SOLVED Kazoo & Plecostomus Fuzz won't work on the higher frets of the high E string

boji

Active member
Hi all,

I have a very specific question, for a problem I've never encountered before.

I've built two pedalpcb fuzzes so far - the Kazoo and Plecostomus. The builds were easy and trouble free.
Both work fine on the low strings and up to the 12th fret or slightly higher.

But for some curious reason, when I reach the high string above the 12th fret, the sound "dies" (for lack of a better word). It does so on every pickup position of my Strat. If I pick very hard, I can get the pedal to react a little.

I tried the same guitar (Fender Stratocaster Vintage Hod Rod 57, which has a Tone Zone Humbucker in the bridge) and amp (Peavey Classic 50) with off the shelf pedals (Carcosa, Blues Driver) to see if the problem was guitar related. Both pedals track fine above the 12th fret.
Do you have any idea what could cause such a behavior?

Thanks a lot!
 

giovanni

Well-known member
Maybe you can post a video? Do the pedals sound as expected elsewhere on the fingerboard? My guess is that the fuzz gets cutoff on higher notes which may indicate a bigger issue, maybe incorrect bias or something.
 

Coda

Well-known member
I have noticed something similar with some pedals, though it’s usually the low E. You hit a note, and it’s just not there. I always assumed to was a combination of the frequency of the note plus the way the transistors handle it. Basically, I just roll with it. I can see how a high e might be problematic, though.
 

PJS

Active member
With high gain you can sometimes get oscillation in the circuit, especially at higher frequencies. The solution can depend on what is causing it. I would first check that your case is properly grounded, and all the things poking through the case (switches/pots etc all make a proper ground connection with the case. Next thing is to make sure your leads (power supply/input/output etc) are as short as possible, routed a bit away from the board. If that doesn't help then try using shielded cable on those leads with the shield grounded at one end. If that fails then I know that capacitors in various parts of the circuit can help, but that is beyond my knowledge.
 

music6000

Well-known member
Have you tried to adjust your Builds to simulate the same type of fuzz with the Blues Driver you are getting from the Carcoza Fuzz.
It may still be High E string is choking above the 12th fret. Have you tried raising the E saddle height a whisker?
 

boji

Active member
Thanks all for your help and sorry for my delayed response.
@giovanni: yes, it works fine until I reach the higher notes. I'll try and post a video to show you exactly what is happening.
@PJS: thanks for this. I'll double check everything you listed as soon as I can.
@music6000: I haven't tried raising the e saddle higher yet, but if it was a saddle issue wouldn't it choke with any pedal?

I didn't have much time to experiment yet, but I played my PRS recently and the pedal (Plecostomus) seemed to work fine everywhere on the fretboard. Could it be a grounding issue in my Strat that would somehow only impact my Pedalpcb builds?
 

giovanni

Well-known member
I didn't have much time to experiment yet, but I played my PRS recently and the pedal (Plecostomus) seemed to work fine everywhere on the fretboard. Could it be a grounding issue in my Strat that would somehow only impact my Pedalpcb builds?
That tells me there is something going on with your Strat. I don’t think grounding issues would cause these symptoms, I think it’s a setup issue. Raising the saddle is probably the easiest way to verify.
 

music6000

Well-known member
Thanks all for your help and sorry for my delayed response.
@giovanni: yes, it works fine until I reach the higher notes. I'll try and post a video to show you exactly what is happening.
@PJS: thanks for this. I'll double check everything you listed as soon as I can.
@music6000: I haven't tried raising the e saddle higher yet, but if it was a saddle issue wouldn't it choke with any pedal?

I didn't have much time to experiment yet, but I played my PRS recently and the pedal (Plecostomus) seemed to work fine everywhere on the fretboard. Could it be a grounding issue in my Strat that would somehow only impact my Pedalpcb builds?
I would try raising the the High E saddle ONE whole turn, If it goes away you have your answer.
This can also happen due to a change in String Gauges if you have gone lighter & the action becomes lower.
This can be corrected with Truss rod adjustment.
Weather is also another factor if a rapid change in Weather Temperature.
You could have a high fret @ 13, you can check this with something that is flat that is wide enough to go over Frets 12, 13 & 14 to see if its rocking.
 

boji

Active member
I have raised the saddle one whole turn on the high E and it did wonders on the way the pedal reacted with the neck pickup. That must have been part of the issue.

No luck with the bridge pickup though, the fuzz still chokes around the 12th fret. Should I check the wiring of the pickup? The pickup itself?
 

boji

Active member
Giovanni, I just raised the bridge pickup a hair and now everything works fine... I can't believe it was such an easy fix! Thank you all!

Do you have any idea why every other pedal I own worked fine with my Strat as it was but those two pedalpcb ones?
 

giovanni

Well-known member
Hard to say, I’d have to see the guitar setup. If you raised the pickup and it fixed the problem my guess is that it wasn’t producing a strong enough signal for the fuzz.
 
Top