Allora Sold Out! Thank You! Up next is the BRUTE on April 27th.

Allora High-Gain Darlington Fuzz
Allora High-Gain Darlington Fuzz
Allora High-Gain Darlington Fuzz
Allora High-Gain Darlington Fuzz
Allora High-Gain Darlington Fuzz

Allora High-Gain Darlington Fuzz

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The Allora has its beginnings in requests from players to make a higher-gain version of the Brute.  To explore this path I started experimenting with Darlington transistors.  These transistors have incredibly high Hfe measurements in the 10’s of thousands, as opposed to the low-to mid hundreds of normal transistors.  I’m using two Darlington’s in the Allora, and this amount of gain required substantial reworking of the input, output, and Detail controls;  as well as reconfiguring the overall transistor arrangement (BC108C, BC549, MPSA12’s, 2N5089).  I also opened up the Bias control to increase gating so that you can control noise, or not!

However, all of this experimentation and adjusting did not yield a “higher-gain version of the Brute,” it turned into - something else.  The Allora is more compressed, wilder, ruder, feeds-back, sputters, sags, spits, woofs, growls, and even horns(?), like no other fuzz I make.  Some settings remind me of a Muff, other settings remind me of a Buzzaround.

The Allora LOVES to be paired with a loud amp, and the generous Output allows it to hit the front end of an amp pretty hard - unity is right around noon.  The Focus Toggle allows you to shave off some low-end to make it play nice with an already dirty amp channel.  The three-way Texture toggle has the following options:

1 - Silicon 1N914 diodes

2 - Blower (straight transistor tone)

3 - Special

The first setting uses diodes that Christopher from SHOE turned me on to.  They are common silicon diodes, but the breakup is nice and smooth with a little added compression.  We use these diodes on the Red Spiral.

The second Blower setting is something that I started doing on a few one-off that I have come to love.  It is just the straight raw tone of the transistors clipping.

The third setting is a part that I discovered that scoops a tiny bit of the lower-mids, this allows for a smoother tonal transition between fuzzy and “clean” when using the guitar volume knob.  At higher-gain this setting tends to resolve to the upper octave, which is great for feedback.

A note or two about the expanded Bias control:

I increased the range on the bias to help control some of the inherent noise that comes with the increased gain of the Darlington transistors.  Right around 2:00 on the Bias you can hear the gating kick-in and the noise floor is drastically improved.  If the gating cuts-off your sustain too abruptly, try moving the Bias back just a little, you will find a sweet-spot depending upon your guitar pickups that is a good balance between gating and sustain.

Or you can just mess with the Bias to find all kinds of crazy sounds, noise be damned!  For horn-like sounds where your pick attack is completely removed, try the 4:00 range on the Bias.  For aggressive, more OD-ish sounds keep the Bias in the 11:00 range.

Ironically, one of my favorite settings on the Allora is lower-gain.  Set the Output in the 3:00 range so it acts like a boost, then bring up the Gain and Bias to around 10:00-11:00 to “fill-out” the sound.  This setting sounds phenomenal with an amp channel that is on the verge of break-up.  I use this setting a lot on both my AC30 and Thunderverb 50 to get a great clear rhythm grind.

To sum up, the Allora is a bit different from the fuzzes I normally gravitate to.  It isn’t “open” or “transparent” in any way.  It wants to do what it wants to do, and you kind of have to ride the wave.