Adding to its new pedal offerings for 2022 – which to date include the Callisto MKII chorus and flanger, Tribute overdrive and Many Worlds phaser – Catalinbread has announced the Fuzzrite Germanium, an alternative to its existing silicon-based Fuzzrite pedal.
As the company explains, from 1966 to ‘68, instrument manufacturer Mosrite produced two distinct fuzz pedal circuits: one with silicon transistors and the other outfitted with germanium parts. The latter is by far the most rare, with its original designer Ed Sanner estimating that only about 250 units were ever made.
“In that final year of production, Mosrite shifted exclusively to silicon parts, making germanium components a thing of the past,” Catalinbread says. “However, by 1968 the public was hungry for fuzz, having heard it on a handful of recordings, most notably In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly and Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock.
“These two buzzy, sinewy fuzz tones were part of a wave of psychedelic rock gaining traction in the mainstream, and both were recorded prior to the introduction of the silicon Fuzzrite…
“We at Catalinbread happen to have a germanium version at our disposal, and we’ve used it as a benchmark to create an extremely faithful version with a modern twist.”
Like Mosrite’s original germanium Fuzzrite, Catalinbread’s Fuzzrite Germanium features two NOS PNP germanium semiconductors, however in a departure in design, it sports a toggle switch for shifting into Modern mode, which beefs up low-end for a more contemporary sound.
Elsewhere, the pedal’s control layout is relatively straightforward, with a Volume knob for controlling the output of the circuit and a Depth dial, described as the “heart of the pedal”.
The latter is essentially a blend control that mixes in a second transistor gain stage with the first. When set hard left, players hear the first transistor on its own, delivering a “clean and fat” tone.
As the knob is turned to the right, the second transistor is blended in, resulting in more voltage-starved, gated sounds, and “pseudo ring mod-style upper octave harmonics”.
The Fuzzrite Germanium is available now for $179.99. For more information, head to Catalinbread (opens in new tab).