MJM London Fuzz review

April 27th 2009 | Posted in Reviews | 70 Comments

We’re all searching for the perfect pedal board with a dozen or two pedals to replicate David’s Animals or PULSE tones. But I often go back to the basics discovering the beauty of just a handful of classics for albums like Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother. I recently got my hands on a London Fuzz from MJM Guitar FX and here’s my review.

Fuzz pedals appeared in the mid sixties after guitarists had been experimenting with everything from pierced speaker cones to broken tubes. The fuzz pedal was designed to push the loud tube amps into wild distortion and by the end of the decade every guitarist used one.

It’s interesting to see how David and Hendrix represent the two (main) ways to use the fuzz pedal. Hendrix, mainly using dark sounding Marshall stacks already cranked for a mild overdrive, used the fuzz to further boost the amp. By controlling the amount of gain from the pedal with the guitar volume knob, he could get a wide range of tones from mild overdrive to saturated fuzz. This is basically the same thing Stevie Ray Vaughan did a couple of decades later when he used the Tube Screamer to crank his amps. David on the other hand relied on clean Hiwatts and used the fuzz to create crunchy rhythms and heavy leads. The tone isn’t that much different from Hendrix’ but David’s setup gave him a much wider range of tones and a bit more control.

David used germanium based fuzz pedals from 1968-71, when he switched over to silicon based units. The London Fuzz is based on the first generation Fuzz Face with two germanium transistors (also available as the London Fuzz II with silicon transistors). Compared to silicon transistors, which has a bright aggressive tone (Live at Pompeii, Dark Side of the Moon etc) the germanium produce a warm smooth fuzz (More, Atom Heart Mother).

What makes the London Fuzz stand out from the average germanium fuzz is that it’s got a bit more gain and a generally warmer tone, which makes it work nicely on smaller amps as well as your large tube heads. The pedal has rich fat lower end and smooth top and it sound huge even on low output pickups like the CS69. It’s extremely dynamic to both your picking and the guitar volume knob and by leaving the fuzz all the way up as your main setting you can control the amount of gain from near crystal clean to screaming fuzz, depending on your amp and pickups. Unlike silicon units, the germanium fuzz can often sound muddy and lose some of its character when you max everything but the London Fuzz stays remarkably “tidy” with a well defined attack and clarity.

- The fuzz is all the way up on the pedal and I’m using both guitar volume and my picking to create dynamics and controlling the amount of gain. (sorry for the small clip – use full screen viewing)

Fuzz pedals and germanium models in particular are extremely sensitive to combinations with other pedals. Always place the fuzz in front of the wah wah and for the best tone I recommend a minimum of pedals in the chain and ideally no one with buffers. This will in some cases dramatically change the character of the pedal. Some pedals works better than others – buffered included – so eliminate those who do the most damage (I’ve recommended some setups below). Also, be sure to always use carbon batteries. No alkaline and no battery clip converters! This will alter the tone.

The London Fuzz is housed in a MXR style (slightly bigger) box with cool retro knobs and graphics. Every pedal is handwired with matched transistors.

Fuzz pedals can be a bit tricky to use on smaller amps and transistors and normally I wouldn’t recommend using one if you’re mainly playing at home on a 30w solid state. The pedal often sound too thin with a harsh, raspy tone far from what you wanted. As talked about above, the best match for these pedals is a powerful tube amp cranked really hard but you can compensate this by adding an overdrive pedal after the fuzz like a Boss BD-2, Tube Driver or Colorsound Powerboost. The essence here is to use a transparent pedal. A Tube Screamer as similar will colour too much. As talked about above, you should try to avoid using buffered pedals with fuzz pedals but some works better than others and here’s a setup that works nicely for me:

Roll the gain all the way down to get the least amount of gain possible and likewise with the tone, – fuzz pedals doesn’t like too much treble in combo with other pedals. Roll the tone all the way down on the BD-2 and leave the treble at about 9:00 on the Colorsound and 12:00 on the Tube Driver. You can also use the gain channel on your amp (instead of a pedal). I normally advice against this but if you set it with the gain as low as possible just to active the channel, the fuzz gets the basis it needs to sound its best.

My favorite old school Gilmour setup:
MJM London Fuzz, Vox Wah Wah, Colorsound Powerboost, MJM Sixties Vibe, EH Deluxe Memory Man.

An honest review should include both pros and cons but I really don’t have anything to put my finger on when it comes to the London Fuzz. Fuzz pedals aren’t for everyone and shouldn’t be confused with a Big Muff or distortion like the RAT or Boss DS-1 but if you’re like me seeking the early Gilmour tones, Hendrix etc the London Fuzz delivers beyond my expectations. I also want to commend MJM on one of the best customer services I’ve encountered.

Visit MJM Guitar FX for more vintage clones and goodies!



 



70 comments so far

  1. Leandro says:

    Great sounding pedal man! I’m amazed about how well it works with your solid state amp. It would be nice if you could record a song now….besides the review…cymbaline, fat old sun solo or some tune like that.

    You nailed it one more time man.

    Leandro

    [Thanks! Really a great pedal. I've been using it a lot the past few days and it nails the tones perfectly. - Bjorn]

  2. Phil says:

    Fantastic review Bjorn – how does this compare to the sunface in your opinion – or are they so close u can hardy tell a difference??

    [The Sunface that I have is a silicon, which is a different type of full all together. Compared to the germanium NKT275 SunFace the London Fuzz has more gain and lower end making it slightly more versatile I think. - Bjorn]

  3. Bryce says:

    Hi Bjorm, great review and video. The lead on embryo is orgasmic! I have one question though, what made you go for the mjm instead of getting the germanium sunface? The mjm sounds really killer, but I was wondering if you had a opinion on any differences. Thanks!

    -Bryce

    [Thanks! The Sunface sounds great too but like the BC108 that I have on my board it can sound a bit thin at times. I also have the Sixties Vibe from MJM which I absolutely love and I wanted to try the London Fuzz as well. As I say in the review, it's very similar to the old Fuzz Face (and Sunface) but it has a hint more gain and lower end. - Bjorn]

  4. Jae says:

    Well Bjorn, thanks for stirring up another bout of gear lust ;). That is one sweet pedal!
    I’m not one to complain,but it would have been nice if you had done an AB comparison with your silicon fuzz. Like the article you did a couple of months back with the “Careful With That Axe” videos.
    Have you tried placing both pedals in line so you can switch between them? Did they get along? I’m not suggesting running them at the same time,unless,of course, your into that kinda thing;)

    Many thanks
    Jae

    [Well, I certainly wouldn't run two fuzz units at the same time... unless you want noise and not much more :) The pedals works nicely on their own though - placed next to eachother in the chain. I did an A/B test and since the London Fuzz has a bit more gain than usual there's not not a huge difference between the silicon and this one. Still, the Sunface has a brighter more edgy tone and the London cleans up when you roll back the guitar volume, which silicon units aren't known to handle. Not the biggest difference but enough to tell them apart and they serve different purposes. I would say that the London germanium works fine for Pompeii and Dark Side but the Sun Face silicon doesn't go with Cymbaline, Atom Heart etc. - Bjorn]

  5. Jeremie says:

    Fantastic review as usual !
    I was wandering if you ever tried the ZVex Fuzz Factory ?

    This is obviously crazy fuzz way more agressive, perfect of course to get Bellamy’s tone, but you can have some very interesting settings very close to the Fuzz Face tones.

    [The Fuzz Factory has a more modern tone. You can dial in some near vintage stuff as well but it's a slightly different pedal. - Bjorn]

  6. Wojtek says:

    Hi Bjorn, would you mind recording and uploading lesson regardning vibrating bent notes?? Your vibrato is amazing!
    Thanks!

    [Thanks for the tip! I'll keep that in mind next time I decide to make a video. - Bjorn]

  7. Sylvain says:

    Thanks Bjorn.
    I wish I could hear you playing “Careful with that axe Eugene” with this pedal. It may sound fantastic !
    A+

    [It does! Still, I prefer the Sunface BC108 on that one. - Bjorn]

  8. Halem says:

    Great rewiew as always, Bjorn! By the way have you ever tried new dunlop’s Authentic Hendrix Fuzz Face, that one with silicon transistors? I want to try one in local shop, too bad i cant get London Fuzz or Sunface not waiting for half a year until it arrives…

    [It's very similar to the SunFace actually. Perhaps not as "clean" in the sence that the Sunface sounds a bit more dynamic and you can hear the strings better but that might also be because it doesn't have as much lower end as the Dunlop. Worth a try. I recieved my London Fuzz and SunFace within 7 days. - Bjorn]

  9. Andrew says:

    Great review, it was very helpful. I do have a couple question though. How does the Brit Bender w/germanium transistors compare to the British Fuzz w/germanium transistors? Which one would be better suited for early 67-71 Floyd sound? How does the London sound with a Tele (my guitar)? Thanks!!

    [I haven't tried any of them but Brit fuzz/beders etc pedals are brighter and in my oppinion not that suited for David's tones. Think of a cranked VOX AC30, Marc Bolan, Bryan May kind of tone. The London Fuzz (germanium) is an excellent choice for David's early tones since it's a clone of the red Fuzz Face he used at the time. The ones offered by Dunlop today are nowhere near the original. - Bjorn]

  10. Rafal says:

    [The London Fuzz (germanium) is an excellent choice for David's early tones since it's a clone of the red Fuzz Face he used at the time - Bjorn]

    I guess it was rather a silver one. Check out this video (0:10-0:12) :)

    [Yeah, he used many different Fuzz Face models. Mostly the red in the beginning, then silver (I think there's a silver on the Offenbach footage too) and red and blue silicon. - Bjorn]

  11. Mario says:

    Great review Bjorn! Excuse for my english! Did you try the Foxey Fuzz by MJM? It is a clone of the Triangular Muff and it sounds very good!
    Bye,
    Mario

    [Thanks! No, I haven't tried it but yes, it's a clone of the early Muff. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  12. hunter says:

    hi bjorn!

    Fantastic article. My only question is this..i love the early sounds of floyd but i can only want one fuzz pedal on my board because i have a russian muff. which fuzz unit do you think that i should get that would cover ALL of the early floyd sounds from More to POMPEII and DSOTM?

    Thanks alot!
    Hunter

    [Difficult question. David used germanium fuzz pedals on Saucerful, Ummagumma, More, Atom and Meddle but switched silicon on Pompeii, Obscured and Dark Side. The pedals are quite different. You can use a germanium on the latter albums but then you'd need something like the London Fuzz, which has more gain than the average germanium models (incl the current Dunlop reissue). Since you already have a Muff that goes very well with Dark Side, WYWH, Animals etc I think I'd go for a germanium for authentic 1968-71 tones. - Bjorn]

  13. John Hortatsos says:

    Thanks Bjorn! I’m a long time reader and a first time poster!!! You allways do such a fine job! Because of your review, I have just purchased the London Fuzz II (silicon). So far i have a 52 tele reissue, Gilmour NOS strat,dyna comp, Fulltone Full drive 2, Little big muff, London Fuzz II, Dunlop univibe, Carbon copy delay, Boss DD3 digit delay going into a 65 deluxe reverb reissue.

    [Thanks for posting! I think you'll be very pleased with the pedal. As I write in the review, don't freak out if the pedal sounds thin and harsh in your setup. I haven't tried the 65 Deluxe with fuzz but you might need to use the FullDrive as a booster too smooth out the tone but I'm sure you'll figure it out. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  14. Hugo says:

    Great reviw Bjorn. I want a Fuzz but it seems that there are few that could sound good without batteries. I don’t want a pedal that can only be run at batteries. Still looking though.

    Regards!!

    [Well, old cirquit fuzz units really needs that carbon battery to sound right. It's sort of a part of the cirquit. There are several models available with power input but they do sound different. - Bjorn]

  15. gerald says:

    nice. no noise at all. is the only pedal used in the demo?
    by the way i got a david pic playng with an all black strat, MAPLE neck and 60s peg(headstock). circa DSOTM tour, is bizarre ´cause he mostly used the all black with rosewood, what do ya know?
    cheers!!!! :)

    [The pedal isn't noisy in it self, in fact it's dead quiet but the fuzz effect is certainly not noiseless... but that's the nature of the effect any any fuzz. The clip is just London Fuzz > Memory Man > amp. David had a second black Strat with maple neck that he used in 1972-73 but it has a white pickguard. Please send me the pickture and I'll have a look. Thanks! - Bjorn]

  16. Ben says:

    I have had the London I and II and the 60′s vibe for a couple of years, and I agree with all you say about MJM. He is a great builder with excellent service. He has a great ear for matching the transistors.

    For those who want a power connection, you can use the SAG option on the Pedal Power 2 Plus, which tries to replicate a battery with some drained voltage. It will “sag” down to 4-6v if I remember correctly.

    Great video. I love that song.

    [Thanks Ben! MJM is definitely one of the best pedal makers there is. - Bjorn]

  17. Luiz Felipe says:

    so, if it’s silicon, SunFace is the winner and germanium MJM’s… but what’s the difference with the 2 kinds… when should I use each other? give example with pink floyd songs if possible! thanks!! :)

    [The silicon has a brighter tone with more gain and doesn't clean up very well when you roll down the guitar volume. The germanium is warmer, less gain with a range from clean boost to full fuzz when you adjust the guitar volume. Silicon - Echoes from Pompeii, all leads on Obscured and Dark Side. Germanium - all leads on Saucerful to Meddle. - Bjorn]

  18. Jared says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    That was a great review, and I was wondering if you are going to review the “Hartman Flanger”, I read on a post that you one ordered. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I bought one for myself off of Ebay and it came in today,and I’m in love with it. It’s the perfect flanger and modulation pedal I’ve ever played, but thats just my opinion. I’m so happy with it, I just want to tell the world about this pedal.

    Now I’m just babbling, anyway, that “London Fuzz” sounds great too!

    -Jared

    [Thanks! I'm planning a Hartman Flanger review... soon. - Bjorn]

  19. Jared says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    It’s me again, but I have a quick question on pickups. I wanted to know if the Fender “Tex-Mex” pickups would give me a Gilmourish tone? Your advice would awesome!

    Thanks

    -Jared

    [Personally I think tehy're a bit too hot with a bit too much mid range. I'd rather go for the CS69 or Fat 50s or even Duncan SSL1 or 5. - Bjorn]

  20. TQuay says:

    Bjorn,

    Great review. Have you any opinion on the Analogman Peppermint fuzz? I was hoping to find a pedal that did the whole ’60′s (Beatles and Doors too) to Pompeii. They claim it goes from a raspy early fuzz to a decent geranium fuzz face but I bet life isn’t that simple.

    [I've never tried the Peppermint, so I can't tell. The MJM Brit Bender should also be a good option for the tone you seek. - Bjorn]

  21. João Francisco says:

    Hi!

    I’ve been reading some comments stuff and as you may know, there’s different gain transistors in silicon and germanium. In fact silicon can do more gain! Try to find the gain of the versions you own.

    Don’t believe in some stuff that you find in many sites around there… they have special knobs, special lights, everything in their pedals is unique… it’s a BIG lie! And all pay BIG $$$ for it!

    Germanium is very unstable and anyone can put a Bias Pot in the pedal… some call it “sun deal” or something…. hehe…
    They also talk about problems with battery… alkaline stuff… melting pedals…

    In that order of ideas my own FUZZ FUCE is an ALIEN: in the same box I have the two versions that Gilmour used! No battery, no noise, no melting stories… and a BIG BIG sound with medium gain transistors. I spend a few Euros in it… 60€?
    SILICON version and GERMANIUM version in a single box!

    It’s a simple pedal that almost anyone can build… It’s easy to find matched transistors out there…

    I’m not saying this to say that mine it’s better! No! No way! All I tried to do is warning you all! Pedal builders are unfair! The money costs me to earn… and can imagine that life is hard with you all to spend indecent amounts of money… just because of not knowing!

    [You're right in that fuzz pedals are very easy to build. It's just a handful of components and with some patience I guess anyone can manage to assemble one. But if you're like me, all thumbs, soldering your own pedal is just not an option and I also like to discover new sounds and good craftmanship so I buy the pedals I want. I know you can save a buck or two doing it yourself but you also need to know how to assemble a pedal. It's not rocket science but what makes a good pedal with all it's character and nuances lies in the details. Sure, a lot of the cloners out there are offering overpriced scrap metal with all kinds of fancy mods and I do prefer a pedal as basic as possible but there are also some pedal builders that do a great job. Regarding carbon batteries VS alkaline or adapters... fuzz pedals does sound a lot better with carbon batteries. No doubt. - Bjorn]

  22. phil says:

    hi Bjorn, just wondering, how do you power your fuzz pedals, and your coloursound pb?? i hear they only take kindly to non alkaline batteries – do you find these hard to come by now??

    [The fuzz pedals and the Colorsound runs on carbon batteries. You can find these in your local dollar store or through several wholesalers on the net. - Bjorn]

  23. Alexis says:

    You made me want an MJM London Fuzz! I ordered a Sunface and I plan to get the London as well for a smaller board to go along with a BD-2 and DD-6. I hope that works out for me! Thanks for the demo.

    You said that the fuzz doesn’t work well through a clean amp. your tone in the video through the clean marshall sounded great though. did you use anything else for the video?

    [The clips are just the London Fuzz and Memory Man. It works great on my Marshall combo and Sound City and similar amps but can sound a bit bright and harsh on some Fenders and similar. It can easily be solved by placing an overdrive after the fuzz with the gain and tone rolled all the way down. - Bjorn]

  24. John Hortatsos says:

    Just got my London Fuzz II, and it sounds INCREDIBLE with my setup, Bjorn. I use a Fender 65 deluxe re-issue (a clean Amp) and it sounds exactly as i ‘d hoped. I am powering this pedal with a Boss power supply from my pedalboard, and am having no issues! My silicon London Fuzz II sounds EXACTLY like David’s tone from “Live at pompeii”!
    I may still get the London Fuzz I, but for now, I am happy as could be! Thanks for introducing me to this fine pedal maker – MJM is GREAT!!!!

    [Cool! There's no really any problems or issues with using power supply with these pedals. I've read some places that people claim that you can fuck up the cirquit or that pedal melts etc. That's not true. Adapters and alkaline batetries works fine but carbons makes the pedal sound warmer and you get a bit fuller character... more depth. We're talking nuances here and you really need to A/B test carbon VS adapters to hear the difference. - Bjorn]

  25. Roberto Lecchi says:

    Hi,
    talking about fuzzes, I wish to know which could be, in your opinion, the best setup to play the “Celestial Voices” intro from Pompei: I cannot get enough volume and sustain without the BYOC Large Beaver: I tried the BBE Free Fuzz and the MEK CP-1 (germanium Fuzz) only with a delay, but the sustain is not enough; should I add some other effect to the chain to increase it?
    I think that the sound with the Large Beaver is quite good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3anAljmQmDo , but David didn’t use it at the time….
    Thanks,
    Roberto

    [I'm not 100% sure how David does the "violin" effect. He might be using the fuzz for sustain by rolling off teh gain a bit with the guitar volume or he could also have been using the pre-gain on the Binson for more output. Either way, you need to play really loud to get as much tone from your amp as possible and you need a lot of delay. It works better with analog echo since you want a dark, almost reverb-like echo. I'm using the Colorsound Powerboost set to a mild cruch and lots of echo 300ms. with the bridge pickup. - Bjorn]

  26. Rick says:

    Nice T-Shirt :)
    Rick

  27. Steve Schibuola says:

    Bjorn – this is a bit off-topic, but thinking about wah and fuzz placement got me thinking – how exactly does David USE his wah? I mean, he’s had one on his pedal board for EVER, but no one ever talks about how he uses it (except for the famous “seagull” effect which you explained perfectly). Obviously, he doesn’t go for the “70′s cop show/porno” style – does he use it just in one fixed position to add a little “nastiness” when he switches to the bridge pickup? You know, like that short brige-p/u passage in Castellorizon? I can never get my bridge to sound as nasty as his without kickon on my wah. As always, your thoughts appreciated, oh Guru of the Gilmourish!

    [Hi Steve! In the old days, he would use the wah in a "normal" fashion on many of the Piper songs, as Syd had done before him, and later on stuff like Set the Controls, Corporal Clegg, See-Saw, Stay etc... And of course on Echoes for the reverse seagull sounds. Although they didn't play any of these songs on the Animals and Wall tours, I guess he wanted to have the wah on the board to have the opportunity to use it if he wanted to. I've never heard him use it on those tours, not even as a filter, but he likes to have everything available... just like the Electric Mistress in the PULSE rig I guess, which he never used. The wah wasn't included in the 80s and 90s rigs but of course on the 2006 tour he used it on Echoes.
    I think the "nastiness" you're referring to is just the combination of his pickups, tube amp and pedals. If you look at his setup for each song from any period (even PUSLE) it's very basic and rarely more than 3-4 pedals at once. On the last tour he would mainly use the Tube Driver for clean boost and overdrives with some compression and then add a Muff ontop of that for the leads. The combination of these, with the bright pickups and the powerful tube amp will get you that "nastiness"... and you really need to play loud to get the amp working. More on this in the "Designing the Rig" article. Hope this answered your question :) Cheers! - Bjorn]

  28. John Hortatsos says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Did you hear about the new Skreddy “Pig Mine’ pedal? It is a replica of the 73′ Ram’s head with the Cornish mod built in!!!! It hasn’t come out yet, but I will be one of the first orders filled! Chek out his site for more details. This pedal looks cool as hell!!!!

    P.S. I feel really bad for the folks on EBAY who spent 500+ dollars for the now retired “pink Flesh’ pedal – this new “Pig Mine” is supposed to be a huge upgrade to the ‘Pink Flesh”!

    [Yeah, I just read about it. Looks very promising! - Bjorn]

  29. Jared says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I’ve been in the search for some good Gilmour pickups, and I stumbled on to these “DG” inspired pickups that are made by Kleinspickups. Now I’m not going to buying these pickups but I thought other people on the site would be interested in. These are the first pickups that i’ve found that are styled after him, well besides the DG20 pickups.
    Anyway I hope this helps somebody.

    Later Jared.

    [Thanks for the tip! - Bjorn]

  30. João Francisco says:

    Hi again!
    Thanks for answering my email a few days ago :-)

    Now… which germanium transistors you have in your pedal? AC128?
    NKT275?

    And… I tried the ssl5 (Seymour Duncan) PU and and Fat 50′s from a friend! Amazing sound! I own the custom shop 54′s and I regret now! SSL5 have big bass and sweet highs. The sound is awesome! Is the “remember that night” live sound! I love it!
    In a few weeks I’ll try the Dimarzio FS-1 too!

    [I need to check but I'm pretty sure it's AC128. - Bjorn]

  31. Stan says:

    Hey Bjorn have you ever played on a silicon/germanium hybrid?

    [Nope. - Bjorn]

  32. Steve Schibuola says:

    MORE than answered my question, Bjorn – thank you so much. I’ve used a lot of your advice from the “designing the rig” article. Thanks to you I’ve got my home-rig sounding much better and probably as good as it can at sleeping-children-upstairs-friendly volumes. I get a lot of satisfying tones, but I think you’re right – that nastiness can only be achieved with the tubes glowing, and the speakers pumping a LOT more air than I can allow.

    One thing, though – I put a CS69 in the bridge which I’m loving – but I get the feeling it really doesn’t fully come alive at low volumes. Do you think the SSL-5 would be a little “nastier” at low volumes?

    [Happy to help Steve :) The SSL5 has a slightly higher output so it will sounds a bit fatter and dirtier with overdrives and distortions compared to the CS69 but it's not a huge difference. The CS69 can sound a bit thin if you've dialed in too much treble on your amp or are using overdrives that are a bit flat in the lower range... the SSL5 carries the tone better so I recommend you to try one. - Bjorn]

  33. Fernando says:

    -Off topic- Bjorn, I think that you know this website, but for those who are gilmouring their Stratocasters, they have many useful goods, including a loaded black pickguard with the mini toggle and Fender Fat 50′s in the neck, a CS 69 en the middle and an SSL5 or SSL1 in the bridge.

    [Yeah, been in touch a couple of times. Great site. - Bjorn]

  34. Adrian J. Émond says:

    Hey bjorn great article.

    I was wondering what pickup you would recommend for the the middle position?

    Thanks!!

    [I have 69s on both my Strats. I think they have both the punchy lower end and crispy top that can be hard to get from the mid PUs. Depends on the wood too though. They can be a bit flat on ash but sounds great on alder and basswood. - Bjorn]

  35. Darran Moore says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    Been a while since I posted but I have good reason, albeit off topic. I have landed pair of tickets for charity gig at as yet unnamed venue in aid of Crisis homeless charity. His is collaberating with Mali band Amadou & Mariam 25 may, can’t wait! Will all check out Storm Thorgerson’s exhibit whilst in London, doesn’t get any better!

    Not sure what to expect of gig as DG is guest so not sure if we will be treat to his own material?

    Regards from North East England!

    Darran

    [Congrats Darran! Please keep us posted! - Bjorn]

  36. Giulio says:

    Hi Bjorn …you have missed another beautifull Fuzz…
    JIMI HENDRIX FUZZ JH 2S

    This pedal uses a modified classic fuzz circuitry using PNP germanium silicon transistors that provide a brighter, more cutting tone with old-school warmth.

    Now is discontinued but i think is near at FF …red one
    Have you tried it ?

    [Nice sounding pedal yes. very similar to the standard red FF. It has germanium transistors though... not silicon. - Bjorn]

  37. Giulio says:

    Sorry…. Bjorn is true , it has a Germanium transistor… I’d made a mistake.

    [No worries my friend. Cool pedal nevertheless! - Bjorn]

  38. art says:

    hello ,thanks for the review . i have a foxrox hot silicon and a skredy lunar, they sound quite differently ,but i really do not know what transistors are inside of both pedals maybe you could share some insight , i might add the quest for the fuzz tone is incredible there so many good companies making them today , but truly you are a tone connoisseur and to share your knowledge is appreciated perhaps some day you will offer us a chance to purchase from you a dvd of some pink floyd guitar classes, thanks

    [Both pedals uses silicon transistors but I'm not sure which. I assume it's BC108... The Lunar has 3 transistors as opposed to the standard 2 transistors models. This adds more gain and just a fatter, more balanced tone - a feature that's especially handy on smaller amps. What fuzz you should chose depends on what tone you want. As you know there are two different fuzz types - germanium and silicon. Within these two there are numerous different versions. Some based on original specs and specific pedals, while others has new features added or are based on a certain tone, like the Lunar Module. I prefer the simple circuit as close to the original as possible. I've tried tons of different fuzz pedals but I always come back to one or two. - Bjorn]

  39. Whalen says:

    Top notch as always Bjorn!

    Are you just playing a regular C bar chord or are you adding anything extra in there? Your demo had a great “touch” to the G to C transition on Green, almost got it confused with the KQED Studio performance! ;)

    - Whalen

    [That's a Cmajor 7. Just move the G one step down. - Bjorn]

  40. Whalen says:

    Thanks Bjorn!

    I’d been playing the cmaj7 open instead of the bar chord. I knew from watching David play it in videos he used bar, and I knew the key, but for some reason it never clicked to look up a cmaj7 bar chord. Duh. Haha.

    [LOL! It's that little extra that makes the song flow better... in lack of a better word :) - Bjorn]

  41. art says:

    hello, Bjorn thanks for the reply , i have a couple of questions regarding the evidence monorail cable that you use for patching the effects , did you assembled the cables ?do you know if they are soldered ? was the length of the cables from jack to jack
    i am sorry if i miss any of this when you reviewed the evidence cables , any more info that you can provide really helps me see the light of the day , thank you very much Bjorn

    [They're measured like George L's. You just buy the length and as many plugs you need. No soldering. - Bjorn]

  42. Kit Rae says:

    Bjorn,

    Have you tried the new Tone Wicker Big Muff yet? Curious to hear your take on it. I just tried it last night. It does some great, smooth fuzz tones, though nothing like a silicon or germanium fuzz. Gets closer to modern Gilmour tones than the current USA models made since 2000 and the current black Russian Muffs.

    [I've tried it a couple of times. Sounds better than the US reissue but I still prefer the older models. - Bjorn]

  43. Doug H. says:

    Hey Bjorn! Great review once again (but I’m sure you’ve heard that enough already). I really like the silicon London Fuzz and was wondering if it’s an easy process to order the pedal? If I don’t get this pedal, I’m looking at either the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face (silicon) or the MXR Classic 108 Fuzz (silicon). They are both under your recommended list and I recall you saying you found the new fuzz faces’ rather muddy, however I haven’t read any of your thoughts of the MXR Classic 108 Fuzz, as well as the buffer it has. What pedal do you recommend for that DSOTM or Jimi Hendrix tone? Take care Bjorn!

    [In my opinion the London Fuzz is a whole nother league compared to the Dunlop and MXR and the best choice for later Hendrix tones and Pompeii/Dark Side stuff. I'm sure you're aware that although Hendrix used silicon at the end of his carreer, he mostly used germanium fuzz. Ordering from MJM is safe and very fast. Excellent customer service! - Bjorn]

  44. John C. says:

    Great site and discussion. I hope this isn’t too off-topic, but I’m curious if anyone has any recommended settings for the Zvex Fuzz Factory to approximate early or later Gilmourish tones.

    [I've never tried the ZVex so I can't really tell. Anyone? - Bjorn]

  45. Arnoldo says:

    How well does this pedal takes modulation effects (Flanger and Phaser), because I like it’s sound more than the Big Muff, but I dont know how well will it work with other stompboxes

    [It works very well but the pedal might not work that well on all kinds of amps. Check out this article for more. - Bjorn]

  46. Joseph says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Do you know how the MJM London Fuzz II (silicon) compares to the AnalogMan BC-108 Fuzz pedal? Do you know what kind of silicon transistors the MJM London II uses? I’m seeking a Live at Pompeii tone. Thanks so much for your help!

    [As far as I know they both have BC108 and they're very similar in tone. - Bjorn]

  47. Ian Brown says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Incredibly informative site! Excellent work!

    I was hoping you can help me with something.. I want to purchase a ProCo Rat but I can’t decide which model to go for. My options are:
    - Original small box rat
    - Rat 2 (US made)
    - Vintage reissue Rat.

    Which one do you recommend?

    At the moment I’m using a solid state Peavey combo through a Marshall cab with greenback speakers, but I’ll be upgrading to a reissue plexi head soon (I know, not very Gilmore like, but I’m also a classic rock nut!). Thank you in advance!

    [The magic of the RAT lies in the LM308 chip. This provides the smoothes distortion tones. The new reissues doesn't have this chip anymore and the difference is quite noticeable. The old vintage Rat and the original RAT 2 can still be found reasonably priced on EBay. Thing with these though is that they can be a bit thin in the lower register. The Keeley and Analogman modded models have fixed this "problem". I also recommend the Mouse from BYOC and the Ratzo from Absolutely Analog. - Bjorn]

  48. Eric says:

    Bjorn,

    I feel late to the party, but wanted to ask your opinion. I already own a Colorsound Overdriver (reissue), a BBE Green Screamer, and BYOC Large Beaver. I’d like to add some pure fuzz tones to my board, and would you recommend the germanium MJM London Fuzz or a silicon pedal like the Sunface? I’m not necessarily trying to find a particular Gilmour tone, I’d like to get the pedal that will give me the most extra sound options considering what I already have. Thanks!

    [I prefer the silicon version but the red MJM London Fuzz is perhaps a bit more versatile, especially based on what you already have. Compared to other germanium pedals, this one has a bit more gain and lower ends, which allows you to dial in enything from clean boost to near silicon fuzz. - Bjorn]

  49. Eric Nyberg says:

    Thank God I’m single and living at home still cause I just bought the London Fuzz and an SSL-5 from Pro Guitar Shop and am having the pickup installed today. I hope I can make that explosion sound from Voodoo Child soon :) gotta learn to play it though… Bjorn a question for you, could the vibrato on my Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb pass as a rototating speaker sim? I figure that the channel is tube driven and not many effects are so I don’t know whether it is worth getting a rotating speaker sim when I have that plus a Deluxe Electric Mistress, a ’74 MXR Phase 90 to pair with it. Thoughts?

    [Congrats Eric! A tremolo is a different effect than a UniVive or rotary sim. Although some of the more vintage sounding tube tremolos are much smoother than the digital sims they don't have that phasing, smokey tone you get from the UniVibe and Phasers like Hendrix and Gilmour used. A tremolo is static, while UniVibes and Phasers has a wide phasing, throbbing tone. The 74 Phase can produce some wonderful phasing tones similar to a UniVibe although not identical. - Bjorn]

  50. Eric Nyberg says:

    aaaarrrrgggg My london fuzz got missent, it’s been corrected but still….aarrrrggggg,

    [Hate it when that happens! Hang in there :) - Bjorn]

  51. Eric Nyberg says:

    I got it today, I can relax now. I put the London fuzz in front of my dynacomp and then my large beaver after that, should that be alright?

    [That would be correct yes. - Bjorn]

  52. Eric Nyberg says:

    well I just tried out the fuzz, I like it but I think I need to get my guitar’s intonation fixed because whenever I do a bend playing there’s a weird sort of tremolo effect that i don’t like, it’s been doing that since I got the SSL-5 installed last week :(. Do you think it’s an intonation problem?

    [On all the strings or just one? Sounds more like one or more of the pickups are too close to the strings and you'll get interference from the magnetic poles. Find the string that rings and on which fret it rings. Hold it down and measure the space between the string and the pole piece. Adjust the action or pickup height slightly and see if it helps. Intonation problems are recognized by bad tuning on some chords. - Bjorn]

  53. Eric Nyberg says:

    it’s just one I think, B and G strings. Thanks Bjorn

  54. Eric Nyberg says:

    actually I take that back sorry, it’s most of the strings when i’m doing bends especially.

    [Sounds very much like the pickups are too close. How old are the strings? You should restring about every 2-3 weeks. - Bjorn]

  55. Eric Nyberg says:

    brand new strings

    [OK. Can't really suggest anything else that adjusting the pickup height. - Bjorn]

  56. Eric Nyberg says:

    ok thanks

    [Let me know how it turns out :) - Bjorn]

  57. Eric Nyberg says:

    Well it turns out that I wasn’t being fussy enough about where I put my fingers when I was doing bends, I needed to move them towards the middle of the fret more.

    [Glad you're figuring it out :) - Bjorn]

  58. Eric Nyberg says:

    Do you have any advice on how I can improve my bends to prevent that from happening. I have a rehearsal this coming Saturday and I don’t want to be buzzing too much.

    [Depends on your fingers etc. I tend to bend near the fret with the middle finger as support but that's just how I've always been playing and I've got big hands. Just practice on reaching note and try different ways of putting strength in your fingers. And also, remember to use fresh strings. Check the curve of the neck as well. perhaps it needs a truss rod adjustment. - Bjorn]

  59. Eric Nyberg says:

    thanks Bjorn I appreciate it a lot.

  60. Eric Nyberg says:

    turning the volume down on the guitar while the gain settings were high helped a lot too, the SSL-5 seems quite a bit different than the 69 I had in the bridge before it.

    [The SSL5 has a higher output and a slightly more edgy tone. Just keep the reverse wiring in mind and you may also need to adjust the height of the pickup to match the output of the other pickups. - Bjorn]

  61. Eric Nyberg says:

    Hey Bjorn, I’m having a problem with my London Fuzz, when I turned it on it made this horrible hissing whine and I’m trying to figure out why. I tested all of my pedals and none of the others did that. I did install a 9v alkaline battery in it recently but I can’t believe that that would cause that. Could it be twisted wires?

    [These old style fuzz units are noisy. That's just their nature. You will hear some hiss when the pedal is engaged and the fuzz all the way up. Interferance from computers, lights, cell phones etc will be enhanced due to the high gain and combinations with other pedals (like a booster behind it) may make things worse. Try to eliminate as much of these factors as possible. I've also noticed that fuzz units gets more noisy with buffered pedals in the chain... as well as the fact that the buffers will effect the fuzz tone it self. If you still have a lot of noise then you can consider sending the pedal back or at least contact MJM and ask for advice. Tehy're very helpful. But again, it's part of the pedal's nature. - Bjorn]

  62. JonTLC says:

    Great review! Bjorn.

    I’m using the London Fuzz II at the moment. I must say, they really make good stuff! I’m hoping I can try this Ge London out sometime in the future, I owned a Hartman NKT fuzz, ended up selling it, needed cash, but I’ve missed those warmer fuzz tones ever since. Really need to try get a hold of one of these Londons. Still, the London Fuzz II is a fantastic BC108 fuzz I’ve also fell in love with, but it never hurts to mix and match! :)

    Take care.

  63. ben murray says:

    GREAT review just wish i could get one of these over in the UK!!!!!

    [Just send him an e-mail and he'll sort it out for you. - Bjorn]

  64. Raphael says:

    Bjorn

    Is there any difference between the earlier London fuzz (no design, brown box) and this new red design. ? I have read that the new ones were made in china ? Do you know if the quality of the components is still the same as in the earlier version ?
    That earlier model used two vintage germanium transistors which were hand matched for the best possible tone and performance along with other period correct components for a truly authentic sound. I have seen a picture of that model and you could tell it was hand made, but is it still the case with the new ones?

    [I've never heard anything about these being made in China. I think he makes all pedals him self. As far as I know the early LF is identical to the new. - Bjorn]

  65. Tommy says:

    Hi, sorry to revive an old thread but fuzz reviews appear to be timeless!!
    Ok, here’s the hot potato: how does the big muff pi germanium 4 compares to the london fuzz?
    I know they’re different pedals but i really would like to hear your opinion on that..
    Also, did you finally find out if the newer mjms are made in that people’s republic or USA?
    Great site, i always go back to your reviews

    [I haven't spoken to MJM in awhile, so I'm not sure where they're made. The geranium 4 is a nice pedal with lots of tone options but I don't think it quite makes it compared to the London Fuzz, AnalogMan Sun Face and similar in terms of authentic fuzz tones. - Bjorn]

  66. Louis says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    Is there a very notable difference between Behringer UZ400 and a BYOC ESV fuzz pedal? I wnt to change my UZ400 with a BYOC, but i dont know if i’m only expending unnecesary money or i will really hear the difference. Have you try the UZ 400? if it is sounding alone, it doesn’t make a lot of noise, but with a booster… fuck… it is impossible that it sounds good.
    Also i want to know if i can boost the BYOC with a tube overdrive pedal without hear the loudly noise that the UZ400 have.
    - Standard Strat with CS 69′s
    - Fender Frontman 25R, Mustang IV.
    -Overdrive (1 tube and 1 transistor)
    -Boss DD3
    -Cry Baby

    Thanks.

    [I haven't tried the UZ so I don't know how it compares to the ESV. Some of the Behringer stompboxes are quite decent... I would imagine that the BYOC is better though. Combining a fuzz with a booster/overdrive will be noisy, no matter how good the pedals are. You need to match the gain and volume to be able to control the signal. - Bjorn]

  67. Stephen Ford says:

    Hey Bjorn!

    Finally picked up one of these but the latest model with the Bias knob added on the outside. I have to say the Bias Knob makes this pedal soo much better!! What was already a great pedal is now spot on for those FF tones. Loving it. If you get a chance try the knew 3 knob version its really great! Thanks for the recommendation!

    Cheers

    [Glad to hear! I'll check it out. - Bjorn]

  68. Keith says:

    The more I watch this clip, the more excited I get about my soon to arrive three knob, in the classic hammertone red case! Very powerful for a Ge fuzz, and as I said in my other post, I can only imagine the AVS will be even better. I have a couple of questions: It’s impossible to tell from clips, but is the LF a quiet fuzz? I don’t hear any noise on your clip, or others I’ve heard. I wish Micheal had put out a clip of the 3 knob, but he did put out clips of some of the AVS pedals, but as yet not the London Fuzz. Secondly, if that’s the gain from just the LF, I’d imagine that backing it up with my TC Spark would easily be aggresive enough to cover Pompeii, and DSOTM. I as I told you in my last email, keep my JH-M1 TRIBUTE FF on the board for a Si fuzz, but from the clips I’ve heard, I doubt I will need it. I may be wrong about that, but it sure sounded fuzzy enough to me, although Si’s do seem to have a wider wave, which makes them more buzzsawish than the Ge, but no one in the audience would say,” That doesn’t sound like the right tone for the Echoes solo!” Hahaha!! Anyway, just can’t stop thinking about the AVS, or I wouldn’t be sitting in a late March snow storm to write this!!! You should take the plunge and get one Bjorn. With only 45 units, even a nice a guy as Michael is, I don’t think he’s gonna give anybody one of these. Okay, my finger is starting to stick to the screen, talk to y’all later!
    Peace, Postmaster K~

    [It's very quiet. The crude fuzz circuit will produce some hiss but it's no problem at all. The LF has a lot of gain. Much more than most other GEs. It will cover the Pompeii and Dark Side stuff with a booster but you'll have a slightly different gain character than the SI. A bit darker an not as focused and smooth but it'll be enough gain. - Bjorn]

  69. Keith says:

    Hello brother Bjorn, friend, mentor, and all around top rank human being! I want to ask a very simple question. I’m already taking all the pedals off my board, with an eye to rearranging them from scratch. I drilled a very small hole in both battery compartments of my reissue phase 90, and Dynacomp so I could power them with my PP2. Should these vintage circuits be run on carbon batteries as well, and if not, do alkalines, or batteries in general last long in these two pedals? I don’t mind unplugging them, but I’d hate to have to change them every other week! While off the board, I’m doing what I should have done first. Experimenting with different combinations of pedals, and different orders. I’m starting with just Si Fuzz Face, and Carbon copy, adding The Spark, and then maybe some modulation,etc. Once the AVS gets here, gonna do it all again, starting with that! What say you Obi-Wan?
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Postmaster K~

    [Hi Keith! Thanks for your kind words first of all :) I agree with your approach. Always a good idea to try different setups and combos to hear what sounds best. Each rig is different and the "normal" way might sound best on your rig. Besides, it's always fun to experiment! I haven't noticed any difference using power on the Phase 90. Perhaps a tad brighter sound but no big difference. The Dyna sounds warmer with carbons I think. You might not hear much of a difference when it's paired with the Phase 90 and other hardwire bypass pedals, which will drain some top anyway, but I use it with carbons. - Bjorn]

  70. Keith says:

    Wow, this may be waaayyy off topic, but this is an example of how much I’ve learned from Bjorn, and the inspiration this site has given me to learn. When I first started reading Gilmourish about a year and a half ago, even though I’d been a player for over 30 years, I’d never used pedals, and knew little about tone other than being able to tell the difference between a Strat, and a Gibson style guitar on recordings, and whether effects were used. This morning, on the way to work, Sweet home Alabama came on the radio, and within the first five notes, I distinctly heard a Fender guitar, with a FuzzFace, being played through what sounded like a Fender blackface. I’m not sure if it was Ge or Si, or what amp it was for sure, but it definitely sounded like a Ge FF, through a twin. Then, thinking, those guys used Marshalls, and Les Pauls, I heard the heavier guitars come in, with the distict FuzzFace sound, not super distorted, but smooth, and mild like a Si with the colume knob cranked back a bit. I’ve always had a pretty good ear, but never heard these subtle differences before, and have started to hear more in every song I listen to! Thank you for getting me to think more about tone, and teaching me how to actually listen! I think my playing has benefited so much since I found Gilmourish.com. Long may you do this service for all who seek your guidance.
    Your student, and friend, Postmaster K~

    [Well, I'm no LS expert but from what I know, Ed King did record the track using a Strat and Twin. I'm not sure about the fuzz... could be just the cranked amp but anyway, you're spot on :)! A lot of guitarists back then used different gear on the recordings. They often used LPs and Marshalls live but often Strats, Teles and Twins on the albums. It gave the songs a certain tone and it was often easier to get brighter tones that would cut through and fit the mix better. Billy Gibbons, one of my heroes, would often use Strats on the classic recordings. - Bjorn]

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