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Getting a better Fuzz Face sound?

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I my analog days I often kept some variation of a Fuzz Face pedal in my chain.  My favorite was the Fulltone '69 pedal because 1) it was germanium, which I prefer, and 2) it allowed you to fine-tune the bias and contour to remove any inherent "woofiness" in the tone, resulting in a tighter feel that tracked better on fast runs.

 

The Arbiter Fuzz on Helix sounds OK, but is a bit too "wooly" for my tastes.  It also seems to be modeled more toward the silicone end of the fuzz spectrum.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion for either fine-tuning the existing Arbiter Fuzz effect to get a tighter tone, or for getting a similar sound using one of the other distortion effect models?

 

Thanks,

Mike

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I haven't found any of the fuzzes to get quite what I am looking for. I can't entirely fault them - true fuzz heads all have that one specific, weird fuzz they love, I think - but it is a little frustrating. For bass, I think I ended up having to do a split path so I could blend clean with a Muff (that has an EQ after it). It gets me pretty close to the Malekko Plus Ultra, but still not quite there. For guitar, there is a modeled Fuzz Factory but that is an effect that really can't be modeled very well and it just isn't there for me.

 

The point is that you will likely have to experiment with a more complicated signal path than you would with real effects, at least until they give us some more options.

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Don't know what you're after really, but to me the Arbiter has way way way too much gain, baggy fuzzy mess you could never even hear live. I've messed with an EQ block before it, gain really low, maybe some kind of nicening curve on it. Kinda cool maybe, never got super happy though.

 

Not at all the same thing, but check out the Clawthorn, may be some interesting options in there.

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I'm *very* new to Helix, but I'm learning from the beginning of the signal chain :) , so there are already a few things that I would try:

 

- Try turning Guitar in pad on (global options)

 

- Guitar in-Z (input block) from Auto to 1M and then step down the list to see if any particular impedance sounds better.

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You got me curious. I've never used the Arbiter either on HD or Helix.

 

You don't say what amp you are using, so I ran it through the Hiwatt (A+C, all default) to hear what the Arbiter is doing.

 

Quite high gain at default, so I reduced the Level to 2.6. The WhoWatt is a bit quiet, so I set Ch Vol to 10.

 

It still sounded horrible. Baggy and prolapsed :)

 

So I tried the Low and High Cut EQ block in front of the Arbiter block. Making low and high cuts got me nearer something usable so maybe try EQ in front of Arbiter. One of the EQs on offer might get you there, or closer to it. It's all part of the fun :D

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I use a volume pedal before the fuzz face, with volume at 30 per cent. The fuzz parameter at 0.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I will try all of them.

 

I’m using the Brit Plexi Bright amp model along with a vintage Fender Strat. When I think Fuzz Face I think Hendrix, so in my mind this is the ideal set up for that particular effect.

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I my analog days I often kept some variation of a Fuzz Face pedal in my chain.  My favorite was the Fulltone '69 pedal because 1) it was germanium.

 

Just in case you didn't notice, there are germanium/silicon options in many of the distortions.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I will try all of them.

 

I’m using the Brit Plexi Bright amp model along with a vintage Fender Strat. When I think Fuzz Face I think Hendrix, so in my mind this is the ideal set up for that particular effect.

 

Have a look around online for some Jimi Hendrix Helix tones - with a bit of luck you'll find some useful (and free) tips on YouTube. I'm really sorry I can't be more helpful but as I said, I don't use the Arbiter (I tend to run a Tube Screamer in front of the Plexi).

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Just in case you didn't notice, there are germanium/silicon options in many of the distortions.

 

I did notice that and have been playing around with the KWS model. It needs more gain, so maybe a gain block in front and linked to turn on/off with the KWS?  Hmmmm...

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I'm admittedly not much of a fuzz user myself, but in helping a couple others dial in sounds with fuzz I've had some luck with the following:

 

Clawthorn Drive: set the OD parameters to 0 and use it as a fuzz ( my favorite of the bunch)

Thrifter Fuzz: its thick but allows you to dial back in some of the attack

Triangle Fuzz: sustain set lower (3-5ish) typically better sounding to the guys I've sat down with.

Arbiter Fuzz: gain set low or to 0 (mentioned above by arislaf - I can second it)

 

The KWB doesn't quite sound like a fuzz to me, but it is probably the best sounding distortion pedal in Helix (in my opinion).  And it has the germanium/silicone/LED options if your looking for those flavors.

 

For guys needing more level on any of these, the kinky boost set to 0 drive works well with these (and just about anything in Helix)

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For guys needing more level on any of these, the kinky boost set to 0 drive works well with these (and just about anything in Helix)

Yep, it is in all of my presets now. I love it. 

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I like the Plexi Bright in Helix a lot, but I have had no luck getting good fuzz tones with it, whether with Helix fuzz or with actual fuzz pedals in a loop. I have had much better luck with the JTM45, which seems more agreeable with fuzz tones.

 

I mostly use an Earthquaker Erupter as opposed to the Helix’s Fuzz Face, but this video really knocked my socks off. Makes me want to spend some more time with it....

 

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I like the Plexi Bright in Helix a lot, but I have had no luck getting good fuzz tones with it, whether with Helix fuzz or with actual fuzz pedals in a loop. I have had much better luck with the JTM45, which seems more agreeable with fuzz tones.

 

I mostly use an Earthquaker Erupter as opposed to the Helix’s Fuzz Face, but this video really knocked my socks off. Makes me want to spend some more time with it....

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-0g-mdFj6lA

the sound tho seems to have a bit of the over trebley/slightly harsh tone that comes from running the fuzz not first in the chain. i'm a bit confused with fuzz's and helix, is it always best practice to make sure it is first in the chain? As seen/heard in the james santiago clip above with the real fuzz/amp, it made quite a difference to tone when he demonstrated putting a pedal in front

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the sound tho seems to have a bit of the over trebley/slightly harsh tone that comes from running the fuzz not first in the chain. i'm a bit confused with fuzz's and helix, is it always best practice to make sure it is first in the chain? As seen/heard in the james santiago clip above with the real fuzz/amp, it made quite a difference to tone when he demonstrated putting a pedal in front

 

Very true, and that caught my attention in the James Santiago video as well. I have run the Arbiter first in Helix and manipulated the input impedance, but yet the sound I get is much like his with the Tube Screamer in front of the Fuzz Face. I have a couple of devices (Digitech Trio+ and FreqOut) in front of Helix and I wonder if that isn't playing havoc with the Fuzz Face? I had thought the adjustable input impedance would be able to rectify that, but perhaps it doesn't work that way if it's "wrong" coming in to the unit? Will be an interesting thing to try.

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Very true, and that caught my attention in the James Santiago video as well. I have run the Arbiter first in Helix and manipulated the input impedance, but yet the sound I get is much like his with the Tube Screamer in front of the Fuzz Face. I have a couple of devices (Digitech Trio+ and FreqOut) in front of Helix and I wonder if that isn't playing havoc with the Fuzz Face? I had thought the adjustable input impedance would be able to rectify that, but perhaps it doesn't work that way if it's "wrong" coming in to the unit? Will be an interesting thing to try.

oh btw i put my trio+ after helix when i use it.. seems to work best.. i know some people put it in returns etc, but i just go for a quick set up if i practice with it.. wont it be going thru helix processing if in front?

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oh btw i put my trio+ after helix when i use it.. seems to work best.. i know some people put it in returns etc, but i just go for a quick set up if i practice with it.. wont it be going thru helix processing if in front?

I have the guitar straight into the Trio+ input, then the Trio+ FX Send to the Helix input. The last block in the Helix audio path is an FX Loop with the Send going back to the to the Trio+ FX Return. The output of the TRIO+ then comes back to the Helix FX Loop Return which in turn goes straight to output. In this way, the Trio+ gets straight guitar signal to work with, Loops on the Trio+ will be the Helix output, and the audio from the Trio+ goes straight to the output without further processing. To maintain this path AND get it out from in front of Helix would require 2 FX Loops, which I'd like to avoid (all my other loops are filled). I have never tried it as you describe, but if it works well for you it may be a good option for me. I think I'll try that. Just keeping the FX Loop at the end of the Helix path, Send to Trio+ input, Trio+ output to Helix Return.... If I do that and then re-arrange my other pedals a bit to allow for the Freq-Out to be in an FX Loop then I can go straight in to Helix with the guitar again. Good stuff, I'm excited to toy around with it... 

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I like the Plexi Bright in Helix a lot, but I have had no luck getting good fuzz tones with it, whether with Helix fuzz or with actual fuzz pedals in a loop. I have had much better luck with the JTM45, which seems more agreeable with fuzz tones.

 

I mostly use an Earthquaker Erupter as opposed to the Helix’s Fuzz Face, but this video really knocked my socks off. Makes me want to spend some more time with it....

 

I tried this setup in the video and it sounds fantastic on my strat. I am using Seymour Duncan noiseless vintage stacks. I am not much of a fuzz guy, but I think I may incorporate this preset occasionally. If I set up a Fender Twin amp rig on path 2, then I have the perfect Eric Johnson setup. 

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My main problem with the fuzz (specifically the Fuzz Face) is that even when I get a sound I'm happy with in my studio, when I take it on-stage, it just gets hopelessly lost in the mix.

 

I've lately switched to the Clawthorn and Wringer for my fuzz sounds, but I'd really love to have a good GE FF or Tonebender. 

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On 1/3/2018 at 10:17 AM, JMP45 said:

I my analog days I often kept some variation of a Fuzz Face pedal in my chain.  My favorite was the Fulltone '69 pedal because 1) it was germanium, which I prefer, and 2) it allowed you to fine-tune the bias and contour to remove any inherent "woofiness" in the tone, resulting in a tighter feel that tracked better on fast runs.

 

The Arbiter Fuzz on Helix sounds OK, but is a bit too "wooly" for my tastes.  It also seems to be modeled more toward the silicone end of the fuzz spectrum.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion for either fine-tuning the existing Arbiter Fuzz effect to get a tighter tone, or for getting a similar sound using one of the other distortion effect models?

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

With any fuzz, you'll get a clearer (and somewhat cleaner) sound by cutting some lows ahead of the fuzz. Try a simple EQ and pull out frequencies under 200Hz.

Edited by joegore
typo

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Jeff MeErlain gets a great fuzz tone in 

 starting around 6:20. I haven't been able to reproduce this in Helix. None of the fuzz models in Helix seem as smooth and controllable as that Jesse Davey King Tone Silicon Fuzz. 

 

But maybe I just don't like fuzz.

 

Jeff gives a nice lesson in gain staging in this short, but very informative video. He really know is stuff. See his courses on TrueFire if you want more information. They're great. 

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I'm a big Muse fan and I tend to use the Industrial Fuzz quite a bit.

Lately I setup a path with a gainy amp and a parallel path with only the Industrial Fuzz and a Hi/Low Cut block after, mixed with the other path. No amp or cab block.

Love  the sound!

Before from my experiences with all the fuzz blocks, a very clean amp with high headroom  and hi cut after worked great also except for the fuzz face. Too much gain even with the drive low.

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When I first got the Helix I was massively unimpressed with the fuzz

 

However, like in the real world, the fuzzes, especially the arbiter,  want to be first in the chain and "see" the guitar pickups

 

I have found the key is to use the fuzz first in line with the button to switch it on & off also mapped to swap between auto impedance (when fuzz on) and 1m  (when fuzz off)

 

This way you get the right impedance when the fuzz is on and when the fuzz is off you get a normal clean tone with weird no loss of treble 

 

When you use a fuzz with a higher impedance, the tone will be ulta - fizzy and not real world

 

YMMV 

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