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The two fuzz pedals, Classic-X and Stone-X, both also now feature front end buffering that allows the fuzz circuitry to interface better with standard wah pedals and a high input impedance allows the full tonal capabilities of the pickups to be heard without the loss of detail produced by a low impedance input. The buffer is activated on or off by moving two jumpers on the pc card, so the difference is easily heard.
Stone-X & Classic-X
The Stone-X (silicon transistor) and Classic-X (germanium transistor) fuzzes are a modern evolution from the commercial fuzz pedals Roger modified for Jimi Hendrix. The Stone-X and Classic-X maintain the guitar''s original tonal characteristics with the open sound and sonic heritage that is the trademark of Jimi''s recordings. The new feature and advantages of the front-end buffer will appeal to those players who strive for a mdoern sound with strong roots in the past. The use of front end buffering was pioneered by Roger Mayer and used in Jimi Hendrix''s recordings.
Roger is quick to point out that these are not a clones of an old design, faults and shortcomings included. He says, "I have used the same basic transistor configuration but with several new innovations applied to the very basic circuits that were used then." For the Classic-X, Roger employs a ver careful selection procedure for the two PNP germanium transistors and the pc card also has a preset to optimize the circuit for varying operational temperatures.
Both the new Stone-X and Classic-X are low-noise, high-gain designs that are stable and free of radio and other electronic interference. Their greatly increased output level enables them to overdrive the front end of any amp with the Drive set to minimum distortion in volume boosting mode. Roger says the units are capable of some of the deepest and tightest low-end fuzz ever heard, with the top end staying sweet to encourage soaring string bends and wild solos.
The pedals'' real strength, says Roger, is in live performance, as they clean up superbly well using the guitar''s volume control and maintain the guitar''s original tone. They are also easily controlled from the guitar. Because the circuit senses and uses electronic information directly from the guitar''s pickups, Roger recommends that the the pedals are used first in the signal chain to take full advantage of the feature. "It is this particular feature of these pedals that helps to make them quite different from early fuzz pedals and makes the units respond very well to each individual player''s touch, style and playing technique" he says.
The Mongoose was developed in 1985 for guitarists who demand a guitar effect with lots of fat fuzz and enough bottom end to keep a metal head happy. The Mongoose also sounds as if it has a preset-type wah voice that gives the distortion distinctive focus. It has proved popular with a wide and varied type of guitar player from Metal through Rock and Jazz. It is more modern sounding and civilized sounding than the Axis or Classic Fuzz and has found a niche with those who want an alternative but not too radically different sound that the current range of mass-produced units from the USA and Japan.
Electronically the Mongoose uses a combination of both discrete and IC analogue design techniques. The clipping circuit primarily comes from a passive diode circuit resulting in smooth compression and harmonic overtones providing a smooth and transparent transition from clean to overload states. Chords sound very good and with the amazing amount of sustain available, feedback is possible at the lowest amplifier volume settings. These features have made the Mongoose popular in the recording studio and similar situations where feedback is desirable at low sound levels. Current users include Bono (U2) and Joe Perry (Aerosmith).
The Spitfire has been deliberately designed to produce the classic triode tube type distortion that is particularly rich in harmonics that are very musical and pleasing to the ears. This basically means that chords can be used at high levels of distortion without sounding raucous or just plain nasty, as would be the case with other types of fuzz boxes. The Spitfire maintains the guitar''s original tone characteristics with the open sound, detail and sonic heritage that have their roots in Roger''s association with the making of Jimi Hendrix''s recordings.
Roger has added a few new design twists, and coupled with his extensive knowledge from the retro fuzz and distortion boxes they already produce, they have come up with a new sounding modern distortion/ fuzz sound that does indeed sound fresh and distinctive. Turning up the Gain or Drive control will produce feedback at very low sound levels and a virtually never-ending sustain. The overall EQ has been carefully developed to produce a well-rounded fatness and musical tone, not the nasal or fizzy thin type of fuzz sound that is common with digital modelers and multi-effects units. "Analogue circuitry really does sound better when it comes to high gain low noise situations," says Roger. "There is no contest."
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