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This is one nasty fuzz and Black Arts Toneworks has received a lot of worthy praise as a result! Although I created a demo of how some settings sound on a Clean channel, I couldn’t resist throwing in the effects on a High-Gain channel (reminiscent of a chainsaw cutting through hardwood!).
What makes this fuzz so appealing is that it’s as much distortion and drive as it is fuzz… giving that intense graininess to the tone, which becomes massive in sound when playing in the lower registry.
Besides the VOLUME and FUZZ knobs, which are fairly straight forward (and a little goes a long way with the Fuzz), there is a TONE knob and a HIGH knob. These work well together in that you can roll off the highs with the Tone knob, and then reintroduce them with the High knob. You may think “why not just increase the Tone knob for more highs?” Well, you may want to introduce more lows and need to sneak in more highs at the same time. A very nice knob combination and plenty of tone to go around!
There is a LO/HI switch, similar to what you would find on an amp – offering a deeper and darker sound (more headroom and less clipping) vs. one with more treble definition (less headroom and more clipping). I like the ‘on the cutting edge’ of the HI setting, and so the demo is based on that.
The other switch is a diode selector, which allows for different modes of clipping; you can select Silicon Diodes (for an edgy distortion) or Asymmetrical Germanium clipping diodes (for a warm, tube-like sound). However, when set in the middle you get the cleanest, loudest signal and no clipping, which is where I left it for the demo (which was running over 9-minutes without experimenting with the other settings… did I mention plenty of tone to go around?).
When you factor in all the possible settings it won’t take long to discover that you can get some very warm overdrive and boosting from the Son of Pharaoh, or perhaps some meaty distortion. And you certainly can get a full assault of one of the hairiest fuzzes you’ve ever heard. All of which cleans up nicely with the volume control.
Encased in steel, the Son of Pharaoh has a metal foot switch and plastic knobs. The Diode and Lo/Hi toggle switches are metal, located between knobs for better protection. The foot switch is far enough removed from the knobs that there shouldn’t be an issue of damage caused by stomping. The standard 9v power input is located at the back, as well as the input-output – far from harm’s way.
For those not into fuzz pedals, the Son of Pharaoh may change your mind. It can be so subtle and warm, grainy and distorted or simply massive that it rumbles the floor and walls around your speaker. On that note, this pedal also works very well for Bass guitar, offering thick fat fuzz tones without low-end loss or sounding squishy or flabby. As well, it should be noted that this is the SAME pedal as Black Arts Toneworks’ PHARAOH… merely in a smaller footprint to save you room on your pedal board.
EASE OF USE:
The pedal is not difficult to use… pure analog and no digital screens, etc. However, there is some playing around required among Tone, High and Fuzz knobs… and how they sound with the Lo/Hi setting and what diode you use (which can affect where you want to set the knobs, but also your Volume). There are absolutely no downfalls, except it will not operate on a battery and you need a separate power supply (basic 9V).
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