Fuzz: I can’t get enough, so it’s wonderful that people keep making different flavors. But my love affair with various fuzz pedals has been threatened by DAG’s Jetfuzz, which covers enough range that, in theory, it could render most other fuzz pedals obsolete.
DAG describes the Jetfuzz as lying somewhere between a Tone Bender and Big Muff on the fuzz continuum. If that sounds like a broad—even unlikely—range, I feel you, but the description is pretty apt. At the far end of its travel, the Jetfuzz’s Fuzz control (the knob marked with a square wave semaphore) is very Muff-like: It’s thick and saturated, and, while it doesn’t have the (slightly) scooped profile of a Muff, the enormous low end is similar, and, in that context, the midrange might seem somewhat diminished. However, as soon as you begin rolling the Fuzz control back, you’re immediately in Tone Bender land, where the fuzz is rich-but-raspy and, depending on the setting, clipped in the classic Tone Bender MKII manner, or, as you continue to move counter-clockwise, open and raw, like a MKI.
In addition to the Fuzz control, there’s a “Jet” control. DAG says this knob adds “grittiness”; I say it adds upper mids but, in doing so, it also adds some compression, which affects the fuzz. The Tone control is very well voiced, and the long travel of the large knob allows for subtle use. Fully clockwise, the tone is bright and sharp but not shrill; counterclockwise, the tone is rich and dark, but not dull—think of Jimmy Page’s interesting EQ choices in Zeppelin. The Volume control offers gobs of output; if you’re like me and need to switch from (relatively) clean rhythm to fuzzed-out solos, the Jetfuzz will cover the difference. So, between the four controls, the pedal covers a lot of ground.
In practice, this led to a lot of fantastic tones…with single coils. I was able to nail J. Mascis tones with Fuzz at full bore. Rolling back the Fuzz control by about 25 percent got me into distinctly early Jeff Beck territory. Rolling back a little further got me a slightly splattier take on Ronson, and then the control dropped into distortion territory before finally arriving at something very lo-fi. Throughout, despite the very raw character of the fuzz, articulation was good. When used with humbuckers or placed after an OD (my preferred method), the Jetfuzz sounded a little over-revved to me. Textures were cool—gated, splatty and a little pinched—but not necessarily the typical tones one might go for, given the Tone Bender/Muff comparisons.
Also worth noting is the interesting form factor: the Jetfuzz resembles a much slimmer original Tone Bender, with its long body, angled footswitch and top-mounted jacks. This configuration worked perfectly for the top row of my pedal board, which is where I keep most of my dirt (and would even free up space if it replaced one of my many pedals with side-mounted jacks). That said, if my dirt resided on the lower level, I’d’ve had problems, as the pedal ran into the riser for the second tier riser.
What we like: An incredibly versatile fuzz with gobs of output and character.
Concerns: It’s fairly easy to push the Jetfuzz’s input into the red. Also, if you’ve got an elaborate pedalboard, check to make sure the Jetfuzz’s dimensions will work for you.