Gang, I've got a problem. I've been a fan of SolidgoldFX (SGFX) for more than 10 years. I've learned that, no matter what the effect, Greg Djerrahian and his gang of Canadiens can be counted on to deliver it with big and articulate tone. Which brings me to my problem: I already have three flavors of SGFX fuzz on my board, and don't have room for the new 76.
Ironically, literally the only pedal from SGFX that I haven't liked is the Formula 76, the precursor to the 76. Based on octave-up fuzzes such as the Univox Super Fuzz and Ibanez Standard Fuzz, the Formula 76 was enjoyably squelchy, but also big, surprisingly murky and, unfortunately, had vintage-correct output, which is to say it was not very loud. The 76 addresses all of this, and then adds some wonderful tweaks.
For starters, the 76 comes in a standard stompbox format; there’s no second footswitch taking up valuable pedalboard real estate here. Instead, the 76 has a three-way toggle (the "Color switch") and a sweepable "Texture" control, in addition to knobs for Level (which controls output) and Fuzz (ostensibly to dial in the amount of fuzz, but more on that later).
The left and right positions on the toggle cut treble; the center position retains all frequencies. I typically found the right and left positions to be too dark. With a weak Tele bridge pickup, the left position seemed feasible, but the right position seemed superfluous no matter what I put through it. The center position, however, was gloriously present, and worked with the Tele; sure, it was pretty brash, but if you're using an octave-up fuzz, it's kinda late to be worrying about tonal propriety. I'm kidding (mostly); I'm a big fan of dialing in pedals to fit my rig, so while the toggle didn't seem particularly useful I loved the Texture control. SGFX says it affects the midrange but, to my ears, it functioned as a focused bass cut. At 4:00 I had a rich, meaty fuzz that still had ample top-end squelch. Moving the knobs counterclockwise focused the pedal's range on the attack and octave, which is really handy if you have limited landscape within a mix.
And speaking of handy, let me tell you about the two DIP switches inside the 76. One selects Germanium or a Germanium-Silicon clipping mix (that said, don't worry; the 76 runs on a power supply—no germanium fussiness here). The difference in settings was subtle but noticeable. I loved the bigger, more open feel of the mixed diodes, but the more-compressed germanium had a charm of its own, and could be just what you need to ensure you're punching through the mix.
The other DIP switch is a third treble cut, but this one was really handy, as it seemed to beef up the low end rather than cut top end. When this function was engaged, I was able to play meaty power chords, and the low notes seemed to be generating an octave down effect, moving me from Stooges territory to something else entirely.
Indeed, both the internal treble cut and the Fuzz control seemed to affect the bias of the pedal; rolling back the fuzz didn't just affect the amount of compression or sustain, it also dramatically affected the strength of the signal when rolled back. This proved super useful when I ran an overdrive into the 76. Initially, with the fuzz anywhere past noon, the 76 seemed to be overwhelmed, and the output was diminished. When I rolled the Fuzz back to approximately 9:00, the pedal opened up again, and not an iota of gnarly upper octave overtone was lost. It was glorious, which bring us back to my problem: how do I make room for one of these on my board?
What We Like: Robust upper octave fuzz action that will accommodate any rig. The 76 truly is a blast to play.
Concerns: None. Just be prepared to give the full range of each knob a try.