It's almost comically large, but this ingenious expansion on the Lovetone Big Cheese famously favored by Page, Shields, and Marr may be the only fuzz you'll ever want or need.
Impedance and blend controls expand an incredible array of distortion and fuzz sounds almost to the untouchable level. Huge bang for your buck.
Massive footprint. Impedance-control magic may not manifest if KGB isn't at the beginning of your pedalboard.
Valco KGB Fuzz
In an age when pedal dimensions are decreasing in inverse proportion to functionality and flexibility, the Valco KGB Fuzz looks monumentally large (and a lot like a piece of lab equipment from a CIA cold-war gizmo room).
Distributed by the folks at Eastwood Guitars, it's inspired by the Lovetone Big Cheese fuzz, a similarly large 4-knob fuzz famously used by Jimmy Page, the Edge, Gary Moore, Kevin Shields, Johnny Marr, and others in the late '90s and early aughts. (Bassists Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, and Radiohead's Colin Greenwood are also fans—the latter reportedly uses it live for "The National Anthem.") KGB Designer Carl Cook says he's treasured his own Big Cheese since receiving it from his former record label in 1997. But he also wished it had more output and oomph, as well as the extra features and capabilities we see here on the Valco.
- Squier Jaguar Curtis Novak neck pickup into SoundBrut DrVa MkII and Ground Control Tsukuyomi boost pedals and an Anasounds Element reverb, then into both a 1976 Fender Vibrolux Reverb miked with a Royer R-121 and a Fender Rumble 200 1x15 miked with an Audix D6. KGB first bypassed, then cycling through voices (off, 1, 2, 3) with blend first at 50 percent, then 100 percent. Output at 10:30, tone and fuzz at minimum.
- Jaguar bridge pickup into same setup as clip 1. KGB first bypassed, then cycling through voices with blend at 100 percent, output at 9 o’clock, tone at noon, and fuzz at 1 o’clock.
- Squier Tele with Curtis Novak pickups (neck and bridge) into a Sound City SC30 miked with a Royer R-121.KGB first bypassed, then voice 1 with blend at 100 percent, output at 10 o’clock, tone and fuzz at noon, and impedance at 10k.
Quite the Charcuterie Board
The heft of the Canadian-made KGB's steel-and-aluminum enclosure, and the snugness with which the knobs, jacks, slider, toggle, and footswitch are fastened inspire confidence. When you pull up on the footswitch to reveal the two neatly wired and soldered circuit boards (one small, one moderately large), you might wonder if the extra space is intended to conceal a secret agent's pistol. Alas, KGB is just a cheeky acronym indicating adaptability with keyboards and bass as well as 6-strings. Circuit board components aren't visible without taking the unit apart. But Cook tells us the main clipping elements are a silicon diode and an NPN transistor wired as a diode.
The KGB control panel sports the output level, tone, and fuzz knobs you'd expect. But the rest of the interface is quite unique in form and function. Like the Big Cheese, it has a 4-position voice knob. In the "off" position, the pedal's tone knob is bypassed. Voice 1 engages the tone control with a midrange scoop at 1 kHz, availing Big Muff-like sounds and response. Voice 2 has what Valco calls a "more neutral EQ" with more mid emphasis. Voice 3 incorporates the same EQ as voice 2 but adds another gain stage and a bias shift in the preamp to yield a more Velcro-y, gated response at higher fuzz settings.
Along the left side of the unit is the wet/dry slider, a powerful addition that's unique for how handily it lets you adapt KGB to other instruments without sacrificing low end or fundamental clarity. It's also easy to manipulate with your foot. Among other things, it's fantastic for making things sound like you've got a second guitarist doubling your lines. (To take this sound to epic extremes you can set the blend to full wet and route the dry output and effected outputs to separate amps or the P.A.)
Impedance isn’t typically something we get super excited about … but here [it] actually becomes pretty frickin’ exciting.
There's no need to do any math to figure out which impedance settings work best. All that matters is whether you like how each setting sounds. As a general rule, lower impedances yield mellower, less pointed tones, and as you click toward the 1M mark the control increases and morphs the quantity and quality of the saturation. But different impedances alter much more than tone. With very little linearity, the Ω knob can affect attack, bloom, intensity, and decay in ways that are beautifully, chaotically unpredictable.
There's so much going on with the Valco KGB that it's difficult to describe it thoroughly in this limited space. But whether you're a jaded veteran or an abject beginner in the fuzz game, KGB could feasibly be any kind of fuzz you've ever wanted. Love thick Muff sounds? They're here. More of a Tone Bender player? Okey-doke. The twisted sounds of a Fuzz Factory? Check. But KGB is also a super characterful, straight-ahead distortion box—some of my favorite sounds emerged with fuzz at minimum.
The only bummer I encountered with the KGB was when I inserted it in my usual fuzz-box location on my own pedalboard, which is after my wah. KGB prefers to be at the beginning of your chain, and buffered bypasses within the signal path may render the Ω knob virtually useless. Though the Valco is big, with so many handy, adaptive features, you'll probably want to make space on your board to accommodate it. Or maybe you'll simply thrill to the unadulterated glory of playing it straight into an amp with your guitar and nothing else.
But even if you can't live without your fuzz being somewhere in the middle of your signal path, KGB serves up a wealth of exciting fuzz action. No matter what I played it with—from a Telecaster to a Jaguar or a Gretsch with Filter'Tron-style humbuckers, low-wattage, small-speaker amps, larger Fender combos, or British-style amps—the Valco became a dirt-box playground. It's going to be tough letting this one go back to the company!
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.