There are 2 primary flavors of “Fuzz Face” style fuzz, each distinguished by the types of transistors used to generate the distortion: Germanium and Silicon. Both Germanium and Silicon transistors have been in use since the late 60’s, and both have subtle characteristics that make them the preferred choice of particular players. While Jimi Hendrix initially used Germanium transistor-based fuzzes, he supposedly later switched to pedals containing Silicon transistors. It’s also worth noting that some of the most favorable classic Silicon fuzz guitar pedals contain BC183 transistors.
The SolidGoldFX If 6 Was 9 BC183CC tips its hat to Jimi, being named after the classic cut from Axis: Bold As Love, If 6 Was 9, and gets it fuzz from a hand selected pair of new old stock BC183 Silicon transistors. But SolidGoldFX didn’t stop there. The If 6 Was 9 also contains vintage spec carbon comp resistors to further enhance the warmth of the core circuit. Additional tonal control comes courtesy of and external Bias control knob and a 2-way tone switch for easy adjustment of your overall tone. These extra features bring classic fuzz to the cutting edge for modern players who demand more control over their sound without sacrificing authentic vintage tone and mojo. Might this be the best Silicon fuzz pedal out there? You’ll find out in our SolidGoldFX If 6 Was 9 BC183CC review.
2 NOS hand selected BC183 Silicon transistors.
Vintage spec carbon comp resistors.
Fuzz control knob increases/decreases amount of distortion.
Level control knob boosts or cuts the volume level.
Bias control knob adjusts the overall midrange content and distortion characteristics. It’s highly interactive with the other controls.
Tone switch selects between Normal (right position) and Bass Reduction (left position) modes.
True Bypass foot-switch for letting signal pass unaffected when disengaged.
Powered by 9-volt battery or 9VDC power adapter.
Sound & Performance:
I always get excited about trying out vintage-style fuzz pedals. While some folks love chasing down the old units, I find that some companies are really doing a great job providing great classic fuzz sounds with great improvements to functionality and reliability. I’ll go ahead that say that the If 6 Was 9 is another such pedal that does exactly that.
I started off with the knobs on the pedal set to noon with the Tone switch set to Normal. I played my Strat into a flat, clean channel setting.
The If 6 Was 9 produces full, gritty overdrive tones that retain balance and definition throughout its tonal range. It’s not overly dark or too bright. While Silicon fuzzes are generally known for having a more abrasive, harsher sound when compared to Germanium fuzzes, I find that the If 6 Was 9 isn’t overly brash and seems to capture the best nuances of Silicon fuzz tones. It also has a remarkable ability to clean up with careful use of picking dynamics and guitar volume adjustment. Dig in, and it bites. Play gently or cut back the guitar’s volume just a bit, and it cleans up beautifully. You can also hit a chord with authority and let it ring out to hear the fuzz gently crackle away and leave a pure signal behind.
At this flat noon pedal setting, try adjusting the Bias to hear how it responds. Rolling it to the left will induce a humming fuzz tone that seems to add contrast to your clean sound. It’s a very musical fuzz sound that rings out with a rounded smoothness after the initial attack. Turning the Bias to the right delivers a more wide-open sound that is cleaner, fuller, and a bit brighter. The Tone switch can be used to cut the low-end, thinning out your tone a bit, useful if you need to make room for other elements in the mix. But at these settings you’ll probably want to keep the bottom end in most cases.
Bringing the Fuzz up to around 3 o’clock brings in more gritty fuzz for more aggressive overdrive tones. The If 6 Was 9 produces great classic rock tones that sound great for crashing chords and cutting leads alike. You could also push up the Volume a bit to hit an amp pretty hard on the front-end to overdrive the preamp. Once you roll up the Bias on this setting, you’ll hear an increase in low-end presence. The Tone switch sounds pleasing on both settings, but I particularly enjoy the fatness of the Normal setting. Rolling the Bias all the way down sounds a bit darker with reduced output. Turn up the Level to compensate, and you’ll have some nice and warm sustaining fuzz tones.
At this point it’s worth mentioning how this pedal responds in the neck pickup position. Try it with the guitar’s tone knob rolled back for some deep and smooth fuzz tones. Crank the Bias and the If 6 Was 9 produces some awesome horn-like fuzz sounds. I really dig the vibe of this sound.
Maxing out the Fuzz brings you to the full extremities of this pedal. If you’re pushing all the levels clockwise, you may have to attenuate the knobs slightly to avoid high frequency noise. Don’t worry. Just about every setting on this pedal sounds good. With all the knobs pushed nearly completely clockwise, the If 6 Was 9 produces some great splatty-sounding fuzz tones that are some of the best I’ve heard. The pedal has a really great feel up to the most extreme settings, and I rather like that there isn’t a gated effect cutting the signal. This pedal really roars, and it still manages to clean up very well at every setting when you roll back your volume knob. The If 6 Was 9’s bass response gets massive at “all-out” settings, so this where the Tone switch really comes in handy unless, of course, you enjoy pummeling your audience with some of the most massive vintage fuzz tones available.
And one more thing: the If 6 Was 9 really plays well with others. Try stacking it with another fuzz or overdrive pedal to create your own signature dirt tones. This is a truly versatile fuzz pedal that lends itself well to full integration within your rig.
SolidGoldFX really made a definitive example of what a vintage-inspired modern Silicon fuzz pedal should be. Let’s see the final result.
The SolidGoldFX If 6 Was 9 BC183CC is not only one of the best modern recreations of vintage fuzz tone, but one of the best silicon fuzz pedals I’ve ever played. While I’ve had the opportunity to play many great fuzz pedals, the If 6 Was 9 is certainly a stand-out that belongs in that upper tier of truly excellent fuzz pedals, especially if you have an appreciation for vintage and modern designs. Whether you want classic overdrive, dynamic playability, thick bass response, singing lead saturation, or any combination thereof and more, the If 6 Was 9 delivers. Be sure not to miss this one as it’s only being made for a limited time. It may just be your go-to fuzz pedal.
That concludes our SolidGoldFX If 6 Was 9 BC183CC review. Thanks for reading.
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