For the Italian film, see Super Fuzz.
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The Univox Super-Fuzz was a fuzzbox produced by the defunct Univox company, primarily for use with the electric guitar or bass. Vintage Super-Fuzz pedals have become highly sought after, and have developed a loyal following.
The circuit was designed in the late 1960s by the Japanese company Shin-ei, (who also produced another well known fuzz box, the Shin-ei Companion FY-2) and manufactured in Japan by Unicord. The first Super-Fuzzes were made in 1968, and production continued until the late 70s.
The first units were made in a simple stamped sheet metal box, painted grey, with a blue Univox sticker on the top. Around 1970 production was changed to a die-cast metal box, with a large pedal featuring a rubber cover that had the words "Super-Fuzz" embossed on it. The first die cast units were either grey or black, with a green or black foot pedal. Around 1973 or so, they were all produced with an orange pedal, with a green or blue foot pedal. The later models also featured an internal trim pot for controlling the octave balance.
Although the Univox is the most well known incarnation of this circuit, Shin-ei licensed this circuit out to dozens of manufacturers, including Ibanez, Apollo, Companion, Shaftesbury, Mica, JAX, Kent, Teisco, Marlboro, Memphis, Bruno, Boomer, Alex, Ace Tone, Aria, Avora, Crestwood, Crown, Diamond, Elk, Electra, Excetro, Goya, Hohner, Honey, Kimbara, LRE, Lord, Luxor, Mana, Maya, Mayfair, Mica, National, Northland, Oscar, Pax, Rands, Sekova, Selmer, Tele-Star, Tempo, Thomas, Zenta, Royal, and many others. With a slightly altered input stage, the circuit is identical to the Ibanez Standard Fuzz. Sometimes it was packaged with a wah pedal, or with the tone switch being a footswitch, or both. This circuit is also very similar to the famous Fender Blender and Roland Bee Baa. More recent applications of this circuit type can be found in CBC Pedal's SuperFuzz, Guyatone's TZ-2 Fuzz, MJM China Fuzz, Black Candy Superfuzz Deluxe, Prescription Electronics' OUTBOX, BOSS's FZ-2 HYPER Fuzz, and others, although most tend to agree the newer versions do not sound quite the same.
This unique fuzz tone is an octave fuzz using two germanium diodes to produce the square wave clipping. The controls are 'Balance' (volume), 'Expander' (fuzz amount), a two position 'tone' switch, and an on/off footswitch on top. There are two unique features of this device that set it apart from other distortion and fuzz pedals. The first is that the full-wave rectification of the circuit produces an upper octave as well as a slight lower octave. This also gives the sound a lot of compression and gives a mild ring modulator effect. The second unique feature is a tone switch that engages a 1kHz filter that "scoops" the mids, giving a very fat, almost bassy tone, unique to this circuit.
Today there are many remakes available, even some that have the classic look and sound of the original, like the Wattson FY-6.
Notable musicians who have used the Super-Fuzz include:
- Pete Townshend of The Who
- Poison Ivy of The Cramps
- Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney
- J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.
- Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins (Although he was much more famous for using the Fender Blender and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff)
- Scott Hill of Fu Manchu
- Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys
- Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard
- Hillel Slovak of Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Joe Preston of Thrones
- Billy Cox of Jimi Hendrix
- Tony McPhee of The Groundhogs
- Kurt Cobain of Nirvana (Stolen in 1989 during the Bleach recording sessions. He mainly used the BOSS DS-1 and DS-2 afterward.)
- Josh Homme of Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss
- Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie
- Elliott Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr
- Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
- Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys uses the Ibanez Standard Fuzz, a nearly identical circuit in an altered housing.
- Joe Denardo of Growing
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