I’ve been aware of the Jannis Anastasakis led Greek boutique pedal builder JAM Pedals for a number of years now - initially through their superb analog Delay Llama pedals, but latterly because of their Retrovibe, Wahcko Wah, Waterfall Chorus and Rattler Rat pedals in particular.
In fact I so liked the Rattler that I have both the standard and ’+’ varieties - you can read about that in my Twisted Tale of 4 Rats article. My recent 28 Compact Big Muff pedals roundup also included the excellent Red Muck MKII - and I’ve found that I actually really like all 5 of JAM pedals’ fuzzes - so I thought I should do a feature on those here.
An ingenious Silicon Fuzz innovation which sounds somewhere mid-way between a Germanium Fuzz Face and Triangle Big Muff. It has the classic 3 Big Muff style dials - labelled here as Level | Tone | Gain - it also has a 3-way incremental low-end boost toggle - which when set fully to the right, and providing the gain is suitable juiced you should get some cool gated-fuzz tones. This fuzz has excellent dynamics and great touch and feel - and should be at ease in any rig. This is also a fantastic gateway fuzz as it in some ways gives you some of the best aspects of two of the key Fuzz genres. I initially did not think that this was going to be an essential acquisition - but it's straight onto my wishlist for sure.
In the current range the only available Fuzz Phrase is the purple-suede-wrapped and hand-wired Ltd edition for a rather pricey €349/£349. There are however some older versions still in circulation for around £219 and these still feature the same excellent CV7003 transistors. My current favourite Fuzz Face transistors are the CV7005 ones - but the 7003's are pretty decent too. I'm still considering acquisition of this pedal, but it is unlikely to be the Ltd version on this occasion!
This did really well in my recent Compact Big Muff roundup - it's tuned to cover Triangle and Civil War / Russian style varieties and comes with clever 2-way Symmetrical/Asymmetrical toggle-switch alongside usual Level | Tone | Gain controls. I really love this, and it's on my imminent acquisition - list - should happen within the next few weeks for sure.
I've loved this one for a while - definitely one of my favourite favourite Rat Pedals - just a beautifully tuned version of the classic LM308N circuit - has legions of fans around the world. Classic 3 controls - Level | Tone | Gain - and sound pretty phenomenal wherever the dials land. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
This is the exceptionally beautifully hand-wired slightly more refined version of the Rattle with a 2-way Low Gain / High Gain switch. It doesn't go quite as raunchy or gainey as the Standard - but still sounds beautiful across the dials. I personally prefer the slightly rawer sound of the Standard version - but really want this one for its beautiful wiring - not so fussed about the leather wrap - in fact this pedal would be amazing in a Lexan fully transparent enclosure! NOTE - the above video is for older version, not the current hand-wired leather-clad masterpiece - but the guts of the circuit are the same.
I feel that everyone should have a copy of the Standard Rattler - it's just one of the very finest versions of this circuit and everyone I've encountered pretty much loves it as much as I do. Second on my list would likely be the Red Muck MKII with its extended Big Muff style range, and third would be the perfect inbetweener fuzz - the Eureka - which covers both Fuzz Face and Big Muff tones.
For the beautifully hand-wired Rattler + Ltd I will likely try to hold out for a better price - I'm still tempted, even though I already have the Standard, and a different earlier custom shop Rattler +.
For the Fuzz Phrase - I'm not sure I would necessarily want the purple suede Ltd version - I will probably try and source one of its standard edition predecessors - but make sure it has the same CV7003 transistors - which is a variety I don't yet have in my 20+ Germanium Fuzz Face selection.
I think there's plenty here for everyone - and there are lower cost earlier editions available of the costlier Ltd editions - so you don't have to be wholly out of pocket as such. As mentioned several times here - I feel everyone could benefit from owning at least the standard Rattler - all these pedals sound great in any case - whichever version you end up getting.