Saturday, 30 August 2014

Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone

Request.  This effect needs a 3V supply and is a positive ground effect so I've included a 3.3V regulator and an ICL7660S to provide the -3V (ish).  You can omit that and power it with a pair of AA batteries or standalone 3V power supply if you prefer, but if you do remember to wire it as a positive ground effect.

Consider socketing the 1K5 resistor to experiment with values to get the best sound out of it, or maybe replace it with a 10K trimmer.

Description from Music Radar:
"The daddy of all stompboxes: the first commercially produced transistor-based guitar effect pedal and also the first fuzz box. First made in 1962, it took until 1965 to catch on when Keef used one on Satisfaction – and the world of guitar tone was changed forever. The FZ-1 used three germanium transistors to amplify and clip the guitar’s signal creating fuzz, glorious fuzz…"














83 comments:

  1. Yay! This is my favorite circuit

    Transistor selection will be critical to get the most out of the attack control and you'll want to use this with a humbucker guitar :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. DOUBLE YAY!

    My most sought after fuzz. The one I never really succeeded with. This time I must do it. Apart from the Fuzzrite this is probably THE one to build if you want that 1962-1965 nasty sax-like fuzz.

    One small request: Can any one suggest a layout that would allow a switch to turn this beast into something closer to the Tone Bender MK1? The combination of these two in a single pedal or at least an FZ-1 with a switch for higher gain/sustain, would make it the holy grail of fuzzes.

    I think it would sound equally great with Humbuckers or singles. Remember Keith used a Tele for the Satisfaction riff.

    If anyone can verify the layout and the leakage on the transistors it would be great. I plan to use my measured and selected AC128. If anyone has something similar to the 2N270 for sale...I am buying.

    Thank you, thank you !!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would also suggest some trimmers for better biasing of the trannys, especially Q1.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think you're really gonna be able to make this switchable to a MKI, but that would make a killer double pedal!

    This sounds cool with single coils (obviously check out Satisfaction), but trust me, plug in a good set of humbuckers and you won't look back

    You're definitely going to want to socket these transistors, and like the MKI many would suggest sticking with the stock resistor values and simply swapping transistors until you get the sound you want. Trimmers can add a lot of confusion, and won't really make a "wrong" pair of transistors sound right anyways

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I guess you do have a point there.

      Delete
  5. Damn! That was fast! Thanks! Anyone know the recommended HFE for this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 2N270 is listed as a minimum of 70 hfe, so could be a good one for the Russian ones.

      Delete
    2. Look out for the leakage on Q1, leakage is absolutely a must for correct biasing of this germ. I was tinkering with circuit last year for a whole MONTH !!!
      All germs should be 70-90 I guess.

      Delete
    3. No, Mark, russian trannies are forbidden here. I bet that with russian ones, this circuit won't even drop a flart even in you play the strings with a hammer.

      J.

      Delete
  6. Shit... I was ready for a Beer and TV saturday night, now i think I'll have an iron and beer one :P

    By the way: as in the MKI, Zonk and similar circuits: forget about trimmers and get ready about 60-70 transistors to try :P

    J.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ok, so how much leakage are we talking here? I'm new to all is GE stuff. I've got a bunch of transistors in the 60-130hfe range, with 100-200 leakage.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You've got a lot of good transistors for fuzz faces and rangemasters then, but you're probably going to want more leakage for this. Socket and experiment! If you buy a lot of random germanium off eBay you'll almost certainly have lots of stuff that will work for this

    ReplyDelete
  9. Leakage in q1 is right! My worst ac128s and gt402s are at home here. If q1 is leaky enough you get a cool volume swell effect with the fuzz backed down.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ok, so you just needs lots of leakage in Q1? Q2 and Q3 should not have much leakage?

    I've got about 40 untested transistors. So I can go through them and see what I've got on hand.

    And are we talking 300 leakage? 500?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say try anything from 300 to 800 uA.

      Delete
  11. Well, tag it as it works :P Trannie selection will take some time (now i have a wonderful motorboat from 10 in attack knob, but it points in the right directon :P

    J.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I also noticed that R.G. Keen suggested back in 1999 that the 470k is omitted on the FZ-1 circuit and only shows up on the 1.5V FZ-1A version. Anyone? I know the original PAF does show this as a temperature stabilizing feature, but who knows, right?

    ReplyDelete
  13. The 470k was needed for me (I'm on the breadboard so I can tweak away). I've got MP16bs in q2 & 3. AC128 in q1, close to around 300uA leakage, about 100hfe. Mine sounds very right and very cutting. Sustain can be awful, but once I found a good q1 it was much improved.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, it has been not so tought finally, some hints:

    1. Go to your trash bucket and recover all the shitty, leaky and unuseful trannies that you threw there time ago, you'll need them.

    2. Forget about trimmers, change stock values or do any modification. The layout works, you just have to find the correct trannies.

    3. Q1: hfe is not really important, but should be not too high either, something about 60-70hfe will do the trick, but the trannie should be leaky, about 150-200 uA. Here what you need is something like 1-1,4volts on EMITTER, to feed Q2 base.

    4. Q2 Here, with stock values, you need some serious leakage, something between 700uA to 1mA. Yes, the kind of trannie that when you check it with the Peak, makes you wanna kill the seller who sent it to you. You'll get a range voltage on C depending on attack sweep from ~2-5v (pot fully ccw) to 0,2-0,3v (pot fully cw).

    5. Q3: Hfe 90 to 120, and about 300uA leakge, in order to get about 2.5v on collectos with Attack maxed.

    6. Have no tried the charge pump, I plan to feed this circuit with two AA batteries. For building I've used a not very good wallmart, but offered 3 volts output, so as I planned heavy checks, better using a noisy power supply, than draining some batteries :P. Have no idea how the charge pump works then, sorry.

    7. This is a legendary effect. Surely is not the best, nor really impresive, but.....shit, SATISFACTION, no othing more to say :P

    Enjoy the build, is really straight forward, and if you have the correct trannies is a half an hour build.

    J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great tips buddy. There are plenty of other ways to do the 3V, in fact you could do a simple voltage divider with a 10K and 5K1 resistor to drop the supply down, but then it would have still been positive ground. And I thought of using a negative regulator but thought a +3.3V would have more potential other uses than a -3.3V if people bought more than one, so did the regulation before the IC instead of after the inversion. That should be good to go too I reckon.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Javi for those great tips. I do think the charge pump is a good idea so that chaining the pedal with regular negative ground effects could be easy.

      Adding a STARVE pot (10k?) in series with the -3V input should give you some mojo sounds too, I guess.

      Delete
    3. Thanks guys :) A note to my previous comment Q2 section: where it reads:

      from ~2-5v (pot fully ccw)

      it's:

      ~2.5v (pot fully ccw)

      And something about 100-130hfe will work fine.

      J.

      Delete
    4. Hey man, about the NOT IMPRESSIVE part....just for the sake of argument, what do you call an impressive fuzz? something like a big muff? big cheese? Buzzaround? FF? Really interested to hear how you rank your fuzz list. Vintage vs. modern? Simple vs. versatile?

      Thanks.

      Delete
    5. Sorry, did not see this message :)

      Impresive fuzz? Could not just choose one, but to name a few: Sunface NKT275, Tonebender MK2 and MKIII, and including silicon: D*A*M Methead / Dran'n'Fly and Devi Ever Hyperion.

      For me the Big Muff is not a fuzz, but many people don't think so, so I'll include the Triangle v.6 66 (Kit Rae web), the Musket and original Swollen Pickle as clones.

      And no, sorry, for my tastes, the Maestro Fuzz Tone, is not great at all: very little output, less than few versatility, you cannot create a "wall of sound", and is not correctly controlled with guitar's volume and tone knobs. It's a fuzz that you can use sometimes in a short fragment of a song now and then, but not a pedal to base your sound on.

      I like (as you can suppose for my list), powerful fuzzes, with insane output and this "muzzzzzz" sound that for me is how a fuzz sounds great. One exception is the Sun Face NKT275, and it's just because its sound is pure honey to my ears.

      I don't like overdrives, nor most of distortions, cannot compare to a true valve amp crunch. My base sound is fuzz (you cannot get this sound with an amp), and so I need not a versatie but lets say "wide" one and powerful enough to drive crazy a clean channel valve amp and be used as the first ( better said, secind) stone building your tone.

      J.

      Delete
    6. Thanks. I sure love your taste man. Nevertheless, I do love the less powerful fuzzes especially for their unique buzz which is sometimes hard to get from the 'wall of sound' style circuits.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Delete
    7. I see what you're saying about the not impressive part Javi, but my Jerms FZ-1 is so loud. I'm surprised you're saying yours has very little output.

      My original FZ-1A isn't much louder than unity, but the FZ-1 is quite loud. When the volume is at unity it has the buzz that you would expect, as you get past unity the sound becomes fuller and smoother

      I guess I favor this circuit because I'm really into 60s psych music and this pedal gets me my favorite sounds from that style

      Delete
    8. Hi Travis!

      Have not listened to the Jerms replica, but I've built FZ-1 and FZ1-A. Both have slightly over unity output and sound quite similar, as there are only slight differencesn between both models. In fact, I boxed the FZ1A, as it was easier for me to get a 100% working set of transistors, it seems that is easier biasing at 1.5 than 3 volts.
      Have not tried original ones, but for the demos I can find, low output seems to be usual in both (original) models.

      J.

      Delete
    9. I have a feeling we'd be great friends if we lived in the same area :)

      I can only really speak of the FZ-1A with certainty since I own the original of that model. It's like you say: unity is at about 7-8/10 on the volume with the attack maxed

      The particular FZ-1 and FZ-1A I have sound discernibly different. The most noticeable thing is that the FZ-1 is way louder, but aside from that, the 1 just sounds "brassier" than the 1A. I dunno how to really describe it exactly, but the FZ-1 can get this saxaphone sound on low notes that I can't quite get from the 1A. Both sound awesome, but my FZ-1A is true bypass since I replaced the old broken switch so I use that one on my pedalboard (which is the floor)

      Also I dunno how you use yours, but mine definitely sound best with my SG that has humbuckers. When my amp is crunchy from being cranked up, these fuzzes smooth out nicely. You'll get good sustain at that volume because it will go into feedback before the fuzz dies

      Delete
  15. Oh, and one note more, but this time, related to the pump. This time, the voltage is lower than 3.5v, so pin 6 has to be put to ground. Just ommit the cut between 3 and 6 and it's all ok.

    J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks mate, I knew it would work down to 1.5V but didn't realise you had to do that. I'll remove the cut.

      Delete
  16. I just learned that you can put a low leaker in Q2 if the others are leaky. High leakage in Q2 was giving me excess crackle. For now I'm using AC128s in Q1/3 & 2n404a in Q2. Gain/Leakage is about 95/200 (q1), 139/70 (q2), & 150/500+ (q3). Getting more leakage at Q3 improved the sustain.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Also check Smallbear's fuzz E-one article for gain/leakage recommendations. Close to what we've come up with here.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Mark, is this the final layout? what do you think about the 3-6 cut on the pump?
    Any other changes you are planning on this layout?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Always wondered why those 20uF caps couldn't be replaced with smaller 1uF or 2.2uF caps. Shouldn't really matter soundwise

    ReplyDelete
  20. They replaced them with 1uf in the FZ-1A

    ReplyDelete
  21. Any chance of posting a small layout for -9V to -3V voltage divider with a starve pot to run the voltage from -1.5V down to -3V or -3.3V? This would make it perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I did some voltage dividers but I never know how to treat the load Z and I never know if the divider introduces internal resistance which is needed only when I want the starving effect from -3V to -1.5V. Does the divider simulates a battery closely enough?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Man....I don't know about those voltage dividers thing. I hooked up a simple divider using an 18k R1 and a 10k pot in series with a 2k resistor as R2. The voltage changed using the pot from -1.4V to -3.6V when connecting to a -9V power supply. Sounds great, right? WRONG!
    Once I hooked up the voltage output to the circuit the voltage dropped to -0.9V and the max voltage reached -1.5V .

    What the heck? Why is this such a tricky thing? Is the input impedance of the circuit affecting the voltage? should I change R1 or something until I get the voltage I need? Is that the Thevenin voltage creeping in?

    Help....!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The voltage divider isn't the most stable thing and the load affects it, but you can always alter the resistor ratios until you get the voltage you want, or try a calculator if you know the figures

      http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/voldiv.html

      Delete
    2. Tried that. You are completely right. The divider is not very stable and once you tweak the circuit's knobs the circuit load changes. I guess it's about 5k load from the hyperphysics page. Nevertheless, I didn't get too much fuzz from the circuit, just a nice clean signal. Probably need to re-test those AC128 PNP germs.
      I ordered the 3.3V voltage 78L33 anyway.

      Thanks Mark

      Delete
    3. Yeah, voltage dividers are a pain in the ass, as they're extremely affected by load, inductance, total voltage and other factors. This happens too with the charge pumps that we use, (7660S, 1040, and so on) , but this problem is more under control with these IC's.

      I still believe that is easier to feed this circuit with 2xAAA batteries, and a problem less. And in this build you'll find a few ones, so safer keep things as simple as posible.

      J.

      Delete
  24. hooked up everything all excited after getting those ICL7660S chips.
    Got -3.3V on circuit input now but a strong whistle is coupled to the signal path for some reason.
    I read that it has to do with pins 1 and 8 of the ICL7660S but seems like they are hooked up right on the layout and on my board....
    For a second there I got some sound when hitting the strings with some motorboat going on on the background, but now it's just a semi high pitched whistle and no audio whatsoever...:(

    Any suggestions about the whistle/whine issue first?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could be a grounding issue too, I guess...

      Delete
    2. OK. Got it. Pin 6 on the 7660S must be grounded as the voltage inverter actually inverts the 3.3V from the 78L33 to -3.3V and according to the ICL7660S datasheet voltage inversion below 3.5V requires the Low voltage pin (6) to be grounded.
      Should be fixed on the layout.

      Delete
    3. 31 August 2014 15:09

      Sometimes I don't know why I take the work to write comments....

      Delete
  25. Completely failed to get a strong nice fuzz using my batch of AC128 with a good range of leakage and Hfe. Even tried to play around with the 470k resistor biasing Q2 but that didn't help much.
    All I'm getting is a nice cleanish tone with a little buzz low output and very little effect of the ATTACK knob.

    No giving up just yet...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK. My bad.....got it working after detecting a bad connection on the 1.5k. Amazing how the fuzz is actually controlled almost entirely by Q2.
      Got a great sound right away. Will continue to experiment with Q2 but it's darn close to what I imagined and the ATTACK knob works great now.

      Thanx

      Delete
    2. Sure appreciate all the help I got from the guys here and you Javicap but just to, maybe, help others, it is worth noting that my experiments with the leaky AC128 trannys show that the 1.5k resistor biasing Q2 can be replaced with a 2k trimmer and I really got the best results with about 180R value using several trannys. I know it sounds weird but that's just my experiments. Once I hooked up a 180R resistor everything went really smooth. Great sounds and great Tone control. The other thing I did was add a pot for the 3.3V to the board to get the voltage range between 2V and 3.3V. 3V and above is great for full-on strong distortion. From 3V and down it starts to get that great nasal sound and at 2.5V it's BOOM the real deal 60's psych, compressed and splatty. Below 2.5V you start getting gated sound and it's really cool down to 2V. Below that it's just too low of volume so I didn't wanna go there. Just my 2 cents.

      Delete
    3. Hi
      Can you explain me how to integrate a trimmer in this scheme for q1, q2, please.
      Thank

      Delete
    4. Q1 is a buffer and so shouldn't need touching. For Q2, as Doron mentioned, just replace the 1K5 resistor with a 2K trimmer

      Delete
    5. Yup. That's it. Leave Q1 as it is. For Q2, I started as suggested by replacing the germs I had and when I tested them all I saw that 1k5 just won't cut it I decided to replace it with a trimmer. I read on FSB that someone had good results with a 100R resistor so I tried it and it worked. That was why I went with a 2k trimmer and not higher. On the threshold of the biasing you might get strange oscillations and motor boat sounds or strange tweets that are very cool. This means you are close.

      Delete
  26. Thank you for your answers, but I don't understand is where to wire the three pin of the trimmer !? I'm a stupid guy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no you're not..!it needs to get familiar with these things and then you'll see that it's really simple.
      just imagine that lug1 and lug2 of that trimmer is the resistor we're talking about.
      so just solder lug1 and lug2 as the 1,5k. leave lug3 free.
      then by turning the trimpot you can bias the transistor.
      i know that in this layout you'll find it difficult but you can think a way to put it there
      make your mod! that's the funny thing with this hobby!
      hope i helped

      Delete
    2. Ok, I understand ! This is the third lug that problem for me. This assembly is easy, but hard to adjust.
      Thank you very much.

      Delete
    3. Hi
      I'll supply the circuit with two AA batteries, I have only to reverse the ground and the positive?
      Thank

      Delete
  27. Today I was shicked, plugged my Fz-1 board to my solid state amp. Have finally got a nice trio of germs and it sounds killer (on my valve, of course).

    As I was telling, I plugged it to my solid state and..... OMFG, what a piece of shit!, had to plug it again to the valves one to be sure that nothing was broken.

    Incredible to hear such a difference between both amps. I use to test new circuits on the solid state, so I don't worry if it blows :P and once checked, i adjust it on the valves one. Today it has been the opposite way.. luckyly

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amazing. The FZ-1 has such strong harmonics that the solid state amps cannot tame. They are more made for authenticity than they are for color. The softening and harmonics of the valve amps are beautifully complement the fuzz.
    I have come to understand why people stopped using fuzz pedals once the solid state amps replaced tubes.
    You can always use a buffer or a clean booster to protect the valve amp if you wanna test circuits on it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. http://fuzzquest.blogspot.co.il/2014/10/maestromaster-your-fuzz-and-you-shall.html

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love this layout. Sounds like a blown speaker! I got fairly well biased with regular not-that-leaky low/med gainers. Starts to crackle at 75% of the attack pot but I actually love the buzzing sustain so I'll leave it as it is.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey all, just wondering what the deal is with that I G O transistor looking thing on the charge pump daughter board. Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its a voltage regulator. In, Ground, Out

      Delete
  32. Where is best to run the grounds from the power supply board, and the effect board? Both to a jack?

    ReplyDelete
  33. How about a CR2032 cell? These last for ages

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm getting a nasty HF whine. Though it was the effect, but it is present, although faint, with the effect disengaged and the transistors pulled. The attack knob effects it's sound, even when the pedal is off.

    Seems to be coming from the +9 to -3 conversion board. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Sounds like you probably used an ICL7660CPAZ when you need ICL7660SCPAZ

    The "S" is the important part. It boosts the oscillator frequency above the audible range so that your ears can't hear it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. just figured i would 2nd what travis said. for all the the charge pumps that call for a 7660, you need to make sure it says 7660s, it needs that "s" at the end. not only can it cause oscillations, but they don't do what we need them to do properly, and i've heard some people that have had them explode/die on them.

      if you're planning on doing some PNP builds, especially PNP Germanium builds, and you want to daisy chain the effects, you need to have the 7660s. so if you can, stock up on them, they're not really cheap. I do a bunch of these types of builds, so i have over 200 of them so i don't have to worry about running out any time soon..

      Delete
    2. I've got the right chip. Bypassed it and ran -3V off batteries, same problem.

      Seems to be a transistor issue?

      I've got

      Q1: NKT275 53hfe .32ma leakeage
      Q2: AC128 82hfe .58ma leakage
      Q3: AC125 128hfe .79ma leakage

      Delete
  36. That's odd. Double check your connections to make sure there aren't any mistakes

    Aside from that it would probably be a transistor issue. Do you have other transistors to try?

    ReplyDelete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Those are the only transistors I have with leakages high enough to use sadly.

    I've verified all connections, but I'll triple check.

    Video of the noise: http://tinyurl.com/opb389e

    ReplyDelete
  39. Try swapping places of Q2 and Q3. If that doesn't help I think you're out of luck

    ReplyDelete
  40. No luck changing the transistor order at all sadly. I'd try other transistors, but the only PNP I have on hand are 2N404As that are all fairly low leakage.

    Guess it's time to try a different leaky transistor set. Anyone have a transistor set for this that they would like to sell?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Alright, sorry I'm posting so much here.

    Found a leaky 2n404A and tried swapping it in. 194hfe .36ma leakage

    The following combo got it working, as long as I keep the attack knob at like 9 o'clock, any higher and I have problems

    Updated measurements

    Q1 NKT275 55hfe .32ma
    Q2 AC125 124hfe .70ma
    Q3 2N404a 194hfe .36ma

    Unused: AC128 82hfe .55ma

    Has a nice satisfaction tone with the attack low. If I turn it up I get crazy HF feedback, or at the least unflattering high freq crackle.

    Thanks for the help. This has been a more frustrating build than I had imagined.

    Any additional help troubleshooting would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  42. hello ,can I use LF33 instead of 78L33? thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I used a little module which is an adjustable step down regulator .I'm getting -3 volt. but it's not working for me. tried to audio probe it. after the input 100k resistor I get lots of noise and a weak signal.I changed the resistor.and the 10n cap after it and checked for shorts between lines with a multimeter. no luck yet.veryconfused now. any help please

    ReplyDelete
  44. Is it ok to have audio signal on emitter ,base and collector of the first transistor ? any help will be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  45. So with the icl7660s i can use a neg ground power supply And can use npn transistors? Sorry for being thick!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, but you'll need to adjust the output voltage from -9V to -3.3V.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for quick reply, so if i understand the schematic correctly if i build the daughterboard with the ic and caps this should do this?
      If i do not and just go with 2 aa batterys will be pos ground and need pnp transistors?

      Delete