Review: Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz

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Rotosound Fuzz – opener

The Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz is a reissue of a legendary effect pedal which originally never made it to full-blown production. The great sound of the few existing pre-production prototypes, their scarcity, and the fact that this pedal has been spotted repeatedly on a certain Mr Jimmy Page’s equipment list have made this fuzz the stuff of legends.

At last year’s Musikmesse in Frankfurt Rotosound announced a limited run of 2,000 Fuzz reissues, assembled by hand at the company’s UK plant.

Rotosound Fuzz – front

Rotosound’s Fuzz (current price in Finland 349 €) is an old-school guitar effect – meaning it’s huge and built like a tank.

Rotosound Fuzz – side view

The large casing makes it possible to place the controls well out of your stomping foot’s way.

The major drawback of course is that this Fuzz takes up considerable space on your pedalboard.

Rotosound Fuzz – connectors

One in, one out – no need for anything more.

Rotosound Fuzz – bottom plate

When Rotosound say ”1960s Reissue” they mean it – the pedal runs on batteries only.

So, you’d better be equipped with a spare 9 V block at your next gig, and better take along the correct screwdriver also!

Rotosound Fuzz – label

The sticker on the bottom gives you each pedal’s number in the sequence of 2,000. Quality is guaranteed by the Rotosound chairman himself, Mr Jason How.

Rotosound Fuzz – interior

Everything is lined up neat and tidy – that’s boutique-level workmanship for you!

Rotosound Fuzz – circuit board

This is what Fuzz-anoraks fantasize about: Original NOS germanium transistors are at work here!

Old germanium transistors are famed for their fat clipping tone and musically organic behaviour, sounding less bland and brutal than newer silicone-based designs.

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Rotosound Fuzz – controls

The fuzz is the forefather of all overdrive and distortion pedals, and one of the first ever effects available for guitar.

Modern overdrive and distortion effects try to mimic the natural distortion and break-up of valve amplifiers, with a gradual onset, nice harmonics and a good helping of compression.

A fuzz pedal is a much rawer affair, more like the Neanderthal of distortion. A fuzz uses the hard clipping of an overloading transistor to mess up your guitar’s tone. The end result is much more grating and less compromising, more all-or-nothing. A good fuzz has lots of hair on its chest, and it snarls and bites with a good dose of aggression.

In my view, the Rotosound Fuzz clearly belongs in the top echelons of Fuzzdom. Its tone is pleasingly dense, and there’s a nice fat bottom to go with its uncompromising top end.

For a fuzz pedal the Rotosound reacts surprisingly nicely to guitar volume changes. If you keep the Fuzz-control at a moderate level, you will be able to turn down to almost completely clean from your guitar. The Rotosound 1960s Reissue is also reassuringly low on hiss and extraneous noise.

Here are two sound examples:

Rotosound Fuzz – Telecaster (with volume control)

Rotosound Fuzz – LP-type

For me the Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz is one of the best fuzzes I’ve ever come across. Yes, its price may be steep, but your money will buy you an instant collectible that sounds even better than it looks. For a fuzz the Rotosound is surprisingly rich on nuances and tonal variations.

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Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz

349 €

Finnish distributor: F-Musiikki

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Pros:

+ hand-assembled

+ instant collectible

+ sturdy build

+ accurate reissue

+ NOS germanium transistors

+ sound

Cons:

– not cheap

– size

– batteries-only

One Comment to “Review: Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz”

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