Fuzz electric guitar pedals are usually available in one of two variations of transistors - silicon transistors and germanium transistors. Though both types of transistors are popularly used in fuzz pedals to improve the quality of sound but germanium transistors are considered better than silicon transistors due to various reasons discussed in brief here under. The type of metal used effects pedals working abilities.
Silicon transistors based fuzz pedals were used by a number of popular guitarists like Jimi Hendrix to give edgier and harder tone to their music in late 1960s and 1970s. Silicon based fuzz was used by them to give hairier and punchier tone to their bombastic and aggressive rock music. But with the passage of time and increasing popularity of smoother music, most of the new musicians started using germanium transistors based fuzz pedals. Along with providing hairy and warmer touch to the tone germanium transistors are also used as essential elements to produce delightful acoustic tones. These transistors can also be used to modify old silicon-based fuzz pedals. So to understand the importance of germanium transistors you should know them more closely.
The main ingredient used in germanium transistors is Germanium, a semi-metal, which was normally used for making the items like diodes and transistors commonly used in consumer electronics. These transistors have a reputation to definitely give a vintage tone to the guitar music which in fashion until today but with the start of solid state circuits they were considered as old technology. These transistors were used in various classic pedals including Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face, Color-sound Tone Bender and Maestro Fuzz-Tone to give them a vintage tone. They were also used by various legendary effect producing devices like Vox, Hornby-Skewes Treble boosters and Dallas Range-master etc. designed especially for guitarists up to 1960s.
A Little History Behind Germanium Transistor Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedals
Though the germanium transistors made by different brands can have different features but all of them can be used to produce extremely dynamic, richer and warmer sound. They can also help in modifying the sound of your guitar in wide-range of shades including bright, crispy, muffled, jagged, darker and smoother or a combination of them depending upon the circuit used with them. In fuzz pedals, they are popularly used to give great playing, extremely tangible and soft feel to the guitar music.
But contradictory behavior is the most considerable drawback of germanium transistors. According to experts, you will have to buy thousands of these transistors to find the suitable ones for you after testing them all one by one. This drawback of these transistors was understood by the studio engineer and musician Zachary Vex while searching widely for vintage magical pedals.
Vex then started building fuzz pedals to make the sound of guitar music really great by putting together original fuzz pedals in a specific manner. He used these transistors without testing their potential to get the best combination, depending upon his luck. But ultimately he has to reject some of them due to their improper tone to produce good fuzz pedals with germanium transistors in his factory.
In Conclusion ...
So after knowing about different types of transistors used in different types of pedals you choose the better one depending upon the technology you choose for improving the tone of your guitar music. If you want to give soft, smooth and tangible tone to your guitar music then you can undoubtedly get for fuzz pedals with germanium transistors.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
Have you ever used a germanium fuzz pedal? How did you like it?