August 31

Maxon FA10 Fuzz Elements – Air VS Hallmark Nu-Fuzz

Maxon FA10 Fuzz Elements – Air

We’re jazzed to get a first shot at Maxon‘s entire Fuzz Elements series–which seeks to emulate vintage top fuzz pedals without resorting to the use of silicon or germanium transistors.

“Maxon mapped the sonic elements of these classic pedals using advanced software technology,” explains Kevin Bolembach of Godlyke Distributing. “The replicated sounds are achieved using analog circuitry, but they do not necessarily use the same components as the originals. In other words, there may not be any transistors in a particular circuit–it depends upon what components were required to replicate the sound of the original pedal.”

In the case of the Air ($189 retail)–which emulates the octave fuzz of the Univox SuperFuzz–there’s absolutely nothing light and airy about its sound. It is, in fact, heavy, as hell. You get soaring crunch with the mode switch on Fat, and terrifying nails of doom on Scoop. The Expander control pulls down sustain for blistered, stuttering tow-power effects. The octave effect is subtle, and it tends to decay faster–and with some audible frazzle as it falls off–than the root note. This is either an ultra-cool texture, or somewhat annoying, depending upon the application, but it’s definitely a unique effect.

  • Kudos Awesome roar. Fat/Scoop switch.
  • Concerns Fast-decaying octave effect not for everyone.

Hallmark Nu-Fuzz

Hallmark‘s Bob Shade sweats the big and small stuff in his company’s guitar designs–many derived from classic Mosrite models–and he took the same course for his first pedal release. In reviving Mosrite’s mid-’60s Fuzzrite–which gained buzzy acclaim on Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”–Shade brought on the original designer, Bakersfield, California’s Ed Sanner, who hand builds each pedal in the USA. The Hallmark Nu-Fuzz ($249 direct) is actually modeled after the Nu-Fuzz that Sanner evolved from his Fuzzrite design for Rosac Electronics in 1968, after he left Mosrite. Despite the passing of nearly five decades, the limited-edition Nu-Fuzz (only 100 will be made–all signed by Ed) remains tethered to the ’60s via its roadster finishes (Kandy Orange, Kandy Lime, Kandy Apple, Kandy Gold), vintage amp control knobs, homespun construction, and sole reliance on 9-volt battery power.

The trip to the fab ’60s continues when you put boot to pedal, as almost every “beautifully awful” caterwauling frazzle from bands such as the Electric Prunes, Davie Allan & the Arrows, Frijid Pink, and Count Five is brought to mind. The midrange sear of the Nu-Fuzz is so formidable–even with the Tone knob knocked back–that I haven’t found a track it couldn’t cut right through and slap you across the cheek. This is the sound of classic fuzz. Celebrate it. Fear it. Adore it.

  • Kudos Stunning recreation of ’60s fuzz. Cool colors. Ed signs ’em.
  • Concerns Battery is only power option.