+100 on the spitfire but while you're at it go for the mongfire. There's a subtle difference between the mongoose and spitfire but since the part count is only slightly higher I do believe it's worth it for the additional flexibility. Both of them are amongst the most underrated fuzzes ever for you application imo...
I've found my tones, and they're the germanium fuzz face (I'm going to build that Escobedo easy face) and the Black Arts Pharoah (also gonna build, but later down the road a bit). I like a really thick sound that has a wooly mid-y sound.
It's funny; Through so many years of searching for the right fuzz, the tone I love so much ends up being a hi-gain pedal (boss HM-2) and a flabby old blues fuzz like the Ger-FF.
Black Cat OD guts are being shipped from Tayda as well as the Easyface guts, so I'm looking forward to wedging those into electrical junction boxes, hosing them down with engine block enamel, and showing them off someday soon.
Does anyone have any opinions on Germanium Fuzz builds? I've not bothered so far as it seem like a hassle to get the right transistors without getting ripped off. Part of me kind of thinks I should try it though, just because so many people rave about them.
I think the germanium vs silicon thing is just another one of those mojo vs mojo debates, sure theres probably a small difference but i dont think its big enough to pay that much extra just for transistors. The only germanium fuzz i have is the fuzz factory, and lets face it, when you turn that on, germanium trannies arent exactly the first thing you notice.
I've currently built Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Zvex Fuzz Factory, D*A*M Grease Box and Drag'n'Fly, and Tonebender. All of them are germanium based.
Well, the sound is a bit different, smoother and maybe (it depends os tastes) richer. For sure is not as harsh as it can get with silicon ones.
I agree that prices of NOS tested trannies are just insane, but there are still on the bay some sellers that offer selected pairs at reasonable price, about 7 euros / pair of AC128's, s&h inlcuded. OCXX's are about 10 bucks unit or even more expensive.
But what was a discovery for me were the ex soviet GT308 and other russian germ trannies. These are not known for their high gain, but they have "something inside" that makes them great. Their price is quite low, about 15€ a pack of 50 units, and you can get several great pairs out of these 50.
I can tell you that i built the Fuzz Face and the Fuzz Factory with selected AC128s, and now I have GT308s inside. The Grease Box does so take 3 GT308s inside.
Before started to build D*A*M silicon fuzzes, I just liked germanium ones, could not support silicon ones. I see now that you can get incredible and smooth fuzzes with silicon, but all in all, the sound is different.
You can buy a selected pair and try for yourself, not much money to risk :)
I own a Lunar Module and love it. On the plus side, it's a good "sound in a box" pedal and the controls are excellent so you get more tones out of it than you might expect.. On the possible downside, I think it is happiest by itself or at least as the solo dirt pedal. So if you find yourself wishing you had just a little different character to the OD or a little treble boost or whatever and you can't get it from the tone controls, then you can't easily stack something with it.
If you are going to build three fuzzes, you may want to consider making one of them a Fingerprint. It's not what you asked for, but the other two nail that sound so maybe you don't need three. I like the Fingerprint because to me, it's really a different kind of fuzz and it is super-versatile.
If you think about an OD that is relatively transparent and keeps your tone but just adds that bit of grit? The Fingerprint is like that only with fuzz. Your tone is the same as it was before you stomped on the switch, it just has fuzz added to it. There's a texture knob, and that basically just sets the amount of fuzz you want added so pretty simple. It's a favorite of shoegazers because you can play chords with it which you can't do with a lot of fuzzes. The chords will still ring out and cut through but as they sustain you'll get that "wall of noise." You can stack it with another fuzz just like you'd stack a mild, clean OD into another OD.
At the extreme settings it can get kind of crazy but you don't have to push it that far. I mean, it's not your stereotypical fuzz sound, and its not what you asked for, and it's not what I would recommend for a first fuzz. But if you're going to have three, the Fingerprint is a good one because its different from other fuzzes and can be used in situations where you normally wouldn't think of to get some unique but not totally out-there-crazy sounds.
Also, it's a pretty simple circuit so won't take weeks to build. It does sound better with single coils IMO, but then I think every fuzz sounds much better with single coils so I guess I'm not really one to judge.