worked beautifully with the Astro Tone too, exhibiting a knack for
bold overdrive with ample low end and plenty of rock crunch. And
unlike many fuzzes, each guitar cleaned up nicely by just rolling off
the guitar’s volume.
The Tone knob is most effective past the half way point up to the maximum setting. And delightfully, I didn’t encounter much noise save for
when cranked the Fuzz knob all the way. I preferred the tone of the
Fuzz backed off a little anyway, at about 95% as opposed to full on.
Fuzz tone—especially the mid-’60s variety—isn’t very useful to many
contemporary players. But the beauty of the Astro Tone is that it covers
that buzzy territory while also being able to deliver thicker, saturated
sounds. It’s great for giving both flavors of kick to smaller or cleaner
amps. With a cranked large amp, the Astro Tone acts more like a
booster. So if you liked the sound of the original Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx
or the Astrotone Fuzz, but also need burlier tones that shine in a band
context, you’ll appreciate Analog Man’s 21st-century version. It could
become your secret weapon.
you desire a beefy fuzz tone and buzzy
you need modern, high-gain distortion.
CREEPY FINGERS EFFECTS
By Jordan Wagner
While Univox was often perceived as a budget brand in its ’60s and
’70s heyday, the company built some legendary pedals. And while the
Super Fuzz and Uni-Vibe get all the love among the vintage cognoscenti, the Uni-Drive holds a special place in rock history. This rare dis-tortion/booster was used by Jimmy Page in the early ’70s and has been
on many Zep head’s gear radar for decades. Unfortunately, the price
for an original model is often several hundred dollars—if you’re able to
find one at all. Enter Creepy Fingers Effects (owned and operated by Fu
Manchu bassist Brad Davis) and the Doomidrive, a clone of the super-rare Univox pedal, right down to the original button-type transistors.
170 PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2010
A Modern Take on an Unsung Original
Oddly, the original Uni-Drive circuit was actually packed into a rocker
enclosure, similar to a wah or volume pedal. Davis’ design changes
things up by putting the circuit into a standard rectangular enclosure
with Volume, Bottom, and Drive controls and a true bypass footswitch.
The Doomidrive also uses a conventional potentiometer for the Drive
control, which lends more tone shaping flexibility than the 6-way switch
that controlled input distortion on the original Uni-Drive. And at the heart
of the stout little stompbox are three Matsushita 2sc859 NOS transistors,
the identical ones used in the original Uni-Drive pedals, and which now
power the Doomidrive’s internal gain and shape the overall voicing.
Start Your Engines
Davis recommends using the Doomidrive with a slightly driven amplifier
to get the full benefits of the pedal. The Doomidrive’s circuit shares a
lot in common with treble boosters that have a dirty edge, such as the
Dallas Rangemaster. Used with the proper amp rig, these devices can
give up some superb tones.
I tested the Doomidrive with a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom with Tom
Anderson H1+ and H3+ pickups, a Friedman Naked 100-watt head, and
Bogner 2x12 cabinet. After dialing up a slightly crunchy tone on the
Naked’s gain channel, I maxed out the Doomidrive’s Drive and Bottom
controls and dug into some Cream-inspired single-note runs. The result
was a furry, fuzzed out wall of sound that still retained all of the attack
and presence of the straight signal. That setting was too harmonically
congested for more complex chording, but backing off the Drive control helped clear the muck.
What really sets the Doomidrive apart—and totally drives an amp into
oblivion—is the Bottom control. By generously blending the fat, gnarly
bottom boost with an appropriate amount of gain for a given guitar/
amp combo, you’re able to create huge, refined tones brimming with
upper-end harmonics. With its massive low-end frequency boost, the
Bottom knob is the Doomidrive’s secret weapon and a passport to