The long-discontinued Shin-ei FY-2 Companion Fuzz remains a hot item on the vintage market, so you’ll need to dig deep to add one to your pedalboard—assuming you find one. But don’t fret: If you’re a bassist searching out Shin-ei-fuzz-like tones, there’s another option with the new Deeply Unpleasant Companion from Fredric Effects. It follows on the heels of their Unpleasant Companion, after they heeded calls from low enders asking for a clean-blend function and a circuit modification to preserve more of the low frequencies.
Like its Shin-ei forefather, the DUC is a simple affair at its core, with dials for volume level and fuzz tone. A smaller blend knob sits between the two and is a welcome addition for mixing in the clean signal with the effected to help govern the degree of mayhem you’re after. The Deeply Unpleasant Companion also houses a volume-boost circuit to steer clear of the volume drop characteristic of vintage FY-2s.
Once my P was paired with the DUC, things got freaky fuzzy fast. With both the fuzz-tone knob and blend dial set at 3 o’clock, I got a sizzling, nasty wash of grind that definitely favored the highs but wasn’t too nasally. After dialing in more bottom, I was where I wanted to be for deep, raspy, meat-grinder fuzz. There is a relatively gentler side to the DUC on the lighter end of the dials, but most of what lives inside is not subtle by any stretch. This fuzz pony may only know one trick, but it does that trick well by mustering bass tones apropos to its name.
Test gear: Fender Precision, Gallien-Krueger 800RB head, TC Electronic RS410 cab