Here is a great video by MusicRadar.com featuring Bryan Kehoe talking about some upcoming pedals from Dunlop. A few of them have been talked about for a while (ie: Joe Bonamassa Cry Baby and the re-issue of the Way Huge Red Llama), but one caught my ear. That was for the Eric Johnson Fuzz Face. I remember hearing various stories (could be legend and/or tales passed down from nerd guitarist to nerd guitarist) where Eric would have people find the classic Red Fuzz Face. He was always in search of a particular sound found in a few batches of germanium transistor fuzz faces.
For those of you not too familiar with germanium transistors, transistor were used to replace tubes back in the day. Now germanium is less efficient and consistent than silicon transistors made in the late 60s/70s. So one pair of germanium transistors can sound very different than another pair with the same value. So a run of Fuzz Faces can have slightly different tonal characteristics.
I’m sure Eric Johnson has a mean collection of Fuzz Faces by now, so having him working with Dunlop for 6 years to develop his signature Fuzz Face is pretty cool. After doing some more research, I was surprised that they’re using BC183 silicon transistors in there. I know NOS germaniums are hard to come by, and I’m wondering for ‘production’ that was the deciding factor? Or it could be that silicon offers a more stable transistor for consistency.. but they definitely sound different. Curious what you think!