Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face

Make: Dallas Arbiter / Dallas Music Industries LTD
Model: Fuzz Face
Colour: Red , some white paint splatters.
Year: 19??
Serial Number: N/A
Transistors: BC209C
Comments: All original except for a True Bypass modification. Has ‘Dallas Music Industries LTD’ under the front rubber stomp pad instead of ‘Dallas Arbiter’. Is missing the bottom rubber feet. Very in your face fuzz!


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Price at 19??: $??.00 US Dollars.

The first Fuzz Face was labeled “ARBITER” and used germanium transistors. This came out in the mid 60s (1966?). Most were grey. By ’68 they were labeled “Dallas-Arbiter”. They used NKT-275 transistors made by New Market electronics in England. These were germanium PNP transistors. They were smooth sounding and will clean up nicely when the volume on the guitar is turned down. This was the type of fuzzface used by Clapton in Cream and early Hendrix, also SRV up until he used the Diaz versions. All these were built in England with British parts. Date codes can be seem on the mini-pots above the lugs (i.e. 8 68 for August 1968).

About ’69 they started to use the “new” silicon NPN transistors, which are more stable at different temperatures. The germaniums change their sound when they get hot. The BC-183 was used on many of the early silicon ‘faces. This silicon version is brighter and fuzzier, not quite as smooth. Hendrix probably used these in his later years. This version lasted until at least the mid-70s. The BC-108C is also a good sounding silicon transistor, used from the early 70s. The “C” is the HFE or gain rating, meaning a VERY high gain transistor.

It seems the Fuzz Face was produced in the US in the mid-70s for a few years. Crest Audio in NJ made them for a while, and used the BC-109C silicon transistors normally. Some were labeled “Dallas-Music” instead of “Dallas-Arbiter”. These had taller housings than the other fuzzfaces.

Around 1990 or so Dave Fox from Crest Audio made some more Fuzz Faces with silicon BC-109C transistors which sound pretty good. They were mostly red. The “Dallas-Arbiter England” seen in the “smile” of the face was printed on a sticker rather than painted on the pedal.

The Dunlop reissue Fuzz Face was started in 1993 with leftover parts possibly after sueing the previous fuzz face maker over trade name use. Dunlop uses germanium NKT-275 labeled transistors made in the USA that sound nothing like the original transistors, with low gain and lousy sound.

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