Will this re-issue of the original Danelectro Octave Fuzz beat out the recent Thirty7fx Fat Guy Little Coat and my beloved EHX Muff for space on my board?
With a revamped pedal lineup in 2020, Danelectro is back in the effects game. They made a strong impression with these premium releases, which are all different remakes of classic Danelectro ciruits, though the best may be this 3699 fUZZ which boasts an octave effect as well. Based on the ’70s FOXX Tone Machine, the 3699 fUZZ has volume, tone, and fuzz controls in addition to a mid-boost toggle switch and octave footswitch. When engaged, the mid boost helps create a punchier, fuller sound that cuts through the mix of a band or recording track nicely. The octave effect is an octave up only, so Jack White/down tuning fans might want to look elsewhere right off the bat. With the $199 price tag, it is certainly pricier than a lot of the fuzz pedal competition, though it is the most affordable way to get your hands on the recreated FOXX Tone Machine circuit that is upwards of $600 now.
The pedal isn’t short on looks however, with a stunning yellow on red casing and almost cartoonish text on the logo. It’s a pretty pedal and it looks absolutely great on any pedal board. A few things to notice, it is a lot thicker than most standard sized pedals, in terms of the height of the pedal off the ground. Though it is standard in terms of width and length thankfully. Likewise, the two footswitches are bit close together, though not too close to be useable for most.
Review & Opinion
Right off the bat, the 3699 hits you with volume and a surprising amount of static clarity. It’s both crispy and fizzy yet articulate, meaning you don’t lose a lot of notes in your playing until you really crank the levels of volume and fuzz. Likewise, the mid-boost switch really helps push your guitar tone into a nice lead tone, that won’t let you be lost in the mix. It’s a vintage fuzz through and through, with warm and rich sounds that do get crazy but not nearly as crazy as some of these wild new modern fuzzes out there. So if you’re looking for something in the Fuzz Factory direction, this is not for you. When you hit on the high octave, it actually thickens up the sound quite a bit more than I anticipated, which I love. It’s not as crystal clear, as in you don’t hear two clear signals. It’s a lot more of a blend and I don’t think it’ll satisfy most octave fan’s needs. But if you’re like me and just want something to nudge your tone a bit closer to onstage madness, it’s perfect. That’s really the whole appeal of this wonderful 3699 fUZZ, it’s a versatile, but time octave fuzz. For players more grounded in classic rock, punk, or older styles of music, this is a superb fuzz option for your pedalboard.
Final Conclusion & Rating: 9.0 out of 10
There’s a lot to like here, even with the high price tag in my opinion. Danelectro did a lot little things right here that make this a really fun pedal. It’s warm sounding, vintage inspired, and gorgeous to see when you look down at your pedalboard. Overall, it just sounds flat out good, and has some fun tones you can coax out of it with the mid-boost and octave. It’s one of those pedals that is almost under the radar when it comes to versatility. So as long as you’re shopping for a vintage-style fuzz instead of a more modern circuitry, this is a top contender any way you slice it.
My pedal in action below, it sits between my distortion (RAT) and Phaser (Phase 90), and it sounds great though my Fano Omnis JM6!