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In our opinion, JAM goes the extra in interpreting classic pedal designs, and expanding their functionality without losing the essence of their inspiration. Pros agree, and their artist roster is a who's who of monster players known for their sound: John Scofield, Julian Lage, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Kirk Fletcher, Steve Lukathor, Greg Koch, Jonny Lang, Daniel Lanois, Jim Campilongo, Andy Timmons and many more.
No matter what kind of fuzz you’re into, the folks at JAM have the right pedal for you. Utilizing their obsession with NOS components, they offer a roster of circuits inspired by the best Silicon and Germanium pedals ever produced. Enter, the Fuzz Phrase. With the name and hand-painted afro on a hazy purple box, it's clear that this pedal is all about the guy who made fuzz world famous: Jimi Hendrix. The original Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face was Jimi's favorite and he most likely went through hundreds of units in a short period of time. While these pedals produced an unforgettable sound, the NKT275 and AC128 germanium transistors were very sensitive to temperature changes, causing wide swings in tonal quality, and sometimes even failure. In order to do this circuit real justice the guys at JAM sought out a super rare, heat resistant transistor: CV7003, the Military Spec OC44. Each one is hand picked, checked for gain and leakage and auditioned before it ever makes it into a final product. This transistor is used in all sorts famous pedals but most notably the early Dallas Rangemaster, and nowadays you can find it in boutique products like the Analogman Sun Face. So what happens when you put this fancy transistor in the worlds most famous fuzz circuit? You get a crushing fuzz tone that can clean up instantly with a slight roll of the volume knob.
The Fuzz Phrase has two parameters, Level and Gain. With the Level set at comfortable studio volume we ran the Phrase through a gain gauntlet, slowly increasing the fuzz spectrum of sand-grit, to gravel, to landslide and finally interstellar breakup. The early stages contain a beautiful smooth crunch that you can summon with dynamic changes. It works great for classic rock chord work or fattening up lead runs. When you get to the heavy stuff it's still deep and throbby but the top end crackles, making that awesome thunder-and-lightning effect in your licks.
Throughout the process we found two criterion that set this pedal apart from the pack. The first was signal integrity. We used both single coil and humbucker guitars during testing and no matter how much gain was introduced the guitar's natural voice still shined, which is rare with a fuzz effect. Second was what JAM themselves call "clean-ability". Throughout the entire sweep of the gain control, you can get your guitar back to a pure clean tone by rolling the volume just about three notches. The knobs on our test G&L's are knurled chrome but we estimate that you reach total clean tone at 7 or 8. It's truly an amazing feature because you can go completely in and out of the fuzz effect without even touching the pedal.
One last thing worth noting is that to keep the Fuzz Phrase working in perfect harmony with your other pedals -- and best tone -- JAM recommends that you run the Phrase on a Carbon Zinc battery or through power supplies that have isolated DC inputs. For those worrying about battery life, a single cell will last hundreds of hours because the pedal only draws 3 mA when engaged. In our studio we simply used a 1-Spot power supply and it worked perfectly. Check out their website for more power supply compatibility tips.
In the end the Fuzz Phrase goes above and beyond in honoring its predecessor. It offers true vintage fuzz tone in a groovy, compact box that's built to last on the road or at home. If you want a fuzz that looks simple but can truly do it all, check out the Fuzz Phrase today.This is a brand new product, and we are an authorized JAM Pedal dealer and keep a good stock of product on hand at all times. Please feel free to browse our listings, or contact us about other JAM products.