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If there’s a golden age of Fuzz, this might be it; every version and variant is available to the player, and Electro-Harmonix has more fuzz flavors than you can shake a stick at — from classic to modern, with their new Ripped Speaker Fuzz putting an interesting twist on things.
It’s the usual standard size, single button enclosure, with Volume, Tone, Fuzz and Rip. The Volume and Fuzz do what you’d expect on a pedal of this sort, but the Tone control has a trick up its sleeve. Instead of the standard “rolling off highs” function, it’s an active circuit; at the center position the EQ response is flat — go counterclockwise, and the lows become more present. Crank it clockwise, and the highs really cut through. The Rip control adjusts the amount of clipping at the top or bottom for the fuzz waveform. At the center position, it’s pretty neutral, counterclockwise it really chokes and gates the low frequencies, and for making the highs crackle, fade and fart out, the clockwise position really adds in some interesting textures. The footswitch is true bypass to prevent any tone suck and any placement issues or need for buffers in a normal pedalboard setup.
Starting with all the controls at noon, the fuzz is quite present even at this point, with just one chord, it really goes right up the middle, in a great way. Tweaking from here on in really offers up a lot of variety.▼ Article continues below ▼
The Tone control makes a huge difference, with usable low-end response for great fat rhythm and sweet lead parts at the 9 O’clock position. Pushing the control to 3 O’clock, things really start to sizzle. Players using a LP with dual volume and tone controls can really make this position sing on a wide open neck pickup, while maintaining thickness on a treble pickup with the tone rolled down a bit.
The fuzz control range is really quite nice; it does compress a bit as it’s increased, but not so streamlined that it’ll get lost in the bass guitar or kick drum.
The extreme comes from the Rip control, which really warps and mangles the signal from a traditional fuzz. Going clockwise it starts to choke and gate the signal in a similar way a dying battery has on a fuzz. Feeling 8-bit, lo-fi? This is the way. The low-end really gets squashed in a similar way when going from noon to counter clockwise. It sounds more like a signal being degraded, but still pokes through. It’s quite interactive with the Fuzz control, and running a bass guitar through this really makes things gritty and gnarly, blurring the line between an analog synth and a fuzz bass.
With the active EQ, and the Rip set to noon, it’s a really versatile fuzz that behaves nicely while still delivering what you’d expect from fuzz, when you want it. For players who want to push the limits, the Rip control really offers up some unique options that really aren’t available on other pedals. The small size is pedalboard friendly, and this is one for the fuzz aficionado who’s not looking to break the bank on a boutique one-trick-pony.
Active EQ, plenty of great fuzz, Rip control is unique.