful companion to the By-Tor. As you’d expect, right? After all, the song is called By-Tor and The Snow Dog.

“I use distortion, fuzz, and overdrive pedals and plugins when I'm looking for that kind of specific sound for the projects I work on and am having fun with both the By-Tor and Snow Dog pedals,” says Lifeson. “But it’s the Snow Dog that really screams.  It can produce the most horrific fuzz in the Universe!”

If you would like your pedalboard to be The Snow Dog’s next forever home, you can make your enquiries at Reverb. Priced $295, it is available now while stocks last.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.