Black Spiral Fuzz (formerly Black Rose)
The origin of the Black Spiral Fuzz can be traced back to Chicago at the always amazing Chicago Music Exchange. I was perusing their excellent collection of pedals and I saw a mint condition Maestro FZ1-S. I took it back to their demo rooms and fell in love. It wasn’t all puppies and rainbows however, anyone who has tried an original FZ1-S knows that they are not without their quirks. But the base fuzz tone was rude, raunchy, and very ’70’s Biker Metal, just how I like my fuzz.
A very simple version went on to become the DOD Carcosa Fuzz, but I haven’t stopped experimenting with the circuit. In July 2018 I tried a modified version of the circuit with the Nanolog N2 and I loved how it turned out. It had a Germanium-esque sonic quality without the volume loss normally associated with Germanium diodes. I also must admit there is something tantalizingly perverse about mixing a vintage circuit with an ultra-modern quantum tunneling device. This version of the circuit became the heart of the Black Spiral Fuzz. The latest Black Spiral's (April 2019) use the new form-factor wafer N2's, same sound different package.
The Black Spiral is an unapologetically bright fuzz, and is meant to pair with an already crunchy amp/channel but it also works quite well into a clean amp/channel too.
Special thanks go to Parker Coons and Robert Bird (www.pedalpcb.com) for helping me with the Black Spiral schematic and PCB layout.
- Separate Gain and Bias control yield a wide array of fuzz tones from overdrive to splatty, horn-like sounds
- Incredible clean-up with guitar volume
- Circuit Based on ’70’s era Maestro Fuzz
- Nanolog N2 Molecular Junction
- Three-Way toggle Voicing:
- True Bypass
- 100% Analog
- Industrial, Textural, Chemical Oxide Top
- Laser-Etched Graphics
- Brushed Aluminum Chassis
- High-Quality Parts Throughout
- Mix of classic and high-tech in both aesthetics and sonics
OSCILLATION NOTE: Let's talk a little about "the squeal." The Black Spiral can be set to produce an unpleasant squeal if the Gain, Bias, and Detail are all in the high ranges. This is a side-effect of allowing wide-ranges in the Detail and the Bias Controls. In my opinion there are very exciting fuzz sounds in the extreme ranges of the Bias, and the only way to control these sounds is to turn the Detail all the way down to tame "the squeal." And conversely there are some great sounds at the extreme ranges of the Detail control, but in that instance either the Gain or the Bias must be turned down to tame "the squeal."
There are parts changes that can be made to eliminate the squeal, however it also eliminates the majority of the range of the Bias control, and eliminates the sounds found at those ranges as well. Given the choice of creating a castrated fuzz I chose to give you, the player, a bigger hammer instead.
In 2018 this pedal was called the Black Rose Fuzz. The first release of 100 launched the company. The name has changed, but the pedal is otherwise unchanged. Check out the sound on the Look/Listen page here: DEMOS