This article was prompted by an observation of obviously complementary fuzz pairings - where I currently own all of these bar the two Dwarfcraft Devices - Limited Edition Necromancer and Reese Lightning. In fact a number of these could be construed to be officially highly limited - where Buffalo FX and Dwarfcraft Devices have both ceased trading and their products are in very short supply. There were only 25 dual-footswitch editions of the Dwarfcraft Devices Limited Edition Dark Arts Necromancer pedals ever made. Also the Spaceman Effects Gemini IV was launched before Spaceman introduced their Standard Version Concept - and currently all Gemini IV’s are officially sold out - there will undoubtedly be more releases though - likely as special editions - as is Spaceman’s way.
So what we have here is two Buffalo FX Gilmourish Muff Style fuzzes - M-1 (Ram’s Head) and Patriot (Civil War). Then Dwarfcraft Necromancer (Super Fuzz), and Reese Lighting (High Gain Eau Claire Thunder Muff).
The bottom row consist of two unique Spaceman Effects varieties - the Gemini IV (Silicon + Germanium Blender), and the Sputnik III (A sort of Modulated Germanium Fuzz Face). And finally we have the Toneczar OTP (Multi-Muff) and Vault (Super Fuzz).
While your typical fuzz has only 2 or 3 controls, most of these have considerably more - for the widest possible range of tones and textures within those genres.
Some here are slightly more versatile than others - but all here are truly sound amazing, and are fully worthy in their own right.
There are quite a few Reese Lightnings still in circulation - so right now those should be relatively easy to secure. While I will have to stalk Reverb.com for a chance at a limited edition Necromancer - which is of course the only variant of that Model that I want - that may take a while to materialise.
Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand as usual.
This is a tremendous sounding and properly versatile pair of Gilmourish Style Muff Fuzzes - loosely based on the Pete Cornish P-1 and P-2 variants. The M-1 sports 4 controls for Sustain, Bass, Treble and Level, while the Patriot one-ups it with its 5 controls - Sustain, Tone, Level, Mids and Lows.
The M-1 is slightly more aggressive, and the Patriot has that loverly Civl War style smoothness. Both are tremendous, while I possible use the Patriot just a little bit more nowadays. These are in very short supply nowadays - in fact complete sold out as far as I am aware - you will need to stalk Reverb.com diligently to get your hands on each of these classics.
Here we have something incredibly rare in the guise of the GOT-Style Limited Edition Dark Arts Necromancer Super Fuzz where it shifts the EQ Bypass Toggle-Switch from the original to a second footswitch. Otherwise controls are identical and include Volume, Bias, Gain, Mids On/Off Switch, Treble, Mids and Bass.
The Reese Lighting is basically a higher gain version of Dwarfcraft's classic Eau Claire Thunder Muff-Style Fuzz. You have controls for Volume, Tone, Gain, Mix, Toneblast (EQ Stack Bypass), Timewarp (Clipping Diodes), and Feedback Tune. The footswitches are Bypass and Engage Feedback.
Note that there is no separate demo of the actual limited edition Necromancer - while the circuit is identical and sounds the same as the original - just with a different application of the Tonestack Bypass.
It should be known by now that I have a lot of love for Spaceman Effects - and these are two of the very finest Fuzzes from that stable. I was for a long time chasing a Gemini III - and was delighted when the updated more versatile variants materialised - for which I own the Moonrock mode.
The Gemini IV allows you to set Gain and Filter (EQ) for both Silicon and Germanium Transistor sides of the pedal and then blend those two selections together. You have further controls for Level and Phase Inversion. This means you have a sort of Fuzz Face style tone and texture on the Germanium side - combined with a sort of Muff style tone and texture on the Silicon side - with a huge amount of in-between values.
The Sputnik III is more like an extended range deluxe Russian Germanium Transistor powered sort of Fuzz Face with filter modulation - courtesy of Scan, Calibrate, Filter, Range and Signal Controls, and a second 'Drift' footswitch which engages the Scan scrambler effect
I've obviously just covered this pair off very recently - so there's no need to go into all the detail again. Suffice to say that these are amongst the very best of their respective genres available - Big Muff and Super Fuzz.
The OTP combines 7 controls for about the most versatile Muff action possible - with a 3-way Gain Structure Switch, and then 4-Band EQ including Sizzle, Gain and Volume.
The Vault's 8 controls render the most versatile of Super Fuzzes - with toggle switches for Fuzz Mode and Deep (Bass Intensity), then 2-Band EQ, a Voicing Control, an incedental 'Content' control - based on Mode selected, and of course Gain and Volume.
Both pedals require 18V input, and sound all the better for it!
Some might argue that there is a good deal of overlap in this selection and you might be better of with variety X over Y. I will leave you to make that decision for yourself.
For me the 6 here which I own all render somewhat differently texture and voicing -wise and for me each pedal in this selection is worth having on its own merits.
All these are in frequent rotation for me and I pretty much love each one equally - it just depends what kind of mood I am in on the day, and which of these pedals best fits with that.
I still have a few Dwarfcraft Devices to pin down - but I will go about it cautiously and with due diligence - also opportunistically based on pricing and location of said pedal!
I feel most of you would be satisfied with any of these killer pairings - what is your own particular preference?