THE TONE GOD
BY ADAM PERLMUTTER
LED parameter-value readouts
In 2008, a man named Andrew, aka The Tone God, introduced an unusual new
product, the TubeUlent—a Premier Gear
Award-winning amp with valves housed in
a clear acrylic enclosure shrunk to the size
of an effects pedal, and designed to add
warmth and responsiveness to your sound.
It revealed an unusual and fresh approach
to delivering old-school sounds—a design
philosophy that’s carried over to the Tone
God’s newest offering, the NerFuzz.
The NerFuzz’s more conventional look
belies its stunning array of sonic possibilities.
A fully programmable, 100-percent analog
fuzz box, the NerFuzz offers nine different
parameters that can be tweaked to access
tones ranging from the subtly overdriven to
the chaotically distorted. In other words, it’s
a whole ensemble of fuzz pedals in one.
Box of Buzz
The NerFuzz has a sturdy black metal chassis measuring approximately 7 1/4" x 4
1/2" x 2 1/4". The face plate is laser etched,
so the lettering will remain intact over
time. The pedal is controlled by two touch-sensitive, Phillips-head screw mounted
metal plates that eliminate the need for
mechanical controls that can be damaged,
get noisy, or degrade. The pedal also uses
two numeric LED readouts to indicate the
precise amount of effect.
On the back panel of the NerFuzz,
you’ll find 1/4" input and output jacks
and a power jack. While a low-profile 9V
adapter is included, the unit will accept AC
or DC input power of 9V to 24V at 100
mA, which makes it adaptable to different
pedalboards’ power supplies.
The NerFuzz’s nine control parameters
are Drive, Gain, Diff, Bass/Mid/Treble, Feed,
Gate, and Level, most of which require no
explanation. Diff activates a differential mode
that, when adjusted in concert with the drive
and gain levels, can induce octave, swelling,
splattering, and other uncanny effects. Feed
causes the NerFuzz to feed back upon itself,
creating increasingly more anarchic sounds as
Touch-sensitive control plates
the level is raised. Gate, of course, is a noise
gate, which can be used to discourage unwanted humming from the pedal or a pickup.
Favored fuzz parameters can be stored in 20
footswitchable memory positions and further
modified by Patches A and B. You can set
these two patches to switch between, say, lead
and rhythm sounds with a single foot tap, or
between sick and sicker tones for particularly
crazed lead work. When it’s powered on, the
NerFuzz will automatically retrieve the previously selected memory location. Regardless,
The Tone God recommends recording favorite
settings the old-fashioned way, in a notebook,
in the event they’re accidentally overwritten.
To audition the NerFuzz, I used a Gibson
Les Paul and a Fender Pro Junior amp. I
was initially frustrated by the lack of conventional control knobs on the NerFuzz.
Having to cycle individually through the
parameters and adjust their levels just felt
tedious—and my first impression was that
nothing could be easily done on the fly.
But once I delved into the pedal’s factory
settings, I was super-impressed by the quality
and range of sounds at my disposal. Memory
1, Patch A, a light-gain setting that is touch-sensitive, added fine grit and warmth to some
jazzy altered chords and pseudo bebop lines.
Memory 2 contained authentic-sounding
rock rhythm and lead sounds on Patches A
and B, respectively. Rock rhythm possessed
a full-bodied gain that didn’t muddy on full
chords. And the lead setting sounded both
cutting and singing with a bit of added drive
and treble. At the more saturated end of the
spectrum, metal sounds with and without
noise gate (stored in Memory 4, Patches A
and B) were both pulverizing and detailed.
The NerFuzz has the distortion basics
comprehensively covered with some superb
tones. But it’s the pedal’s more freakish
sounds that make it really intriguing. When
I articulated and held a 1st-string Bb on
Memory 5, Patch A, a startling series of
octaves and fifths emerged. Playing the
same note on Patch B, somehow produced
a Bbm triad. There seemed to be a bit of