Germanium Launch System
Germanium Launch System: The GLS tastefully combines two of the most popular Germanium circuits, the Fuzz Face and the Rangemaster Treble Boost, providing a variety of vintage germanium tones in one beautifully constructed package. Both circuits have been modified to improve their usability with the demands of modern players in mind.
The Fuzz Face: This section of the GLS was inspired by the Diaz Texas Square Face and has a warm, yet aggressive tone that begs you to play some SRV licks. The transistors selected for this section are on the mellow side, which really helps tame some of the harshness typically associated with the Fuzz Face. This section of the GLS is very responsive to your guitars volume control, giving you anything from aggressive lead tones to a warm rounded overdrive that could even be used as an “always on” tone enhancer.
The Rangemaster: This section of the GLS is a traditional Rangemaster circuit built with a hot transistor for additional makeup gain. This circuit has been modified with the ability to switch between the classic Treble Boost mode and a more modern Full Range Mode. In Treble Boost mode, the pedal behaves like the typical rangemaster: spitting out soaring leads that slice through the mix. In Full Range mode, the pedal takes on a slightly more aggressive character: It becomes a slightly dirty boost that imparts your full signal with a subtle and unique flavor of grit.
Both circuits have been modified with a modern power section that allows this pedal to be powered with a standard +9v center negative jack. This eliminates the need for special cables or power supplies that are typically required to power vintage PNP Germanium circuits.
Thrust- Sets the gain for the rangemaster section. This effectively acts as the overall volume control, but is interactive with the other controls. Higher settings in stage 1&2 will drive this circuit harder, leading to different drive tones. Higher thrust settings will also impart a unique grit to the signal as the rangemaster will begin to clip at higher settings.
Stage 1- This is the first gain stage of the Fuzz Face and is traditionally known as the “Fuzz” control. This knob has the most control on how aggressive your tone will be.
Stage 2- This is the output from the second gain stage of the Fuzz Face, traditionally known as the “Volume” control. In the GLS, it becomes a second “Fuzz” control as it determines how much signal is sent into the rangemaster. Higher settings will cause the rangemaster to clip, where lower settings will result in a smoother gain profile throughout the range of the Thrust control. This control is highly interactive with the Thrust control.
Range- This switch controls the behavior of the rangemaster circuit.
Treble- Stock Rangemaster tones with inspiring leads
Full- Transforms the Rangemaster into a full range germanium boost with a hint of grit.
Suggested Initial setup- Begin with Thrust at Noon, Stage 1 fully off, Stage 2 at Noon. Adjust the Range switch and the Stage 2 knob in order to set your desired boost character. Once this is complete, adjust Stage 1 to set the desired level of Fuzz. You can then adjust the output volume using Thrust. Adjusting your guitars volume knob will provide additional versatility for the touch sensitivity of the drive.
Note- While this pedal has received some modern improvements, it is still based on a vintage Fuzz Face circuit. Its tone is highly dependent on pedal placement and does not behave well when placed after buffers. Its recommended to use this pedal first in your pedal chain to eliminate any potential compatibility issues.