The Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face has one of the most instantly recognizable tones in Rock history. Popularized by Jimi Hendrix, this pedal has been used by David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and more recently, Eric Johnson. Producing a thick, distorted, “fuzzy” tone, this pedal adds grit to any signal, creating something akin to the sound of a blown speaker. This pedal is also equally popular amongst bass players, from Jaco Pastorius to modern Rock players.
Although originally produced by Arbiter Electronics, Dunlop Manufacturing assumed production in 1993. Today, Dunlop makes four Fuzz Faces – the Fuzz Face, the Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, the Joe Bonamassa Fuzz Face, and the newly released Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face. Each one of these Fuzz Faces has a different aesthetic, and slightly altered circuitry, but strives for that classic Fuzz Face tone. The Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face is a “meticulously faithful reproduction of Jimi’s 1969-1970 Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.” The silicon transistors and hand-wired circuitry match Jimi’s pedal, and the turquoise casing and knobs match the original Fuzz Face Aesthetic.
Overall, at roughly $140, this pedal is a solid purchase for anyone striving for that Fuzz Face sound. With only two knobs, Volume and Fuzz, it’s easy to use, and offers a wide array of tones, from mildly distorted to extreme fuzz. The sound of the Fuzz Face can be a bit harsh if used incorrectly, but once you are familiar with the pedal, it’s easy to dial in the tone. The biggest downside to this pedal is that it’s powered by 9V battery, with no AC adapter. However, this can be solved by purchasing a special 9V power adapter for about $5 at your local guitar shop, making the pedal power source friendly. Another downside is the size and arrangement of the input/output jacks. Although the looks is very cool and authentic, it takes up valuable real estate on the pedal board and isn’t designed to work well with patch cables in a signal chain (I have a roughly 5″ cable I use from its output). Nonetheless, these issues aren’t major, and are well worth the effort to get killer fuzz tones a la Hendrix, Cream and EJ.