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Cusack Music Screamer Fuzz Germanium

Daniel Sussman • June 2019Top Gear • June 5, 2019

The Screamer Fuzz Germanium is a limited run upgrade to Cusack’s Music insta-classic Screamer Fuzz pedal. Manufactured in Holland, Michigan, Cusack Music is participating in an exciting renaissance of sorts for boutique American pedals, joining the likes of Zvex, Fulltone, and a slew of other American-based manufacturers. Cusack is looking to innovate in the pedal space – you won’t find clones in their catalog. The Screamer Fuzz Germanium exemplifies this approach: it brings an incredibly diverse range of great sounding overdrive and fuzz effects – a workhorse pedal with a couple of twists. It can do a lot of different things on the pedal board.

Aesthetically, the Screamer Fuzz Germanium is a good-looking pedal; classy with subtle detailing. It is housed in a single space, matte black case with a single LED, four knobs, a 3-way switch, and a soft touch foot pedal switch (soft touch means that there is no click when you step on it). It has an understated high-quality look, principally defined by the four milled knobs. These knobs control Level, Tone, Drive, and Fuzz.

The Drive and Fuzz circuits are where this pedal excels, creating a metric ton of dynamic range between the two of them. The Drive knob controls a warm overdrive, evocative of a tube screamer. The Fuzz adds in a gnarly distortion that, when combined with the Drive, offers up a wide range of tones, from punchy overdrive to Sabbath-esque fuzz. One of my favorite things about this pedal is that the Level knob sets the volume very reliably – you can adjust the crunch without the Drive or Fuzz knobs affecting the volume.

The 3-position switch toggles between three different clipping types: Silicon, LED, and Germanium. Each setting has a different impact on how the Fuzz and Drive circuits break up, particularly when they are cranked. Between the knobs and these switches, there’s a lot of pedal for players to explore – this is a fantastic pedal for the tone-hounds out there who are particular about their sound. That said, I was able to quickly dial up sounds I loved – I found there to be a superb combination of accessibility and depth. It sounds great out of the box but with all of the variety described above, players can tinker to their hearts content.

I used this pedal while playing an American-made Strat through a vintage Fender Precision combo and was able to dial up a very aggressive distortion and then pull back to a clean

tone with just a trace of grit, all while keeping my volume level even. Every element of the Screamer Fuzz Germanium seems built with intent – each knob does what it describes and does it well. This is a player’s pedal designed to become the cornerstone of your sound.

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