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Fuzzy Pumpkin by CK Audio Effects (with demo)

Tight and clear are two key words to describe this fuzz (bordering on distortion) pedal. Based on the Op Amp Big Muff circuit, made famous by Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, the CK Audio Effects’ Fuzzy Pumpkin is not a subtle fuzz. Even when turned low there is plenty of grain, albeit it’s more of a warm sizzle when low and becomes robust like a buzz-saw when cranked (anything past 9-o’clock really heats up). When turned up past 1-o’clock, and then eventually full, there is no mud or flub, and it still remains clear in the mix, although more so with the Tone Control engaged. This is one of the clearest sounding fuzz pedals I have tried, although if you’re looking for a fuzz that is understated (just to add some warmth to a tone), this is not it. On the plus side is that this is a very quiet pedal, even when up full. The only time I could hear any background hum or hiss was with a single-coil guitar in the bridge pickup position (which typically is a tad noisy anyway). A noise-gate eliminated that quick enough.

Regardless, what I also like about the Fuzzy Pumpkin is that you don’t have to mess with the Volume control much. Yes, there is a difference in volume whether the Fuzz control is low or high, but nothing unusual, which means a slight boost for heavy rhythm or leads, but well within reason and without exaggeration (I’m guessing a 3-6dB increase).

The Tone control is an interesting option, something unique to the Fuzzy Pumpkin and with this particular version of the circuit. When off (via the toggle switch flipped down) the tone is more broadband as more mids are allowed into the mix (in essence, some mids are removed with the Tone control on). This produces a fatter fuzz sound, which I prefer when playing leads, as the notes are fatter and creamier. However, with the Tone control engaged, there is more of a bite to the notes, which allows for crispness and easier pinch harmonics when soloing. The two choices allow for either more mellow or more aggressive results. The same is true if playing rhythm, providing a choice as to whether you want that heavy stoner fuzz quality (Tone off), or more of a distorted edge to one’s playing. Further, the breadth of the Tone control is quite comprehensive, ranging from dark (without being muddy) to fairly bright (without being harsh), thus providing sufficient range to coordinate with a host of pickups and amps that likewise range from dark to bright.

A true-bypass pedal, the Fuzzy Pumpkin is a standard pedal size; it has a metal chassis powder-coated orange with black graphics and a clear-coat finish. The Alpha long-life footswitch has a solid click when engaged/disengaged without producing any popping in the signal. The knobs are aluminum and the pots turn smoothly without any crackling or noise in the signal. The toggle switch has a solid click when flipped, does not produce any disturbance in the signal and has enough length for easy access/operation (some toggles are small and require a thumb-nail to catch and flip). A 100% analog circuit, each pedal is hand-built and pre-tested before shipping. The Fuzzy Pumpkin operates on a standard 9VDC (negative center) power supply, but does not accept batteries. At $155 USD, the Fuzzy Pumpkin is a very standard and typical price, although the added bonus of the Tone control on/off option certainly increases its value and appeal.

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