1971 Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face

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    Iconic stage adornment that defined the tone of a decade, the 1971 Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.

    Though not the first fuzz pedal, that accolade goes to to Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone of Satisfaction fame, the Fuzz Face tone has become a bench mark sound for players and builders since its introduction in 1966. A handful of components and a distinctive housing (according to legend chosen by Ivor Arbiter as it was the same shape as a mic stand base) is all it needed to change the sonic landscape, especially when combined with a Marshall, Stratocaster and the fingers of a certain James Marshall Hendrix. 

    The design was altered a little during the 9 initial years of production, transistors changed from Germanium (Are you Experienced era Hendrix) to Silicon (Band of Gypsies) for stability and cost effectiveness, and the housing colours changed, but the the essence of this primitive tool was never lost.

    This example form 1971 is more familiar to Pink Floyd fans as its the same as the one used by David Gilmour and can be seen on the Live at Pompeii film from 1972.

    Cosmetically the pedal is in excellent shape. None of the decals have come off and the hammerite finish hasn’t chipped. The rubber is a little loose but is undamaged. The top hat knobs are not chipped or damaged either.

    Inside we still have the correct component although there has been another battery socket attached as the old one was broken. This new one has been soldered to the old one so none of the solder joints at the circuit board end have been disturbed. The pots are correct and work well. The correct DPDT switch is still present and is working.

    As those of you who have dabbled with fuzz pedals will know, to get the full fuzz tone experience the amp needs to be valve and cooking (experimentation is encouraged). Single coils are a good place to start with the fuzz knob set up above the 12 o’clock mark with volume to taste. Here the pedal really delivers. Not all are made equal and there are plenty of stories of disappointment out there regarding underwhelming tone. Safe to say this one is not one of those. The pedal interacts well with the guitar controls (the 10k input impedance inherent in the design is the reason for that) and runs the gamut from thick and velcroy to soaring lead sound. There’s sustain for days with enough gain to get you into feedback heaven.

    This is the real deal for fuzz fans looking for the origins of the sound. Grab it before it gets away.

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