This silicon transistor fuzz pedal derives its name from Jimi Hendrix’s legendary 1969 Woodstock performance, based on the original Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face design he used.
By 1969, germanium transistors were phased out of Fuzz Faces to make way for the silicon variety, resulting in a change of tonal character: a more direct quality with harder clipping, a sharper attack and stronger top-end.
The Woodstock’s circuit boasts a pair of NOS silicon transistors - a 2N3904 and the higher gain 2N5088 - with three brands available as an option (Mullard, GEC or Texas Instruments). All components are point-to-point hand-wired using tag board and the entire construction, including the metal casing and stainless-steel control panel, appears extremely solid.
With a characteristic voice leaning towards the best 60s psychedelic rock, the Woodstock doesn’t disappoint in terms of retro appeal; when dialled full tilt at ‘drum kit level’ volume it delivers strong definition and note separation in a searing lead tone, with ample bottom-end weight and endless on-the-edge-of-chaos sustain that blooms into Star Spangled Banner feedback.
Backing the guitar volume off slightly it cleans up tastefully by retaining some interesting granularity and crunch whilst softening an uber-assertive bite in the signal during the process. Around the halfway mark, however, it becomes significantly thinner sounding and less musical/useable - a common flaw for silicon fuzzes in terms of this feature.
It’s early doors for Brantone, but they’ve certainly managed to create a memorable first impression with their stompboxes. With a further two limited runs of pedals on the way - an officially licensed reissue of Charlie Watkins’ WEM Pep Box and a Tone Bender MK1.5-style unit - we’re expecting great things ahead.