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Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Troubleshooting » Archive through June 11, 2010 » Does anybodie uses Fuzz Box on Bass? « Previous Next »

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Intermediate Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 107
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2009 - 5:32 pm:   Edit Post

Since first time I've heard Larry Grahamm I wanted to get one Fuzz, but I was told that Fuzz Boxes can be very tricky on Active Basses. My idea is to somehow emulate old MiniMoog square wave tone, so the FX I was looking for needs to be very trashy and unnatural (nothing like nice Tube overdrive).

The closest to my goal seems to be the ZVex's Wooly Mammoth (wich odd click sounding gate made me smile) and the Big John's Hairy Ball, but I only heard them trough Youtube and never got the chance to try and test them myself. In fact, I've read that the Wooly Mammoth doesn't work well on Active Basses just when I decided to get one.

Since no one regularly imports them to Brazil I find myself forced to opt (and buy) one of them in the dark. But they are expensive models and I'm insecure if they will fit my Rogue's Eletronics or I'll be waisting money.

Does anybody uses Fuzz Box on Alembic? Wich one? I need some light on this...
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 596
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2009 - 6:37 pm:   Edit Post

The Woolly Mammoth is not supposed to work well with active basses like you say. Apparently it is an impedance issue - overdrive/distortions shouldn't have the same problem (though I am no expert on that kind of thing).

So Z Vex has released a new fuzz, the Mastotron, that allows you to adjust for different impedances. I have been waiting for my local store to get one so that I can try it with my Alembic - I'll let you know how it goes, though it might be a few more weeks - my bass is at the mothership!
Username: zezozeceglutz

Post Number: 17
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2009 - 8:48 pm:   Edit Post

If the Woolly Mammoth is anything like my Fuzz Probe, it won't work after any kind of active electronics or even buffered effects before it in the signal chain. Great, great pedal but very temperamental.

You might want to try out Danelectro's Cool Cat Fuzz, though. At $40 retail in the US, it's supposedly a direct clone of the Frantone Peach Fuzz and works, in my opinion, better with bass than guitar.

It's certainly not as extreme a fuzz sound as most ZVex products, but it's active electronics and bass friendly (not to mention wallet friendly). It has a gentle gated-ness to it that keeps the definition on note release better than something like a Big Muff but you can't get that hard gate that a ZVex can do.
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2222
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, May 15, 2009 - 4:29 am:   Edit Post

I'm using a newer Bass Big Muff Pi and it's ok but not brilliant. To stop it getting too muffled I have the switch set to normal and the tone and sustain knobs rolled back to around 9 o'clock. I also find I have to drop the neck pickup filter back a bit and pan round to about 3/4 of the way to the neck pickup.

Advanced Member
Username: jack

Post Number: 202
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, May 15, 2009 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post

Hey Mario,

First let me put in the disclaimer that the owner of this company is a friend of mine, and that I haven't tried too many other pedals, but I use a Pigtronix OFO Disnortion and it's very cool. Has a wide range of Fuzz and Overdrive tones, and an Octava as well, so you can go from a slight tubey edge to a crazy synth buzz. They're expensive, but you can find them used, and they're very versatile and well worth it.

You can hear sound samples somewhere at

I find that all Dave's pedals respond very well to actives, they really capture the touch sensitivity.

Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 837
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2009 - 3:04 am:   Edit Post

I use a Zoom B1U, I know these units have the 'cheapo' tag to them but the OD/Fuzzface sound is damn good.
Combined with the resonant filter effect it gives a good sound on the intro to 'Birdland'
And this unit is specifically for basses and it has the fastest switching, quicker than a Boss unit
My 2p's worth
Intermediate Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 115
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 12:01 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for all feedback, guys...

Harry, these Impedance issue is just what was told to me, not just with the Mammoth but it seems to be a problem to all Fuzzess. Fortunately we all know there are some Fuzzes that can be more gentle with buffered signal, so I went to hear Mastotron trough ZVex's Site, but it didn't seems to deliver what I'm looking for. I'll e-mail people at ZVex asking if they intend to release some active input version for the Mammoth, since its peculiar gated sound is something I miss on every other Fuzz I've heard.

Ken, I'll try Dano's Cool Cat. Frantone's Peach Fuzz sounds really great and 40 bucks is really tempting (although I tend to feel their Basssweet too dark to my taste). Great new knowing it works along Active signals, this is the kind of Tip I expected when wrote here. Thanks to you and Graemme.

Hey Jack, Pigtronix is world wide known and well respected (no need to disclaim). Loved their products, some of the finest pedals I've ever heard. To be honest I didn't specially liked Disnortion, but now I MUST have their Mothership Analog Synth and Envelope Phaser. Thanks for the crave, by the way... LOL

Terry, some years ago I tried Zoom's 506 and didn't like it at all. But I didn't tried its Fuzz patch and people are saying they really improved their multieffects in the B series. So, despite being somekind of "Analog Type" guy regarding to Efects, I'll try it someday.

Thanks everyone!

(Message edited by mario farufyno on May 28, 2009)
Intermediate Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 116
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 12:19 pm:   Edit Post

Whay did I said?

Let me correct wrong impression, Frantone's Bassweet sounds great! I heard it again on their Site and it is now listed on top of my fuzz choice list. Now I'll really need to try Cool Cat...
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2251
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 4:45 am:   Edit Post

For what it's worth, I've now sold on my bass big muff. After intially being fairly impressed, I found that it's just too hard to get a bright tone. I'm going to try out a couple of my guitarists' fuzz boxes this week to see if I'm happier with a pedal that's not voiced for bass.

Senior Member
Username: dnburgess

Post Number: 617
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 6:43 am:   Edit Post

We did a bass distortion shootout with 22 pedals. Aguilar Agro and Tone Hammer had the best sound but were also the most expensive. Taking value into account the Big Muff Pi (not the bass version) and HBE Hematoma were best.
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 581
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 9:18 am:   Edit Post

I doubt that Zvex will ever release an active friendly Wooly Mammoth, because it was designed by Chuck Zwicky rather than Zach himself. Having spent some time around his forum, I can say he doesn't usually tend to respond to special requests either. But hey, it is worth a shot.

For what it's worth, I've dealt with this problem for some time (with Zvex Effects in particular as well). I found that my Orion Baritone (now sold) sounded much better through a DOD Grunge Pedal than just about any other fuzz/distortion I tried. My DOD classic fuzz sounded pretty good with it as well. Both those pedals sell pretty cheap now on ebay, so it might be worth dropping the $10-20 so you can see how they work with bass (you could always resell if you didn't like it). Just a thought.
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2274
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 4:51 am:   Edit Post

Well, I've just taken delivery of a Danelectro Cool Cat Fuzz. I've only tried it at a very low volume but already it sounds much brighter than the Bass Big Muff. I'll report back once I can crank it up.


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