Anomalous menu logo

RENEWAL Fuzz Pedals

The second RENEWAL fuzz pedal finally sold! So here’s the story behind how these two-of-a-kind pedals came to be.


My good friend Olek from Father Moon (you may remember him as having had the initial idea for the STUTTER/SILENCE) was using a 1970s Lidovox 1500X accordion amplifier for his bass rig. He then found he didn’t need it anymore, but couldn’t sell it, not even for $20. So he graciously donated it to me to tear apart and make something out of.

After examining the circuit diagram – which was conveniently stapled to the inside of the wooden enclosure – I decided two two-transistor fuzz pedals similar to fuzz faces were ideal, as the circuit had four weird, old transistors. Two were PNP, two were NPN, which was perfect, as I could make one PNP fuzz face and one NPN.

For whose who don’t know, a fuzz face signal is very asymmetrical. While a dry guitar signal straight from the pickups will hover around the +/-0.1V range, an PNP fuzz face will spit out a signal that is something like +0.075V/-0.35V. That’s a big difference between the peak and trough of the waveform. Furthermore, the peak is really wide while the trough is quite narrow. Both peak and trough are chopped square which makes for it to sound very distorted. Its these qualities that make a fuzz face a fuzz face. The only difference between an NPN and a PNP fuzz face is to invert the waveform (+0.35V/-0.075V, narrow peak, wide trough). All other variables the same, the audible difference is very subtle and arguably indistinguishable.

For my pedals, I would need to modify the circuit, as not all the correct resistor and capacitor values were inside the amp. My version has a less asymmetrical waveform and is louder and more distorted. So it trades the classic fuzz sound for a metallic distortion-like fuzz.

Almost all the parts I needed to make these circuits could be found in the amp. Here’s a total list of the parts that were NOT from the amp:

  • The enclosure
  • The footswitch and bezel
  • The LED and bezel
  • The potentiometer
  • The power jack
  • The 1k fuzz control trimpot

Even the knob, in/out jacks, and the wires could be used from the amp.

I got to work painting the enclosures, which you can see here.

And because of the chunky, 70s components and wires, it was a struggle to fit everything in.

Of course, Olek got first choice. He chose the PNP one which is on the left in the pictures.

It took over a year to sell the second pedal, and I made a new friend along the way! Mark, the drummer from local garage rock band Scratch Buffalo, bought it. He requested a few modifications; to add a tone control and for the new tone pot and the fuzz pot to be externally mounted with knobs.

When I applied for the GØRVA Builder’s League, one of the questions asked was which pedal I was most proud of. My answer was the RENEWAL. I mentioned it was going to be the pedal I missed the most. In retrospect, I don’t think that’s quite true anymore. I wouldn’t say I’m happy to see it go, more so proud. It’s just cool to know both pedals are on two super rad musicians’ boards and will be put to use making awesome art.

I miss every unique pedal I sell, but I think I’ll miss the GHAST and the PHANTOM GATE more.