Colorsound Overdriver-, Tone Bender-, and Rangemaster-inspired sounds unite in one mean, malleable box.


Vintage fuzz can be a tricky business for modern players. It’s easy to be lured by legend and lore, only to discover that the archaic fuzz you pined for is a hard-to-handle little monster. BAE’s Hot Fuzz strikes a crafty balance between authentically wild and musically manageable—thanks to a responsive tone stack, a gain range that moves from mellow to mean, and a Rangemaster-inspired boost that adds subtle texture shifts or heaps of attitude.

Though BAE says the Hot Fuzz's design has Colorsound Overdriver origins, its basic voice bears many sonic similarities to the Tone Bender family. It’s crackling hot, sings at high gain settings, and delivers tones that run from scooped and nasal to stinging, depending on the guitar and how you set up your volume and tone controls. The powerful tone controls also suggest a Tone Bender MKIII or MKIV heritage, but Hot Fuzz’s dials are much more evolved. They add complex bass tones and sizzling highs that never compromise the essence of the authenticity of the vintage fuzz voice. The Rangemaster-derived “hi freq boost” section is a massive bonus. On it’s own, it adds subtle-to-robust volume and treble boost that’s awesome with tube amps verging on breakup. Mixed with the fuzz it’s positively vicious—adding body, menace, and even snorkely cocked-wah tones depending on the setting.

Test gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Silverface Fender Bassman, Fender Champ

Ratings

Pros:
Beautifully balanced between vintage character and modern malleability. Super-solid build quality.

Cons:
Footswitches are situated too close together.

Street:
$225

BAE Hot Fuzz
baeaudio.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

Optimized for a balanced sound with plenty of booty on tap, Nordstrand Audio CatPups offer classically inspired tones for any platform into which you can fit them.

Read MoreShow less

A newly designed koa wonder that packs a punch.

Incredibly easy to play. Well-balanced tone.

Not as visually stunning as other koa models.

$3,499

Taylor 724ce
taylorguitars.com

4.5
4.5
5
4.5
Hawaiian koa has been a favorite of boutique acoustic builders for ages. It has a cool tone personality, somewhere between rosewood and mahogany. It can be used for both back and sides and for top wood, and it’s beautiful. It’s also pretty expensive. The good news is that Taylor’s new 724ce is built with a breed of Koa that actually helps players save a few bucks.
Read MoreShow less

An all-analog polyphonic amplitude synthesizer that alters the attack and decay time of any sound source without sacrificing the fidelity of the original tone.

Read MoreShow less
x