So not sure if people knew about Eric Johnson’s interest in Dunlop Fuzz Faces. I’ve heard all sorts of crazy rumors from having hired minions searching the globe for vintage red fuzz faces to his unbelievable collection of vintage fuzz faces that cover many years and styles from germanium to silicon based Fuzz Faces. It seems quite fitting that Dunlop would work with Eric Johnson to develop his signature fuzz face.
One of the challenges with the Dunlop Fuzz Face circuit over the years is dealing with component variances and tolerances. For those of you not familiar about this, let me explain. A circuit can be replicated approximately. Meaning one fuzz face and another might sound close, but they won’t sound exact. Depending on the components used, etc., you might get subtle variances between two of the same circuit. Tolerances of components can be a major factor. Tolerance is how close to the value of a particular component is. Some are +/- 5%, 10%, 20%, etc.
The concept with creating a signature fuzz for Eric Johnson is to find his ‘favorite’ fuzz and see how closely they can maintain those tolerances and specifications. I know he was a fan of the germanium fuzz face (red) and was surprised that this fuzz face is silicon based. Germanium transistors have always been tough to maintain consistency since they can vary quite a bit from one transistor to the next. Knowing that they want to emulate something closely makes sense to use a more consistent silicon transistor, since this would alter the tone (not bad or good, but different) they probably needed to handle this within the new circuit.
Here is a great video by DunlopTV talking about the Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face: