Creating the bob hund Fzzxkrrrxzt! proved to be the most challenging development work we ever did on an artist signature pedal.
At first it seemed easy, because the schematics of both vintage pedals are easily available. Our only challenged was to approximate the sound of the germanium transistor based FZ-1A with modern silicon transistors. The first attempt was done purely theoretically, but built in real life, the first prototype sounded very bad, to be honest. So I was too embarressed to ship it to the band for approval. Also, the first FZ-1S (originally a silicon fuzz) recreation really did not sound very good, being very harsh.
So, I requested for Johhny and Conny to ship their vintage original pedals to us, to dig deeper into analyzing their sounds. My brilliant electronics engineering partner then took them to his lab, and meticulously measured them through, down to individual components, and analyzed the pedals behavior in detail on the oscilloscope.
After a few months in research and development, we had an amazing sounding, second prototype in hand (see Fzat's demo below). Very precisely recreating the sounds of bob hund's two vintage fuzz-tone pedals. Succesfully simulating the aging of the vintage FZ-1S, making it much more mellow, and less harsh sounding, and equally succesfully in nailing the original germanium fuzz effect of the FZ-1A.
Proudly, I shipped this second prototype to Conny and Johnny for their approval, throwing the ridiculously bad sounding first prototype in the box too, on their request, to satisfy their curiosity about the sounds that I had described in such negative terms.
Turns out they loved the 'dying sound' of the first attempt of making a silicon transistor version of the FZ-1A. In a video feedback to me, they said: We want this sound (see clip below). And with that, the project changed from merely recreating the sounds of the vintage pedals, to also adding this new 'dying sound' to the palette. In short, combining the features of the first and the second prototypes. Conny and Johnny wanted the dying sound at low fuzz intensity settings AND the good, vintage-identical, sound at higher settings.
After a few more months in reserach and development, trying to combine the qualities of the two FZ-1A prototypes in a revised schematic, we had to give up. We just couldn't get it to sound good. Neither satisfyingly 'dying' or satisfyingly vintage-identical. But then I found the solution: We put both circuits in the pedal and make the 'Håll-igång' control (fuzz intensity) double act as a mixer between the two. And that hit the nail on the head. This is how the finished pedal works. At low 'Håll-igång' settings you hear mostly the 'dying sound' and as you turn it up, more vintage correct FZ-1A sound is in the mix - and at the same time increasing in intensity.
If you don't like the 'dying sound' as much as Conny and Johnny does, you can turn it off via a switch inside the pedal (vacker/förstörd). The fuzz intensity of the 'dying sound' is preset via a trimmer inside the pedal (död), so you are in fact not adjusting that, when dialing up the 'Hålligång'. It is a fixed sound that blends into the adjustable vintage FZ-1A sound.
We also incorporated a fat switch (djup) and a bright switch (gammal) in the FZ-1A circuit. The fat switch extends the low frequency response for a fuller sound, and the bright switch brightens the sound up a bit. Johnny and Conny's vintage pedal cuts a lot of bass and it's a bit dull sounding in the high end.
The Conny channel (FZ-1S) is more straight forward, with less options, though the high frequency response can be adjusted via trimmers inside to tame excessive brightness.
The two fuzz circuits in the bob hund Fzzxkrrrxzt! stacks amazingly well. The FZ-1S circuit (Conny channel) is a very unusual fuzz, in that it features a 'clean blend' control (Obalans), which actually colours the sound a lot, making a mix of fuzzy and not-fuzzy sounds possible. The Fzzxkrrrxzt! sounds really great when this knob is turned up a bit, and the Johnny side is 'on' too, effectively mixing the two fuzz tones in series and in parallel at the same time.
By nature the FZ-1S sounds a bit like a Shine-Ei FY6 SuperFuzz (or a Reuss Goo Goo Fuzz), being an aggressive bees-in-a-can silicon fuzz with two preset tone options.
Like all Reuss pedals, the bob hund Fzzxkrrrxzt! is completely handmade in the European Union. There will be 100 pedals for sale.
Update July 28th 2022: Having spent one year developing the Reuss bob hund Fzzxkrrrxzt!, and coming to such a great sounding result, it's kind of a waste letting it slip away with the 100 pcs. So, I have decided to let the circuit designs live on in a new model, called the 'Double Classic Fuzz'. The first batch of 60 pcs. will be built with full-featured surplus bob hund circuit boards, and with the next revision, we will be omitting the 'dying sound' option. We are building the first batch of 'Double Classic Fuzz' pedals as soon as we have completed the bob hund pedals, and expect to be ready to ship them in late September / early October 2022. These pedals are available to preorder now.
Please note: Preorders ships first come, first served. All 100 pedals might not be ready to ship the same day
Watch my friend Fzat's demo of the second prototype here. Recorded the day before I shipped it on to bob hund, back in October 2021. This version did not feature 'the dying sound':
Download the bob hund Fzzxkrrrxzt! manual here
PLEASE NOTE: Prices at the webshop are listed without VAT. For customers in the European Union VAT is added at check-out