Video: Jext Telez Canyon Climber

The fuzz fanatics at Detroit’s Jext Telez never fail to impress us with each creative circuit they release, and the Canyon Climber fuzz is no different. Born of a partnership with producer and guitarist Jonathan Wilson (and carrying his namesake in the preface), the Canyon Climber is an exact replication of Wilson’s favorite fuzz box—a 1960s Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion—with some modern improvements.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the Shin-Ei FY-2, whether on early Ennio Morricone soundtrack recordings, Dan Auerbach’s ripping lead lines with The Black Keys, or Colin Greenwood’s monstrous basslines on "Exit Music (For a Film)" and "Myxomatosis."

More recently, when Wilson produced Father John Misty’s critically acclaimed album Pure Comedy, the Companion fuzz was his go-to sine wave destroyer. And when Roger Waters asked him to contribute heavily on his latest album, Is This the Life We Really Want?, the FY-2 became his first choice.

The tone is unmistakable and impossible to ignore. It’s a velcro, starved transistor voltage fuzz, with a fizziness that sometimes sounds like there’s a subtle filter sweep. In the upper register of a guitar, it makes you feel like there is a tasteful hint of an upper octave, ghostlike as it may be. Overall, it’s bitey, spitty, and almost broken-sounding—but in the best way possible.

Jext Telez gets it like no one else would or could. I think we achieved something living and breathing." - Jonathan Wilson

Wilson says, "I often use several stages of studio preamp overload when I make records. Usually I take a Shin-Ei Companion and re-amp it or tweak it through some Telefunken tube preamps or Neve 1073s and cascade the gain and limit to taste." This creates a multistage fuzz, and with the Jext Telez Canyon Climber, "It’s finally been created in pedal form."

The wizards at Jext Telez ripped apart Jonathan’s FY-2, measuring all its components and matching them with old-school NOS black button transistors in a sacred formula. Transistors can sag over time, but that’s beside the point. Jext Telez wasn’t interested in creating the FY-2 in general—it was interested in dialing in the best FY-2 ever heard.

Jext Telez Canyon Climber

With this circuit iteration, Wilson wanted to solve a major issue. The FY-2 needed more output—a lot more. So a switch was installed to toggle between Wilson’s circuit and a boosted circuit with a monstrous addition of output. It might be listed as a 10dB boost, but it feels like 100dB when you flick that switch. And once you flip it, there’s really no reason to go back to the other, quieter side.

This isn’t the smooth, buttery Big Muff sounds of David Gilmour, mind you. This is an all-out assaultive fuzz. There’s no hiding it in a mix.

All in all, it’s a fuzz-lover's dream come true to have an updated Companion. Bonus points that it’s the one favored by one of the most creative producers making music today.


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