Ge Fuzz Face Build
The proper arbiter fuzz face and all these boutique clones can set you back a few £100. Which is alot of money for such a simple pedal really.
The red dunlop reissues sound nothing alike the true fuzz faces that hendrix was famed for using, they use NPN silicon transistors, which take away from the unpredictable-ness, and smoothness that makes fuzz faces sound so nice in the first place, so why not build my own. In a nice small box, with an LED, my own design painted on, a DC jack, vintage correct AC128s, and a few other modifications.
I hand-drew my own PCB, again with sharpie. I’m using the “vintage” postive ground layout. Which is pretty easy to find online if you google it. Or you can take a look at the PCB for my layout. Exact same layout, just with straight lines.
Next i looked into the mods roger mayer performed on hendrixes fuzz face, which include subbing the stock 1k “fuzz” pot for a 2k pot, replacing the 470 ohm output resistor for a 1k resistor, and replacing the 8.2K resistor at the collector of the second transistor with and 18K resistor, this mod provides more gain and output from the unit, which i thought id go ahead and do since who else made the FF sound as good as it did? This is also known as the Roger Mayer Classic Fuzz.
I also looked into reducing the voltage into the pedal to allow it to simulate a dying battery. Which is simply just tacking on a 10k linear pot before the PCB to control the voltage going into the pedal. In this case it would be the -negative voltage since this is a positive ground unit (which also means it cant be daisy chained with negative ground pedals, which isnt a problem, just include a battery snap and remember to unplug the input when you’re not using it, the battery will last for ages). You also cant use the power jack to disconect the battery, so remember to take the battery out if you want to power it from a supply.
I drew up my layout showing the offboard wiring as well as the PCB layout. Its always a good idea to keep hold of for reference.
From this view, the transistor pins from Q1 are in the order C-B-E left to right. For Q2 they are E-B-C. I used a HFE of 50-60 for Q1 and 80-90 for Q2.
I chose to use a standard MXR size box. You can pick em up for around about £6 online. I reccomend planning where to drill more carefully than i did, the jacks are a bit too low down (hence the pink tape) as is the 3PDT, the battery just about fits above it if i stand it up.
For good online shops for parts i use
Here’s my offboard wiring inside the pedal.
Wired up with the PCB.
Back of the PCB.
And the completed thing.
Nice sounding box, responds well to dynamics and volume control, the voltage sag cleans it up, adds more low end and a big volume boost. Would make a nice booster pedal.