Posted by
Feb 22, 2021

Jackson Audio Modular Fuzz

“Modular” is a word we are accustomed to associate with synths more than pedals, although stompboxes are a format that’s as modular as it gets!

We witnessed several attempts by pedal builders to extend this concept to the actual circuit, allowing different modules to be inserted inside a pedal “platform” to expand its sound within the same enclosure, and up and coming and daring Texan company Jackson Audio has been introducing a similar concept in its latest two releases. The buzz has been noteworthy, also because their previous releases satisfied both the tone connoisseurs and the innovation-driven guitarists.

Their new octave Modular Fuzz was introduced at NAMM 2020 and it’s now shipping. It’s a Fuzz + Octave “platform” that can host a series of analog circuit cards that will change the fuzz sound (with each module costing $49.99) while the octave circuit is fixed. We saw this concept already in the company’s  Asabi overdrive, and its appeal is obvious.

There are already several available modules covering all the main fuzz flavors (you can find a list at the bottom of this post, highlighted in yellow). On top of that, the pedal comes with Jackson’s Audio usual tone-sculpting perks like a 3 band EQ with parametric Mids and a Blend knob.

Needless to say, Fuzz and Octave have separate footswitches and volumes.

Here are the videos of the Jackson Audio Modular Fuzz.

FUZZ
The idea of creating a modular fuzz came about as we were trying to decide which style of fuzz would be the most musical fuzz of all time. The answer quickly became, “All of them!” All of them are different, and all of them bring something unique sonically.

With the FUZZ, you can update your fuzz sound completely with our analog plug-ins and turn your pedal into a whole new pedal with a simple and affordable plug-in swap.

ANALOG PLUG-INS
The idea of creating a modular fuzz came about as we were trying to decide which style of fuzz would be the most musical fuzz of all time. The answer quickly became, “All of them!” All of them are different, and all of them bring something unique sonically.

MODERN FUZZ – From vintage style fuzz at lower settings to snarling spitting fuzz at higher settings the MODERN FUZZ plug-in does it all and cleans up beautifully when your guitars volume control is lowered. This is the plug-in that the FUZZ ships with.

MODERN FUZZ DELUXE – Like the MODERN FUZZ plug-in, the MODERN FUZZ DELUXE plug-in expands the tones available in this plug-in by adding two additional types of clipping. With the jumper set in the DIST (distortion) position, the clipping is smoother and with more headroom. With the jumper set in the OD (overdrive) position, the clipping is smoother still and has the feel and vibe of a vintage overdrive.

FUZZ CLASSIC/VINTAGE – The classic Fuzz with the smiley Face! This plug-in has lower gain and a looser/softer feel. This plug-in is perfect for the earlier Jimi era tones.

FUZZ CLASSIC/MODERN – The classic Fuzz with the smiley Face! This plug-in has high gain and a tighter/crisper feel. This plug-in is perfect for the later Jimi era tones.

FUZZ PAGE MARK II – The sound of Led Zeppelin! If you like your fuzz to be completely rude and unruly, this is your fuzz! Full of snarl and spit, the FUZZ PAGE MARK II plug-takes the FUZZ and turns it into a classic rock machine!

GOAT HEAD – Based on the legendary Big Muff Pi Ram’s Head, the GOAT HEAD is the sound of Pink Floyd! Insane levels of fuzz and sustain are hallmarks of this circuit, but this plug-in does something that no other Big Muff can do! With the parametric EQ on the FUZZ, you can adjust the EQ so you can bring the mids forward on this circuit!

Also included on the plug-in board are TONE and GAIN trimmers so you can fine tune the classic Big Muff tone control and adjust the overall gain style of the circuit.

PARAMETRIC EQ
“In the 30 years since I began playing guitar, I have always loved fuzz pedals. I’ve bought countless version of them over the years, but in my mind, they’ve always had a massive shortcoming. They desperately need more effective tone controls! That’s why I designed the FUZZ with a 3 band, fully parametric EQ.” – Brad Jackson

How you EQ your tone, and especially the mids, are where the guitar makes its stand. Not enough mids and your guitar is lost in the mix. Too much highs and your tone is piercing and off putting. Too much bass and you compete sonically with the bass drum and bass player. With the parametric EQ on the FUZZ, you have 9 controls at your disposal to fully sculpt your tone and make sure the riffs you are laying down are NEVER lost in the mix!

BASS LEVEL – External knob. Adjusts for more or less bass. +/- 20dB
BASS FREQ – Internal trimmer. Selects which bass frequency is being adjusted.
BASS Q – Internal trimmer. Adjusts how narrow or wide the selected frequency is.

MID LEVEL – External knob. Adjusts for more or less mids. +/- 20dB
MID FREQ – External knob. Selects which mid frequency is being adjusted.
MID Q – Internal trimmer. Adjusts how narrow or wide the selected frequency is.

TREBLE LEVEL – External knob. Adjusts for more or less treble. +/- 20dB
TREBLE FREQ – Internal trimmer. Selects which treble frequency is being adjusted.
TREBLE Q – Internal trimmer. Adjusts how narrow or wide the selected frequency is.

OCTAVE
A good fuzz and a good octave pedal go hand in hand. Jimi knew it. Stevie knew it. And you know it. If you want to put some purple in your haze, you’re going to need an octave pedal and the octave circuit in the FUZZ is outstanding!

Covering everything from perfectly pure octave up to screaming splatting sonic mayhem, the octave circuit in the FUZZ is the perfect marriage of vintage and modern thanks to its unique octave BLEND control.

The BLEND control mixed your clean signal with the fuzz/octave signal so you can dial in precisely how much octave effect you want. Guys like Doyle Bramhall II use this to great effect by adding just a little octave to their sound which gives is a little “lift”.

With the BLEND control fully counterclockwise, the octave circuit acts as a boost and is perfect for slamming the front of the fuzz circuit for more gain! Pro Tip! Boost + Fuzz Face = Tone Bender! This boost is also perfect for boosting the front of other pedals or just running as an always on signal buffer/booster.

With the BLEND control fully clockwise, there is no clean blend so your signal is fully fuzzed out with however much fuzz/octave you have dialed in with the OCT control.