Menatone’s The PoPo Fuzz takes me back to my first experience playing through Menatone pedals. I was trying out overdrive and distortion pedals at Rudy’s Music in NYC when an employee came over with a King of the Britains and Blue Collar Overdrive. The little combo amp I was playing through suddenly became a raging hot rod, spewing out aggressive yet very musical tones. The other pedals I tried before suddenly sounded weak, thin, and lifeless by comparison. I realized then that there’s something special about pedals bearing the Menatone name. High headroom, touch sensitivity, and dynamics are a few things that come to mind. Every Menatone pedal I’ve played shares these characteristics and has added a shot of adrenalin to whatever rig I was playing through. The PoPo Fuzz is the latest Menatone pedal to carry on this legacy.
While classic Menatone pedals have been updated over the years, I was especially excited to see a new fuzz pedal enter the roster. According to Menatone, The PoPo Fuzz delivers “incredible dynamics and punch” with “a huge range of musical settings”. This sounds like the kind of PoPo you wouldn’t mind getting stopped by. Is it the best silicon fuzz pedal around? We’ll lay down the law in our Menatone The PoPo Fuzz review.
Fuzz control knob adjusts the level of gain and sustain.
Sag control knob functions like a kind of pre-gain. Higher levels will produce a pronounced compression effect.
Vol control knob adjusts output volume level.
Bias internal trim pot sets the idle current of the effect.
Hi Cut internal trim pot shaves treble off the tone.
½ watt carbon comp resistors.
Rolled polyester caps.
Audio grade electrolytic caps.
Charge pump boosted power supply.
Sound & Performance:
The PoPo Fuzz falls in the vein of classic silicon fuzz pedals, but there are several noteworthy features that separate The PoPo Fuzz from your run of the mill fuzz. A popular update to many 2-knob style fuzz pedal designs is to include a Bias knob to tweak the amount of voltage in the circuit. Guitarists realized long ago that varying voltage levels have a dramatic effect on the tone and response of fuzz pedals. The PoPo Fuzz’s Sag control sets the bias of the first gain stage, resulting in tight, sputtery, velcro style fuzz sounds to thick washes of saturated silicon fuzz sustain.
In addition to the external Sag control, there is an internal Bias trimpot that adds further flexibility to The PoPo Fuzz by allowing you to extend the range of the Sag in either direction. I found myself cutting back the Bias just a bit to reach a slightly lower range from the Sag control to achieve some really nice gated synth style tones. I find it best to set the internal Bias to your general preference and use the external Sag knob for any on the fly tweaking. This works well for guitarists who generally prefer a certain response from the pedal but still want a little flexibility when needed.
Some silicon fuzz pedals have a reputation for being a bit harsh on the top-end, especially when used with single coil pickups or a bright-sounding guitar in general. The PoPo Fuzz’s internal Hi Cut trimmer is ideal for rolling off a little bit of high end for a warmer vintage fuzz tone. The factory default setting is cut back just a bit, but it’s worth considering opening up the treble all the way and using your guitar’s tone control to cut back any high end if necessary. I rather like the full range sound, and some darker sounding humbuckers will benefit from the wide open response of the pedal.
The PoPo Fuzz has a real in-your-face sound with all the front knobs set to noon or higher. Pushing the Volume a bit really hits the front end of your amp hard. High output and loads of headroom are hallmarks of all Menatone dirt pedals I’ve heard, and The PoPo Fuzz delivers in this department as expected. Some old-school fuzzes suffer from a lack of output. You’ll have no such problems with The PoPo Fuzz as it can get very loud.
While The PoPo Fuzz can get quite aggressive at higher fuzz settings, the pedal cleans up remarkably well with a slight cut of your guitar’s volume knob. In fact, one of the best ways to play this pedal is to simply find your preferred “maxed out” setting on the pedal and control it from there with your guitar’s on board controls. You can coax all manner of gentle to raging fuzz tones from the dynamics in your playing. This is one fuzz pedal that distinguished guitar players will really appreciate.
Menatone says that “this is not your typical crank all the controls to ten to get a good tone type of fuzz”. If you do have an itch for some extreme settings, you’ll bring up the noise floor a bit which isn’t surprising considering the high amounts of volume and gain on tap. Taking the controls towards their limits but not all the way can yield some usable, raunchy results. Just listen for the sweet spots, and trust your ears to hone in on your perfect fuzz tones.
The PoPo Fuzz is another winner, just what you’d expect being one of Menatone’s guitar pedals. Let’s see the final result.
The PoPo Fuzz from Menatone is a top-tier fuzz pedal for anyone seeking a classic sounding fuzz with modern tone shaping flexibility. The Sag and internal Bias control work in tandem to let you achieve a wide range of sputtering fizzy gated synth tones to all-out compressed fuzz mayhem. Every tasteful fuzz tone in between is achievable by guitarists who relish touch sensitivity, controllable dynamics, and singing fuzz saturation. If you’re looking for the best silicon fuzz pedal, definitely check out Menatone’s The PoPo Fuzz.
That concludes our Menatone The PoPo Fuzz review. Thanks for reading.
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