Review updated 4 January 2009
Finding a good sounding fuzz unit can be one of the more tricky tasks when you’re designing your pedal board. There are tons of different models and versions available but not all of them fits our acquired taste. After years of searching for David’s tone on Live in Pompeii I got my hands on a Sun Face from Analogman and the sun has been shining ever since!
Vintage fuzz units are either based on germanium or silicon transistors. Germanium has a warm and mild overdrive (Hendrix/early Gilmour) while the silicon has a much brighter more aggressive tone with lots of sustain (Pompeii/Dark Side of the Moon). As the name implies, the Sun Face is Analogman’s (much improved) version of the classic Fuzz Face. They’re available with both NKT275 germanium transistors and BC108 silicon transistors. David used germanium from 1968-1971 and silicon from medio 1971-1977.
The Sun Face BC108 is housed in a MXR sized chassis with Analogman’s familiar smiling sun logo. It has true bypass and a trim pot inside allowing you to set the amount of fuzz, – much like adjusting the guitar volume knob. I recommend leaving the trim pot at 100% with the volume at about 3:00 and the fuzz all the way up (roll it off just a hair to avoid too much noise). Like all vintage style fuzz units the Sun Face is extremely sensitive to buffered pedals and if you must include these in your board I recommend that you place them as far away from the Sun Face as possible. Having a Boss BD-2 placed right after it will seriously alter the tone (bright, harsh fuzz) but a delay unit last in the chain will work. You should also place the fuzz in front of a wah wah.
The Sun Face could do with more lower frequencies. It can sound a bit thin in some setups. However, the fairly bright tone only enhances the pedal’s rich character and by compensating with an EQ or a booster/overdrive you’ll get a much more dynamic tone. I always use mine with the Colorsound Power Boost placed after it boosting the volume and bass. This also evens out some of the harsh overtones and adds sustain.
The Sun Face isn’t for everyone or any setup. The best combination is a powerful tube amp and for smaller transistors I would go for a RAT or a generally more versatile tone. However, for that classic ear pinching sustain from hell kind of tone I warmly recommend the Analogman Sun Face BC108!