The masters of all things fuzzy at Blackout Effectors have delivered glorious brain-scrambling devices such as the Musket, Crystal Dagger, Blunderbuss and Fuzz Bear. The FUBAR is a wild version of the latter, with all manner of fuzz and oscillating madness available at the feet and fingertips of all players willing to enter into its cave of dangerous wonder. It would be a misnomer to label the FUBAR a dirtbox. Perhaps the term “weapon of mass noise” is a better description. And while it’s certainly not aimed at the blues jam crowd, there are some vaguely conventional sounds that can be coaxed out of it with a little effort. Let’s dig and see what the FUBAR is all about.
Compared to its predecessor, the FUBAR has one more footswitch and an additional knob present to unlock its enhanced capabilities. Range, Bias, Sag, Fuzz, Exp, and Level knobs give complete control, and the second footswitch toggles between the Sag knob setting and an expression pedal or the additional Exp knob, which acts as a second preset Sag knob. All of the knobs are extremely interactive, so if you find a setting you like, be sure to write it down or use some kind of pedal marker, as you may not be able to make that exact sound again if you aren’t paying attention.
There are some subdued sounds available in the FUBAR, but this one is made for players who have their minds set on sonic destruction. Tweaking the knobs and using the Sag/Exp footswitch brings varying degrees of oscillation that sound like a pig realizing it’s about to be made into bacon. Players will want to abandon their power rock ‘n’ roll stances and instead kneel over their pedalboards, as turning the knobs while playing yields awesome ancient Atari and Nintendo sounds that can add just the right amount of shock and awe to a particular passage. The FUBAR turns bland rhythmic riffs into sci-fi soundtracks with the click of a switch. This is the perfect pedal for guitarists who desire to moonlight as an intergalactic DJ. In short, it will leave any signal fuzzed up beyond all recognition.
If you’re not accustomed to wild oscillating fuzz or don’t usually go for that sound, this is still worth having on your board. You can achieve vintage fuzz tones á la the Stones’s “Satisfaction” with more subtle settings. It’s also a lot of fun to start with a squeaky clean guitar-to-amp sound, then step on the FUBAR and unleash super-saturated messed up fuzz. There are also some direct-to-console sounds reminiscent of the JHS Colour Box available if you’re looking to get your “Taxman” on. You could even play with the controls and use it as a clean-ish boost pedal, but why would you want to do that? The FUBAR is a feral creature to be sure, but it can be tamed with some careful knob twiddling.
Seekers of classic fuzz tones may balk at the noisy nature of this pedal, but that’s not who it’s designed for. If you are the type of person who hikes into a forbidden forest, sees an entrance to a dark mysterious cave and runs in without thinking twice, you’ll want to check out the FUBAR. It rewards your imagination and conjures up sounds that will have some folks in the crowd accusing you of witchcraft. But it’s more than just a noisemaker, as the feature set allows you to set up various sounds depending on your needs and mood. The FUBAR gives you complete creative control over the chaos—what more could you ask for?
What We Like
Grizzly fuzz tones. Weird noises. Wide range of controls enable players to conjure up a plethora of sounds.
If you strictly play a Fuzz Face, this ain’t for you.