Home Forums General Nasty Fuzzes

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    Big O

    I am look for suggestions on how to build or a Guitar PCB board that will get that raw, nasty fuzz Mark Farner got out of his Messenger guitar when playing upper registers.  You can hear it on the 1969 Grand Funk live video for the song Inside Looking Out you can watch on Youtube, around 4:30 into the video.

    I have gotten into breadboarding some circuits recently and wonder if I could build something similar.  I just built a triple fuzz and it is pretty nasty but not quite there.  I know the fuzz built into Farner’s guitar is called a tonemesser, but I can’t find a definitive schematic anywhere that reliably shows the circuit (looked for messenger fuzz or tonemesser).  I know the fuzz in the guitar runs on a single AA battery and it should be pretty simple as it can fit in a guitar cavity and was produced in the late 60’s.  I have built American fuzzes (one standard and one modified) a Hot Chilicon (Sriracha) as well as the gamut of many other fuzzes such as Tonebender Mk1 and Mk2, Bazz Fuss, Fuzz Faces (Ge and Si-Ge versions) as well as a modded Heathkit TA-28.  I tested all my fuzzes with single coil guitars as that was the type of pickup the Messenger guitars had.  Nothing has nailed the sound, but I bet there should be some circuit that does.

    Maybe an Industrial Fuzz?  Anybody have a clue?




    Can’t find much on it


    This may actually be the Heathkit fuzz I remember you posting about


    You might try a GBOF Meat Fuzz or perhaps go PNP Germanium with Bias or create your own with a GBOF board. That said so people know what we are talking about here is an image.

    Any info I find appear to be educated guesses. Lots of Heathkit TA-28 references.

    There is some info here that sounds about right:


    I would think a cheap early fuzz like the TA-28 with that particular type of guitar playing through a breaking up amp should be damn close. I think this is also a good reason for the tone of his Wah Wah stuff.

    TA-28 Video for reference.


    For other peoples reference here is a video that shows his base tone and then the Fuzz he uses for solos.

    Big O

    That was the video I referenced.  I have seen the picture of the fuzz unit and it appears all but one of the components on the board have been identified by others except for one.  Some think it is a diode, others think it is a choke, while others think it is an inductor – the so called mystery part.  That is the part that is mounted horizontally at the bottom of the picture.

    I have already built a moddified version of the Heathkit TA-28 and it gets most of the early Farner Messenger guitar sound, but not the nasty upper register stuff.  Since this uses a PNP silicon transistor in the circuit (2N2907 or 2N3906), maybe I can substitute a Ge PNP in the socket and see what I get.  I believe I have a higher gain OC75 around 145 HFE to try in the PNP position.  The TA-28 reference has be already debunked.


    Maybe I will breadboard the GBOF Meat Fuzz and check that out.  I’m wondering if the Industrial Fuzz will work in this case, maybe with a tone tweq along with it.


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