Favorite NPN PNP Transistors for FUZZ pedals?

Discussion in 'Pedals' started by jonesy, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    I have been doing a lot of reading on the transistors that were used in the Vintage Fuzz pedals. I was wondering what are some of your favorite NPN Silicon transistors, for those of you that build FUZZ pedals? I am also researching a lot of the old PNP Germanium transistors as well. :hmm:

    Also what are your thoughts on the hfe/gain readings for Q1 and Q2 etc? Any information would be appreciated. ;)

    Thanks, jonesy
     
  2. Mayo5

    Mayo5 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,342
    Likes Received:
    188
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    What type of Fuzz Jonesy? I've building my own FF and experimenting with different ones and circuits.

    If you are looking for that classic Jimi style germanium fuzz then there are some NOS substitute trannies that sound amazing for that. The AS12XD's in the gain stage of 90 and 120 is awesome. Cleans up really well when you roll back the volume.

    I still love BC-108's for silicons.
     
  3. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Thanks Mayo, I like the sound of the Big Muff pedals, but I am Experimenting with several different kinds of Fuzz. Basically going through the learning curve right now on Fuzz circuits. Planning on building some simple circuits on bread or per board and swapping out transistors. Staying away from the PNP types right now :D

    I just ordered some BC 108's this morning ;)
     
  4. guitar_slinger8

    guitar_slinger8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    im on the same path as u jonesy, im think of ordering a few russian germanium transistors in the next few days:thumb:

    right now i got a fuzz face with AS12XD's on the q2 right now i got a silicon pnp which im waiting to change soon.
     
  5. thiswastheonlyusernameleft

    thiswastheonlyusernameleft Senior Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Not a big fan of PNP's myself for builds.... They need isolated power to prevent issues (they don't play well w/other pedals and shared power supplies).

    As far as NPN's go, I've personally found Silicone to be more useful (FOR ME) than Germanium. If you are trying to get that Germanium soft-clipping sound, just use Germanium diodes in a multi-gain stage (like a muff) circuit for the clipping diodes. I think the trannies I found that I liked best were 1086's, but I'll have to double check... I'm going by memory and haven't built a pedal in over 2 yrs now. Transistors are cheap tho Jonsey, you could just socket your board and swap em out as you see fit. As far as gain readings go.... Start w/the highest gain and work from high to low as you go thru the stages for a more tight, controlled fuzz.

    (Another fun trick in a Muff fuzz is to add a secondary DPDT Stomp Switch to remove the final "make-up gain" stage after the tone stack to get a bassier Jumbo Tone Bender type fuzz.)

    I hope that helps you out somewhat. Again, I'll look into those trannies sometime this evening for you.
     
  6. PMcG No.6

    PMcG No.6 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,020
    Likes Received:
    24
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Never like fiddling with PNP stuff either. So, can't help ya there.

    For NPN silicon I like to use 2N2222A's (TO-18 package)for a few pedals I build. Cheap and the gain is usually pretty uniform. BC108's are a safe too. 2N3904's are pretty widely used in the DIY community also. Easily found at Radio Shite.

    Go here for a cool Fuzz Face project with different transistor combinations: The Multi-Face
     
  7. thiswastheonlyusernameleft

    thiswastheonlyusernameleft Senior Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Jonsey,
    2N5089's are what I used. VERY stable, cheap, and plentiful. I have plenty left if you wanna try a few out, just PM me and I'll shoot 'em out to ya. I've also got some 1N914A diodes as well.
     
  8. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Great link, thanks! :thumb:
     
  9. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Lot's of good info. thanks! :applause:
     
  10. thiswastheonlyusernameleft

    thiswastheonlyusernameleft Senior Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    No sweat. Also, look into "pull down resistors" on switches (to prevent popping when switching, caused by LEDs) and using a FET (as well as an LED) as a clipping diode.

    I've also got (somewhere on my drive) the schem for a Frantone Bassweet. It's interesting because it uses Germanium trannies in the clipping stages, and silicone in the primary and tone stack stages. If your interested in it I'll look it up for you.

    Another trick in a muff I implemented was using a dual ganged 10k pot as the coupling resistor to "tighen up the fuzz" characteristics of the Muff. The lower value you use... the "crunchier" the fuzz gets. The GGG Muff (and the Sanford and Sonny Bluebeard) use 10k there, but I liked the dual ganged pot wired as a Variable Resistor.
     
  11. PMcG No.6

    PMcG No.6 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,020
    Likes Received:
    24
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    No prob. Glad to help. :D PM if you have any other questions, I can try to help you out. I'm actually working on a NPN germanium circuit for a friend(jguitarnash) right now.
     
  12. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    I just ordered two sizes of perf-board, an assortment of Transistors, diodes and resistors and they should be here next week :D
     
  13. Mayo5

    Mayo5 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,342
    Likes Received:
    188
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
  14. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    All kinds of Schematics with parts lists and build plans for Fuzz pedals here at General Guitar Gadgets...

    Fuzz Tones
     
  15. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Just got a bunch of parts in today and a 2n3904 NPN Transistor design kit, some per-boards and all kinds of other goodies :naughty:

    [​IMG]

    Checking some hFE readings on 2N3904's


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I also managed to track down some NOS Transistors from the late 60's but they are all PNP Germanium similar to the types used in the Tone bender and Dallas Range master.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. thiswastheonlyusernameleft

    thiswastheonlyusernameleft Senior Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    You're very welcome Mayo. I'm FAR from an expert, but I've tinkered w/a few breadboards. FWIW, DIYstompboxes.com is a treasure trove of info on biasing trannies and mods to circuits.

    Jonsey,
    AWESOME!!! Check those PNP's for leakage. Ge PNP's are like Brazilian Rosewood... alot of the good stock has been picked thru long ago. (not trying to piss on your parade, just offering up fair warning) If you need metal power supply jacks for 'em let me know, I have a bunch here I have no use for really, since I LOATHE doing ANYTHING w/PNP's.
     
  17. Guitar Freak

    Guitar Freak Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,541
    Likes Received:
    131
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    You've got quite a set there jonesy!

    Can someone explain to me the difference between all the different transistors are? There are so many different transistors-especially in fuzz, and it confuses me. Any input would be greatly appreciated. :thumb:
     
  18. thiswastheonlyusernameleft

    thiswastheonlyusernameleft Senior Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Germanium tends to be a bit softer and warmer than Silicon, but Silicon tends to maintain attack and be less "mushy". Germanium also tends to be lower in gain than Silicon, and most Germanium transistors are less stable.

    Germanium is usually used for more vintage type stuff, and Silicon for a more modern type sound basically (if that helps).
     
  19. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Thanks, I am new to testing transistors and besides the fHE reading not sure how to test for leakage on those PNP Germaniums? :hmm: I may have a go at building a Tonebender PNP Fuzz clone, but not until I tackle a few more NPN circuits.

    The more I learn about transistors the more questions I have :laugh2: it's been a lot of fun so far and a nice change of pace to the rest of my work. The BYOC boost circuit I built last week with a 2N5088 works fine and sounds pretty decent. I hope to have some time later today to experiment. Sent you a PM about those metal jacks ;)
     
  20. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    17,048
    Likes Received:
    4,261
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Thanks bro, I am looking forward to these Fuzz projects :D

    Here are a couple more links I found helpful on identifying and understanding transistors as used in Fuzz pedal circuits...

    Transistor Basics

    Using A Solderless
    Breadboard


    http://www.smallbearelec.com/HowTos/Breadboarding/BreadboardIntro.htm

    Transistor Amplifiers
     

Share This Page