JHS offers a range of different fuzz pedals including the Pollinator, 4-Wheeler and Bun Runner, but this angry little stomper is one of the highest-selling pedals in the company’s line-up. They describe it as “small, ruthless and simple. 1” x 3” of pure classic fuzz that can melt even the most anti-fuzz activists heart.” Big call! So what’s going on with this thing then?
CAUGHT BY THE FUZZ
This is a silicon-based fuzz in a teeny tiny enclosure with just two knobs for control: fuzz and volume. No tone controls, no hidden DIP switches, nothin’. Just pure volume and pure fuzz. The small enclosure means it’ll ft on any pedalboard but it also means the controls are crammed pretty tightly together, and that the input and output jacks need to be offset, and that you can’t use a battery to power it. Its run solely off a 9VDC power supply, because you simply wouldn’t be able to cram a 9V battery into its fuzzy little innards. There’s a true-bypass switch for letting a pure signal through when the effect isn’t in use. And that’s all there is to it!
This is a pretty spiky, edgy- sounding fuzz, in the best possible way. It has that upper-midrange bark you expect of silicon fuzz, with lots of hair around the edges. It’s very interactive with your guitar signal, so if you roll back the guitar volume control the sound becomes spluttery and dark rather than cleaning up like an overdrive. You can use that as a specifc effect if you want to but really, this thing is all about glorious fuzz. Switch to the neck pickup and you’ll get a big beefy oboe-like effect with a decent amount of pick attack and smooth, loud sustain. It’s not a very complex-sounding pedal and a lot of players might wish there was a tone or flter control, but at this size you really can’t ask for much more. You can also dial in a decent amount of boost with the volume control, which lets you use it to put some extra hurt on a valve amp’s preamp section for a combined fuzz/distortion sound. In fact, one of the more fun settings is found by running the Mini Foot into an overdriven amp with the pedal’s volume cranked and the Fuzz at a lower level, just adding some grit and body rather than generating loads of fuzz by itself.
Okay so this isn’t the most versatile or fexible fuzz in the world. So it’s not the best ‘leave it on all the time’ dirt box. It’s designed to do a pretty narrow range of things, and after that it’s up to you to extract the most musical uses out of it. But if you’re in the market for a direct, no-nonsense fuzz with a small footprint, particularly to use for featured fuzz moments, this is a really fun option to consider.
Hits and Misses
Too small for a battery
No tone control