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In Celebration of Fredric Effects

Posted by Stuart O'Hara on

Here at VGB, post 6pm once the shutters are down, there’s a good chance you’ll find us next door in BrewDog sinking a couple of Dead Pony Clubs, and it was exactly in our favourite bar’s toilet that the penny dropped: ‘OH THAT’S WHY FREDRIC CALLED THAT PEDAL THAT!’

Excited by my new discovery, I hurriedly finished my toilet trip and rushed outside to share this invaluable piece of information with my colleagues.

“I KNOW WHY THE ‘DO THE WEASEL STOMP’ IS CALLED THE ‘DO THE WEASEL STOMP’!” I blurted out to the boss, Steve.

Adorning the walls of the toilet was a poster for ‘The Mother Of Inventions’ album ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh’ and I had worked it out. Of course as you're probably aware, The Mothers were lead by the one, the only, the totally (and tonally) mental genius Frank Zappa. One of Frank’s signature sounds was provided by the Systech Harmonic Energizer - a filter / wah that London based pedal makers Fredric Effects (FE) have recreated in their fantastic… yup you guessed it... ‘Do The Weasel Stomp’.

“See the thing is Steve they’ve called it that because of Frank Zappa and this album called...” I began to explain to my boss thinking to myself ‘that’s it, I’m a genius, I’ve solved the greatest mystery in guitar playing history, maybe they’ll give me the Nobel Peace Prize, maybe I’ll get to meet the prime minis...’

“Well, duh Jamie. I mean that's pretty obvious, plus it does say it on their website”.

Oh.

Well even if the boss already knew that fact, it got me thinking. See, I’m a huge fan of Fredric and their work, and they’re certainly a favourite with our customers as these hand built pedals have become one of our best selling ranges. Value for money without sacrificing tone, Fredric Effects should be in everyone's collection. Whether it’s the first timer just getting into the vast world of boutique pedals, or the experienced tone hound who know their FY­2’s from there FY­6’s there is a Fredric for everyone.

In part one of this blog I’m going take you through a few of these brilliant pedals.


Do The Weasel Stomp (DTWS) MKII

What is it?
As I mentioned before the DTWS is Fredric’s recreation of the legendary Systech Harmonic Energizer - a very rare and weird box full of signature fuzzy wah goodness. FE have taken Zappa’s favourite toy and added a switchable fuzz circuit and totally independent gain controls. Pulling these out of the mix for a second, you get a super precise filter, however as you begin to dial in the gain you start getting some seriously unique lead tones, and when you start dialling in the fuzz you are launched into a universe of soaring oddball sounds. The DTWS is as versatile as it is odd, simply used for that cocked wah distortion sound, a bass / treble boost or turn everything up and get that throaty attack. FE have added an expression pedal jack, meaning you can take control of the frequency, turning the pedal into a wah.


Why should I buy one?
Because its uniqueness and usability makes the DTWS a must have for all fans of fuzz / distortion. 


Pocket Weasel

What's is it?
Taking inspiration from the above DTWS, FE created this original 

stompbox, the Pocket Weasel. Not too dissimilar from the DTWS, the Pocket Weasel has a broader frequency range, from a piercing treble attack, through to a rumbling bass boost and stopping off on those ‘cocked wah’ style tones in between. The fuzz circuits boast a Germanium transistor gain stage making this a rougher tone that the DTWS. 
Why should I buy one?
The frequency range on the PW makes it a great pedal for all genres, creating unique lead tones that’ll follow across the deepest funk groove, the heaviest metal riff and anything in-between. 

 

Russian Green Muff

What Is It?
Fredric’s take on the legendary Green box Russian Muff, and boy is it great! There are countless clones of this pedal on the market, so what makes FE’s take one of the best? Well for me a mixture of things. This was one of the first FE pedals I tried and in all honesty all I was expecting was just another muff pedal. I certainly wasn’t expecting my socks to be blown off by a hand built pedal that cost so little, but after a short while with this little green box I found myself sans socks and grinning like a Cheshire cat. It does everything you want from a muff clone. The tone and sustain controls take you from dark and brooding to a snappy treble attack and every in between, it's perfect for screaming leads, beefy riffage and weighty rhythm. As for our four string bottom end brother and sisters, this is one pedal that feeds off of your bass and adds one hell of a punch without trashing your tone. As ever with FE pedals, the Green Russian is finished with some brilliant artwork, invoking thoughts of Soviet Russia’s military ­ A great nod to the original pedal and the rumour that they were built from old tanks. (They weren’t, sadly.)


Why should I buy one?
Because you can’t afford not too. This is a serious Russian Muff clone that stands up tall next to pedals double its price. 

Zombie Klone / Golden Eagle / King Of Klone

What is it?
There are not many things I fear more in life than talking about Klon clones on the internet, take a look into the archive of any gear page and you’ll find a hot bed of opinions and arguments.


Maybe wasps. I really hate wasps.

Anyway, we’re going to (true) bypass all of that, and I’m just going to share with you my thoughts on FE’s transparent drive pedal. First things first, it is important to note that the Zombie Klone and Golden Eagle are the same pedal in different casings, giving you a choice between a more traditional gold pedal featuring an animal decal (I see what you did there) or a more modern blue / green finish featuring a horse­man­ centaur­zombie guy (I… kinda see what you did there). The King of Klone we’ll get to in a moment, but let’s get into the first two. So what can be said about ZK / GE? Well, it does exactly what you’d want from a transparent overdrive. Pop it in front of your amp and get knob twiddling. This pedal can add that little bit of gain to your chain and push your tone over the edge, or be your main overdrive sound, all the while retaining clarity.

Now the King of Klone (KOK) has a very simple but very effective difference to its singular brothers... its two Klon’s in one box! Two identical (both inside and outside of the box) sets of controls leading to two independent channel switches gives you tons to play with. A classic setup would be to dial channel A for your boost sound and channel B for your overdrive. Or turn them both at the same time and get screaming! A nifty B ­sized enclosure keeps the KOK pedal board friendly while giving you three awesome gain stages to play with.

Why should I buy one?
This is a must have for all guitarist in my opinion. No pedal board should be without one. Hands down our best selling pedal here at VGB, we’ve the pleasure of sending all types of big names home with one of FE’s finest pedals.


Harmonic Perkolator ­MKII

What Is It?
An ultra faithful clone of the Interfax Harmonic Percolator inside, with an updated modern shell and three super distinctive clipping setting on the outside,­ FD have bought one of the most sought after, rare oddball pedals back to life in a refreshing modern way. A pedal that was heavily favored by Steve Albini, This is not your average distortion pedal, oh no. It splats, clips, buzzes and makes all manner of wonderful left-field distortion noises. It’s got a whole lot of power too. Between the harmonics (input) and the balance (output), things get very loud and very weird VERY quickly. Fun fact: If you have this pedal cranked, you can sometimes pick up surrounding RF signals, old school circuits, old school interference. But don’t let that put you off this totally unique pedal. 

For me, it’s the three clipping settings FE have included. Position one is the vintage correct germanium transistor, two is no clipping (the loudest setting) and three reveals a softer silicon transistor. You’re basically given the option of 3 different and interesting distortions in one noisey box. A great pedal to build a one of kind sonic blueprint with.

Why should I buy one?
Bored of distortion? Had enough of sounding like every band on the bill? Wanna get weird and wonderful? Wanna lose yourself in exciting heavy tones full of splats and buzz and sonic awesomeness? Want a pedal that sounds like your brain after 10 gallons of coffee?

Yeah, get one of these.

Utility Perkolator

What is it?
The Utility Percolator isn’t too far from its noisier cousin the Harmonic Percolator. 

Less splutters and buzzes means it's a little bit less of a lunatic than the traditional HP, but still retains the uniqueness that you’d want from a percolator. All the controls remain the same on the outside of this box, but it's on the inside you’ll find the changes. Fredric have put in lower leakage German germanium transistors and a low pass filter making this a much more controllable version than the vintage correct HP.

Why should I buy one?
Because it's like the Harmonic Percolator, but on decaf.

 

Super Unpleasant Companion

What is it?
Okay,  I think we can all agree that this is a strong contender for the ‘best named pedal ever’ award, which I really hope is a real thing, and boy does this live up to its name. The SUC is a mean machine comprised of two legendary fuzzes, the Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion fuzz and the FY-6 Superfuzz, faithfully cloned to perfection by FE. This is a box of lush aggression, and it's the perfect pedal for that Jesus And Mary Chain wall of noise from the FY-2 side, and the added FY-6 opens up a rich fuzz attack that is perfect for adding a thick rhythmic punch to your tone.


Why should I buy it?
If you’re looking for a total fuzz takeover, for the ability to create tones that invoke the darkest of brooding aggression through to the most nasal arrogant bites, while retaining an eerie sense of control and calm then this is the pedal you’ve been looking for.

Unpleasant Companion

 

 

As you may have guessed, the UC is a relative of the aforementioned SUC. Focusing on the harsh FY-2 FE have added an volume circuit, controlled by a smaller dial on the face of the pedal. This gives you all the vintage nasty fuzztones you could ever want, without facing the volume drop out that has been associated with these in the past and the smaller control makes sure you don’t accidentally knock the volume up to uncontrollable levels mid gig! 

Why should I buy it?
It’s mean, it’s nasty and it’s loud!

About the blogger - Jamie Jazz

London born and bred, Jamie has been touring and working in the music retail industry for most of his adult life. Having successfully been in bands and travelled around the world, he has a unique perspective on all things guitar related for all level of players. He is also a published writer for various magazines and blogs, as well as being a signed songwriter for Notting Hill Music, notching releases for other artists, both home grown and abroad.


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