Fee-fi-Fig-Fumb—I hear the sound of an English fuzz.
That’s right, Stone Deaf’s new Fig Fumb fuzz pedal is loud enough to be heard “across the pond.” But it’s also outfitted with a very useful EQ and noise gate. Not only is the Fig Fumb one of the loudest fuzzes I’ve yet tested, it’s also one of the sturdiest. Seriously, this thing could double as a 747’s chock in the morning and still make it to the show that night.
As I said, the Fig Fumb is loud. It has the power to make one’s amp roar. In fact, I had to turn down my amplifier to its lowest level simply to avoid bothering the neighbors. The fuzz isn’t exactly messy, nor is it noisy, but it’s not going to provide the ultra-smooth, cello-like tones that some people treasure. What the Fig Fumb offers is a raw, somewhat gritty sound with a bit of electric edginess which, in my mind, connotes pure, unadulterated rock ’n’ roll.
However, loudness is only the first of the pedal’s virtues. At lower levels, the Fig Fumb provided a comfortable amount of compression, which helped me to tease out some notes for a little longer than they would otherwise ring out. It was a nice touch. At the high levels, the Fig Fumb provided a crazy amount of sustain. I struck a note and let it ring out for 25 seconds, which is more than enough for my needs. Fretted notes rang out for a little less time, but they were admirably long.
Of course, I’ve said all of this without really touching on the fuzz when it’s filtered, and that by playing with the filters a person can get thin fuzz, AM radio fuzz, and even a sound that’s a bit like the thrumming of a Uni-Vibe.
Stone Deaf calls the Fig Fuzz a “paracentric fuzz filter.” Don’t get hung up on the terminology, because the pedal’s circuits act a lot like the more familiar parametric filters which many pedals employ for equalization. This filter, as readers might know, can boost or cut a range of frequencies. But parametric filters do not boost or cut the frequencies within that range equally; the frequency on which the filter is centered will be boosted more than the frequencies to its right or left. The Fig Fumb’s Cut/Boost, Frequency, and Bandwidth knobs control the level, select the main frequency, and adjust the range of effected frequencies.
Although the pedal lacks a true filtration bypass, setting the EQ knobs to their zero levels will produce a flat EQ curve. But let’s say that I want to get that AM radio rock fuzz sound. I could Cut the lows by up to 20db with a couple of adjustments of the Cut/Boost and Frequency knobs. As for that Uni-Vibe effect, all a person has to do is cut a thinner range of frequencies, then manually sweep the Frequency knob. It’s a cool sound, albeit a rather impractical one to achieve while playing without the expression pedal.
Now, if all of this weren’t enough, Stone Deaf has also included a noise gate in the Fig Fumb. Perhaps my single-coil guitar didn’t provide enough signal oomph for the Fig Fumb, but for whatever reason, above noon, the gate tended to silence my whole signal. This minor issue could probably be resolved with a different potentiometer or perhaps a slight tweak of the circuit.
Despite the minor issue with the noise gate, the Fig Fumb proved to be a sturdy, loud fuzz with enough tonal nuance and compression to please the pickiest of tone hounds.
What We Like:
Thick, full fuzz with a cool set of “paracentric” EQ controls. These act a lot like a parametric filter. Includes a noise gate.
The noise gate seemed a little too effective above its noon setting on the dial—nothing came out of the pedal no matter what I did!