Stompbox: Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion and Velvet Fuzz

February 7, 2014

Prominent British fusion guitarist, teacher, and clinician Tom Quayle was using Wampler’s Euphoria and Paisley Drive together to give him the level and variety of grit he required. To assist with this sonic quest, Brian Wampler tweaked the tones of both boxes to Quayle’s specs and combined them in a new pedal he calls the Dual Fusion ($259 street).

Each side of the Dual Fusion features Volume, Tone, and Drive/Gain controls. Side 1(Vintage) has a toggle with Smooth and Fat settings, while the toggle on Side 2 (Modern) selects Normal or Throaty. Dual input and output jacks let you drive Side 2 with Side 1, or vice versa. Fancier rigs can also run each side separately in individual loops for MIDI switching systems.

Side 1 served up incredibly transparent, amp-like tones with both singlecoils and humbuckers. Side 2 did likewise, but with a slightly more aggressive voicing. Side 1 was perfect for adding just a little hair and dynamic push on up to mild crunch through my super-clean Little Walter 50-watt amp, while Side 2 got me into indie-rock territory with a nice spread of chiming to chunky distortion tones. Running Side 1 into 2 let me easily delve into hard rock and even searing metal tones through an already distorted amp. With the option of mixing up the toggle settings, and/or driving one side with varying degrees of the other, I was able to create an amazing variety of distortion textures. And throughout, the Dual Fusion let the character of each guitar, pickup, and amp shine through.

Though Quayle favors fusion, don’t let the pedal’s moniker fool you; with its ability to go from clean, transparent boost to high-gain distortion, the Dual fusion is one of the most versatile pedals you will ever play.

Kudos Two great overdrive flavors in one box.
Concerns None.

Velvet Fuzz

Vintage fuzz sounds are all the rage these days, but vintage germanium transistors can be erratic, and the sounds they produce when driven into clipping can often be thin and raspy. Wampler’s solution is the Velvet Fuzz ($199 street), which uses more stable modern transistors to achieve a classic fuzz tone, and then couples it with circuitry that replicates the sound of a slightly overdriven amp.

With the Velvet Fuzz’s voicing switch set to Big, the pedal offered much of what you get with a germanium fuzz into a mildly distorted amp: warm, bottom-heavy fuzz (and this was with my test amps set clean). With the Fuzz knob no higher than three o’clock, the Velvet cleaned up nicely when I backed off the guitar volume, providing its most dynamic response. While its sound is massive, the Velvet’s is a bit more controlled overall when compared to the wild wooliness of some older-style fuzz repros. This is most apparent with the switch in the Tight position, which provides the firmer lows associated with a distortion pedal, but still retains plenty of fuzz character.

The Velvet Fuzz doesn’t aim to emulate any vintage pedal, per se, but instead offers similar harmonic richness and raw energy, without the “vintage” quirks that can be as trying as they are endearing. Factor in conveniences like true bypass, a power adapter jack, and a status LED, and it adds up to a great new fuzz with a tone of its own.

Kudos Ideal for players who don’t like the chaos of hardcore vintage fuzz.
Concerns None.

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