The Lucky No. 13 Fuzz was Mike’s first proper officially branded Vick Audio release and was last on sale around October 2014 - obviously some years ago now. The fuzz derives its name from the fact that both Mike and his wife were born on the 13th, and got married on the 13th. I’m a fan of ’13’ too as my darling sister was born on that self same date also.
In terms of pedigree and provenance, the Lucky 13 circuit is a fairly high-gain 2 x Silicon Transistor type which sits somewhere between and adjacent to Dick Denney’s Colorsound Fuzz Box (BC109 + BC108C) and David Main’s D*A*M Meathead (2N3904 + BC182L). All three circuits are sufficiently differentiated and have somewhat different core characteristics and voicings - where Mike’s 2 x BC549 Transistor combination produces an expansive smooth and sustaining distortion - while the other 2 are slightly more textured, and the Meathead in particular has a significant lean towards Low-end frequencies.
The pedal is designed to be used very much in conjunction with your guitar’s control knobs - and responds excellently to the Level and Tone dials - the former of which cleans up the gain / distortion beautifully.
I am very much a fan of single knob fuzzes, and am eternally fascinated by their infinite variety and versatility. I own several One Knob Wonders as it is, and am still in my acquisition phase for the adjacent Doom/Sludge genre (mostly Meathead derivatives) per my recent article on those highly textured fuzzes.
The Lucky 13 has enormous range covered by that single dial - and particularly in the area of Level/Volume - as attested to by Jack Fossett in his below demo. As a fuzz fan I’ve grown very accustomed to manipulating those pedals also via the guitar’s controls - and this one seems to respond particularly well to those administrations.
Sonically - the Lucky 13 sits somewhat adjacent to the well-known High Gain Fuzz Faces - sort of between a Regulus VIII and Meathead, while having some of the textural characteristics of a Tone Bender MKIII albeit not quite such an extensive creaminess. It’s smooth and sustaining for sure and with a distinct character all of its own that takes on various influences but does not sound exactly like any of them.
Mike limits his range to no more than 12 or so active pedals at any given time - given that he’s very much a one-man-band who still does everything by hand himself - and he really likes to have things fully under his control. So inevitably when new pedals are introduced, older ones get retired. Mike felt it was particularly timely to bring the Lucky 13 back into the range gain as he did not currently have any of that genre within his roster - with all his main fuzzes currently being Big Muff variants.
The New Lucky 13 is exactly the same circuit as before with all the same parts and values. All the new changes are superficial - in that the power jack is moved to the top edge of the pedal, and the former ’Modern Silicone Fuzz’ (sic) legend has been removed. The designs are now fully properly high quality UV-printed versus the previous label treatments. The pedal comes in 3 different varieties - Matt Black (as pictured) and Matt Grey, as well as a more Textured Black variation.
I’ve still to do a major roundup of Mike’s pedals on this blog - and that article will be coming through relatively soon. I need to get going on on my Vick Audio acquisition trail - while there are several of those on the active acquisitions / wishlist already - including this Lucky 13, the Tree of Life Overdrive, V-2 Distortion and Violet Ram’s Head Muff variant.
Mike has a very elegant philosophy of keeping things as simple as possible with no more than 4 controls being presented at any time - for the ultimate in ease-of-use and dial-in-ability! And while I’m often seen as more of a maximalist in many ways - I always find value and joy in the elegance of smartly calibrated simple pedals.
The Lucky No. 13 is available right now on both the Vick Audio Store for North American customers and Reverb.com Store for International customers - where it’s currently retailing for the very attractive price of $99 equivalent. I myself will be negotiating with Mike for a number of his finest - which will no doubt end up as a September project - more on that soon ...