Some electric guitar tonesmiths cannot get enough of the fuzz pedal. No matter how nasty, how much it hisses and spits, and how the sound of ripping Velcro greats them when they play a simple power chord. Others simply don’t like it. No, thank you.
Then you have the fuzz-curious, those who love the idea in abstract, but when they take a fuzz home from the pound and introduce it to the rest of the pedalboard pack, all hell breaks loose. Disheartenment sets in. Great Eastern FX Co might just have the solution, the Focus Fuzz.
This is a fuzz-box that is being marketed as the sort of pedal that will play well with all kinds of guitar amps, with all kinds of guitars – no matter what kind of electric guitar pickups you’ve got on them – and maybe even will sit nice alongside a wah pedal. That, perhaps, is the ultimate test.
The Level control is relatively self-explanatory; turn up turn up the Level, turn up the output volume. The others are deserving of a little more explanation.
The Focus Fuzz is handmade in Cambridge, England, and has a simple three-knob layout, and, it has to be said, a classy looking build.
There are controls for Fuzz, Level, and Focus, with top-mounted jacks only adding to the impression that Great Eastern might have cracked it in terms of fuzz-pedal-to-pedalboard integration. The demo videos certainly sound good.
On A.N. Other fuzz pedal, standard control etiquette would suggest that Fuzz controls output gain. Sure, this does that too. But what we have here is a Fuzz control that dials in more gain as you turn it, but also adjusts the bias voltage, changing the character of the gain as you dial in more of it.
At low settings, the Focus Fuzz will behave like an overdrive pedal, gradually a little more like a distortion pedal as you turn the Fuzz dial before going square-wave vintage fuzz animal at its extremes – a nice distinction from those whose fuzz is voiced similarly no matter how much gain or fuzz you have dialled in.
Focus, meanwhile, applies a tuned gain boost to the front-end of the circuit that offers “fat, fuzzy sustain at one extreme to cutting and incisive bite at the other.”
Great Eastern promises a fuzz that doesn’t make a secret of its sweet spots.
“We wanted to create a pedal that would give fuzz-like sustain, aggression and rich overtones, but deliver all the other things we want as well,” said David Greeves, Great Eastern’s founder. “The Focus Fuzz loves both clean and dirty amps with single-coils or humbuckers, there’s tons of level on tap and it doesn't mind where you put it in the signal chain. Best of all, there’s a genuine range of tones to explore, not just one setting that sounds good!”
The circuit incorporates a mix of NOS germanium and modern silicon transistors and here is where it does conform to the laws of physics, err, fuzzics – such transistors are rare, and so this is a limited edition pedal.
Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Only 250 have been made, each pried £249/$285/€299, available direct or via select retailers.For more details, head over to Great Eastern FX Co.