• Phil Robinson Silicon Phuzz review

    Fuzz defined the early years of Pink Floyd and David Gilmour’s tones. As it did for pretty much all guitarists in the early days. They came in all shapes and sizes and with different types of transistors, creating a wide palette of tones. A brand new pedal in the huge fuzz family is the Silicon Phuzz from UK based Phil Robinson. Here’s my review. 

    I must admit I have a rather ambivalent relationship with fuzz pedals. They can be moody, especially the germanium transistor models, and they require a certain amp to sound right. At least to my ears. I also feel that it’s one of those effects that although timeless, they certainly don’t fit everything. 

    But there’s something about fuzz. That raw and untamed sound. All the little nuances and harmonics. Every time I plug into one I recognise that unique character and the beauty of this simple design. 

    Apparently, Phil Robinson set out to design a fuzz pedal that would tackle some of the issues of using vintage style fuzz with modern, complex pedal boards, while still being able to capture all the lure and magic of those classic units.

    The Silicon Phuzz is housed in an MXR sized box featuring a pair of BC108 transistors, with the familiar controls for volume and fuzz (phuzz), a bright led, true bypass switching and 9V centre negative powering. 

    Phil’s unique design, includes a unity gain output stage, that’s isolating the fuzz circuit from any active circuitry or buffers that follow it, as well as being able to drive long cable runs with no signal loss. 

    Like all vintage circuit boosters and fuzz pedals, the Silicon Phuzz should be placed first to be able to interact and respond to your pickups and the dynamics of your picking. However, a cluttered board with buffered Boss pedals and whatnot, won’t do anything to this pedal’s tone. 

    I pretty much have one setting for all my fuzz pedals – volume 75% and the fuzz all the way up. That’s how I started with the Silicon Phuzz as well and it instantly delivered. 

    The tone is huge. I’m using my Reeves Custom 50 Hiwatt clone with my trusted Fender Strat sporting a Seymour Duncan SSL5 bridge pickup. Pretty close to David Gilmour’s setup. The tone bursts out of the amp and even at that ear pinching volume, I can clearly hear the full character of the pedal. 

    This is not an overly gainy pedal. Personally I’d prefer a bit more to work with but less gain also allow the true character of the pedal shine through, without getting too wild sounding. 

    There’s noticeably more low end that what I’m used to from similar fuzz pedals, which makes this ideal for a wider range of amps and bedroom setups too. 

    Rolling back the output reveals more grit and harmonics but you’ll also lose some of the low end. Dialling back the fuzz takes the pedal into overdrive territory, which is ideal for humbuckers and rhythm work. 

    Rolling back the guitar volume, and especially on vintage style low output single coil pickups, cleans up the signal pretty well and adds a snappy attack to your picking. To me, this is what makes the fuzz pedal, both germanium and silicon, so versatile. You pretty much have a clean booster, overdrive and fuzz in one pedal simply by adjusting the guitar volume. 

    The Silicon Phuzz perfectly captures the tone of the early 70s and David Gilmour’s legendary Pompeii and Dark Side of the Moon tones in particular. This is not an overly wild fuzz but a faithful take on a classic, with much welcomed enhancements. 

    Read more about the Silicon Phuzz here

29 Responsesso far.

  1. Keith Stotler says:

    Hi Bjorn, there are 3 transistor options available with the Phil Robinson Silicone Phuzz: BC108, BC109 and BC183.
    Not sure which option is best for me. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  2. Al says:

    A huge thank you for one of the most amazing sites on the web,

    I am lucky enough to have a Hughes and Kettner Tube Rotosphere MK II. It is utterly fantastic. I was looking at the Pulse and to be honest I am only obsessed with the DG sound up to The Final Cut. Do you think I need to consider the Pulse given my preference? of If you are not familiar with HK Tube Totsphere, what would you recommend for someone for top of the line rotary recreation if they are only interested in DG tone replication up to The Final Cut?

    Is my search done at this point with the HK Rotosphere? Please tell me you have tried it. Its better than anything I imagined. The vacuum tube and the ability to gain is just fantastic, I am hoping that my search is done! But as always respect your opinion and I am open to your suggestions. Thank you Bjorn!!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for your kind words! The Rotosphere is probably one of the better sounding rotary sims. The Pulse is based on David’s custom designed Doppola speakers that he used during the 1994 tour. They, and the Pulse, has a very different sound. More like a chorus but with more details… if that makes sense.

  3. Brian Deren says:

    Have you tried any Solidgold fx fuzz? Im curious if the “If 6 was 9” would be great for Gilmour, it seems to nail Hendrix BC108 tones…The Spanish Castle looks pretty sweet as well

  4. Brad Roller says:

    Well it handles buffered pedals well, I really dig that. but how would it handle active pickups like the dg-20?

  5. Timothy Walding says:

    Hey Bjorn new to your site. Love the amount of work you put into helping others find the tone. I wanted to ask if you have ever heard the skreddy bc109 fuzz. I am looking for a pedal that would play well with either my jtm45 combo clone with 2 x12 celestion golds or a clone copy of a 50s bassman. I am looking to get 70s jimi tone or early 70s Gilmour tone. How does the silicon phuzz sound mate to the Marshall or fender amps I have?

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried the Skreddy but BC109s in general goes very well with both amps but obviously, the tone differ between the two amps. Personally I prefer germanium fuzz with Marshalls as they can sound a bit overwhelming with silicon transistors and Big Muffs but that’s a matter of taste. A Bassman often sound warmer with germanium but it can handle silicon as well especially if you’re careful with the high end on the amp.

  6. KEITH says:

    Hi Bjorn, I’m sure you remember young Will Bowden, who hooked me up with Stuff Castledine? Well he’s not so young now, and has started a graphic arts business. He totally designed the graphics, and colors on the Silicon Phuzz!! How about that? Also, gonna shoot those photos of both guitars tomorrow if nothing comes up, so be looking for them to head your way. I’ve fallen madly in love with the Eastman SB59/V, My uncle who shares my house with me said he didn’t want to find me sleeping with it! Hahaha, I must admit, it’s been difficult not snuggling up with it at night!!!
    Peace & Love to all, especially you my Jedi Master, Keith

    • Bjorn says:

      Wow, I didn’t know! Congrats to him! You don’t bring your guitars to your bed? Ha ha!

      • KEITH says:

        I just noticed what looked like binding on the neck of the black Strat you used on your latest video? Did you put a new ne on it? If so, what neck is it? I was so happy to hear the old opening titles music when I watched it on YouTube this morning, I’d just been thinking about it when I watched the first Phuzz review, and how much I missed it I hope it’s back to stay!

        • Bjorn says:

          Yeah, a lot of people were asking for it so it’s back :) Strange, I recorded that probably 15 years ago using Garageband.
          That neck’s been on the guitar for probably 10 years now. It’s a CIJ 65 reissue. I bought a 65 reissue Strat from Japan and swapped the necks on my then two Strats and it just felt right with the 54 body that I’ve had since the mid 90s. It’s an unusual design but I imagine it’s based off one of the Eric Johnson models.

    • Phil Robinson says:

      Hi! Yes, Will is one of my best friends and did an amazing job with the graphics and my website! Top guy

      • KEITH says:

        Hey Phil, I met Will on this site when he was 15 and still living in Spain. We hit it off, and I feel like he’s family. We don’t talk as often as we used to, but do stay in touch, and have exchanged probably 40,000 messages,(he counted o er 30,000 some years ago!). He’s a fine young man, and quite talented! Glad you’re mates!
        Peace, KEITH

  7. Gabriel PRANZINI says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    First of all: congratulations for your amazing work here!!!
    I’m Gabriel from Barcelona, Spain. I’m intermediate level, after many years without playing, I have started again during lockdown.

    I’m thinking to buy some pedals to get the sound of the Dark Side Album.

    I already have the Keeley Dark Side, but I would like to play with all different pedals, to start understanding what can do each one separately.
    Which is your selection of the best pedals right now? I mean the updated to now best pedals to set up my own pedal board? The point is that some pedals are difficult to find, others are reissue that are difficult to understand what similar are to the original. I love the sound of this Silicone Phuzz, that change my mind about buying the traditional Arbiter Fuzz or Peter Cornish etc. but I don’t like to buy many pedals just to try. Can you help me? I know that it’s something quite personal and I’ve no time to check the thousands vídeo in YouTube. It’s just to get your opinion if you would start today to buy your new pedal board. Which pedal you’ll choose?Even if a lot of company sent you gear to test, I’m sure you are independent in this kind of suggestions.
    Thank you very much in advance.
    All the best!!

    • Gabriel PRANZINI says:

      Hi again Bjorn!! I forgot to mention my actual gear that is very important to choose the best pedals.
      I play a CS Black Strat relic 2009 with a Hiwatt T20/10. I play only at home with low volume at the moment. As I told you in the previous post, I already have the Keely Dark 2.
      Thank you very much in advance!!! Hugs

    • Bjorn says:

      The Dark Side will cover most of what you want so I guess it’s more a matter of what tones you really want to dig into and how you want to set up everything. The Dark Side isn’t that practical for gigging but it works nicely for a typical bedroom setup. The fuzz is perhaps more a mix between a silicon fuzz and a Big Muff, so the Silicon Phuzz that I just did a review of is certainly worth looking into. You probably want to check out an overdrive too, as the Dark Side doesn’t have one. David used a Powerboost at that point so either an original, a clone or something similar, like a BD2 would compliment the BD2 nicely.

  8. JR Hwitt says:

    Interesting sustain with the echo effect. So how much does it cost and where can it be purchased?

  9. Bryan Garcia says:

    Hello Bjorn! I already have an Analogman Germanium Bart Fuzz but I’ve been wanting to add something with Silicon flavor to my board, how would you say this Fuzz compares to Analogman’s 108 or 109? Thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      It’s very close to the Analogman BC108, which I’ve been using for years. Perhaps a tad less gain and a bit more low end. Otherwise, very similar. The BC109 has considerably more gain.

  10. MikeZ says:

    Great demo of a nice sounding pedal. How does this compare with the Lunar Module?

    • Bjorn says:

      This is much more honest and authentic sounding towards the early 70s silicon Fuzz Face. The LM is designed to capture a more saturated and compressed tone, much like David’s Dark Side of the Moon tones, which often was a combination of a Fuzz Face and Powerboost. Both sound great just differet.

  11. Pepper Leon Roberts says:

    I really like the way this sounds from Your demo. Puts Me in mind of the old Fuzz Face I used back in the 70’s with My twin reverb Fender tube and a Les Paul custom I used back then with 59′ pickups from Seymour Duncan. Love Your work Bojorn and Thank you. Your help is priceless to Me….. Pepper …. Austin Texas USA

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