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This article was originally published in issue #38
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There's a lot to be said for keeping things simple and Aguilar's Fuzzistor does just that, using a classic silicon transistor circuit to produce an edgy low grit sound as well as a serious '70s vibe without detracting from the fullness of your bass's sound.
Like all of the pedals in the Aguilar range (which includes the full stereo Chorosaurus Bass Chorus Pedal that we reviewed and really liked back in issue 32) there are just four nice simple controls on the top panel of this orange box of joy and a rather nice blue LED to let you know when the pedal is engaged. If you're looking for something easy to handle on stage, this certainly fits the bill.
So, what does fuzz sound like? Well, it’s got everything from a smooth low gain drive to an all-out aural frenzy. The Aguilar even does the OTT settings with rich harmonics rather than an uncontrolled mess. The four knobs give you access to some splendid tones and get a real a thumbs up from me for including a blend control. I’ll come back to that in a moment. Top right hand side the level control is fairly self-explanatory. Underneath there is a tone control for the wet effect and then there's the ‘fuzz’ saturation control itself. The two latter controls seem to interact nicely and in conjunction with the tone controls on my bass, I was able to keep the punch and low end from the clean sound blended in but add some raw filth to the midrange and top end using the tone control on the pedal. The trick for me when using bass distortion effects is getting the ‘dirt’ to blend in (yes I said I’d mention that again) seamlessly with the weight of the inherent bass sound, rather than sounding like two separate signals hitting your ears. Being able to pan between the dry and effected signal means that your bass guitar retains its all-important low end. The Fuzzistor makes such a mix easy.
As I mentioned when I reviewed the Chorosaurus, Aguilar’s design means that there’s a certain amount of pedal board space saving. All connections go in to the top of the metal casing meaning that each pedal will sit against the other. You might just be able to fit an extra pedal on your board compared with pedals from other manufacturers who use side-entry connections!
Power comes courtesy of an internal 9v battery but you also have the option of using the DC input jack between the 1/4” signal in and out sockets. Finally, for the Fuzzistor has a chunky foot switch and ‘gig-saver’ functionality that ensures you won’t lose your sound should the battery or power supply fail.
To sum-up then, there’s really nothing negative for me to say about the Fuzzistor. I like its simplicity and its no-nonsense approach but looked at against the multitude of competitors it has on the market today I can't help thinking it needs just a bit more to really stand out from a very challenging crowd.