Tym "Isaiah Mitchell" Seaweed signature fuzz pedal
It's no secret to those who frequent Tym guitars how much of a fan I am of this mans work. I've told the story many times so I won't repeat it here but I will say again, this man, and his band Earthless changed my world, and for me, music doesn't get any better or more important than that.
Their album of last year (2013) From the Ages was my number one record of the year in my top ten. I have done lots of work with them in the past including signature Earthless guitar and bass pedals and a bunch of custom stuff like this Civil War Screaming Mud that was used to record the record.
When it came time to work on a signature pedal for Isaiah I was stoked to be involved. I consider him to be one of the best players on the planet and to watch him live is to stand there and look at god. I never saw Hendrix, or Rory, or any of those greats live, but for me watching Izzy play is as close as I'll ever get to experiencing that feeling. I don't personally know another guitarist who can move my perception of guitar playing anything like what he does.
Since Izzy has played lots of my pedals we started with what he was currently using in the line up. He's been loving my Triangle Mud and liked the way it reacted and played with his guitars and other pedals. He mainly plays a Strat so working on this pedal I mainly tested with a Strat along the way, but I always use as many guitars as possible when developing new pedals to see if there's any bad (or nice) effects of other pick ups and/or guitars.
I'm not even going to pretend I can play guitar like Isaiah (or anyone I do stuff for?) so I just look and listen for harmonics, sustain, distortion etc while choosing component values. As I was starting with a Triangle Mud most of the values were reasonably set. I use a few different transistors in my Triangles depending on which version it is I'm making. I've made a couple for friends using some NOS 2N5133's like the originals had and Izzy was a fan of this version. I messed around with values and transistors for a while trying to find a sweet spot that was unique for Izzy's taste.
Then we started talking again while I was going through options and he mentioned how much he liked the Colorsound Tone Bender as well, which I make in my Tym Bender pedal. I was sitting there staring at the Supa (Jumbo) Tone Bender circuit and started thinking, they're pretty close, why don't I just make a Triangle/Tone Bender cross ?
I started by "balancing out" component values to make something similar to both pedals and tried to keep the "tone" of both, with their little intricacies, intact while making a new sound. I found as I went I liked one circuit more than another but was getting away from what I loved about both pedals individually. Then I emailed Izzy and said "I have a crazy idea that might just work ?"
For me the Tym Bender sounded best with the NOS tin can BC108's that have a really nice "fizzle" to them so I started working on a Triangle using them to see if I could get a great sounding Mud closer to a Bender. Once I was happy (really happy) with this I moved a few components around closer to the Bender and then worked out what needed to be switched to keep each pedal intact tone wise.
The end result is a fuzz with a very close approximation of both classic fuzzes using NOS BC108's and 1 stage germanium diode clipping for the Bender side and 2 stage silicon diode clipping for the Mud side, just like the originals. The TB/TRI mini toggle switches between these two classic old school fuzzes giving two completely different flavours of 70's fuzz. The Bender is big, low and less gain with that nice crackle around the edges that I love in this circuit. The Mud is the classic early BM with lashings of gain and fat bottom end. Both are, in my opinion, some of the nicest fuzz tones ever made.
Of course, being a BM circuit, and the fact the Bender was based on the same circuit at the time, both have a mid scoop which gives this circuit that classic tone. I was thinking what might make this pedal just a little more special for someone like Izzy when I thought this might be cool ? People seem to really dig my mids switch I use on some of my Muds. Some original BMs had a tone bypass switch which ...... bypassed the tone stack and gave you a flat mid response, which can punch through in a band setting better. I started using a mid/flat switch but kept the tone stack in the circuit so you could still manipulate the low pass/high pass filter (tone control) but have the flat mid response. I find this MUCH more usable and versatile.
So, I added this as a second stomp switch so it can be used "on the fly" while you're playing. I figured it might be good for solos or parts where you want the fuzz to jump out a bit in the mix. You get a slight volume jump, mainly because you're now hearing all those mids that are usually buried in all that fuzz.
I finished the final prototype and sat down and started playing. I loved it. I think I might even prefer the Triangle side to my actual Triangle. While being VERY close it has a really nice fizz to it that comes from those old BC108's. The mid switch really kicks the Mud into life and the range between both settings, while still keeping the tone control is great. The Bender side is very close to my other Bender and still keeps all those things I love about that fuzz. That nice fizz around the edges of the sustain as it drops away. The slightly cleaner gain and that big bottom end. The thing about these tin cans is they react differently to guitar volume roll off and the Mud side is much more sensitive to cleaning up as the volume is rolled down. Izzy could see how excited I was about this one and asked me to do some demos to send over so he could hear it. Ha ha ....... yeah, like I'm going to play guitar for this guy. I don't think me playing the Ramones through this is going to give Izzy any idea of what it's going to sound like in his hands. I went straight to the post office and sent it to him.
Well, Izzy loved it as much as I did, and I bet it sounds a whole lot better with him playing through it. It's an honour for me to announce that this pedal will be available soon with the usual "signature series" pedal/certificate package like the Fuzz Munchkin and the Dead Meadow and the first few batches comes with a T shirt. It comes in my flat top enclosure and is not limited edition so they'll be available as long as Izzy and I are happy with how it works.