Ashdown Pro-FX Vintage Fuzz: What is it?
Ashdown Engineering has been most generous to guitar players in recent years. Designs such as the superlative AGM-5C tube amp combo have shown that the brand is not just for bass guitar, and pedals such as the Pro-FX range are expanding our pedalboard options for budget stompboxes.
Designed by Dave Green, the good doctor behind Doctor Green effects who has been with Ashdown since 2006, the Pro-FX range comprises a comprehensive range of stompboxes, each housed in a similarly rugged, if under-decorated, enclosure, powerable via 9V DC supply.
Some of these effects are voiced specifically for bass, but others, such as the Retro-Drive overdrive pedal and this Vintage Fuzz are for the six-stringers, and when we say affordable we’re not kidding – this two-knob fuzz pedal will set you back just £75.
The fuss-free design is attractive, too. You’ve got two knobs for Fuzz and Output. No messing around.
Ashdown Pro-FX Vintage Fuzz: Performance and verdict
If you are looking for an idea of what sort of sounds you can tease from the Vintage Fuzz, the clue is in the name. It is voiced towards the primordial era of the fuzz pedal, late ‘60s, early ‘70s, an era of ear drum-threatening stage volumes and guitar amps as public address equipment in all but name.
• Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini FFM3
The most noticeable sonic trait of the FFM3 Jimi Hendrix is a stern kick in the midrange, improving note clarity, and making the FFM3 a fine choice for boosting an overdriven amp or slicing through a mix.
• Earthquaker Devices Colby Fuzz Sound
What you get is great-sounding late-60s fuzz that's surprisingly versatile in its range - thanks mainly to the tone control, which to the right adds low-end warmth for fat, sustaining vocal leads that'll sustain forever.
The controls are simple. Fuzz dials in the amount of fuzz, “from a little to a lot”, while Output controls the overall output volume. But as with Fuzz Faces, Tone Benders, and the great, heaving multitudes of two-knob fuzz pedals that we have seen over the years, there’s a sort of tacit complexity when it comes to integrating them into your sound.
One option is to time the Vintage Fuzz and – to hell with it – that’s really quite something. It will give you that molten sustain for leads while remaining sharp and abrasive for rhythm work.
Backing off your electric guitar’s volume control, however, reveals a wide range of dynamics that can play well for a number of styles. Sure, would a tone knob – or even a bias control – have been too much, given that there is plenty of room on the enclosure with others in the Pro-FX series having three or four-knob configurations?
But sometimes two knobs are all you need, and there’s enough upper-midrange and trebly oomph to help this muscle its way through a mix. There’s no shortage of volume from that Output control either.
MusicRadar verdict: A simple design with hidden depths so long as you work your guitar’s volume control, the Vintage Fuzz strikes a nice balance between aggro fuzz and sustain.
Ashdown Pro-FX Vintage Fuzz: The web says
"This is a fuzz pedal with a sandpapery edge to it, but there’s plenty of squidgy sustain under your fingers as you dig in to play single-note leads, and it will respond to careful use of your volume knob if you want to dial it back."
Guitarist (opens in new tab)
Ashdown Pro-FX Vintage Fuzz: Hands-on demos
Ashdown Pro-FX Vintage Fuzz: Specifications
- ORIGIN: China
- TYPE: Fuzz pedal
- FEATURES: True Bypass
- CONTROLS: Fuzz, Output, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 50mA
- DIMENSIONS: 73 (w) x 112 (d) x 58mm (h)
- CONTACT: Ashdown Engineering (opens in new tab)