Soundbox Workshop

Four Stage Fuzz


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Four Stage Fuzz

The four-stage fuzz is our take on 70's American super saturated distortion sustainer circuits.

We've taken the best bits of these classic circuits and added a few tricks of our own so when you push it, you won't get lost in the mix. Throughout design and testing, the mantra was 'make it smoother, but with more detail'... impossible right? Almost. To get where we wanted the sound to be, each stage was carefully crafted - with particular consideration in component selection, gain profile and frequency response. This gave us narrow band compression, followed by wide band distortion.

We used low noise devices with a nice open sound in the preamp and recovery stages to really reinforce and boost a) what the guitar pickup was putting down and b) the unbridled glory of stages 2 and 3 (a bit too dramatic maybe?)

Stages two and three utilise that 1970's wild child of the silicon transistor world - and one of our personal favourites - the tin can BC108. This is where the mojo is. We designed the gain, clipping (a combination of silicon, germanium and green LED) and frequency characteristics of each stage to compliment one another, swapping out caps, resistors and diodes until we got there: "smoother, but with more detail".

The filter switch very deliberately lets you set the tone to 'bright violet' or 'dark green'. The absence of a traditional tone control in this circuit really helps to keep noise down - it also means we were able to design a constant impedance output stage (around 10k), so your tone doesn't get sucked dry with the level control down low.

Overblown sustain for days with plenty of detail when you need it - you can't help but smile when this thing is plugged in.