Julien Kasper on Big Fuzz

September 1, 2010

GP0910_Riffs_JK1_nr“PUTTING IT MILDLY, I AM A aficionado of fuzz tones,” says multi-genre virtuoso guitarist Julien Kasper. “I’m drawn to the dynamic range—from clean to toxic mayhem—that you can achieve by manipulating the volume on your guitar while using certain fuzz pedals. The best Fuzz Faces and many of the clones and variations available have this dynamic quality. But, unfortunately, many guitarists go to a music store to purchase their first fuzz, plug it into a clean amp, wonder why it doesn’t sound like Jimi, and walk away discouraged. “A fuzz pedal into a clean amp is a great sound, but it will never sound like the Band of Gypsys, and that giant, harmonically rich tone is what many people are seeking. The truth is that to approach that tone, your amp has to be cranked to the breathing point, and this is not typically music store or neighbor friendly. For example, when recording fuzz sounds, I crank vintage ’60s and early-’70s Marshalls to between 7 and 10, which is very loud. My favorite fuzz for this purpose is a silicon Fuzz Face that Jeorge Tripps at Dunlop custom made for me.

 “Of course, almost no venue will tolerate that kind of volume, so my solution is to use a small, low-gain amp—a ’64 Vox AC10 run through a 2x12 Vox cab loaded with Celestion Blues—turned up all the way. The Vox prefers a gentler fuzz with smoother highs, so I use a germanium Fuzz Face variant built by JAM pedals called the Fuzz Phrase. I miss pushing air live with the Marshalls, but not searing the faces off of my audience is a great benefit.”

Check out Kasper's latest release, Trance Groove, on his Website.


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