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Boost and Overdrive

Skreddy Pedals Compact Capsule Collection

Big Muff Style FuzzBoost and OverdriveDistortionEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionOpAmp FuzzSilicon FuzzSkreddy Pedals+-
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I’ve been chasing down a Skreddy Zero Distortion for quite some time now and have suffered several near misses over those years, and quirky odd experiences along the trail too. Joe Light of Joe’s Pedals thought he had one buried somewhere in his store room - and it’s taken nearly a year of crate-digging to finally uncover it!


So this selection is in homage to that particular milestone, and the fact that my Skreddy Pedals collection is up to 10 now. The vast majority of these were acquired from Joe’s Pedals, while the Hybrid Fuzz Driver came from Wunjo, the Mayonnaise MKII from an Italian collector, and the P19 from Rogue Guitar Shop.


This is one of the earliest brands I started collecting, and is my second most populous fuzz brand probably after John Lyons’ Basic Audio - of which I have 19 to date. In both instances I’m not nearly finished in any way, but feel that this is a good snapshot and insight into some of the most appealing parts of the Skreddy range. Mr Skreddy himself - Marc Ahlfs has also made a number of pedals for Animals Pedal - a lot of them replicas from his own range. Where originals exist - like the Rover and Rust Rod for instance - I would rather have those in official Skreddy editions - while those tend to come with the wrong knobs!


There are a number of discontinued Skreddy’s that I’m probably looking to acquire too - like say the ’? Lady’ and ’Ernie’. I was very excited when watching Joe’s recent Skreddy Crate Dig - while those are his own personal stash and alas won’t be going up for sale!


When acquiring the Zero I asked Joe what he thought I might have overlooked in my then selection - and he recommended the Cognitive Dissonance MKIV - so that I now have a really even spread of Fuzz, Drive and Distortion pedals from the range.


I’ve often said that Marc Ahlfs is one of the King’s of Fuzz - while more correctly he’s the King of the 4-Transistor Fuzz - so many of his pedals feature an array of 4 Transistors - which makes them mostly rather Big Muff adjacent.


Here follow the key details on each :

BC109 Fuzz (Fuzz Face Type II Adjacent) - £189


Controls : Volume, Bias, Voice, Pickup : HB/SC, Fuzz.


Transistors : 4 x BC109C


I've always associated this with a sort of Higher Gain Silicon Fuzz Face - while this can go quite a bit zingier because of its 4-transistors and extended-range controls. So in some ways it's sort of adjacent to the Os Mutantes Regulus VIII as one of the great examples of High Gain Fuzz Face - also the Boss FZ-3. You have a toggle switch / sort of pickup enhancer with settings for Humbucker or Single Coil. And the other controls are more straightforward - with Bias and Voice / Character accompanying the usual Volume and Fuzz knobs. This is a rare Silicon Fuzz that all should try out - and it has those really cool small metal can BC109C transistors.

BC239 Fuzz (Ram's Head Muff Fuzz) - £195


Controls : Mids : Scoop/Hump, Sustain, Volume, Tone.


Transistors : 4 x BC239C


The most recent of Marc Ahlf's Ram's Head varieties with 4 High-Gain BC239C delivering the tones. Really useful Mids control too - where you can Bump / Hump the Mids as well as set them to stock Scooped profile. I really like all my Big Muffs to have some sort of additional Mids Control - and most of the Skreddy varieties do - either Scoop/Flat, or Scoop/Hump as is the case here. This is fantastic take on the Ram's Head - one of the finest for sure.

Cognitive Dissonance MKIV High Gain 4-Transistor Fuzz - £195


Controls : Mids : Scoop/Flat, Sustain, Volume, Tone.


Transistors : 4 x 2N5088


I believe the starting point here is David Gilmour's Pete Cornish P1 Fuzz - based on an early Ram's Head Muff with a component selection which yields more texture and density for a really satisfying full-frequency distortion. I obviously have a number of Marc's 4-Transistor Distortions - and each of them has a very distinct character and texture to it - even in the Tone sweep. And even where I seemingly have several of the same sort of Big Muff variant - while each is based on a different era of Pink Floyd and Gilmour tones!

Hybrid Fuzz Driver - £229


Controls : Volume, Fuzz, Tightness, Presence, Mid Boost.


Transistors : 2 x BC109C + AC127


This is supposedly a take on Jimmy Page's Marshall 1959 Super Lead tone - while it started out as an attempt to make a more humbucker-centric version of the Lunar Module. One of the key differences being that one of the 3 BC109C transistors is swapped out for a Germanium AC127. This renders a slightly warmer and more open tone - in fact this circuit ends up quite distinct from the Lunar Module - and I'm very happy to have both!

Lunar Module Mini Deluxe Fuzz - £229


Controls : Volume, Fuzz, Body (Bass), Brite (Brilliance/Hair/Edge), Range (Input Gain).


Transistors : 3 x BC109C


This fuzz is famously Marc Ahlf's take on the sound of David Gilmour's solo tone for Pink Floyd's 1973 hit 'Time' it has that typical Gilmour slightly smooth soaring tone - which here is a little more cutting than his typical Big Muff selections. As mentioned - both the Lunar Module and Hybrid Fuzz Driver are sort of siblings which share an origin point - while the circuits render quite different overall - with this slightly sharper and more cutting - i.e. with a little more 'edge' while the Hybrid Fuzz Driver is a touch warmer and smoother.

Mayonaise MK II Compact Fuzz (Triangle Muff Fuzz) - discontinued - £390 (2nd hand)


Controls : Mids : Scoop/Flat, Sustain, Volume, Tone.


Transistors : 4 x 2N5133


This is one of, if not my absolute favourite all-time Triangle Big Muff - there's something magical happening in the mid frequencies here - and this just sound extraordinary to me - it has a sort of gorgeous gooey warmth to it that is hard to put into words. I bought this from an Italian Collector back in 2019 and possibly paid a fraction over the odds at £390 including delivery. I much miss not being able to buy classic pedals from my European cousins - as post-Brexit the added costs just make it unviable and impractical. I've snagged quite a few classics from Italian collectors over the years - so I'm at least glad that I had that opportunity back then - and I sincerely hope it returns to those days eventually - where everything was much easier!

P19 Fuzz (Gilmour Ram's Head Muff Fuzz) - £189


Controls : Mids : Flat/Hump, Sustain, Volume, Tone.


Transistors : 4 x BC550C


This is the natural heir to the Pink Flesh and Pig Mine - and forerunner to the more recent Juicy Pig - all Ram's Head Big Muff varieties based on Pink Floyd's 1977 Animals and 1979 The Wall albums - where Animals famously had an inflated pig floating above Battersea Power Station on the cover. Marc typically renames each variant when he chooses or is forced to make a component changes - meaning that each of these sounds slightly different and has different nuances and accents - even though there is a very evident core family tone that is common to all. For my P19 we have 4 High Gain BC550C transistors - which deliver quite a different tone to the 4 x 239C above - even though both are Ram's Head variants. I have over 60 Big Muffs in my collection now - several of each type - and all sound distinct - and have their own nuances and character. Actually more closely based on Gilmour's Ram's Head + Colorsound PowerBoost combination.

Screwdriver Mini Deluxe OD/Distortion - £229


Controls : Volume, Gain, Sharpness (Edge), Brilliance, Pre-Gain.


Transistors : AC127 + BC109C + BS170 Mosfet


This is Marc's Swiss-army / all-rounder Drive/Distortion pedal - which combines Germanium and Silicon Transistors with a single Mosfet to produce its distinctive tones. The combination of Gain and Pre-Gain gives you an enormous range of drive and distortion tones - where Brilliance is a sort of Bright / Treble control - while the Sharpness is more of a sort of Bias - which render a more focused / wiry / edgy tone when cranked and thicker and bassier in the other direction. This pedal has a wonderful warmth and elegant breakup timbre to it - and is still though seemingly a little under the radar for most. I really should be thinking about putting it in for another rotation! This is supposedly another Gilmour-esque take - as a sort of cross between a Colorsound PowerBoost and BK Tube Driver - with a Mosfet based Treble-Booster input stage.

Top Fuel Silicon High Gain Distortion - discontinued - £189 when new


Controls : Sustain, Volume, Tone.


Transistors : 2 x BC239C + 2N5088 ; + 4 x 2N7000 & BS170 Mosfets


According to Gilmour expert Bjørn Riis - this is best described as a cross between a Pete Cornish SS-2 and BK Tube Driver - or somewhere around David Gilmour's Pulse tones essentially. With a much more open texture compared to most somewhat denser distortions. This is a sort of Smooth, Fat and Creamy style of elegant distortion which is fairly distinct from other more typical distortion varieties.

Zero Thick & Smooth 4-Transistor Distortion - discontinued - £250 (Mint edition)


Controls : Sustain, Volume, Tone.


Transistors : 4 x 2N5088


Another fantastic Marc Ahlfs distortion - supposedly based on the Smashing Pumpkins Opamp Big Muff Pi into Marshall JCM800 Amp tone. It's best described as a Thick and Smooth almost Metal-like distortion with exceptional breakup texture - and I feel is somewhat more mids-present than the Top Fuel. There is a later model which has the Mids Scoop/Hump toggle-switch - but Marc himself says it doesn't really need it as there are plenty of Mids already in the standard tone-stack. This is slightly more aggressive, and slightly more modern sounding than the Top Fuel.

Final Thoughts


As I say in the intro, I feel I've got a pretty solid mix of Skreddy classics in this selection already - while I could probably do with adding an Ernie, '? Lady', Rover, and Rust Rod eventually - perhaps even a Perestroika! I'm really in no great hurry to get any more right now - I feel a warm glow of satisfaction after having chased a Zero for nearly 3 years.


I acquired most of mine from Joe's Pedals, and he's expecting another Skreddy re-stock any day soon. So most of the current should soon be available again.


Marc Ahlfs really is the master of the Big Muff and classic Gilmour tones - and while he doesn't necessarily cover all the varieties like Stomp Under Foot or Wren and Cuff - what he does deliver is universally excellent - with superb transistor selections and expertly calibrated tone-stacks - often with magical mids - just like on the Mayonaise!


Do you have any Skreddy favourites yourselves?

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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