Sunday, September 21, 2014

BLS-59 Bacchus "Live Road" into a North Effects 22/7 Violet Ram Fuzz

This is a short video of my favorite Bacchus LP with a North Effects 22/7 Violet Ram. 

Recently someone lent me a Z-Vex Fuzz Factory.  It is a pretty involved unit with lots of possibilities and gave me a good taste of what a real fuzz can be. I owned a Danelectro Cool Cat fuzz for a couple of years but never managed to get anything fat and musically pleasing out of it - I suppose you do get what you pay for sometimes. 

After the Fuzz Factory experience I started looking for something to meet my new FUZZ needs. After a few failed attempts at Yahoo Auctions to get a Noah's Ark Purple FUZZ I spied this unpainted "22/7" unit on Yahoo Japan. After a quick trip to the North Effect's website
 I threw in a bid and landed it for around $50 total. After I got it in my hands and I plugged it in the LED worked but I had no output. Fortunately, after I opened it up and monkeyed around inside it came to life. It was probably just a loose wire or a temporary short. 

This one seems to work well at around 2 o'clock on all the knobs. This video is one improvised take using a Zoom Q4 with all of the flagrantly crappy bits edited out or course. 
Excuse the repetitive pentatonic playing. I really need to use some backing tracks for rhythm.

In any case, the Violet Ram is highly recommended.

From the North Effects page for the "22/7 Violet Ram (":

The History
What has become known amongst Muff connoisseurs as the "Violet Ram's Head" was a variant of the early 70s V2 Muff that typically had unusual violet graphics rather than the more common red, and a distinctly different set of components to those associated with the more common red Ram (to make matters especially confusing, there are a few red-graphic Rams out there that sport the same or very similar components and sonic qualities as the violet ones - esp. David Gilmour's red Ram). Apparently produced for a period during 1975, it is one of the more rare and desirable Muffs and tend to go for big money.

The 22/7 Violet
Produced from a tracing of an outstanding sounding original pedal of '75 vintage, the 22/7 take features a set of carefully selected NOS 2N5133 transistors and metal film coupling capacitors, just like the real thing. It also features North's usual high build quality and brand-name components (Neutrik jacks/Alpha pots and quality 3PDT footswitch), true bypass switching and a standard 2.1mm 9V DC jack (battery power is also there for the purists). Oh, and that's a superbright blue LED on there.

The Sound

The fabled "violet sound" falls somewhere between the "regular" Ram's Head and the earlier Triangle, combining the high gain of the former with a touch more mid-range and finesse that's commonly associated with the latter. In short, it has a deserved reputation for being a good all-rounder. Major Muff-head and massive Pink Floyd fan, Kit Rae, reckons that the violet comes closest to David Gilmour's mid-late 70s Ram sound (note: please don't ask me about specific Floyd stuff, my knowledge of them extends only to an old cassette of Relics, and I can only refer you to Mr. Rae's excellent writings on the subject).

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