There are four controls on the MXR-sized unit: Level, Fuzz, Scream (distortion), and a 3- postion selector switch that allows you to choose different types of clipping diodes.

Cusack Screamer Fuzz V2
Finding a versatile distortion pedal can be a challenge, but finding a versatile fuzz pedal that plays nicely with the other can be even harder. The Cusack Screamer Fuzz attempts to alleviate this problem by combining both effects in one compact package. Jon Cusack has already proven that he’s an exceptional pedal designer, most notably with the Cusack Screamer, and the Screamer Fuzz is no exception. There are four controls on the MXR-sized unit: Level, Fuzz, Scream (distortion), and a 3- postion selector switch that allows you to choose different types of clipping diodes. Different positions of this switch can run the signal through an internal LED diode for asymmetrical clipping, a subdued mode referred to as “crushed”, and the stock Screamer tone.

Grabbing a set neck 1978 Ibanez Iceman with Seymour Duncan pickups, I plugged the pedal into a Crate V33 tube half stack. One of the best things about this pedal is that you don’t have to use both distortion modes at the same time, so the fuzz was set to 0, and the scream control was set to the 1 o’clock position. The tone it produced was very reminiscent of older era AC/DC; every note in every open chord was perfectly audible and even. The pedal cleaned up to a crystal clear clean tone with the guitar volume rolled down, and there was no loss in volume. After turning down the scream knob and turning up the fuzz control, I couldn’t help but play the Stones’ “Satisfaction.” It really reminded me of that old Maestro Fuzztone with all those great horn-like overtones. There was a very noticeable volume increase with the fuzz control however, much more than the scream control. For this experiment, I used the different diode positions. The LED mode seemed to have the most volume.

For the price, this is a very versatile fuzz with an impressive distortion section. The large volume difference between the two is unfortunate, but negligible when you hear the outstanding tone of this pedal. – JW
Buy If...
you need great-sounding fuzz and distortion that can be combined or used separately
Skip If...

you need a more modern, midscooped fuzz tone.
Rating...
4.0
MSRP $225 - Cusack Music - cusackmusic.com
Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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