• David Gilmour tone on a budget – TC Electronic Rusty Fuzz

    What’s the best sounding budget fuzz for your David Gilmour tones?

    The TC Electronic Rusty Fuzz is based on the old Boss FZ-3, with a tone somewhere between a Big Muff and Tone Bender. It has a lot of gain and a considerable mid range boost, which allow the pedal to be used with a wide range of amps. Also typical smaller bedroom amps.

    The pedal has true bypass and can handle the more modern circuits and demanding pedalboards.

    In my opinion, the Rusty Fuzz is the best budget fuzz for your early 70s David Gilmour tones.

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17 Responsesso far.

  1. Kostas says:

    Hi Bjorn, how is the cleanup of this pedal in your experience? It doesn’t clean up well for me when I turn down the guitar volume. My MXR classic 108 fuzz (FF) cleans up very well and also becomes bright when I turn down the guitar volume.

    I get great tones with the Rusty into the 108 fuzz (buffer on), really really nice : ) I’d love to be able to get more variance with my guitar knob though.

    • Bjorn says:

      The Rusty is a different type of fuzz compared to the 108. It has much more gain and mid range. Kind of a mix between a silicon fuzz and tone bender. The circuit doesn’t allow for much cleaning up.

  2. vitocarrone says:

    hello bjorn, you are talking about a low buget pedal, but comparing it to the fuzz face in terms of tone do you think there is a lot of difference? I have the rustyfuzz you think it’s worth the jump for the fuzz face? or for some fuzz boutique? is it possible to have an uncompromising tone even with rusty fuzz?
    in a nutshell, would you use it stably on your pedalboard?

    • Bjorn says:

      The Rusty Fuzz is based on the Boss FZ3, which is kind of a mix between a silicon Fuzz Face and Tone Bender. As you hopefully can hear from the clip, you can definitely use it for Gilmour’s 1971-75 tones but it does have considerably more gain and an overall more aggressive tone compared to the Fuzz Face he used. If you want to be dead on accurate, then check out the Dunlop JH F1 Fuzz Face. Keep in mind though that those vintage style fuzz pedals are extremely sensitive to which pickups and amps you pair them with. The Rusty Fuzz goes with everything due to its more modern cirquit.

  3. Michel Giroux says:

    Excellent review Bjorn.
    How does the Rusty Fuzz compare with the Mini Fuzzface,(germanium)?

    • Bjorn says:

      The MFF germanium has less gain and, having a germanium transistor, it responds better to the guitar volume – cleans up better.

      • Arne says:

        Is the red MFF different from the regular sized one – which got a somewhat lukewarm review here? I have the Mini Hendrix variant, and while it’s a decent pedal, it doesn’t really do anything I can’t achieve with other pedals on my board. So I figured I’d try a germanium one, since I’m looking for a milder fuzz that will respond to the volume on the geetar (which is what I thought I would get from a Hendrix pedal tbh)

        • Bjorn says:

          I haven’t examined the circuit but they sound different. There are lots of great sounding germanium fuzz pedals out there but the issue with germanium is that they’re very sensitive to both temperature and what pickups you use with it. One of my favourites is the Fuzz Phrase from Jam Pedals. It has a bit more mids and top end compared to the red Dunlop.

  4. HEP says:

    Best sounding fuzzes for the money are surely DIY/kits, e.g. :
    – GuitarPCB DSOTM Fuzz kit
    It’s a 4 pots+1 trim Fuzz-Face Si (BC109, but BC108 are OK too). If DG’s FF-Si was modded by Cornish to add a tone pot, here you add a Brite and a Body Pot.
    The kit costs €27, a Hammond enclosure will add €6, or €11 if pre-drilled, add €0.50-30 per pot knob (yup, you can find pot knobs at €30, in fact, their maker has calmed down, some of these models of dome knobs with MOP/abalone inlays were selling at about €60 a few years ago)
    – Musikding The Face 69er Fuzz kit : €24.50 + box+knobs
    Germanium (two AC122 or AC128) = Fulltone Fuzz Face ’69…
    Not a fuzz, but…
    – Aion Electronics Cygnus kit = Cornish G-2 : €38 +box+knobs

    These kits are all delivered with boutique quality parts, e.g. 1% metal film resistors, high quality caps…
    Now, for sure, since TC Electronic or KlarkTeknik (formerly a Hammond brand) have became Uli’s gear (Behringer), it’s near impossible to go cheaper, at the same time… good luck to repair anything made with SMD parts (same issue with EHX… I’m highly considering to design a Muff Germanium 4 “classic parts/thru-hole” PCB.
    You know, when such circuits fail
    they usually go to the trashbin… while “old school” circuits like this :
    can be repaired easily…

    • Steve says:

      The DSOTM Fuzz kit is basically a Skreddy Lunar module. So a very good choice. The Musikding kits seem excellent value and a cheap way of getting a fuzz face. Kits aren’t for everyone though, it took me a while to get a decent soldering technique.

  5. Oleg says:

    Hello Bjorn! It is always a joy to watch your videos and this review is not exception. But I already have an original FZ-3 and one thing bothers me. I’ve seen you using FZ-3 and I wanted to ask you about it long ago. (If this is unappropriate here, please just delete my comment.)
    My FZ-3 has a very sensitive input. It tends to chocke even with moderate singles, not to mention humbuckers. I always have to roll the volume back to get some headroom. And the output level control adds nothing past 12 o’clock. It just compresses the signal further. I hardly get a unity level when pedal is engaged. Is this behavior similar to your pedal?
    BTW, really looking forward to your new album and hope to see you again playing live somewhere in the future. Many thanks for all your work!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Oleg! I don’t have those issues. I used the FZ3 on a couple of tracks on the new album and it worked really well. Do you use it alone or with other pedals?

      • Oleg says:

        Thank you for reply Bjorn! I tried my FZ-3 in different combinations and it always has those issues. Very easily overloaded input and quite moderate output comparing to other drive pedals in the same position. It is not so dramatic, the pedal is still usable. Since it is a discrete fuzz circuit, I guess it may have something to do with the transistors in this particular unit. Anyway, I get the point. Highly appreciate your time. Cheers!

  6. Arya Boustani says:

    Wow! Sounds awesome Bjorn! So smooth. Reminds me of some of King Crimson realm of tones. Quite a thick tone for a single coil. It would be lovely to have that smoothness and thickness with a bit less compression. I guess one could split the signal and let some attack / less compression (more like mild overdrive) to blend in, or may be in less fuzz amount setting on the pedal? Thanks a lot.

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! The Rusty has more mids and compression compared to the silicon Fuzz Face. The compression is increasing with higher gain settings.

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