Fulltone 70 – Review of BC-108C Fuzz Pedal

When it comes to fuzz pedals, Fulltone is one brand that inevitably makes it to the top of the list. Founded in 1991 by the legendary composer, guitarist, and performer, Michael Fuller, Fulltone quickly became a go-to brand for all music-lovers. And Fulltone has proven its worth yet again with the all-new 70-BC Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal. 

With a couple of BC-108C transistors, Fulltone 70 sounds outrageous when you compare it with the original fuzz from the 1970s. You will probably howl and growl while playing this fuzz box. But if you want something polite or soothing, the Fulltone Fuzz  70, isn't your cup of tea.

Fulltone 70 has been used by many renowned guitar players like Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Keith Richards, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Reverend Horton Heat, Stone Gossard etc to name a few.

Things to consider before buying a fuzz box

Fuzz is for those who love that added distortion, particularly the musicians who play rock music. Here are some factors that you should consider before buying a fuzz box:

  • Germanium Or Silicon? - When it comes to Fuzz pedals, there is always a debate about choosing Germanium or Silicon Transistors. Earlier Fuzz effects used Germanium. These units had a warm and rounded tone with a lot of midrange, but were very sensitive to your picking, playing style and the volume pot setting on your guitar.  They off course produced the famous, vintage fuzz sounds. Silicon on the other hand is reliable, consistent and cheaper with bright but harsh sound, having a lot of top end and presence. Silicon transistors have higher gains and are much less sensitive to temperature variations, than Germanium.
  • Recognize your flavor – The level of distortion you want will decide whether booster, overdrive, distortion or fuzz-effect is right for you. In their article explaining these effects, Sweetwater have compared booster, overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals to mild, medium, hot and insane levels of spices in a dish. Food with all these options of spices can be tasty, if the chef is good! Those who play rock usually incline to fuzz boxes that come with much higher distortion levels.
  • Do you use buffers? - If you are using buffered output pedals, make sure to place your fuzz pedals before these devices. Fuzz-units have low impedance and they work best by loading the guitar signal, without any buffered unit in between. Try to keep your fuzz-units early in your signal chain. However, if you are using Wah effect in your signal chain, you need to put it before Fuzz-unit and a buffer in between to convert high output impedance of Wah unit to a lower value. You need to turn off the buffer when you don't need Wah.
  • Fuzz notes – Always play a few notes before buying a fuzz box. Tune the box to check whether the box produces the sound you have in mind. If it is not possible to try the box, make sure to watch many of the sound demo videos available on the web to satisfy yourself.

Our Picks for Review

Make

Model

Details

Fulltone

70 BC-108C

Fulltone 70 BC-108C

PRO's & CON's of Fulltone 70 BC-108C

Before going through the features and customer reviews of Fulltone 70 pedal, let us look at some of Pros and Cons associated with it:

Pros

  • It offers vintage style fuzz tones with much higher flexibility, reliability and quality than the original Fuzzface at a much affordable price.
  • It  has intentionally mismatched transistors for very high harmonic content and includes a mid control for extra clarity and cut.
  • Built with top notch and custom built components and Proprietary PCB mounting method to last long.

Cons

  • This is not for beginners. You must have enough experience as a guitarist to handle this box. It takes practice to adjust.
  • It doesn't produce soothing tones. You should only use this box, if you play rock.
  • Can become obsolete or undergo specification change due to unavailability of certain parts.

Features and Benefits

No matter how hard we try to catch up with technological innovation, it's difficult not to feel nostalgic when you hear vintage sounds. The 70's and 80's were the golden eras of jazz and rock. Many musicians these days are trying to recreate that magic with modern instruments. And the Fulltone 70-BC Fuzz is an attempt to help that magic spread.

When it comes to purchasing this beauty, you should know some of its features and why it's different from the other fuzz boxes.

Mismatched Silicon Transistors for Harmonic Content

Original Fuzzface had two versions - Arbiter Fuzzface with Germanium transistors and Dallas Arbiter Fuzzface with Silicon BC108-C transistors. The Silicon version had inspired the creation of Fulltone 70 pedals.

Fulltone 70 model was discontinued in 2009 by the company, after 15 years of production, due to non availability of the signature transistors. However, the company was able to source more than 2000 of these transistors in excellent condition and have relaunched the pedal as 70 BC-108C Fuzz Pedal.

Fulltone 70 has two intentionally mismatched silicon transistors in its circuitry that provide extra harmonic content.

Mid Control for Extra Clarity and Cut

Original Fuzzface was  not able to cut through in the live band situation. 70-BC Fuzz pedal addresses the issue and includes a mid control for extra clarity of the midrange. This control is called the "Mids" and adds gain to the overall sound while particularly accentuating the mid frequencies. By playing with this control, you will hit upon a sweet spot where all the notes will sustain.     

Internal BIAS Trimmer

70-BC Fuzz pedal has a preset Inter BIAS Trimmer that has an impact on the pedal's response, compression and transient response. It also allows the user to get either soft or very hard edged tones.

Controls

Controls functions on this pedal are very similar to those on other Fuzz units. A brief overview id presented below:

  1. 1
    Volume Knob: It controls the overall volume level in the ON state of the unit.
  2. 2
    Mid Control Knob or Mids: In clockwise rotation of the knob, gain and mid range is added. Ideal position of the knob is at 12 o'clock position. In full counterclockwise position (CCW), you will get stock Fuzzface sounds.
  3. 3
    Fuzz Knob: CW rotation adds distortion distortion and sustain. Effect is more pronounced only after 3 o'clock position and most gain comes towards the end of the rotation in CW direction. You may hear some crackling sound on turning Mids and Fuzz knob, which is normal.
  4. 4
    Internal BIAS Trimmer: CW movement softens the tone and causes more compression. Turn it CCW to increase the loudness, have faster tracking and accentuate the low range.

Sound

Many players feel that the pedal is much more nasty and heavy sounding than other pedals in the market. Coupling the pedal with a booster or an overdriven tube amplifier can be really brutal to your ears.

You can dial in a much wider spectrum of tones with this fuzz pedal as compared to the original Fuzzface. It has more aggressive and insane fuzz than the 69 pedal. With the Volume and Fuzz control knobs, you can adjust the required amount of saturation and sustain.

It does not get noisy and remains very responsive to your playing and guitar volume adjustments.

Use of top notch and custom built components

Fulltone pedals are manufactured in South California, USA and are known to last very long and sound amazing. They are made from the finest components, many of which are custom designed and built.  These include 3PDT switches, 22 gauge copper wire without any tin coating and brass shaft pots (discussed below).  

Long Lasting Pots

One of the main features of Fulltone pedals are the strong and smooth custom made brass shaft pots. These pots are mounted on the internal PCB using proprietary "through PCB" methods, as against the common practice of securing them by pot terminals. This method increases the life of the pots and reduces jumper wire connections on the board.

Enclosure

The relaunched 70 Fuzz Fulltone is housed in a smaller, OCD-sized [ 53.3 (H) x 114.3 (D) x 63.5 (W) mm ] steel box enclosure in its new avatar and is thus more pedalboard friendly now. The compact 16 gauge steel box enclosure makes the unit very rugged. The shell is powder coated in deep blue color and has light patterns drawn on it. Usually deep blue color will instill calm, but this Fulltone 70 pedal is an exact opposite.

Power Supply & Connections

Fulltone 70 Fuzz has 1 No. of Instrument Input and 1 No. of 1/4" output. The manufacturer recommends use of regulated DC power supply of 5 - 18 V with negative to center pin. 9V DC power supply or 1 x 9V batteries are commonly used (not included with the pedal). You can also use Fulltone's FPS-1 power supply.

Other Features

Some of the other features are:

  1. 1
    It is not recommended to be used with Wah-Wah pedals due to excessive howling and screaming sounds.
  2. 2
    The pedal is ideally suited for older 4 input Marshall amps.
  3. 3
    It has a true bypass  footswitch

Social Proof of the Pedal

Next, we present some of the reviews that sums up the opinion of majority of the players who have used Fulltone 70 and highlights its advantages and disadvantages:

Fulltone 70 Review 01

This is a very detailed review where the user has expressed his satisfaction with virtually every feature of the Fulltone 70 ranging from mismatched transistors, volume knob exceeding guitar's output, Mids control, internal trim pot, quality construction, size, price to sound of the pedal.

Fulltone 70 Review 02

The reviewer is impressed with Fulltone in general and with its its robust construction & amount of distortion produced by the pedal. In his view, the pedal is able to clean up the tone on reducing the guitar volume.

Fulltone 70 Review 03

Even though the reviewer has rated the pedal with 4 stars, he feels disappointed. We have already stated in the Controls section of our review that the effect is pronounced after 3 o'clock setting only. Also, this pedal requires experience, practice and trial to dial in initially and is not for those looking for something soothing. But once you are able to dial in, it provides more fuzz than any other pedal in the market.

In Conclusion

While Fulltone 70 is inspired by the vintage Fuzzface, it is not an exact replica of the original. It offers more fuzz than the 69 and any other similar pedals in the market. It is loaded with features like, mid control, internal bias trim pot, custom made quality components, small size to fit any pedalboard, sturdy enclosure and many more. Above all, this exaggerated distortion comes at a very affordable price. Click below to check it out !!

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