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Jack White's Third Man Records Pedal Collaborations

CoppersoundDistortionFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGamechanger AudioGuitar Synth and SequencerJack WhiteMantic EffectsModulated FuzzModulationOctaverOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzPitchSilicon FuzzSuper-Fuzz StyleThird Man RecordsToneczarUnion Tube & Transistor+-
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This article pulls together Jack White’s 4 key pedal collaborations from the very first Union Tube & Transistor Bumble Buzz Fuzz through to the recent Coppersound Triplegraph. I myself have been intrigued about these along the way - and am still pondering if I still need to add one or two more of these to my own collection / rig.

 

I already have a limited edition Yellow Plasma Coil, and am in line to get a standard Triplegraph in the new year. I was sort of waiting for the Triplegraph to get into UK distribution - as the $400 is a lot to pay - when you include delivery and import / customs fee of circa 25% added all-in. I’ve been communication with Co-Founder / Design Director Jordan Collins - and he tells me the next batch of Triplegraphs is due very early next year - there was a recent announcement of possible European distribution, while I’m not 100% clear on how long the Third Man Records exclusivity lasts for - as these have only been available from that one webstore to-date. So I’m definitely getting one of these, but really want to secure one at the best price for me obviously - and since I’ve already waited a while, I’ve decided there is no rush here if I can avoid roughly 1/3 of the cost in addition. It’s still going to be something of a challenge to fit that relatively large pedal into the rig - but I have some ideas.

 

The Bumble Buzz Fuzz is quite a unique take on the Superfuzz as far as I can gather - with a very dense and focused distortion/fuzzstortion, and no controls on the pedal bar the Standby switch. The Bumble Buzz’s are currently out of stock / finished as such, but were priced at $325 for new, and they do occasionally crop up on Reverb.com.

 

I’m not sure I really need the Bumble Buzz, as I have Toneczar Ed Rembold’s Vault Fuzz - which is about the most controllable Superfuzz you can get your hands on - and should be able to easily fill in as an understudy for that role. I’m not 100% clear whether the Bumble is a signature pedal based on another Union Tube & Transistor classic - possibly their discontinued one-knob Beelzebuzz. Likeliest scenario for me here is that I may just pick up a well-priced second-hand one at some stage in the future if the time and tag is right. Oh and by the way - this is the Fuzz tone on Jack White’s ’Sixteen Saltines’ track!

 

With regards to the Mantic Flex - I already have the more formidable White edition Flex Pro with extended feature set - so I’m not sure I really need the Jack White branded junior version of that. Pricing-wise it’s not too bad at $200 - with still some availability. I’m really not that big a fanboy of Jack White as such that I need all the mercy - but I do frequently admire his tone and technique.

 

Of late he seems to be using mostly the Triglegraph in conjunction with the Plasma Coil - so once I get the Triplegraph I should be fairly well covered!

Black variants

My Own Take on the Quartet

My Own Take on the Quartet

The above visual is my own take on this subject matter. Like I said - I will be getting the standard Coppersound Triplegraph in the new year.

 

I already have the Limited Edition Gamechanger Plasma Coil.

 

I have the Mantic Flex Pro - which delivers somewhat extended functionality to the standard / Jr variety that the Jack White Mantic Flex is based on.

 

I quite like the sound of the Bumble Buzz - still not decided 100% whether or not I actually want one of those. In the meantime the Toneczar Vault High Gain Fuzz is the most sizzling and versatile of all Super-Fuzz style pedals. So even if I don't get the Bumble Buzz I should have more than sufficient coverage with that!


Jack White's Pedalboard for October 10th 2020 SNL Performance

Jack White's Pedalboard for October 10th 2020 SNL Performance

This performance was obviously in the wake of Eddie Van Halen's passing - and in tribute Jack White sported his Custom EVH Gear Wolfgang he had commissioned in collaboration with Eddie.

 

The actual pedalboard is arranged as follows from top-left to bottom-right :

  • Third Man Records + Gamechanger Audio Plasma Coil
  • Third Man Records + Union Tube & Transistor Bumble Buzz
  • Third Man Records + Mantic Flex
  • MXR Micro Amp - custom polished chrome edition
  • Boss TU-3 Tuner - custom polished chrome edition
  • Third Man Records + CopperSound Triplegraph
  • DigiTech Whammy DT - custom polished chrome edition
  • Electro-Harmonix NYC Big Muff - custom polished chrome edition

2014 Third Man Records + Union Tube & Transistor Bumble Buzz - $255/$325

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I've already said pretty much everything there is to be said about this sort of Super-Fuzz style variety. It has a really dense and focused sound, not quite as 'blooming' as your typical Super-Fuzz but in truth a really great sort of wiry and strident fuzzstortion.

 

I've yet to make up my mind as to whether I really need to add this to the collection to - for now the Toneczar Vault gives me more than enough Super-Fuzz style coverage to relatively easily sub in for the Bumble Buzz - at least in my opinion.


2018 Third Man Records + Mantic Effects Flex PLL Pedal - $200

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The Mantic Flex is a smart take on the Schumann Phase Locked Loop Harmonizing + Oscillating Synth Fuzz Pedal! It's virtue really is in the simplicity of its 5 controls. I have the Mantic Pro version with 3 additional controls and additional second footswitch - for more finessing and control. But like I said there will be many players who prefer the simplicity of the fewer controls.

 

Those considering the Mantic Flex PLL should also cast their eyes towards the Beetronix Swarm, which I also have - and which is actually probably my preferred take on the PLL format. I also have the PedalPCB Mini Heterodyne Receiver - which is probably the best compact format of the PLL circuit.

 

For the Mantic Flex Pro you have 6 dials - Level (Output), Focus (Attack), Pump (Envelope Speed), Mix (Dry/Wet), Filter (6 x VCO/Range Sizes) and Rate (LFO Modulation); then two toggle switches under the protective bar - '$' (Decay Length - up = longer) and '&' (Attack/Sensitivity - up = slower), and finally dual footswitches with the left one the On/Bypass and the right on the LFO Activation.

 

On the Standard / TMR Flex you are reduced to Level, Focus and Pump, and the two '$' Decay Length and '&' Attack Sensitivity switches.


2019 Third Man Records + Gamechanger Audio Plasma Coil Distortion/Fuzzstortion - $350/$375

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This is my first and only so far Third Man Records pedal - actually the super rare original Yellow variety. The one thing to note is that once you engage the secondary effects - via right-hand footswitch, the output volume rises very significantly.

 

The Crew at Gamechanger reported that this was a known issue - and if I wanted it fixed - I would need to send in my Yellow original and get a standard black edition as a replacement - which I as unwilling to do obviously.

 

It differs from the original Plasma Pedal in that it replaces the central 'Voltage' control for a 6-way Boost and Octave Modes selector - it could really do with an additional Effects Level / Mix knob! :

  • Boost
  • One Octave Down
  • Two Ocaves Down
  • One Octave Up
  • One Octave Down + One Octave Up
  • Two Octaves Down + One Octave Up

2020 Third Man Records + CopperSound Pedals Triplegraph Triple Function Octave Pedal - $399/$499

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I've already covered this pedal in incredible detail in my main Triplegraph Feature Article. Suffice to say it's a brilliantly and robustly engineered Triple-Telegraph-Switch control pedal - which allows you to apply Octave Down, Octave Up, and Dry Kill Switch / FX Loop Engage in multiple combinations.

 

Weirdly the Triplegraph manual just lists dual key combinations - while if you watch a Jack White performance - you can see him stomping down on all 3 simultaneously too.

 

For me this is a fantastic dynamic performance pedal - and a significant notch above other octave pedals for that dynamic use.

 

This is one that I really intended to get into the collection this year, but alas the omens weren't favourable - and so it's a major priority for next year instead.


Final Thoughts

I guess if you're a total Jack White fanboy then the only solution is to have them all! While for us slightly more pragmatic types it involves doing a thorough analysis of exactly what you're getting here for you money - and whether you could be better served elsewhere.

 

For my own money - the Triplegraph and Plasma Coil have no exact or proper near match substitutes - and those are therefore essential. For the Mantic Flex you have a few options, and like I said above, it's probably the Beetronics Swarm that is my favourite take on the PLL circuit - so even though I also have the Mantic Flex Pro, I would personally probably go with the Swarm as my PLL of choice.

 

The more I think about the Bumble Buzz the more I kind of like it - but it's a matter really of securing one at the right price - so I'm well prepared to wait for one to pitch up with the right tag.

 

Funny thing is I'm also obviously a collector - and sometimes I look at clusters of pedals - and feel 'I've got to complete the set'. So it may just be that I will eventually have all 4 Third Man Record variants here - but I'm in no particular hurry really - apart from the fact that I really want the Triplegraph as soon as possible.

 

Where is your thinking with all of this - are you fans of Jack White or his pedals - do you have or are you considering getting any of these - do drop me a line ...

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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