Glassy Starts and Germanium Fuzz

  • I saw this Pete Thorn video the other day and it got me wondering whether the same thing could be achieved with the KPA without the need for a Germanium Fuzz pedal in front.


    Pete Thorn Glassy Strat Tones


    There is a unique thing that happens with Germanium Fuzzes when the guitar volume is turned down. It seems to be the result of impedance mismatching and the way this "loads" the guitar's pickups. While the KPA team can obviously model the tone of a Fuzz itself the impedance loading is a separate issue.


    Has anyone managed to create this effect with just the KPA?


    If so, what did you do?

  • The Profiler isn’t going to behave the same way a great Fuzz Face will with guitar volume roll off. It’s something that circuit does with Ge diodes pretty uniquely well (especially with old stock trannies that are well matched and with the circuit tuned by someone with good ears that knows what they are doing). The impedance that you mentioned is the magical component of the equation. The Profiler will just lower gain with volume roll back, and the end result will be more quiet and less breakup. The Ge fuzz face on the other hand is going to give you this magical extra sparkle and the edge of breakup depends on where exactly your guitar volume is set, how hard you are playing, etc.


    To me, experiencing a great old Ge FF is essential for people who love playing with dynamics. I have a Cornell First Fuzz with NOS Ge transistors and love it. Just expect to pay the price, and don’t leave it plugged in when not playing, to preserve the lifespan of those old transistors.

    "Tone is in the fingers" is not a necessary response to anything that I might type on any internet forum threads. Thank you.

    Edited once, last by BuckeyeBrown ().

  • Sounds great, I’m away from my Kemper in Germany right now but I would approach it by using a treble booster and maybe a touch more amp compression. You can also use presence on the amp to help here as it’s enhancing the harmonic content of the signal, and don’t forget to use the neck pickup!

  • I would like to add that I’d love to see Kemper build some fuzz stomps that exhibit this behavior and even the amps could do with this love, as right now they tend to quieten in quite a linear fashion no change to the harmonic or frequency content, while real amps also exhibit 5his same interplay often to a lesser extent but it’s there, especially on class A amps, when you turn down the gain on the amp vs on the guitar behave quite differently and often have quite a difference in the frequency makeup.

  • BuckeyeBrown thanks. I know the Kemper won’t respond the same way as a Germanium Fuzz as the pickup loading effect is specific to the circuit. However, the tonal and dynamic response of the fuzz phenomenon is quantifiable/measurable. Therefore, it seems reasonable that it can be modelled. However, as the KPA doesn’t actually measure the impedance it would presumably need some clever proxy for the loading values. Something like measuring the input signal strength (gain) could serve as a way for ckemper and the team to create a suitable model that responds in a similar fashion to the interaction between a guitar and real fuzz. At the moment the Muff and Fuzz Fx don’t do this but if anybody can come up with a way to replicate thos behaviour I would put my money on the guys at Kemper.

  • I A/B my geranium fuzzes in front of my Kemper in an attempt to dial in a more accurate sound. So far, I haven't been able to create anything that sounds like a real geranium fuzz when turned down. The real pedals get the glassy tone but the Kemper doesn't. I'm not surprised - I couldn't get my Helix or Atomic to recreate that sound either. While I may be wrong, my guess is that folks that are modeling these pedals are going after the heavy fuzz sound with the guitar volume up. I've always used geranium fuzzes with the gain low and used the guitar's volume for crunch. At full guitar volume, those fuzzes just get farty...so I stack on an overdrive for the heavier tones.

  • I A/B my geranium fuzzes in front of my Kemper in an attempt to dial in a more accurate sound. So far, I haven't been able to create anything that sounds like a real geranium fuzz when turned down. The real pedals get the glassy tone but the Kemper doesn't. I'm not surprised - I couldn't get my Helix or Atomic to recreate that sound either. While I may be wrong, my guess is that folks that are modeling these pedals are going after the heavy fuzz sound with the guitar volume up. I've always used geranium fuzzes with the gain low and used the guitar's volume for crunch. At full guitar volume, those fuzzes just get farty...so I stack on an overdrive for the heavier tones.

    Flower power...? It’s the right era, at least ;)

  • I profiled my fuzz face soon after getting my Profiler to just check, but never anticipated it being able to do that volume roll off thing so I wasn’t let down at all. The idea that Wheresthedug proposed is exactly what I was thinking too, and perhaps might be something considered for a Profiler MK II.


    While we’re dreaming, the other thing that would be awesome for a future version would be if they could somehow capture what’s going on with the sound as impacted by a real life speaker/cabinet played at different volume levels. Imagine playing with a “cabinet volume level” parameter that would introduce speaker distortion and feedback sustain regardless of what you are actually listening through (near field monitors, headphones, etc.) and what volume you are listening to them.

    "Tone is in the fingers" is not a necessary response to anything that I might type on any internet forum threads. Thank you.

  • My old Eleven rack had automatic impedance matching. Depending on what pedal you put first in your chain, the impedance would change to match. I never tried fuzz and strat turned down....But maybe someone with a Headrush could test this, cause it's the same engine if i recall correctly.

  • I don’t think so. The effect is determined by the load between the pickups and fuzz interacting. The fuzz has to be first pedal in the chain for that to work. If you put another pedal between the guitar and fuzz the effect no longer works when that pedal is on or if it has a buffered bypass. I think sending the signal from a loop in the KPA will behave like putting a pedal in front of the fuzz. Maybe Burkhard could confirm though.

  • I don’t think so. The effect is determined by the load between the pickups and fuzz interacting. The fuzz has to be first pedal in the chain for that to work. If you put another pedal between the guitar and fuzz the effect no longer works when that pedal is on or if it has a buffered bypass. I think sending the signal from a loop in the KPA will behave like putting a pedal in front of the fuzz. Maybe Burkhard could confirm though.

    And DonPetersen could give some insights about this, too.

  • it's always best to simply try and compare.

    Fuzzes are weird. No two are alike. Some don't like active pickups, some don't even like humbuckers.


    But very few exhibit the classic Fuzz Face behaviour where turning down the volume pot on the guitar almost works like a switch to a cleaner sound.

  • it's always best to simply try and compare.

    Fuzzes are weird. No two are alike. Some don't like active pickups, some don't even like humbuckers.


    But very few exhibit the classic Fuzz Face behaviour where turning down the volume pot on the guitar almost works like a switch to a cleaner sound.

    Yes, might be best to just make some profiles with the Fuzz face in the chain and try that.