Review: Dunlop Fuzz Face Mini Pedals
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Of all the early fuzz-pedal circuits, the Fuzz Face is by far the sweetest sounding, with smooth and even sustain, harmonic overtones that complement the base note and chords (instead of fighting them), and compressed attack that provides violin-like tones.
This has made the Fuzz Face the choice of discriminating tone connoisseurs throughout the ages, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Joe Bonamassa and many other guitarists of note. Now Dunlop has updated the legendary Fuzz Face with its Fuzz Face Mini pedals, which provide the same timeless circuits in a much smaller round housing along with features modern players demand.
Dunlop has even lowered the price to match the reduced, pedal board–friendly size.
Dunlop offers three different flavors of the Fuzz Face Mini: Germanium, Silicon and Jimi Hendrix, which come in red, blue and turquoise cases, respectively. All three feature volume and fuzz controls, true-bypass switching, a laser-bright status LED, AC power jack and easy-access battery door while they retain the classic round shape and skip-pad “nose” of the original, albeit at less than one-third the overall size. In fact, using right-angle plugs, one can fit all three Fuzz Face Minis into a space a little larger than the footprint of an original Fuzz Face.
The Germanium Fuzz Face Mini uses slightly mismatched germanium transistors just like the first version of the Fuzz Face featured in the Sixties. The Silicon Fuzz Face Mini offers the same specs as an original 1970 Fuzz Face and features a matched pair of BC108 silicon transistors. The Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini offers a circuit identical to that of Dunlop’s JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, based on Hendrix’s own Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face from 1969–’70 and featuring BC108 silicon transistors.
The magic of a Fuzz Face is how well it integrates into the signal chain, becoming an active, dynamic part of it instead of just a component to switch in or out at will. The square-wave distortion it produces is undeniably over the top, but it’s warm, smooth and one of only a rare few true fuzz effects that sounds good with chords. The distortion cleans up nicely when the guitar’s volume control is backed down just slightly, allowing players to easily dial in the desired fuzz effect, from just a touch of hair to full-on fuzz assault at will. The Silicon and Jimi Hendrix versions deliver the most gain, with the Hendrix being the less aggressive of the two, while the Germanium version sounds sweeter and darker.
List Price $170.61 (each)
Manufacturer Dunlop Manufacturing, jimdunlop.com
The pedals have circuits identical to full-size Fuzz Face pedals, true-bypass switching, status LEDs, AC adapter jacks, and easy-access battery compartments.
The Silicon and Jimi Hendrix versions feature BC108 silicon transistors while the Germanium version has a mismatched pair of germanium transistors
The Bottom Line
Reducing both the size and price of the legendary Fuzz Face, the three Fuzz Face Mini pedals provide three distinct classic fuzz flavors that deserve spots on your pedal board.
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