Quick Hit: Rainger FX Dr. Freakenstein Dwarf Bass Review

This mini-but-monstrous bass fuzz and its manipulative assistant make for one dynamic duo.

Say hallo to my leettle fren! I couldn’t not say it—sorry—but more on Igor in a moment. The Dr. Freakenstein Dwarf Bass is a mini-format bass fuzz that dares to be different—I mean really dares to be different. The simple control set looks straight out of a ’60s sci-fi show and consists of a thumbwheel for volume and an oversized knob for governing the pitch of the harmonic overtones. At the front end of the pedal lives the LFO push-button that, when activated, sweeps the overtone up and down in a spaced-out, whoosh-y manner. The mix button to its right takes the pedal from all-out fuzz to about a 3:1 fuzz-to-clean-signal ratio when engaged. Igor is the dual-sensitive (just flip it over) mini-expression pad that manipulates the overtone or sparks a quicker modulation speed when the LFO is engaged.

The Dwarf Bass serves up fire-breathing grit, so look elsewhere if you’re in need of kinder, gentler fuzz. With the overtone dial at 1 o’clock, LFO button out, and the mix button engaged, I created sweet chaos with the help of Igor that likely scared the shit out of anyone within 100 feet of my house. I literally made sounds akin to a robotic troll squelching in terror (or pleasure) atop a smoking, consistent fuzz tone that inspired riffs galore apt for grindcore to alt-metal EDM. While a light dusting of fuzz isn’t available, it’s an impressively musical (albeit extreme) fuzz nonetheless. Take a spin yourself and you, too, may get hooked going down the wild-ride rabbit hole of this little box—and its little friend.

Test gear: Orange O Bass, Gallien-Krueger 800RB head, Orange OBC212 cab, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Recorded direct into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1 - Overtone dial at 1 o’clock, LFO button out, fuzz/clean mix button engaged

Ratings

Pros:
Igor. Compact and rugged. Fantastically raucous and weird bass-fuzz tones on tap. Internal passive/active switch. Built-in noise gate.

Cons:
Can’t really call it a versatile fuzz. Igor can be difficult to manipulate with precise control, especially on varying surfaces. Note: Neither “con” bothered me in the slightest.

Street:
$145

Rainger FX Dr. Freakenstein Dwarf Bass
raingerfx.com

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