012 | DOD Grunge FX69B: A Closer Look at this Era-defining Distortion Preamp | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Welcome to episode 12 of The Sonic Renegades podcast. We've got a fun one for you today. If you grew up in the '90s, if you love Grunge, if you love Kurt Cobain, then you're going to love this discussion, because we're talking about the DOD Grunge pedal. A Renegade pedal that changed the music landscape.
Hey, everybody, Scott Schwertly here with Siren Pedals.

Austin Bryan:
Hey, everyone, Austin Bryan here with Siren Pedals.

Scott Schwertly:
And today we've got a fun pedal, I guess, kind of iconic in its own way. We're going to be talking about the DOD Grunge pedal.

Austin Bryan:
This beautifully purple-y crackly airbrushed pedal of mayhem.

Scott Schwertly:
And discontinued also.

Austin Bryan:
And discontinued. But, man. Yeah, if you grew up in the '90s, you probably had one of these if you were starting out on guitar. Sadly, this pedal came out literally the year after I was born in '92.
So it came out in 1993. So I wish I would have been a little bit older at the time to really, really get it. But hey, I'm enjoying it now. So this is awesome.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I actually heard it for the first time today and it's awesome. It's got its own unique sound to it.

Austin Bryan:
It's gain with gain with more gain and all the gain you could ever have... all the gains.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, it's got, I guess hyper distortion. I mean, it's just, yeah. It's loaded with distortion.

Austin Bryan:
So interestingly enough about this pedal, you can find it pretty much about anywhere these days in the used market. I mean, you can go into pawn shops, you can go check Reverb, eBay, even your local Facebook marketplace or Craigslist. And if you look up "DOD Grunge", you'll find this pedal.

The FX69, it's gone through a couple of revisions. There was an A revision from '93 to '97. Then in '98, they had a revision FX69B. And then after that shortly, probably in the early 2000s, they had the FX69C.

Then from that you have the DigiTech Grunge pedal, which also retains the same paint job and everything else. So historically, all you really need to know about this pedal... It came on the heels of Grunge. At the time, according to a lot of folks out there, Jason Lamb, who was responsible for a very special era at DOD Pedals, was vastly responsible for creating these crazy paint jobs and basically putting a genre into a pedal. Which was unheard of at the time.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And this one does look crazy. I mean, it's definitely unique from its little cracked, sort of pinkish-purple-

Austin Bryan:
Well, the FX69B, the funny thing is that the controls are Loud, Low, High, and Grunge. But if you find a revision A, you'll find Loud, Butt, Face and Grunge. So even cooler.

So according to Josh Scott with JHS pedals, he actually did kind of a little info thing on DOD's Lamb series. Around 2000 units a month of these were made. And then when Kurt Cobain added one to his board and really had it there for show around in '93, ended up talking to some folks in interviews, and it ended up becoming an 8,000 unit a month pedal. Which is crazy to think about.

Scott Schwertly:
That's insane. Absolutely insane.

Austin Bryan:
But, crazy enough, he tossed it into the audience at a show. A woman who picked it up, ended up holding onto it. Her husband actually went on to Pawn Stars to try to sell that same Grunge pedal. I think it was something like $15,000.00 was how much he wanted for it. But after I saw that, I was like, "I've got to get one of these guys." Because culturally-

Scott Schwertly:
And it's really more valued at about a $1,000.00, maybe $2000.00. Something like that. Or at least that Kurt Cobain one.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. Kurt Cobain owned... Yeah, absolutely about $1,000.00 to $2000.00. But you can find these units, the FX69B, which is the one I'm holding right now, you can find these for like $25.00 up to $60.00. If you find a revision A, it can be anywhere from $100.00 to $150.00. So a lot of folks like that vintage stuff, you know? The older, the better to some folks.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So, I mean, musicians like Kurt Cobain obviously made this pedal very popular. Obviously 8,000 units a month. Other musicians like Buzz Osborne from Melvins, he's been known to use this pedal as well.

Austin Bryan:
Yes. That Distortion circuit in the Grunge pedal actually ended up transitioning over into the DOD FX33 Buzz Box pedal. So the same Grunge tone is really a big part of Buzz Osborne's tone.

So it's interesting to know that this pedal... You may not see it on a whole lot of boards, but it is one of those historically significant pedals in how it changed the music landscape for a genre. And a lot of folks that wanted to get those high gain, nasty Grunge tones could do it in a whim.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Now obviously, with it being a Renegade pedal, obviously changing the music landscape that we always like to talk about... It is also discontinued though. So it's no longer in production. I think a lot of that just has to do with obviously the flaws. Maybe things that just aren't as appealing as other options that are available out there. It has been known to be kind of like a one-trick pony. Again, being kind of that hyper distortion. So I know that's definitely a drawback.

Anything else that you've kind of noticed about it since you own one?

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. If you want to get the Grunge tone, you can get the Grunge tone. But dialing in the highs and the lows can be a little tricky, because it can kind of get into a swarm of bees territory when you're raising the highs. I mean, it can get really, really, really bright and like a swarm of bees attacking you. And the low end can almost blow your speakers out. It's a really harsh guitar pedal for sure.
For folks that like to have control, this might be a tough one to use. Because it is all distortion, all gain. Even backing the Grunge knob, which is essentially the gain, backing that thing all the way off, it's still has a ton of gain. Even on counterclockwise all the way to the left. It still has a ton of gain even all the way down.

So just bringing that up makes it messier and yeah, it makes your bandmates cry.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. But on that note, for those that actually like those elements, the whole idea of more distortion the better, you'll love this pedal just because it's unique in its own way, for sure.

Austin Bryan:
If you want something that stands out. It's discontinued, yes, but they seem to be pretty available, because hence at the time, there was 2,000 up to 8,000 units a month. So there's a lot of these available out there. But if you're maybe wanting to add a different gains, you know, saturated tone to your mix, this is a really good pedal. We talked about The RAT in a previous episode. This pedal, the Grunge, is essentially a heavily modified RAT circuit, is essentially what this is based from. And it's very dirty. Very dirty.

Scott Schwertly:
Dirty, indeed. So on that note, we're going to go ahead and demo this for you. So if you actually never heard the DOD Grunge pedal, we're going to sample it for you right now. We've got our classic Tele here in the office. Pretty stock pickups-

Austin Bryan:
The trusty Tele.

Scott Schwertly:
So it should sound pretty nice on it. So we're going to connect that now and yeah, take this thing for a spin.

Austin Bryan:
Woo! That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Grunge. The FX69B from DOD.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I feel like I'm 13 again, listening to Seattle Grunge.

Austin Bryan:
It's all those times of folks listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit over and over and over and over again.

Scott Schwertly:
Yes.

Austin Bryan:
Awesome.

Scott Schwertly:
I need to go put on my flannel right now.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. Do it. It's good weather right now, too.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So, that's what we wanted to cover today with the DOD Grunge. Hopefully you've got a good idea of what this pedal is really all about.
Join us next time. We're actually going to be talking about the Electro-Harmonix Oceans pedal. So if you love reverb, you're going to love this pedal.

Austin Bryan:
Awe. The Oceans 11 reverb. Yes. That's a cool one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yes. It's a nice one. I actually have it on my board right now, and yeah, looking forward to sharing that one with you guys.

Austin Bryan:
Can't wait to dive in.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. All right. See you guys next time.

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