Maker: Function f(x)
Description: Clusterfuzz from Function f(x) takes an old idea and teaches it new tricks. At its heart, the pedal is a retro-style fuzz with two silicon transistors, in the vein of the Jordan Bosstone, Mosrite Fuzzrite, and post-germanium Fuzz Faces. But here, a clever set of extra controls greatly extends the tonal range of that classic combination.
Fuzz on Fire
Clusterfuzz feels and looks solid. Its pots are board-mounted, but its jacks are not, decreasing the chance of long-term damage. The footswitch is a soft-touch relay. The pedal runs on battery power or via a standard power supply (not included).
The core Clusterfuzz sound is loud and nasty, thanks to its MPSA13 and 2N5089 transistors—two ultra-high-gain components that collectively generate tsunamis of sizzling fuzz. But that core sound is a just a starting point.
Unlike some ’60s predecessors, Clusterfuzz includes a truly versatile tone control. Two, actually—there’s a treble-cutting tone pot at the end of the circuit, plus a filter toggle that nixes highs upstream from the transistors. The former rounds the edges of those sharp, ultra-high-gain tones, while the latter trims top end from the signal feeding the transistors, taming their response. The two controls yield distinctive results, and combining them unlocks many useful shadings.
But while these controls capably soften the pedal’s explosive highs, Clusterfuzz isn’t really about smooth/warm/pretty distortion. Even with maximum treble-cut, tones lunge at your ears with fangs bared and claws extended.
As on a silicon Fuzz Face, tones clean up nicely when you lower your guitar’s volume. (Lowered-volume tones aren’t quite indistinguishable from effect-bypassed ones, though they’re close.) In-between settings provide useful variations, though high-gain fuzz comes on early and strong. Clusterfuzz really wants to scream.
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