SunFace and Fuzz Face Pedals : What's the deal?

Analog Man Vintage guitar effects

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See our FAQ for the history of the fuzz face.

Disclaimer: A fuzz face is not an easy pedal to get a great sound out of! If you have a Cort guitar and a Crate amp, don't expect to sound like Jimi with a fuzz face. You will have to have an excellent guitar and amp, have played for at least several years, and used some other fuzz pedals to appreciate the sound and feel of our Sun Face or modified Fuzz Faces. It may also take some time to figure out how to make it work well with your other equipment. Our Sunface and modified Fuzz Page pedals are made for the pros, but even a beginner should be able to get great tones.


"When you think of it, a really good effect should not mean that your search is over; it should mean that your journey is just getting started!"

- Mark Hammer

Why do you modify a fuzzface?

Unlike a pedal like a Tube Screamer, which will always sound good if the right chip and other parts are installed correctly, a fuzzface is a very finicky circuit. The transistors used in a fuzzface make all the difference in tone, feel, and amount of fuzz/cleanliness. Germanium transistors were the first type of transistors generally available, starting in the early 1960s. They are not very stable or easy to manufacture consistently. Since silicon transistors took over from germanium about 40 years ago, almost nobody makes germaniums anymore, and the few that are made just don't do the trick in a fuzzface circuit. Each transistor used in a fuzzface needs to be tested for several parameters including gain, leakage, noise, and tone to make a great sounding fuzz. These transistors are just not available in any decent quantity. For these reasons, it's really tough for a large company to mass produce a classic germanium fuzzface that sounds good. It's too much of a hassle so most do not even try.

We can build our SUNFACE pedal for you, or modify your existing Fuzz Face, either a Dunlop reissue or Arbiter UK reissues to make them sound GREAT, just like Clapton in Cream or early Hendrix. The sound is nice and smooth, singing bluesy tone, not harsh noisy fuzz.

These pedals are VERY SENSITIVE to your guitar volume : with germanium, if you turn down a Strat's volume to about 7, there is very little distortion. At 9, it is a nice smooth bluesy tone, like Clapton in Cream. At 10, it is quite fuzzy, especially if you have hot pickups or humbuckers. Also, if you use another effect before the fuzz face, it can make it get a nastier distortion. You may try running a Distortion or compressor into the fuzz face, or vice versa, with varying volume settings on the guitar and/or effects. But for the purest tone, there should be no effects between the guitar and the fuzz. However, effects with true bypass that are turned OFF are OK before the fuzz (for example, an RMC wah). Vintage style wah pedals have some issues when used with a vintage style fuzz face (though Jimi did not seem to mind!). To cure that, the Foxrox Wah Retrofit is available. The Z Vex Wah Probe seems to work fine with our sunface, for a cool alternative.

All fuzz faces (and our sunface) have true bypass, so we don't need to modify them for true bypass.


Analog Man Sun Face

We are now making these in our own cases, as the Analog Man Sun Face . They are hand-built in the USA in small gold boxes, with our own USA made SUNFACE circuit board, which was made small enough to fit in almost any enclosure. As you can see in the picture down below a bit, this is a VERY high quality board of the same type used on our other pedals. It is better quality than almost any other fuzzface clone you will find, with shielding, plated through-holes, etc to meet military specs. It also has an internal CLEAN trim pot (white knob). This trim pot acts just like turning down the VOLUME knob on your guitar, to clean up the fuzz. It can be used to preset the sound as with the volume knob rolled back a bit. It also allows easier control of the volume knob on your guitar when the white CLEAN trim pot is turned a bit. It can also be used to kill Radio Frequency Interference, which may be a problem on high gain pedals in some areas, by turning it down a hair. like all our handmade pedals, the Sunface has true bypass, so when off they do not alter your sound at all. The CLEAN trimpot will also allow the sunface to work better after a vintage style wah pedal, without having to use a foxrox wah retrofit.

2012 Sun Face : in 2012 we started using a brighter, shinier gold box for the smaller Sunface pedals, as seen on the pedal on the right. I like the gold color better. The Z VEX power plate will fit these cases well too.



Transistor Testing

On the left is some of our test equipment we use for testing out transistors for our Sun Face and Beano Boost pedals. These are ugly but perfect for testing the transistors for four parameters which are critical for the best sounding fuzz. We have since reboxed it into a steel cabinet so it's more rugged.




In July, 2002 we started offering a NOS NKT-275 version of the Sun Face, using New Old Stock British Newmarket 1960s NKT-275 transistors. These are the actual ones used in the original $expensive germanium fuzzfaces, not the skinny US made copies used in the new fuzzfaces since the 1990s (which look and sound totally different). You can take a peek into one of our NKT-loaded pedals on the left. It also includes an additional BIAS trim pot inside to set the exact bias on these transistors, for the ultimate sound. The Blue trim pot is for Bias, which should not need adjustment often, while the big White one is the CLEAN (input adjustment) knob. The BIAS pot really helps if you play at different temperatures. You can turn it down a bit at higher temperatures, and up a bit at lower temperatures, to keep the transistors happy and sounding best at their SWEET SPOT which is about 5 volts. The Sunface manual has more information on adjusting this. The bias control is more often found on the outside of our Sunface pedals as the SUN DIAL knob.

The sound of these NKT275 transistors is quite similar to the other types of germanium transistors that we use. But the NKT275s have less fuzz, and less high end fizziness. They have a deeper tone and clean up better than any other transistor. If you turn down the volume on your guitar, the NKT275 sound will be totally, sparkly clean without any fuzz remnants. Normally, NKT275 transistors are not high gain, that is why they clean up so well and are so smooth sounding. However we do have some high gain NKTs we have sorted out over the years, out of the same batch. If you don't need a fuzz that can get TOTALLY clean when you back the guitar down just a few numbers, the NKT275 is probably not for you. They are also tough to use with humbuckers, easily get lost in the mix in a band situation unless you play REALLY loud.

We sold out our first batch of NKT-275 transistors with red dots in just a few months, but found more. These early 1970s "new" NKT275s are the same size but don't look exactly the same. They have less (almost no!) leakage, and sound a little less dark, with better high end definition. They are from a military supplier in the UK and were tested to a NATO spec. These have white dots instead of red dots, signifying the military spec. They are not the USA reproduction NKTs used in the new fuzzfaces or in some other fuzzface clones. When I retested them here, 95% of them worked perfectly unlike the last batch which was about 25% dead. The SUNFACE reviewed by Guitar Player magazine had the older red dot NKTs, while the one reviewed by TONEQUEST magazine had the newer ones. We ran out of the white dot NKTs in 2011 and are saving some just for repairs. We doubt we will be able to get more in, as all the ones we have gotten in the last several years were fakes parts that others already tested and rejected.

Red Dot NKT transistors

We also have gotten some more of the older-style red dot NKTs. These are not quite as clean or clear sounding as the white dot. The red dot do not get sparkly clean when you back down the volume, but they have a longer, smoother range when backing down the volume knob so it's easier to find just the right amount of fuzz. They have a cool smoky, bluesy tone, a little softer and darker. They definately have some MOJO in the sound. They are a little more finicky and tougher to dial in, especially at various temperatures, so the sundial has a WIDE range on these.

High Gain NKT transistors

If you want the NKT sound, but with more fuzz, and a bit brighter, with a reasonable amount of cleanup like other fuzzface clones and our other germaniums (not 100% clean), we have some HIGH GAIN NKTs that we have saved over the years. They are the same parts as the white dot NKTs, they just tested out higher in gain than the ones we normally use.

Standard germanium transistors

We also have some really cool 1960s Japanese 2SB transistors that we are using for our standard germanium (non NKT) Sunfaces. These are a little brighter and fuzzier than the NKTs, and cannot get totally clean. I remember buying Acetone organs back in the early 90s to get these transistors for making Fuzzfaces when a friend told me how great they sounded. The 2SB is a little darker and woolier than the TI/UK. We also have some awesome 1960s General Electric USA made germanium transistors, a 2N type, that we often use. We use either of these in the generic germanium option of our mods and they sound awesome. If you prefer one or the other let us know. These types have been used in most of the good boutique fuzzface clones over the years, you see them often in The Gear Page "pedal guts" thread.

TI/UK Germanium transistors

In 2008 we got a large batch of superb germanium transistors from the UK. These CV7003 transistors were made in the UK by Texas Instruments in 1968 to a military spec. They are not the Newmarket brand CV7003 that we used in the Beano Boost for a while. These TI/UK transistors have nice medium-high gain and are awesome in the Fuzz Face circuit. They are quite similar to the sound of the High Gain NKTS. We also use these in some Beano Boost pedals. These are a little brighter than the 2SB standard germaniums, less wooly sounding.


AC128 transistors

You will read on some websites that some original fuzzface pedals used an AC128 transistor. However, I and all my fuzzface guru friends have never seen these in an original fuzzface from the 1960s, and we have seen literally hundreds of them. The AC128 WAS found in the grey reissues made in the 90s. The AC-128 transistors we pulled out of these reissue fuzzes sound horrible. We also tried all the AC-128 versions available on ebay and from suppliers all over the world but none sounded good enough for our pedals so we have piles of them that will sit unused. They might be good for a germanium buffer in the future.

Silicon fuzz

We have some BC108, BC109, and BC183 silicon transistors, and have been making silicon Sunfaces for several years now. The BC108 and BC109 are in small metal cans while the BC183 are plastic. Silicon fuzzfaces came out in about 1969. Dallas Arbiter used both of these types in their Fuzz Face pedals. The silicons are fuzzier than the germaniums, and brighter. The silicon transistors have much higher gain. They don't get totally clean by turning the guitar down like the NKTs but they do clean up quite a bit and are sensitive to your dynamics. Check out the sound sample below to hear this.

We can make a SUNFACE with no extra charge for silicon. There is a small extra charge for modifying and converting an existing germanium fuzz pedal to silicon. The sundial is not really needed, as the silicon transistors are not temperature sensitive. But you can use the sundial knob to dial in different sounds if desired. We do put the BIAS trimpot on the inside of the two-knob sunfaces so you can still tweak it if desired. The Sundial knob may cause more noise on a silicon (high gain) sunface, due to the extra wires, so it may be best to not order the sundial if you want to keep the noise down.

Silicon fuzzfaces are negative ground, so you can use almost any power supply without fear of melting it down. But it still may sound better with an old style battery. The FUZZ knob on the silicon version usually sounds and works best if you turn it down a bit (on the germanium I usually like it up full).

BC183

The BC183 transistors we got in 2011 are my favorite for a silicon fuzzface. We are still using these transistors as we got a big box of them. They are a little warmer than the BC108 and still have plenty of fuzz. We got a large box of these, each individually hermetically sealed in a foil pack, with the same paint stripes on the back that they used in the original 1969 Fuzz face pedals. I think Eric Johnson has BC183 in the red fuzzface that he used for years, and the new 2012 Dunlop Eric Johnson signature Fuzz Face seems to use a BC183 too.

Jon Carin (Floyd, The Who, Roger Waters, etc) contacted me in 2012, looking for a fuzz that sounds like the giant lap steel on One Of These Days by the Floyd. I recommended the BC183 Sun Face for him and I think he likes it!

This Sunface is tear-your-face-off unreal but warm. You are the Distortionist. Thanks SO much.


BC108C

In May 2013, we got some Telefunken brand BC108C silicon transistors. The old fuzzfaces from 1970 usually used the TFK brand BC108C transistors. "C" is the gain range of the transistor, it's the highest gain, "B" would be lower gain. These BC108C don't look the same as the ones made in 1970, or the same as some we got from the late 70s. They seem to be made by TFK but we can't guarantee that, so we are not charging extra for these transistors. We do have just a few actual NOS BC108C transistors that we can use for restoring an old Fuzz face pedal where their high price would be worth it.


BC109

In late 2012 we got some BC109 silicon transistors by request from people who heard that David Gilmour may have had these put in his Fuzz Face sometime. They are a no cost option, along with the clock graphics, in tribute to his wonderful solo in Time. The BC109 is a little grittier and edgier than the BC108 and not nearly as smooth as the BC183. But they cut really well with a band and have a cool sound so you may like them best if that's what you are going for. We sometimes have a special deal on these with no options.

In spring of 2014 we found some Telefunken TFK BC109C transistors. These are yet a little edgier sounding than the normal BC109 transistors. They have a really nice attack with a fuzzy roundness in tone to help cut through better. There may be an upcharge on these depending on how many we have in stock.


I got four old 1960s Fuzzfaces in for repairs and tweaking in early 2008 from a collector. Two were BC108 silicon so I compared them to a BC108 Sunface that I just finished. I was very happy when I found the sounds were almost identical except the sunface was a little clearer sounding. The other two old fuzzfaces were NKT275, one was decent but the other was really dull and woofy. Our NKT sunface was better than both but he wanted to keep them original so we left the original weak transistors in them.


Sun Dial

We now put the SUN DIAL on the Sunface to make a 3 knob small gold pedal. The middle knob is on the center of the Sun Face Graphics. It is the exact same function and circuit as the internal BIAS trim pot on the 2 knob model. It is used for keeping the fuzz happy at different temperatures, and with different or worn batteries. We call it the SUN DIAL and the knob is painted to match the pedal. It is a $25 option. We factory set the SUNDIAL so the face is vertical at our shop temperature (70 degrees or so depending on if it's Winter or Summer!). You can set it by ear, just turn it up until the buzziness goes away as much as you like. Jim Weider has an NKT Sunface with the SUN DIAL and likes to run the sundial higher than our normal setting, he turns it almost all the way up for less fuzz and a purer tone. You can turn it down all the way for a buzzy sound like "spirit in the sky", where the fuzz fizzes out.



Box styles and sizes

Up till mid 2007 we used our "small" box for most Sunfaces as seen on the left, the Sunface with Top Jacks. These are 2.5" wide, 4.75" tall, and about 1.5" high. It is the same box used for the Mini Chorus, Mini Bicomp, Beano, etc. Starting in late August 2007 we are using our SMALLER box for most Sunface pedals, as seen on the pedal with side jacks on the left. These are 2.25" wide, 4.25" tall, and about 1.25" high, the same size as the small MXR pedals. I like these better as they are lower profile and leave more room on the pedalboards for more pedals!!

We are still using the old style boxes for the TOP JACKS option or if specified on your order form. The top jacks helps with real estate problems on some boards. Top jacks can only be built in the old style "small" box as there is no room on the newer "smaller" box for top jacks.


Sound Samples

Here is Jon Butcher playing his NKT sunface with a Nash Strat with .010 strings, into a Reinhardt 18 head with a THD 2x12" cabinet, recorded with a Shure 57 mic. Fuzz knob was about 3:00, sundial about 1:00 and volume about 12:00. Sea Of Blues Enjoy!

Here are some clips by Rogers Stevens of Blind Melon from their 2007 album. He is playing his Nash Strat with Rio Grande pickups through our Sunface NKT into a Blockhead amp.
Sun Face alone
Solo With Sun Face into a wah
I saw them in June 2008 and they sounded awesome, Thanks Rogers!

This one is a Strat with the neck pickup, 1st phrase is played on our standard germanium SUNFACE, 2nd time it is played on our NKT SUNFACE. Sample by Roger Filgate, Fender deluxe reverb amp set totally clean.
GE-NKT.MP3

Here is Roger Filgate again, with his ES-345, a bit Cream style. Again 1st time is the standard SUNFACE, 2nd is the NKT version. Fender deluxe reverb amp set clean.
STDNKTCREAM.MP3


NKT 275 version with Les Paul, bridge pickup, Joe Walsh style, Fender deluxe reverb amp set clean. NKTJOE.MP3

NKT 275 version with Les Paul, bridge pickup, the sound can get dark and dirty if you want it! Fender deluxe reverb amp clean. NKTDRKNHVY.MP3

Greg V. former Double Trouble, Buddy Miles guitarist got an NKT Sun Face in Sept 04 and wrote
I love this pedal, VERY fat and feels good to play. I love how dynamic this pedal responds to the changing attack of my fingers. Greg made a clip of it, recorded at a medium-loud living room volume with his Black Fender Tele with Nocaster pickup > No pick-fingers only > Sun Face > '66 Ampeg Gemini 1 > SM57 > Akai DPS24 recorder. No EQ and just a bit of reverb. GregV_SunFace_Jam1.mp3
Check out his new CD "Tailgate Troubadour" at www.gregv.us

There are some NKT Sunface samples from Robert Morency on the Unkle Groove myspace page . He used a stock strat and a deluxe for these Hendrix and Trower tones. He also posted some cool clips on youtube : Strat , Strat Clean , with the Sunface used as a booster and Les Paul.

Here is the song LOCIS PYBE. Damiano Ponti is using our Sunface BC183 with a Les Paul and British amps. RUDYSCAVE, www.facebook.com/rudyscave is an Italian rock band started in 2013, who released their first studio album, RUST in 2014.

Bass Guitar

We can make a Sunface or Fuzzface mod have more low end if you are a bass player. I would choose a silicon, maybe BC183, and put a note on your order if you play bass and we will give it more low end. Here are some BASS GUITAR samples

Battery comparison: same NKT 275 pedal. Starts with Alkaline Duracell (twice), Cheap General Purpose type (twice) then Duracell (twice again) on a Les Paul. Listen to the high end change. DURACELL2.MP3

Here are some samples of Jim Weider's fuzzface sound, from his 2002 CD "REMEDY". This is with our standard germanium Sun Face. The song is called Metal Jam. Note that you can still hear the guitar clearly, it's not a fuzzed-out sound. Of course you can get a much fuzzier sound by cranking the FUZZ knob and the volume knob on your guitar, and if your amp is distorting. But this is the basic tone I am striving for with my fuzzes, one that a pro player can use to tailor his sound without losing his signature tone. Jim used both Fender and Marshall amps mixed together for this tone. He has since upgraded his sunface with our NKT275 transistors which he likes even better.

  1. Sample 1
  2. Sample 2
  3. Sample 3

Be sure to check out our Jim Weider Band page for more info and to order his new CD!!!!

Here is a video of Sid McGinnis at a studio playing his sunface through his new Tweed Twin amp. The sunface has the fuzz knob up all the way, he uses the guitar to change from SPARKLY clean to pure fuzz. The avi video is dark and audio is poor (built in mic in a canon camera, not even a real video camera) and it's huge, about 8MB. But if you want to check it out, here is sidsunface.avi .

Here are some samples from Diego Andrea. He gets AWESOME tones from his historic Gibson guitars and uses our Sunface and Beano Boost almost all the time. If you like classic 60s British and American blues check this guy out. Electric Days, Diego Andrea go to the bottom and there should be some sunface clips after his songs. He used an SG into a blockhead 50W Plexi head. The songs before the Sunface samples all use the Beano Boost.

Here is a cool video demo of the silicon BC108 sunface, from a good customer.

Here is some excellent info on Jimi Hendrix's pedals on the emplive.com web site. You can hear the difference when Jimi turned on his fuzzface on one of the clips.

Here are some clips from Doug Doppler which will be on his GET KILLER TONE dvd series. First is a Strat into our BC108 Sunface Through a Metro JTM-45 Marshall style amp into a Marshall cabinet. SunfaceBC108bc
Here is another one with a nod to Clapton in Cream. Sun Face EC108

BC108 silicon fuzz cleanup demo
BC108 sunface and a strat into a Fender Blues Junior amp, from a customer William from the band Norman www.myspace.com/normansongs
This clip shows how the silicon option sounds when you turn the guitar down, little by little. never sparkly clean like the NKT but a cool sound. BC1083.MP3
SLIDE GUITAR Here is another clip he did with a highgain NKT (with the guitar's volume backed off by using the CLEAN trimpot inside, to a more normal NKT sound) FuzzyClip.mp3

BC108 Pink Floyd tone demo
Kit Rae recorded this clip, his Strat into our BC108 SunFace with the sundial and FUZZ knob all the way up, into an MXR Carbon Carbon. He played into a Fender Twin Reverb with a bit of reverb from the amp plus some ADT and plate reverb from garage Band. Time Solo

Sunface germanium and Beano Boost demo
Here is fuzz master Marc Ford playing these pedals live into some tweed Fender clones.

Here is another one of Marc at our shop checking out the Silicon BC108 Sunface for the first time. He usually leaves his fuzz on all the time so the 108 may not be best for him but he got some awesome tones! We have since warmed this pedal up a bit so it sounds even better. Youtube BC108 Video


High Gain NKT sample

This is a sample of the high gain NKT sunface that shows it in it's cleaner settings. A stock Tele into a modified Blues Junior. The sun knob is turned up a bit to around 1 or 2:00 and the internal fuzz trimmer is dialed pretty far back for a cleaner sound. He dials the volume knob back in the clip and gets it pretty clean. High Gain NKT.

Here is GEARMANNDUDE comparing the NKT275 to the high gain NKT275 sunface.

 

Here is GEARMANNDUDE again, comparing the normal White dot NKT275 to the red dot NKT275.


 

Red Dot NKT samples

Here is Derek Neece doing some Jimi sounds with the red dot NKT275.


 

Doug Blais at Juggling Reality Studios in Toronto, Canada got some super cool red dot tones with his Les Paul SG. Some of the tones were very horn-like, like Jeff Beck gets. The Sundial was set to 12:00, fuzz up full, and volume at 3/4, into a JTM45/100 (KT66's) full stack set to a volume of 1 to get a clean output and hear what the sunface could do on it's own. Doug used a Beyer M500(C) ribbon mic 2 inches away and at 45 degree angle, with a Rode NT55 Omni about 5 feet back pointing at the stack. He changed the tones exclusively with volume / tone pot control and pickup selections during the improv.
Dance Of The Sunface

 

Here are some clean Jimi tones with the red dot NKTs. Mark Jacobs playing his strat with vintage noiseless bridge pickup. Volume on guitar is set to about 7, tone at 10. Sunface red dot NKT-275 with fuzz all the way up, volume at 11:30, into a Fender Blues Jr. Bold as Love.

 

Here is a Silicon Sunface some Jimi Rave Up sounds! It's Kevin Bryant playing his Fender Strat into an Ultra vibe, Silicon Sunface, Ibanez analog delay and Marshall 2204.

If you are on myspace you can check out Acceptance by Kevin Glaz, NKT275 sunface with a 60's Teisco ET-330 into a Zinky MOFO's clean channel. I find the slide guitar playing quite Zeppelinish, with some Jimi and Jack White thrown in. Acceptance.

Jimi-style Sample into a high gain amp
Here is our friend Paul Branin showing how he uses fuzz with the OD channel of his Lee Jackson type high gain amp. He kicks it in about :045 and it's on whenever the highest gain, feedback stuff is happening. You can also hear our chorus pedal in one section. Jimi Jam

We don't have many Sunface clips with an AC30, so I was glad when I got these from Rich Jevons (myspace.com/richjevons) playing his Historic ES-335 into a Heritage AC30 amp. ( Sweet Little Lady ). Also check out All I've Seen on his Myspace page for a KOT with the same guitar and amp.

Alternative, heavy sample:
Check out grandfather for some really cool sounds, totally unlike most on this page. It's recorded by Steve Albini at his studio, a 62 Reissue Strat into an original 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb (volume on 5). Click on No One Knows No One to hear that song, the Sunface is featured at the solo towards the end, about the 4:30 mark which you can jump to if you are short on time. You can also hear it on "By Myself" Solo and "In The Shadow of a Doubt" in the Ending.

SUNFACE AND BEANO BOOST
Here is a clip of the NKT sunface and Beano Boost together, like a SunLion with both sides on, from Chris McKeon. Soundclick Demo.

Standard Germanium demo with cleanup
Here is a nice demo by Mike from Louisville, KY showing his standard germanium 2N527 SunFace with a Les Paul Jr.



Sun Face Options


Power Supply Problems

We do not like to add a power jack to these pedals, as using a power supply is a compromise with a fuzz. The germanium versions are reverse polarity, so sharing a power source with another pedal will blow out the power source. It blows because the normal pedal's negative ground flows through the patch cord shield to the positive ground of the fuzzface, shorting out the power supply. Positive 9V in the fuzzface is connected to ground through your patch cords. Here is an article about the problems of using power jacks on reverse polarity pedals from Andreas in Sweden. Using a single power cable from the Voodoo Lab or other isolated power supplies is safe though. If you get a power jack but use the internal battery, there are no problems or compromises at all.

We do not require using a reverse polarity plug on any of our pedals. Use normal center negative boss type power supply wiring, even if it's a germanium sunface. This does NOT mean you can share power with another pedal though.

Sharing power on a silicon sunface is not a problem as it uses negative ground.

Using a power supply may add AC hum noise, and can affect the tone, as the best sound is obtained by using an old style non-alkaline battery. I get these two for a dollar at the DOLLAR STORES. I like the Eveready 1222 "black cat", Maxell, or Panasonics. An Alkaline battery will sound a bit dull in a germanium fuzzface, it can lose some character (you can hear the difference in a sound sample above). It's not just the voltage that makes batteries and power supplies sound different. It's the resistance, inductance, and capacitance in the battery, which is part of the circuit in a fuzzface.

A power supply can also cause oscillation (squealing) on some high gain sunfaces. TheGigRig virtual battery should solve oscillation problems, along with isolating the power so you can use any power supply with our positive ground pedals. The VBATT also solves ground loop problems which occur when you use a daisy chain or the same power with more than one pedal. We now offer the Virtual Battery as an accessory and sunface option on our shopping website. Here is more info on the GigRig Virtual Battery

On/Off Fuzz pot option

When using batteries, you need to unplug the guitar cable from input jack when you are done playing for the day, to disconnect the battery. This can be a pain when using a pedalboard. Our optional ON/OFF FUZZ POT makes it easy to disconnect the battery. Just turn the fuzz knob all the way down and it will CLICK as it disconnects the battery. Then you can leave your pedal hooked up to other pedals all the time. The optional on/off fuzz pot does not have quite as nice of a taper as the normal fuzz pot, a lot of fuzz happens in the last quarter turn on the knob. But if you run it up full (most people do) there is no difference. It is a $15 option.

LED option

Some people want an LED added. An LED will not affect tone at all, but may cause some popping when switched ON, and will drain the battery about four times faster. Without an LED, the battery will last at least a few hundred hours of use, so don't scrimp on the tone and you won't be wasting money on batteries anyway. The sunface uses under 1 milliamp (1mA) of current when you are playing, and even less current if you stop playing. So if you play with the fuzz on for 2 or 3 hours a night, a cheap battery will last at least 100 nights! The options we have now are transistor type, Sun Dial knob, jack placement, power jack, LED, and on/off pot.

We have found that the GREEN LED is very efficient, so it would be a good option on the Sunface as we can hook it up to use very little power.

Here is a way to test the battery without having to open the pedal.

Here is a chart I made up that shows how the battery drains over time if the pedal is left plugged in. Battery Drain Chart The battery used was a cheap heavy-duty (non alkaline) battery from the dollar store. An alkaline would last MUCH longer. It looks like the battery is fine for about 8 days or so. After 16 days, it will still work but then goes downhill FAST!



Artists and Reviews

David Gilmour got two more of our Sunface Pedals for his ON AN ISLAND tour in 2006. The bass player, Guy Pratt, was using the BC108 silicon on his bass. Here is more info and pictures .

Jon Butcher sent me such an amazing email about his sunface that I put it on it's own page. Also see his sound sample above.

Doyle Bramhall II used our Sunface NKT with sundial on tour with Eric Clapton starting in 2004. He also had our Bicomp on his pedalboard and had been using our TS9/808. On the left is a screen capture from rehearsal.com where you can see some awesome video interviews and hear him playing the Sunface. You can see the Sunface NKT with sundial in the middle of the board. Here is another shot of his HUGE PEDALBOARD with the Sunface in the middle and Bicomp a few pedals to it's left.

Lance Keltner from Austin bought a Sun Face and wrote : I love the Sun Face! Perfect fuzz tone. You don't know how many reissue and boutique pedals I have tried! This one is amazing.

Later, I sent him a special NKT275 sunface with a mod for a tighter, brighter sound with a bit less low end. We made this setting standard in late 2004 as everyone seems to like it best, and it's really the same as the original germaniun fuzzface value. Lance wrote :

MAN OH MAN!!!
OK Mike, This is the real deal, The new fuzz you sent sounds JUST LIKE THE FACE that Eric Johnson talked me out of years ago. I have regretted losing that Fuzz for years and now this one has replaced it! You are a King among men. Now I don't feel so bad that my old DA fuzzface is gone!



Michael Katon, from Hell, Michigan, is constantly touring Europe playing Detroit blues/rock and boogie. He has been using old fuzzfaces for years with his Marshall Plexis and old Fender Super Reverbs. Michael loved his first Sun Face so much that he ordered another one in case something happened to his first one. Then he had one changed to the NKTs. He wrote me in late 2002:
I had a chance to use the NKT the other Nite through two 100watt Marshall half stacks...I think I sterilized most men in the club and ended up having to sign a few bare breasts (girls of course)...so it's definately doing a good job for me!!!!!!!!

A few months later he wrote me :

After working with the Sunface for several gigs now I finally played a whole night with the Sunface only...I never kicked on the tubescreamer or Klon the whole night! (which was at least 30/35 tunes)...I stomped on the Sunface for the first song and never clicked it off the whole night! I just controlled the sounds with my volume and tone control on the Strats and Marshalls....I discovered on some tunes that if I kept the treble and presence on the Marshalls at a minimum I could get the guitar to sound almost like Jimi from the Isle Of White DVD...This is a great damn pedal man!...I'm glad I bought the extra 2 and will probably get one or two more before long...I wouldn't want to play a gig without a Sunface at this point!...............

On his next tour after more time with the sunface he wrote :

I click it on at the begining of a show and don't click it off 'till my roadie unplugs it to throw in the truck!....My sound man that works for me is English and ran a big tour company out of Birmingham England...He has seen and heard them all and say's he has never heard any other pedal retain the bottom end and clarity that the sunface does!...I've been doing gigs from Norway and sweden over to slovania and down into southern spain (12 countries in all)...and every night without fail some guitar players come up to ask me how I'm getting that tone and I point to the sunface!...

Here is a youtube video of him playing in Holland in the summer of '09 with the NKT sunface.

In 2009 Michael got another Sunface, this time he tried the TI/UK germanium transistors and used it on a European tour. When he got back he wrote me, I like it every bit as well as my one old NKT you made for me years ago...the TI/UK sounds much different than the old NKT but in the coolest way... Now my only problem is trying to decide which one to use on my new studio stuff I'm working on... 'cause they both sound so hip!.... Not a bad problem to have though!!

Here are some clips from Michael's TI/UK Sunface. He says, "Both songs sound kinda ratty and ragged but I meant for them to sound like that, especially 'Cowboy Boots From China'... The TI/UK can get nice and clean if you want, or smooth, but you can also get these ratty sounds by cranking it up and turning down the Sun Dial. Here is his Strat into the TI/UK Sunface (volume and fuzz both full up) with the sundial all the way counter clockwise (for ragged sounds) into a 100 Watt Marshall Plexi with a 4x12 Marshall cab loaded with GreenBacks :
Kick in the Nuts
Here is another one, same setup except a VOX AC30, running into same the Marshall cabinet -
Cowboy Boots from China

In 2011, Michael got yet ANOTHER version of the SunFace, one of my favorites, the Silicon BC183/BC182. Michael wrote :
Hey Mike...got the silicon SunFace last week...this thing is killer Brutha!... I wasn't sure if I'd like the silicon or not...but it turns out I like it alot!... better than the germanium in some ways...this thing is very quiet too!.... and cleans up really wells..I'm glad I got the sundial added because I can crank down the voltage/bias and make it sound very close to germanium if I want to...I'm going to carve my name in it now like I do all your pedals becase I know I'm going to be keeping it forever!....Thanks for your fine pedals Mike!..... Hope to get some sound clips soon!

Kenny Greenberg, one of the top Nashville aces, has a SunFace and says he uses it all the time, it's his favorite fuzz pedal.



Scott Henderson got an NKT275 Sunface with sundial in late 2003, I hope to hear it on his new CDs!
Greg Martin from the Kentucky Headhunters also has a modified Analog Man Arbiter Fuzzface, we changed it over to our NKT-275 transistors for him.

Sid McGinnis got one in early 2005 and is having a blast with it. He used it at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and you should be able to hear it nearly every night when he's playing it on the David Letterman show. Sid wrote me: Sunface has been tremendous at the show. Level at 11:00, Drive full or just under, and Sunface at 3:00 or less if I really want FUZZ. Effect on all the time (even on Al Green tune). It's Jimi, Cream, and American Woman in a box!!


Corky James used one of our modified Dunlop Fuzzfaces on Avril Lavigne's hit album. He told me, "People are always surprised when I point out that all the guitars recorded on "complicated" were with the fuzz ON! even the clean tones in the intro." Jasin Todd of the heavy rock band Shinedown is using an NKT sunface live and will try it on their next Atlantic record. Andrew Carillo is using one with Joan Osborne on tour starting in 2005. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys is using an NKT sunface. Rontrose Heathman from the Supersuckers said he is a huge fan of his NKT-275 sunface and runs his comprossor and KoT Ver2 beside it.

Steve Mac from The Australian Pink Floyd Show got a BC108 silicon sunface in late 2006. If you ever get a chance to see these guys it's well worth it! He emailed me:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I just received the little gem and I can't stop playing! Gorgeous!! Beautiful feedback, I'm so glad I got the sundial mod, very useful to vary the tone and nail those classic sounds.

I'm very pleased indeed!

Thank you for your service, the whole purchasing experience has been a joy from beginning to end and then some.... what a tasty pedal!

Many many thanks, Steve Mac.


Doug Rappoport of the Edgar Winter Band got one in early 2006 and emailed me :

I got it today. Plugged it in... YEAHHHH BABY! WOOHOO! That's it my brothu! That's what I've been looking for! You da man, Mike. Thank you so much. And thanks for the shirt. Its great too!
All the best, Doug.

I got to see Doug and Edgar in May 2006 here in CT, I was totally blown away by Doug's playing, catch him if you want to see a real up and coming talent!!! Here's a picture from the show, me with Edgar and Doug. Also got to meet Ronnie Montrose at the show, he is still using the CC2 he got from me a few years ago and wants to try my NKT fuzz card. You can see and hear Doug playing it on rehearsals.com . Click on ROCKHEAD, the 2nd half is his amazing guitar solo.

Vinnie Moore used his Sun Face on the 2012 UFO album Seven Deadly and also uses our Chorus and TS9/808 Silver.

Jackie Greene, who plays with Phil Lesh and Friends among others, got a Sunface from one of our dealers in 2009 then ordered another one.

A Japanese customer who owns 150 distortion pedals wrote back:
Mike sunfacefazz wa totemo yoi vintage amp no otoga suruyo

Here is a well written review from the Ultimate Guitar Gear website in Sweden, A lot of Fuzzy Magic



4/2001 Arbiter England Made in UK fuzz faces modified!

The new UK made Arbiter Fuzz face is in a nice case, looks great, and seems well made but they just don't sound right. Some seem to make almost no sound at all! Well We have modified dozens now and know just what needs to be done. We had a few dozen new grey Arbiter fuzz faces that we tuned with our transistors and parts to make them sound just like the late 60s Germanium fuzz faces. These get our entire classic germanium mod, we change all the transistors and resistors on the boards and caps if needed. Available for $215. 2/02 SORRY SOLD OUT but we can still mod yours!!!!! One of these Arbiters I modified went for $255 on ebay, item 860031524



Custom Modified Sun Face

We do not normally sell this custom pedal but this will give you an idea of what we can do if you are crazy enough...

This 4 knob sunface was made for Guns n' Roses. Curtis Laur, who is working with them, wanted the knobs on the fuzz so he could document the settings and the guitarists could leave the guitars' knobs up all the way. The two standard knobs are on the left - Volume and Fuzz. The third knob is the same as the standard internal trim pot on the sunface - the input trimmer. It works the same as turning down the VOL knob on your guitar, to CLEAN up the sound. So we labelled it C for Clean. The forth knob is a TONE knob but with a twist. There is a mini-toggle switch below the TONE knob. In the UP position, it acts like the TONE knob on your guitar. But if the fuzz is up high, your TONE knob does not do much. So we added the DOWN position which puts the tone circuit AFTER the fuzz for a more pronounced roll off of high end. But since simple is better and sometimes you don't need to roll off the tone, we also have a MIDDLE position which totally bypasses the tone control. You may remember the old 1970s Big Muffs which had a TONE BYPASS switch on the back, a very good idea.

This pedal is not as good as the normal Sunface NKT with sundial for a player, as you should use the knobs on your guitars for more control. It was built so the guitar tech could do the adjustments. So we don't normally build these, also very expensive as each knob and switch is a $25 option.

I finally got Chinese Democracy in late 2008 and got to hear our pedals, and we were mentioned in the credits along with about 1000 others.

 



Jim Weider's aNaLoG.MaN Fuzzface (now owned by KWS)

On the right is a custom-painted fuzzface I built for Tele-man Jim Weider of the Jim Weider Band (and The Band). It looks too cool if I do say so myself... Sorry I don't have any more like this, when I try to make another one the paint always comes out terrible. Kenny Wayne Shepherd now has this one, I made another one for Jim in an old 1970s red fuzzface housing. Jim has since had me re-box it in one of my grey COMPROSSOR boxes so it does not look like any other fuzzface. It was in effect the first SUN FACE pedal. I later put the NKT transistors and the SUN DIAL knob on it for Jim and put it in the small gold box.



Here are some old updates since we started this page

Update 7/97 :

The Dunlop Fuzz Face (Dallas arbiter) reissue was not good sounding when it came out in '93. They used "Germanium Devices co." reproduction NKT-275 transistors with very thin, stuttery sound. But in '97 I saw fuzz faces with different transistors used in the High gain position and they sounded pretty good (still using the NKT in the other position). They were NTE 102A which I USED to use in my mods before I found some great NOS germaniums, but the recent 102A transistors I obtained in the last few years have been terrible. Maybe Dunlop was able to get some good ones made (actually only re-branded) by NTE again and test them. But still some are not very good as it costs too much to test each set of transistors by hand and ear like I do.

Update 7/98 :

Dunlop is back to using two "NKT-275" trans, but they sound pretty decent now. How did they do it? By adding an extra resistor on the back of the board to make the old circuit work well with the lousy new transistors. You can try it yourself if you have a fuzzface with those transistors and no resistor on the back. Solder a 22k resistor (1/2 watt should be fine) on the back of the board at the points where the 33K resistor is soldered in. The 33K is Orange Orange Orange (then silver or gold) and should be in the middle of the board. If you somehow have good transistors this mod will make if worse, but with lousy flatulent sounding transistors it should help a lot. If you dont like it simply cut out the added resistor. I have tried it on a few pedals but it did not help on some at all.

Update 6/00 : The current Dunlop Fuzz Face reissue has the switch mounted to the board, and several changes to the circuit. See below for a picture of the previous version from 1993 - mid 2000. There are two trim pots on the new model, but not in the same part of the circuit where Fulltone and most others put them. There is one in place of the 100K resistor that goes between transistor 1 input and transistor 2 (actually a 56K in series with a 100K trim pot, so if you set it half way you get the normal 100K). The other is in place of the 33K resistor going from transistor 1 to zero volts. Again they use a 100K trim pot, in series with a 10K resistor, so you can dial in 33K if desired. There is an added cap to ground on the input. There is an added cap and resistor on the 1st transistor which normally just goes to +9V. There is also an RT-1 (thermistor?) device to ground on the direct connection between the 2 transistors on the signal path. The Fuzz control capacitor on the wiper of the pot is now referenced to 0V instead of 9v. So it is no longer easy to make a new fuzzface into a classic one, but we can do it by replacing the whole board. See below for more info.

Dunlop Fuzzface that I can mod. Update 7/00 : we can do the classic germanium mod for you for $60 plus S & H. Also the we will install all carbon comp resistors exactly like the original 60s fuzz face. The mod does not include the fancy paint job as that is nearly impossible to do. We can do the standard mod only if your pedal does NOT have the switch attached to the circuit board. This picture is the pre-2000 version which we can easily modify :

Update 4/01 : We can also modify the Arbiter England reissues, and had them new in stock for $215 modified!

Update 4/02 : We can also modify the new dunlop pedals, the ones without the MOUTH on the face. These have the circuit board attached to the switch. We can modify these by removing the whole circuit board and installing one of our SUN FACE boards. We use your switch and pots and case. Basic price is $100, there is a choice for this version on the MOD FORM below. It will look like THIS after the mod.

Update 5/02 : We had some cool transistors pulled from Farfisa organs for the SUN FACE. We call this version the PATGOD (Piper at the Gates of Dawn) in reverence to Pink Floyd, on whose album you will hear tons of reverb-drenched Farfisa organs which have nothing at all to do with fuzzfaces...

Update 7/02 : We finally scored some original 1960s NKT-275 transistors from the UK, after a search which took over nine years! We will now be offering these optionally in our mods and Sun Face pedals for an additional charge, while they last. There is also a BIAS trim pot included on the Sun Face with the NKT-275 transistors so you can tune them in perfectly.

Update 8/02 : We can now offer the mods on the "Jimi Hendrix" JH2 model black fuzz face style ROUND pedal. Not the little red square pedal. We will install our SUNFACE board as we do in the new Dunlop Fuzzfaces. We also disconnect the power jack as it has the wrong polarity for a germanium fuzz. Same price as the new style Dunlop Fuzzface mod.

Update 10/02 : We ran out of the NKT transistors, sorry! We have people all over Europe trying to scrounge up more... But we do have several other new old stock transistors available now in good quantities, so we can make a sunface to your tastes (smooth, warm, low gain, high gain, really fuzzy, etc).

Update 11/02 : We got some more NKT transistors that look slightly different, with white dots, and they sound awesome!

Update 1/03 : We can offer our mod on the ROGER MAYER blue rocket "The Fuzz Face" pedal, using the existing circuit board. We change all the components on the board but 2 capacitors. The FUZZ pot used is a little higher so it can get a little crunchier and more fuzz. We can change that to our standard FUZZ pot for an additional $10. The price for the RM mod is the same as the standard older fuzzface or arbiter fuzzface mods. We can also add our BIAS trim pot on the board of this pedal (standard with NKT option).

Update 10/05 : We have been making silicon sunfaces and mods for a few years, we finally got around to putting the info up on this website. We are using old BC108 or BC183 transistors which are the best of the old 1970 silicon type, as used in Eric Johnson's old red fuzzfaces.

Update 6/07 : We got in some really cool sounding NOS Japanese 2SB transistors, we will be using them in our standard (non NKT) Sunfaces and mods. Sold out in late '07 but got some more for '08.

Update 8/07 : We will use a smaller Gold box for the Sunfaces except for the ones with top jacks.

Update 4/08 : We are getting low on the normal white dot NKTs we have used for the past five years. So we will be offering the older style red dot NKTs optionally. See above for more info. We also got a bunch of Texas Instruments UK germaniums which we are now offering in our germanium fuzzes.

Update 9/10 : We are getting very low on the normal white dot NKTs so we had to raise the price. I think the TI/UK is the way to go unless you want a REALLY clean sounding fuzz.

Update 1/11 : We are out of the white dot NKTs now, all we can find are fakes or batches with all the good ones picked out. I like the TI/UK and standard germanium better myself anyway...

Update 2011: We have some awesome NOS BC183 transistors for a great Silicon Fuzz.

Update 2012: We are using a brighter, shinier gold on the small SunFace boxes.

Update 2013: We have some "Telefunken" BC108C transistors we can use in the Sun Face.



80s fuzz face reissue story

Here is some excellent info by Dave Fox of FOX ROX Electronics. The FUZZ FACE REISSUE Story


Ordering

We normally build these in the small gold box, it is professionally powder coated and baked on. These pedals take a long time to make due to the hand tweaking, so they usually take a week or two to build. Prices and options are on our ordering website.

Please use the new website for ordering these as it allows adding any options, accessories, and online status and tracking capabilities.

Use buyanalogman.com for ordering.


Modification ORDER FORM for sending in your Fuzz Face pedal

We can modify any of the round Fuzz Face pedals, including the Red Dunlop one, the Grey UK Arbiter one, and the Grey JHF1 Jimi reissue. These all have the basic fuzzface circuit of two transistors and no extra junk. We can also modify most hand made fuzzface clones. But we can't modify pedals like the MXR Classic 108 Fuzz.

For the mod, you will need to choose what transistors you want, and other options. We can add a third knob for the sundial, between the Volume and Fuzz knobs. We can also add a power jack but see the note above about why you can't share a power supply with germanium fuzz pedals.

Press Here for an order form to send in with your fuzzface for modification. It explains everything you need to know to send it in for the mods.

Click here to email me for more info:

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