Joe Gore’s Filth Fuzz is his second pedal to really pique my interest - following on from the Clipping Supremacy of his Gross Distortion. The Filth supposedly has 2 fairly unexciting and run-of-the mill Silicon Transistors at its heart - with knobs for Drive and Level, and two mysterious sliders at the top and right-hand side of the pedal facia.
Those sliders are dual Bias controls, albeit not straight-up Q1 and Q2 Biases, where Joe describes those as combined controls for transistor bias and mid-circuit gain - such that they act as pseudo tone-controls which produce a wide range of tones and timbres. The Sliders impact Texture, Feel, Attack, Compression and Overall Fuzz Character. They in fact sort of take the place over and above the more conventional passive post-gain tone-stacks. As the basic circuit is not too far from a Fuzz Face - it works really well with guitar volume roll-back for tempering the gain.
Interestingly the Prototype (pictured in inset) featured a joystick controller - much like the Walrus Audio Janus Trem/Fuzz . While Joe found those rather too fragile and tricky to deploy for his liking - meaning he resorted to the twin sliders instead - which are certainly easier to control with the foot (Note - caution advised!).
I’m a dab hand - or rather foot - at adjusting knobs and sliders with my toes (some delicacy required) - and while the sliders are a little more delicate than Joe would necessarily have liked, they nonetheless easily stand up to my mostly big-toe manoeuvres. In fact I like Sliders on all fuzz pedals as they can be fairly easily manipulated by well-considered foot control - obviously if you are lead-footed then you should not follow through with those manoeuvres as you will invalidate any warranty - whilethose moves are second nature to me nowadays.
This is actually a really simple pedal to deploy with those 4 controls, and you get everything from cool overdrive and fuzzy-drive settings through to Low-Mass / Bass Heavy and Fully Strident and Gated tones. I will share some settings based on % percentages of those sliders! The recommended starting position from me is : Top - Middle, Right-Top!
Generally with the Biases at the bottom of their range - the output is thinner, brighter and more gated, and as you shift the Biases upwards you get increasing depth, body and compression. Where my current favourite is Top Bias in the middle and Right Bias at the top. Great roll-off dynamics too with your guitar volume.
I acquired my Filth Fuzz from good friend Joe Light’s Joe’s Pedals boutique - priced at £229. And I feel most of you would have a lot of fun deploying this smart circuit.