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9 of the Best SolidGoldFX Compact Fuzz Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzMaestro Style FuzzOctave FuzzSilicon FuzzSolidGoldFXSuper-Fuzz StyleTone Bender Style Fuzz+-
2019GPXSolidGOldFXCompactFuzzes700V3.jpg

I originally got into SolidGoldFX (SGFX) pedals way back when I was researching Octave Fuzz pedals, and the SGFX 76 Fuzz (Hybrid Germanium/Silicon Super Fuzz) came out as my sort of surprise favourite in that selection. I did not particularly like the original banana yellow colourway and so went for the Custom Shop Weathered Rust edition instead - as pictured.

 

The next one that piqued my interest was the Copper Edition Germanium version of the Rosie Fuzz (Tone Bender MKIII), and then a Copper Edition Germanium version of the If 6 Was 9 Fuzz (Fuzz Face). I then did a piece on Fuzz Face matched pairs and added the BC183CC If 6 Was 9 to the collection, followed by a Custom Shop silver version of the BC108 If 6 Was 9. Somewhere along the way I also came across the Tone Mob Model 001 Sparkling Gold Germanium Fuzz Generator - a slightly gated fuzz made by SGFX for Tone Mob. And latterly I have added the Germanium edition of the Imperial Fuzz (sorta Green/Black Russian Big Muff), the Halloween Copper Edition Sasori Fuzz (Shin-Ei FY-2), and the long discontinued Agent 13 Multi-Clipping Versatile / Aggressive Silicon Fuzz.

 

So all 9 varieties above represent my own exact SolidGoldFX collection to date. For some reason I’ve only acquired fuzzes from SGFX, and so far only the compact editions - although I do also fancy the recent Lysis Polyphonic Octave Down Fuzz Modulator and seriously enhanced 76 Plus Octave Up and Filter Fuzz - alongside the brand new Communication Breakdown which is a dual channel fuzz featuring Tone Bender MKI.V and MKII varieties - a sort of Jimmy Page special!

 

The personality behind SolidGoldFX is of course one Greg Djerrahian who has an undeniably fine ear for quality fuzz tones. I love each of my 9 SGFX fuzzes each in their own way - and as with most pedals I gravitate towards - this is a perfect combination of format, style, features and tones. I feel that the RJ Ronquillo demos might also somewhat have swayed me! Although I believe it was a Mike Hermans demo that put me onto the origin 76.

 

SolidGoldFX has ended up being my 2nd favourite Fuzz brand by numbers after Basic Audio (John Lyons), and just ahead of Skreddy Pedals (Marc Ahlfs), Electro-Harmonix (Mike Matthews), Magnetic Effects (Christian Livingstone), Spaceman Effects (Zak Martin), and Expresso FX (Sof Tebboune) - I have a number of Expresso pedals forthcoming. While I feel there is plenty more from all of these on my wishlist to underscore and maintain this general status quo.

 

Here follow a few more further details on each of these pedals - all accompanied by superb demos - sure to win you over too!


If 6 Was 9 Copper Germanium Fuzz (2 x Tesla 106NU70 - Germanium Fuzz Face) - Custom Shop

A great sounding Germanium Fuzz with some stellar East-European NOS Transistors. Comes with 4 controls; 3 knobs = Fuzz | Bias | Volume, and a 3-way Tone toggle-switch - Tight/TrebleBoost/Thick. This is a great sounding Germanium style Fuzz Face and one of my favourites of the genre.


If 6 Was 9 Warm Silicon BC183CC Fuzz (Warm Silicon Fuzz Face)

This was the other half of the pair (with the above Germanium) that I included in my 6 Potent Pairings piece - to illustrate the character resemblance between Germanium and BC183 Silicon Fuzzes - which are usually engineered to sound as Germanium-like as possible. This has exactly the same controls as the above Germanium Fuzz, and runs it as close as possible, while Germanium fans can typically discern between the extra articulation and harmonic artefacts that genuine Germanium delivers.


If 6 Was 9 Searing Silicon BC108 Fuzz (Searing Silicon Fuzz Face) - Custom Shop

The BC108 Silicon fuzzes were typically associated with more cutting and strident frequency profiles - vs the warmer nature of Germanium and BC183 transistor fuzzes. The BC108 is slightly harder edged than the others, and nicely rounds up my trio of SGFX Fuzz Faces - I would probably quite happily snap up a BC109 variety too if and when that happens - just to complete the set! (Providing the right colourway was available too of course!). Control topology here is identical to the previous two IF 6 Was 9 fuzzes.


Rosie CS Copper Germanium Fuzz (2 x Tesla 106NU70 + K30 R-J04 Maestro/Tone Bender MKII) - Custom Shop

This is the Germanium Copper Custom Shop edition of the Rosie Fuzz - essentially a Tone Bender MKIII style variant. Knobs here are pretty much the same per the IF 6 Was 9 varieties - Fuzz | Bias | Volume, with the 3-way Tone control here being a 2-position Standard/Bass-Reduction switch.


76 Weathered Rust Edition Germanium+Silicon Fuzz (4 x 2SC536N + K30 R-J04 / Super-Fuzz) - Custom Shop

My actual very first SGFX Fuzz - introduce to me via two exceptional demos. This is a fantastic variety of Super Fuzz which can sound great super wired as well as at the more mellow extreme. I think this may have been my first ever octave style fuzz albeit the Malekko Omicron was also in their somewhere. In any case both those fuzzes got me into the more Super Fuzz style of octave fuzzes and were foundation fuzzes for my love affair with this genre. Knobs are Fuzz | Texture | Volume, with a 3-way Texture switch which is sort of a Mid frequency selector - scooped/flat/boosted.


Imperial Germanium Fuzz (2 x Tesla 106NU70 + K30 R-J04 + BC183 Green/Black Russian Big Muff)

I'm obviously a sucker for SGFX Germanium limited edition fuzzes, and this was always going to be my preference for SolidGold's Big Muff variety. Control here comes via 3 knobs - Volume | Tone | Fuzz, and a 3-way Mids switch - scooped/boosted/flat.


Sasori Copper Fuzz Halloween Special Edition (Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion Fuzz)

The simplest of my SGFX fuzzes has only 3 knobs - but still plenty of variety and versatility via Fuzz | Tone | Volume knobs. This was part of a recent limited edition Halloween run - and somewhat out of character for me as this is not a special Germanium edition! Still sounds great though and is supposedly RJ Ronquillo's favourite SGFX Fuzz of the moment!


Agent 13 Silicon High Gain Fuzz (3 x BC549C)

This is just a beautifully tuned and calibrated Silicon fuzz for tonnes of tonal variety using just the 3 control knobs - Fuzz | Bias | Volume, alongside the 3-way Tone switch - which adjusts the core frequency profile between - Bass Boost / Flat / Treble Boost. This was the the most recent of my SGFX acquisitions and nicely balances out my own selection - each of these pedals is great and demands consideration - you get a lovely barky quality out of this if you tweak the dials just right - as Mike Hermans has of course done in his demo!


Tone Mob Model 001 Fuzz Generator Sparkling Gold Germanium Edition (2 x BC549C + 1 x Tesla 104NU71)

This somewhat sputtery gated fuzz is an interesting hybrid of high gain Silicon and Germanium Transistors - made by SolidGoldFX for Tone Mob. There were at least 3 different ones of these in the series - I recall the original silicon-only ones being black and silver. I can't recall how I came across this - although I feel it may have been Ryan Burke of 60 Cycle Hum fame.


Final Thoughts

I near enough have all the SolidGoldFX fuzz pedals that I need - I'm not sure I'm missing any further notables at the compact enclosure size - certainly not from the current range. While I feel that I will likely spring for the Dual Tone Bender style Communication Breakdown in my less favoured horizontal medium-enclosure format - this is a sort of homage to Jimmy Page and combines Tone Bender MKI.V and MKII varieties in the same chassis.

 

I'm undecided about whether I need / want the 76 Plus Fuzz and Lysis Polyphonic Octave Down Fuzz Modulator - they are both fairly likely though, while I really don't need the Spanish Castle Dual Fuzz (Dual Fuzz Face) as I have its constituent parts in compact format - but then again I never say never.

 

All the medium enclosure varieties are obviously extended range fuzzes, while the compact ones give you all the utility and versatility you need - while there are other more feature-rich varieties out there. In terms of the design, price-point, features, tones and overall quality of execution I find SolidGoldFX generally to be a quite excellent proposition. I have somewhere in the region of 200 fuzz pedals in my collection now, and these are some of my favourites.

 

Note that I have actively sought out special editions and specific colourways - which may not be particularly easy to track down - but Reverb can be your best friend in that regard - several of these have come via Reverb, even a few from SolidGoldFX's store itself. I feel comfortable buying things via Reverb.com as the shipping cost is always displayed too - and this is something which can often be a snafu for Brits buying pedals from abroad. I've had to walk away from some pedals as their shipping costs were too prohibitively high.

 

Generally SolidGoldFX is not particularly well served in the UK - particularly those special and limited editions - and I have most often had to acquire from Canada and USA, and even one from Russia - the Agent 13 - which seemed very appropriate! Note that Coda Music of Stevenage carries most of the SGFX range - but I don't believe I've seen any of the limited editions for sale there.

 

If you remain unconvinced - you obviously haven't listened to the above demos enough! Do you have your own favourite SolidGoldFX Fuzz - I would probably single out the one this whole adventure started off with - the 76 - as the pick of the bunch - but truly I love them all!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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