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2 Classic Rare Transistor Black and Gold Fuzz Pedals - Analog.Man Astro Tone and PigDog Mark III Juju

Analog.ManFuzzGermanium FuzzPigDog PedalsSilicon FuzzTone Bender Style Fuzz+-
2019GPX2BlackGoldFuzzies700.jpg

I’ve had my sights on the Analog.Man Astro Tone Fuzz and PigDog Mark III Juju Fuzz for a while now - both are made in small batches and in different colourways, and neither stays in stock for long - so you need to pounce when you see a suitable candidate available.

 

This last chapter of pedal acquisitions has been kind of serendipitous as shortly after I spotted and ordered a black edition Astro Tone, PigDog announced a new batch of 10 shiny black and gold Juju pedals. I had been holding out for one of the prettier LSD variant paisley pattern series to come back around again - but it all seemed to fit that both these wishlist target pedals of mine should come on the market as such so quickly one after the other - and in very similar livery.

 

I took delivery of the Astro Tone this last Monday, and the Juju Fuzz arrived just yesterday. Both are obviously my favourite compact enclosure size - with the Astro Tone being a 1590B type, and the Juju a very slightly larger 1590N1/125B enclosure format. Both have 3 identically labelled knobs (Volume | Tone | Fuzz) and top-mounted jacks, while the Astro Tone is a Silicon variety based on the 1960’s Sam Ash Fuzz Boxx / Astrotone Fuzz, and the Juju Fuzz is a fully Germanium loaded MKIII Tone Bender style variety - both of course sound incredible and each has a very distinct characters / personality. There’s obviously a significant difference in pricing here though.


Analog.Man Astro Tone Fuzz Black and Gold Edition - $185

This is available in 2 varieties - White and Black or Black and Gold - and obviously the latter is the prettier variant. The tone-making Transistors here are a pair of the Silicon Fairchild 2N3566 type - the earlier USA-made batch which is encoded '641' (week 41 of 1966) has long since run out, and there will come a time when the Singapore-made Fairchild 748 batch (week 48 of 1978) runs out too. My own pedal is of course of the 748 type and Mike Piera swears that the USA-made and Singapore-made Transistors are indistinguishable. He's also significant tuned the low-end range from the original pedal to give it more body and richness - it's just a gorgeous, versatile and well-behaved vintage style fuzz - which works right up through the gears. Joe 'Perky' Perking gives another masterclass demo above on just how good this pedal is!


PigDog Pedals Mark III Juju Fuzz Black and Gold Edition - £349

With 3 transistors in the mix here, the Juju is significantly gainier than the above Astro Tone, and has a more saturated and biting character to it, but a lovely creamy smoothness and richness to it too. The transistors doing the work here are 2 x NOS Black Glass CV5712's (1964 military spec OC71 types), and 1 x NOS Black Glass OC75. I've been waiting patiently for these to come back into stock - Steve Williams usually makes these in batches of 10, and there have been a variety of different colurways - Red, Blue and multi-hued LSD Paisley Prints - which were/are possibly the most collectible of all. I find it serendipitous that I land a Black and Gold Juju so shortly after acquiring a very similarly themed Astro Tone fuzz. Note that the Astro Tone has a matt slightly textured powder-coated paint-job surface, while the Juju is shiny polished glossy automotive black really.


Thoughts and Recommendations

I really love both these pedals - I don't think it's a case of necessarily preferring one over the other - they are slightly different varieties after all, and while both are superbly versatile - they still very much seem to encourage different styles of playing.

 

Of course both Mike Piera and Steve Williams are fuzz pedal royalty, and I have included Steve in my UK gang of 3 'Fuzz Lords' alongside Stu Castledine and 'D*A*M' David Main. I actually had the opportunity to snag a PigDog Destruction Department MKIV Fuzz recently - before realising that it was in the oversized P1 enclosure that I really don't like - if you see pictures of the Juju next to the Destruction Department - the latter just looks uncomfortably huge. I hope Steve sees his way to releasing more compact enclosure types - as his pedals really are gold, and my preferred choice vs the other Fuzz Lords - with their slightly fustier enclosure designs!

 

As I've mentioned before, this is a buy quick and repent at leisure sort of scenario as the PigDog Juju's in particular are in very rare supply, and their prices seem to really inflate on the second-hand market. The Astro Tones are still relatively rare - but don't command quite so high a premium. It's those super rare 60's NOS Germanium Transistors which seem to define the longer-term pricing.

 

Which fuzzes have you acquired recently that you are particularly enjoying - with my own Fuzz Collection standing currently at 169 units I must surely be at the point of significant slow-down soon!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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