The Earth Sound Research Graphic pedal has become somewhat of a holy grail for fuzz-lovers in recent years. With a minimalistic, yet enthralling design layout and its oscillating Op-Amp fuzz sounds, what's not to love? The pedal hosts a LM741CP Chip that with its Filter and Boost knobs producing a 70's style fuzz that is reminiscent of 'Muffs' from that era. Beyond its rarity and collectability, the Graphic Fuzz has a great sounding fat fuzz tone that is sure to please fuzz lovers of old and new!
*Note: This pedal IS full functioning and in very good condition for it's age!*
From Earth Sound Research/Retro Junkie:
Earth Sound Research Graphic Fuzz
Earth Sound Research is an amplifier company based out of New York that built guitar and bass amps in the 70's. They also made a few effects and some sound equipment. The Graphic Fuzz is an opamp based fuzz pedal which uses a LM741CP chip, four resistors, and four ceramic capacitors. Powered by a 9v battery with controls for 'filter and 'boost, this is an unusual pedal with an experimental approach. I was lucky enough to have some time to test it out and this is what I discovered.
This pedal was an elusive one to track down. With little information or sound clips on the web it was impossible to get a real idea of what it had to offer. When it arrived I really had zero clue what to expect but I thought a pedal that looks this cool had to have something to offer. I plugged it in and was perplexed; all it did was make this high pitched squeal. After a turn of the 'Filter knob it faded out. I spent some time tweaking the knobs and finding out what sounds could be attained in this box.
Well, one thing that is apparent right away is the amount of output the boost knob delivers. This pedal is really loud if you want it to be. I found about 50% to be sufficient to my taste, unless I wanted to boost my amp into breakup. The filter knob was a bit strange and unfamiliar. It's basically a resonant sweep ranging from low to high frequencies. At lower ranges the sound of the fuzz comes through more, while the higher settings blend out the guitar signal with a sort of theremin type sine wave that increases in pitch as you turn up the knob. At the highest setting there is no sound, but turning it back a until the sound comes in the guitar is basically gone and the pedal produces the wave on it's own. From about 12'o clock to full up the sine starts taking over and the fuzz is less prominent.
I found this fuzz particularly heavy sounding, with some nice muff-like qualities. It is fixed at full on but has plenty of room within your guitar's volume knob to satisfy varying degrees of dirt. It has a prominent low end with some underlying crumble in the sustain. It gets very aggressive and woolly, lending itself to heavier styles of playing. I prefer the filter knob to be set within the lower quarter range for use with full guitar volume. That makes the resonance less apparent and allows the fuzz sound to shine through.
This pedal lends itself to a somewhat experimental appeal. When playing with the Filter knob I felt like it was trying to put me outside of the box and into uncharted territory. The design of the pedal could be more user friendly and I feel like it's a great launch pad for boutique builders to improve upon and bring into a more modern and functional platform. The sounds it achieves are well worth some attention in the pedal world and although it took me some warming up to, in the end I really enjoyed this pedal as something very different from the norm and saw the potential that was here.
Consider being able to switch in/out the filter section via foot switch, which would allow you to use the fuzz by itself and apply the resonance qualities at will. Also, making the Filter knob controllable via external expression pedal would allow you to dial in the resonance on the fly as well as doing theremin type sweeps and dives. I found the filter to be most useful with my guitars' volume turned back, which gave it a very lo-fi and musical quality. Adding a pre-gain switchable section with a knob to adjust the amount would make it easy to get the exact amount of cleanup at the kick of a switch. In terms of a clean/dirty approach this pedal is perfect and brings it's character to that platform well.
Making the fuzz itself switchable in/out and adding a knob to control the gain would open up the boost side and make the pedal much more usable. It would able you to use the pedal alone as a clean or dirty boost, as well as allowing you to use other fuzzes or a clean signal with the filter section.