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Thread: Why Aren't the Buffers on Cutlass Guitars Switchable?

  1. #1

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    Why Aren't the Buffers on Cutlass Guitars Switchable?

    Dont get me wrong, the cutlass I have is a fantastic instrument, and it doesn't completely ruin it, but one of the most popular ways to use strat style guitars is with vintage fuzzes. The buffer of makes the cutlass unable to interact with vintage fuzzes in the way most players enjoy (loading from impedance matching, the volume control, dynamics, high end roll off, etc.) since it places the buffer in front no matter what.

    Is EB toying with the idea of making the buffer switchable? Or at least giving the option to leave off? That just seems like a missed opportunity/oversight in the design of an otherwise excellent guitar, since it limits players who are going after that vintage sound and feel with older fuzzes like the FF. And trust me, I really don't want to butcher the instrument with my own electronics.

    Currently trying to design a Fuzz Face with a simulated load but we'll see how that goes.

    Cheers,
    Eric B.

  2. #2

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    The buffer drives me nuts. It's the only thing I dislike about EBMM guitars.

    If you aren't handy with electronics, pulling the guts and wiring in a normal Strat circuit wouldn't be a big deal for most halfway competent techs.
    --
    2013 Luke 3 HH in Bali Blue Burst
    2018 Valentine Tremolo in Satin Natural

  3. #3

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    Oddly enough, I've grown to really like the buffer. No mater what cable I use I get the same tone, and I love that! With my Silhouette Special along side it, any comparison I make of any two pieces of gear depends on the cable used for the Silhouette Special, and I am now really aware of the differences.

    But of course I not only don't use vintage fuzzes, but I have always actively avoided any pedals without at least 500 kΩ input impedance because I hate the treble loss.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
    Irish/American in Paris

    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

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  4. #4

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    It's not the worst idea to have the buffer be switchable, though. That would be handy.

  5. #5

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    Which fuzz pedals really have an issue with buffers being placed before them? Most of them have other problems as well, mainly inconsistency between units and temperature. There are also some classic Fuzz's, like the Big Muff Pi, that don't have any issues with buffered circuits.

    I am far more concerned with a good signal to my amp or effects pedals than with trying to work with 1st gen fuzz pedals.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  6. #6

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    Not to start a semantics debate on this but it's not a vintage vs modern fuzz pedal comparison, it's fuzz pedals with diodes made of germanium versus silicon.

    Are there any pedals which have an issue? No, but there are specific sonic things which people like to do with these pedals (and cables) which can't be done if there's a buffer in the middle.

    I just use my PRSes for that stuff.
    --
    2013 Luke 3 HH in Bali Blue Burst
    2018 Valentine Tremolo in Satin Natural

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by msquared View Post
    Not to start a semantics debate on this but it's not a vintage vs modern fuzz pedal comparison, it's fuzz pedals with diodes made of germanium versus silicon.

    Are there any pedals which have an issue? No, but there are specific sonic things which people like to do with these pedals (and cables) which can't be done if there's a buffer in the middle.
    I read an article describing how Germanium fuzz pedals "clean up" when you turn down the guitar volume, but Silicon fuzz pedals don't, and just get softer with the same amount of fuzz.

    I'm looking for a good article that describes the interaction with the guitars passive electronics, which I can't right now.

    I do however remember that the original PRS "Sweet Switch" was designed to mimic the effect of a long cable for Carlos Santana. He moved to wireless systems, which lost the effects of the long cable, so they made the switch to make his guitars sound the same over wireless.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  8. #8

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    It's the only thing I dislike about EBMM guitars.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    I do however remember that the original PRS "Sweet Switch" was designed to mimic the effect of a long cable for Carlos Santana. He moved to wireless systems, which lost the effects of the long cable, so they made the switch to make his guitars sound the same over wireless.
    The Cutlass circuit also does this. We get true passive pickups, with the tone of a long cable run, no parasitic noise that long cables can also give, consistent tone no matter what real cable we use with none of the treble loss when turning down the volume. It's a very cool circuit and I'd love to know more but they will only tell me that it's closely-guarded proprietary knowledge.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
    Irish/American in Paris

    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Click here for my Music Man photo albums


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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    I read an article describing how Germanium fuzz pedals "clean up" when you turn down the guitar volume, but Silicon fuzz pedals don't, and just get softer with the same amount of fuzz.

    I'm looking for a good article that describes the interaction with the guitars passive electronics, which I can't right now.

    I do however remember that the original PRS "Sweet Switch" was designed to mimic the effect of a long cable for Carlos Santana. He moved to wireless systems, which lost the effects of the long cable, so they made the switch to make his guitars sound the same over wireless.
    It's interesting stuff. Pete Thorn did a tone secrets video a while back where he scratched the surface of how this all works from a musician's perspective but it was light on technical details.

    I will typically run a passive guitar into a germanium fuzz and then put my buffered tuner pedal after that for the best of both worlds.

    That said, this conversation is not helping my Cutlass GAS.
    --
    2013 Luke 3 HH in Bali Blue Burst
    2018 Valentine Tremolo in Satin Natural

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