Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

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mbene085
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Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by mbene085 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:33 am

Many moons ago, I had a Red Bear MK 60 amp. It was a Russian-made, Gibson-distributed point to point amp with bizarre 6-volt Russian preamp tubes and 6L6's (or 5881s, I forget).

Image

I eventually sold it because I needed a multi-channel amp, and I have missed the stupid thing ever since. It had low and high gain inputs, and a "sensitivity" button that upped the gain regardless of which input you were plugged into.

The high gain input with sensitivity engaged had the most massive, fuzzy, bassy doom tone I've ever heard straight from an amp, and most of it was preamp drive. I remember my pant legs flapping from all the low end this thing put out through my 2x12 when I stood in front of it.

There aren't a lot of demos of them online, but I found this one and man did it take me back. This is just an SG plugged straight in and dimed.

The crazy thing about it was that, as fuzzy and splatty it might seem, it had this insanely good chug to it when you palm muted. I haven't played an amp before or since that was quite like it.

These days I'm running a digital rig and short of spending $1000 buying the head and running it into a reactive load box, plus lugging 50lbs of extra gear to function essentially as a dirt pedal, I'm not quite sure how to capture it.

Have anyone found a dirt box that can get this huge and fuzzy, but still chug with palm muting?

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by fuzzjunkie » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:13 am

Isn't that like a hot rod JCM-800? Or maybe a Soldano?

If so, you'rein luck, there are pedals for that!

I don't know much about the Soldano preamp type pedals, other than there is at least one, but there are plenty of hot rod JCM-800 pedals. I'd try a good old Dirty Little Secret or a Distortron first. Maybe a zVex Double Rock.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by nanamour » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:19 am

Seconding fuzzjunkie's recommendation, a Zvex Distortron on high gain mode with the subs switch on 2 or 3 might get you close. For ~$75 used, it wouldn't be a bankbusting experiment if it ends up not doing it for you.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by fuzzjunkie » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:51 am

The Wampler SLOstortion is the Soldano one I hear everyone mention. It’s a Soldano SLO-100 in a box type pedal.

Another cheap option is the old Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde pedal. They rebranded themselves as Truetone a few years ago, but same pedal. One side is a really good Tubescreamer clone and the other is hot rod Marshall. You can combine the two if you need more gain, but I think the Hyde side with the “blunt” switch on would sound a lot like that video you linked.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by mbene085 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:48 pm

Thanks for the input so far. IIRC It's the Sovtek Migs that were more JCM800 clones. These guys had weird 6V preamp tubes and way more gain plus 6L6's. They didn't have a single tube in common with an 800.

I've played a lot of 800s and love them for other reasons but this had a way bassier, way fuzzier thing going on. Unless I've played some weird JCMs, I just never got one to sound anything like that clip I posted plugging straight in.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:14 pm

That’s pretty interesting. It sounds very broken up, yet still hangs together.

As far as pedals, I may try to see if I can get anywhere near there, maybe with a combination of a Colourbox pretty dosed out and a Mad Professor Amber to smooth it out a bit. At low volume, anyway, I don’t torture my neighbors much.

Sounds like it would definitely need something with a tone stack, unless you can pull ALL of that bass from just the amp, but I’d think the pedal(s) would need to feed it a bass healthy signal.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by nanamour » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:42 pm

I'll add that fiddling around with the sub, fuzz, and impedance controls on my newly acquired Zvex Mastotron earlier this evening, (completely by accident) I got a remarkably similar big, fuzzy self-destructing overdrive sound to the one in the video you posted, while maintaining a fair bit of clarity and tightness, at least on my tele's bridge pickup. Might be another cheapish option worth looking into (plus it'll do a pretty good facsimile of the Fuzz Factory's tamer sounds if you're into that sort of thing).

Edit: See: the last 10 seconds or so of the Soundcloud demo clip posted here

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:08 pm

Seems like a cool pedal. I don’t have any of his pedals, but a friend has had a few, and they seem pretty cool.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:54 pm

Not sure if you’ve looked already, but there are a couple of 120’s on Reverb stateside, one just a head and one with a cab.

After watching that demo again, I may try the blue JT Dizzy Tone (V5?) instead for that tone. I use it for bass, it has a lot of inherent bass and loads of fuzz. I forget which transistor it uses, but it’s nice.

Edit: not sure about the chug factor, I’ll try to see.

Edit 2: I pulled it off of my bass board and put it at the end of one of my guitar boards for a quick sample, with a 5w Bugera at very low volume & an old 12” Greenback. Germanium is usually fussy about not being first, but it sounded good at a low volume.

Sounds good, and it seems like it can chug pretty well, especially if the sustain (fuzz) isn’t fully dimed and splattery. Attack (tone) knob was at about halfway. But it’s definitely hefty & deep. I’ll have to check it out at louder volume tomorrow.

I went & looked it up, it’s the V5 Triple Black Dizzy Tone, with a Mullard black glass OC44.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by somanytoys » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:38 pm

Tried the Dizzy Tone out on a Plexi clone today (preamp dimed), seemed too sputtery for a good chug.

Tried the MP Amber, not sure if it was quite enough fuzz, but it was nice.

The Throback OD/B on the silicon mode with the gain dimed and the bass up was really nice, probably much closer. It’s not a cheap pedal (~$300+ new, if I remember correctly).

The Colourbox is packed away, and I didn’t pull it out, but I think it might also get close. But it’s not cheap, either.

Seems a little hard to tell, really, just from the YT video, but the Zvex mentioned above may be a cheaper route to try. Or maybe buy a 120.

Good luck.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by mbene085 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:29 pm

Jeez, thanks for the all the work you did in your fuzz lab trying to cook that up! When I posted this I figured I'd get some answers off the top of people's heads, not a dedicated pedal tweaking session hunting for that tone. That's super cool of you.

I totally realize that one YouTube video is hard to go off. Since moving to digital/FRFR gear, I don't even have a regular guitar cab anymore, so the only way to recapture this one tone is to invest in an entire head and cab just for that one sound. They do still exist online, which is cool to know, but I don't know if I can justify like $1200 for that one sound, let alone the 100lbs of voluminous plywood boxes. I could still get the head and something like a Suhr Reactive Load and basically use it as a giant channel for my digital setup, which would be pretty funny since it outweighs all my other gear combined by a factor of 10 or something.

I figured it was a shot in the dark, but this thread has given me a lot of pedals to look into for fun otherwise.

Or maybe I'll just ditch all the digital gear, give up playing anything remotely clean and just pick up a Red Bear, a bigass can, and play doom and sludge for the rest of my life. I can imagine worse fates :D

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by somanytoys » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:36 pm

Haha - you’re welcome. It was a cool sound, and kind of fun to chase, actually. Gave me a reason to try to mix up some new concoctions that I hadn’t really tried much in the lab! Gave me some cool ideas for similar sounds from pedals I already have, which is never bad. Hopefully it gave you some ideas as well.

I don’t know if you want to change up what you have going, or if you can still achieve the sound with a pedal (or 2) with your current setup, but as I mentioned, there are currently 2 on Reverb- a 120 head alone for $650, and a 120 stack (looks like a RB cab) for $800 (local pickup only in Jersey), if you care to and can splurge.

I think that’s one of the fun parts of guitar & bass, especially these days, is that your taste is always changing, sometimes gassing for things for new sounds, sometimes gassing for things for old sounds.

My problem (?) is that I’ve held on to most of the stuff that I’ve bought over the last 30+ years, with some exceptions. I’m literally running out of room and have a real problem trying to decide what I am actually willing to part with. Most of it is really cool stuff, old and new.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you can find something that scratches that specific itch well.

And then, it’s on to the next itch...
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by fuzzjunkie » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:03 pm

fiddling around with the sub, fuzz, and impedance controls on my newly acquired Zvex Mastotron earlier this evening, (completely by accident) I got a remarkably similar big, fuzzy self-destructing overdrive sound to the one in the video you posted, while maintaining a fair bit of clarity and tightness,
The Mastotron is a Doom favorite, more so than the Distortron, if that doesn't get you close I don't know what will. There is a Small sound Big sound pedal that is popular too for over the top fuzzy overdrive.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by mbene085 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:43 pm

I might have to try out the zvex...it's definitely the simpler option. Jersey is a 14 hour round trip drive, but I did eye that amp on Reverb. Would make "chasing a tone" quite literal. The 120 watt version is even more overkill than the 60, though I have to admit that the idea of going back to this oddball, single-channel tube amp would be a nice walk down memory lane.

When I sold it, I wasn't in a position to be having multiple amps sitting around. I needed at minimum two channels, so it had to go, but I really do miss it. I wish I could find a sound sample online of how bonkers that thing sounded with the gain maxed on my jaguar. Definitely a unique tone.

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Re: Is there any fuzz/drive pedal out there that sounds like a Red Bear's preamp?

Post by somanytoys » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:32 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:43 pm
Jersey is a 14 hour round trip drive, but I did eye that amp on Reverb. Would make "chasing a tone" quite literal.
THAT is pretty funny!

Wasn’t sure how far away you were from there, but yeah, that would make it very literal.

I’d probably do it for the right piece of equipment and price, I think. Maybe try to make a little vacation out of it somehow, to justify all the gas I’d be burning. It would have to be something really special or at a gigantic steal of a price.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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