The 2 SA 202 model (named after the type of
transistors used) of Vintage Fuzz II replicates the famous Fuzz Face sound of
Jimi Hendrix. However, unlike older
models of fuzz (and even some current ones), this fuzz is very quiet with a
barely an audio â€˜ssshhhhâ€™ when turned up full.
With the Bias rotated fully clockwise there is a velvety fuzz tone
reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s, but this Vintage Fuzz II model offers so
much more. Turn up the Fuzz only
half-way and with the Bias cranked fully counter-clockwise (or thereabouts) and
you can achieve some very classic rock sounds on a clean amp channel that
produces a breaking-up and overdriven quality without any mess or fuss. When combined with a driven or â€˜hotâ€™ amp the
Vintage Fuzz II calms the harshness and warms the signal, although I recommend
keeping the Fuzz level between 9-oâ€™clock and 11-oâ€™clock at most. Not only do you get a more organic tone when
combining this fuzz with a more modern type amp, but the effect is more 3-D to
the ears as the harmonics jump out like crazy.
230g (8oz) and measuring in at 113 x 67 mm (about 4.25 x 2.25 inches), the
Vintage Fuzz II is of standard pedal size.
Its chassis is a Hammond 1590B aluminum case that is both lightweight
and provides shielding of the electronic card.
One-hundred percent Analogy and a True Bypass pedal, the Vintage Fuzz II
has quality plastic knobs and the pots feel both solid and smooth when turned. It has Neutrik jacks and Alpha 16mm
potentiometer faders for Fuzz, Volume and Bias pots. Other audio components comprise of carbon
resistors and Panasonic CF and SMF capacitors.
The footswitch is somewhat close to the Bias
knob, but that knob is of a good quality, and so any slight stomping pressure
on the Bias knob should not pose any concern.
The LED on/off light is small and well protected by the three
knobs. It is powered by a standard 9VDC
(negative center) power supply, and due to its internal voltage inverter this
pedal can be powered with isolated outputs or not.
The Vintage Fuzz II (2 SA 202 model), developed
by Doc Music Station (France), is a highly diverse fuzz and at a fair price of
159 Euro. This model is powered with two SANYO NOS 2SA202
transistors (hence the sub-name of the pedal) to bring you closer to Hendrix
himself. Consequently, Denis over at Doc
Music Station did an outstanding job at reproducing the old Fuzz Face, but this
pedal proves superior in both noise reduction and versatility in how it
interacts with amps and other pedals at various levels of â€˜fuzzâ€™ and â€˜bias.â€™ Whether youâ€™re trying to re-create classic or
psychedelic rock tones, or even to tame some high-gain amps to produce a less
sterile sound (with added warmth and dynamics), the Vintage Fuzz II (2 SA 202)
is a worthy investment. Previously I
reviewed the Vintage Fuzz II MP 41 MKII model, which is a fuzz, but more of a
â€˜tone bender.â€™ Below is a comparison
video of three other types of Vintage Fuzz II pedals (including the 2 SA 202),
for those who want hear the distinct tones:
fuzz varies considerably in tone and whether you want a thick, heavily
saturated fuzz sound, or a moderately distorted rock â€˜n roll sound. Of course, the effect of this pedal when
combined with a clean amp or dirty amp signal varies considerably, and the
degree of Fuzz and Bias will need to be adjusted accordingly and relative to
your needs (and sound of the amp). With
a clean amp you can produce a nice rock sound (similar to going through a
Fender Bassman amp) with some decent breaking-up and with the Fuzz at low to
moderate levels and the Bias turned toward counter-clockwise (keeping the Fuzz
relatively low and the Bias up full counter-clockwise works as a nice boost as
well). Obviously, if the Fuzz is up very
high you can get a rumbling fuzz (Bias toward counter-clockwise) to a very
velvety fuzz (Bias all the way clockwise).
When combined with a dirty amp, even a high-gain amp, you can use the
Vintage Fuzz II to tame any harshness, make the tone thicker and increase
harmonics and dynamics considerably. In
the demo video I added the Vintage Fuzz II to a modern amp tone (via the Le
Lead preamp) and the result was much richer and with improved character. The fine graininess and squeals produced
sound fantastic to my ears.
Johnston is a guitar gear enthusiast who likes to develop reviews and demo
videos on stuff he likes. His YouTube
channel is CoolGuitarGear.