049 | Keeley Fuzz Bender: A Closer Look at this 3 Transistor Hybrid Fuzz | Transcript

Transcript

Back to Episode Homepage

Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 49 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. For today's discussion, we have the Keeley Fuzz Bender. Yes, that's right. We're getting back into the world of Fuzz. I'm super excited, and we can't wait to talk about this one on the other side.

Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you guys today, and we've got a fun pedal. I've been looking forward to covering this one for quite some time. In fact that we haven't covered a Keeley pedal up until this point. So today we're going to be talking about the Keeley Fuzz Bender three transistor hybrid Fuzz pedal. It sounds like a mouthful. Basically it's the Fuzz Bender by Keeley. It does fuzz. This one will be a fun one to talk about. I've had this pedal for just a short amount of time and have enjoyed using it over the past couple of days. Excited to share it with you guys today in this episode.

Eric Wilson:
I've gotten the chance to try it out and I really liked the way it sounds, the way it reacts. There's a lot of good tones packed into it and they really did a good job of just adding some features that you wouldn't normally get on your standard fuzz pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh, for sure. They pride themselves on this one that you basically are guaranteed zero clean tone with this. It's fuzz, and it's all fuzz, all day long. It's a fantastic one. It's fun. What I love about is you can get those classic muffed tones as well as other new fuzz sounds. There's a lot of diversity, a lot of versatility, provided in this small stomp box. If you love fuzz, if you're a fuzz connoisseur like myself, you can spend hours with this pedal and have such a good time.

For those hearing about this pedal for the first time, or maybe you're contemplating getting it, it's brand new. Brand new in the fact that it's been released for just a little bit over a year, so it's not something that's been around for a long time. It's obviously still developing its own reputation in the space, but specifically came out on April 22nd, 2019. Again, definitely a newborn when compared to a lot of the other fuzz options out there today.

Eric Wilson:
One of the cool things that I really like about this pedal is that active VQ that they decided to add. I feel like that's just a really nice, a really new take, because typically you'd have to have an EQ pedal afterwards or something like that to be able to get those kinds of controls, but to be able to have that actually on the pedal and maybe save a little bit of space on your board is really nice, especially for trying to get the fuzz tone that you're looking for.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's definitely those pedals where you're not dealing in the world of rolling off tones. Like you said, it's got that active EQ, so lots to play with on that front. To get into the actual knob placement stuff, we'll go into more details about kind of what you get with those active EQ options and all the other things that they've packed into this. We'll definitely get into that here in just a little bit.

What I really like about that active EQ is it, as you mentioned already, it just provides something new. You typically don't get that on a fuzz pedal. By them baking that in, it just gives it its own personality and it just gives you something really unique to play with.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Especially for me, who's like not used to... I haven't played a ton of fuzz pedals. I haven't really been in to the whole world of fuzz for too long. So me not being used to having to worry, other than switching guitars, running through the same rig, having to roll off my tone on my strat or something like that, I don't normally make a ton of use of the guitar control. So being able to have that tone control, that EQ on the actual pedal, just makes my life easier and just not having to worry about those types of things when I'm playing.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, exactly. Something with that active EQ, that's definitely a shining star on this pedal. The other thing that just really stands out about it and it's part of their marketing language, is that it is a three transistor hybrid fuzz. With this, you're getting that high gain silicone, and then you're also getting Japanese germanium transistors. I think the active EQ with the Japanese germanium transistors, those are the things that really set this pedal apart. They even highlight that aesthetically on the pedal, which is kind of fun.

It's got the Japanese transistor with the little lightning bolts coming out of it. It's got the Japanese transistor with the lightning bolts coming out of it. Also, one thing that's cool about this pedal is, Robert Kelly's mentioned that this was one of the very few pedals that they've actually had a chance to put the Keeley logo on the top side of it, where the top jacks are. He said, "This is cool because maybe you can attract your future wife with it." Anyway, I thought that was really funny that he included that when walking everybody through this pedal.

All that to say, fantastic pedal. It looks aesthetically great. Again, white with orange type face, orange logo placement, really great looking knobs. So aesthetically, it looks great. Then even tone wise, it sounds great. With this whole combination of high gain, silicone transistors and germanium transistors, what you get at the end of the day is just a really versatile fuzz pedal.

Eric Wilson:
I actually really do like the look of this pedal. I wasn't a huge fan of the way their pedals look, but really they've redesigned and rebranded a lot of them. This one looks great. I'm not normally huge fan of brighter colors on pedals, but I really liked the look of this one, and it sounds great.

Scott Schwertly:
You really get everything from the fat square waves to angular fuzz. It really covers it all, which is great.

If I had one beef or one thing to nitpick about it, I would probably keep this on my board as a fuzz option. Right now I'm running the Earthquaker Devices Hoof Reaper, which I absolutely love that pedal. I would consider putting this on my board, but the size of it is just a little, I don't know, it's on the smaller end. I basically run a pedal train and it just stands out like a sore thumb because it's just so much smaller in size where there's all this real estate around it, which that drives me nuts. So if there's one suggestion that would be for Keeley is to just make it a little bit more of a standard size. Because of that reason alone, aesthetically, I don't have it on my board and I'm picky about that kind of stuff. But if I had one flaw, it would be that.

Other than that, though, it does look great. The artwork is great. The tones are great, but that is one beef I have with it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I know it's in that enclosure similar to that of a double barrel or something around the size of the walrus luminary. I can definitely get how that can be hard to fit when you go to turn it right side up, which is sideways.

Scott Schwertly:
That's my biggest thing with it is, again, it looks great. I love the way it feels in my hands. I love the way it looks again, aesthetically, but I hate that I would potentially have to turn it sideways to make it work rather than just being able to look at it straightforward. Again, with me being nitpicky with my boards, I'm one of those folks that I don't like to turn my pedal sideways. I know everybody has their own feelings about that. I don't like doing it. So again, that's a total Scott thing. Again, don't really have anything negative to say about this pedal other than that. I wish the enclosure size was a little bit different, but yeah, still a great one.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. The controls on this are really great. I mean, Keeley really took the fuzz bender to the next level by adding the EQ and the bias control. So what you get is five controls total. You have your level control, the fuzz control, base control, treble control, and then in the middle is the bias control. For those treble and bass knobs, I feel like level one fuzz are a little bit... You know what those do. There's no need to explain that. But for the bass and treble controls, it's an active EQ section. So you have up to 20 DB of boost and cut at a hundred Hertz and then at 10 kilohertz. It really gives you a lot of options as far as shaping your fuzz, being able to blend with a band or just really do anything that you want. Then having that bias control controls the bias of the different transistors and really gives you a lot of flexibility on how your fuzz sounds. Is it going to sound like it's going to explode? Does it sound underpowered? Just things like that.

Eric Wilson:
It's just overall a really great pedal with a lot of really great controls.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I think really the whole concept of shaping is definitely a key word or a theme for this pedal is that. It does provide so much shaping ability with what they've been able to pack into this. A hat tip to Robert Keeley and the team there for really just building a very dynamic, versatile fuzz pedal. It does so much. There's so much that it offers that you just can't necessarily get in a standard fuzz pedal. Really love what they've been able to put out here.

Eric Wilson:
I think it's cool to know that with fuzz, normally when you're with a band or whatever, there's a lot of work that has to be done on the backend of EQ'ing things, making things fit, doing all of that, just because fuzz is one of those things where you have to leverage the issues you have with it to your advantage somehow. You have to work with it. You have one song, you have to work with it.

So having these controls really enables you to take control over the sound of the fuzz and over how you want it to sit in the mix with a band, or even when you're just playing by yourself. If you want to take some highs out, you can do that. Overall, it's like I said, it makes it a really versatile pedal. It takes a lot of the issues that people typically have with those pedals out.

Scott Schwertly:
Definitely. One of the things too is, we mentioned briefly earlier, is with those Japanese germanium transistors that they're using, they're actually known for being very consistent and very even. As you're trying to deal with the world of fuzz, it makes that process and it makes that journey a lot more easier and a lot more predictable. Again, germanium transistors can tend to be a little bit non-consistent across the board. So the fact that they've baked in some consistency going with the Japanese version, it'll definitely ease the process, trying to dial into the right tone that you're looking for.

Eric Wilson:
Definitely.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. Well, if you guys are looking to pick up one of these fuzz benders, not too bad. They run for about $149 street price, so not going to set you back too much. It's a fantastic fuzz pedal. If you guys are wanting to hear actually how it sounds, we're going to do that now and get everything plugged in. Eric, what's going to be the guitar for today?

Eric Wilson:
I'm going to use the Tele for this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect, awesome. Well, we're going to get this connected and we will see guys on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
That was the Keeley Fuzz Bender. It's a great sounding fuzz that has a lot of really great added controls and I enjoyed it.

Scott Schwertly:
It's a wonderful hybrid fuzz pedal. If fuzz is your thing and you like collecting fuzz pedals, this is definitely one to add your collection. It's a good one, so highly recommend it.

Well, awesome guys. That's what we wanted to cover today with the Keeley Fuzz Bender. Again, a great fuzz pedal, a great one to have.

Join us next time. We're actually going to be getting into episode 50. Hard to believe we've got 50 episodes in the books now, but super exciting. Because it's our 50th episode, we're going to go ahead and cover another siren pedal. On that episode specifically, we're going to be talking about our very own anvil compressor. So if you're looking to get a compressor pedal or maybe upgrade your compressor pedal, hopefully you'll find that episode to be a fun one.

Eric Wilson:
I'm excited about that one. I just recently put the anvil back on my board, so that'll be great to talk about that one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely, I'm excited. So join us next time as we dive into our anvil compressor and until then, have a great day, have a great week and we will catch you in the next one.

Close (esc)

Get Our Free eBook!

Do you love dirt as much as we do? Learn the rich history behind all the overdrive and distortion pedals you know and love. Download our free ebook, The History of Guitar Distortion.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Search

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now