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Overview

The Frantone Cream Puff is a fuzz effect noted for its consistent tight and thick tone while playing rhythm riffs.

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Product Specs

Brand
Model
  • Cream Puff
Finish
  • Pink
Year
  • 2010s
Categories

From the Price Guide

More Information

Some fuzzes are instantly recognizable after the first note. We’ve heard them on so many different tracks in rock history, that when we plug into a recognizable fuzz box we will almost automatically gravitate to that famous lick or riff. For example, when one plugs into to a primitive and splatty FZ-1-esque germanium fuzz, it is inevitable that the Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” riff will be loudly blurted out at least a few times. When one plugs into a silicon Fuzz Face, it’s hard not to play any bar from the “Money” solo, and when one plugs into a Tone Bender, Led Zeppelin riffs are almost knee-jerk. With all these classic fuzzes we almost have a preset notion as to how it should sound because we’ve heard it so many times in one way or another. The Cream Puff from Frantone has characteristics of different fuzzes, but is incredibly unique and has a sound all on its own. It really isn’t directly comparable to anything that I have ever heard or tried, which makes playing it an interesting practice in finding your own tone in unfamiliar territory.

SNOWBALLIN’

The Cream Puff is an IC based distortion-fuzz that, like its namesake, sounds spongy and creamy. Fran Blanche from Frantone says that the Cream Puff was an attempt to “. . . set out to make a tone that sounded like a snowball cake tastes.” While perhaps a bit of a strange inspiration, it gives way to quite a unique tone that is really only available with the Cream Puff. It really does feel like playing a sonic artist’s rendition of a cream puff, which makes it that much harder to compare to other fuzz or distortion units out there. The attack is spongy, the lows are taut, and the highs are ever-so-slightly subdued for a warm character that is very reminiscent of germanium fuzzes. The ever-important midrange here is what defines the Cream Puff tone-wise, which responds with a slightly bouncy, almost compressed characteristic. The control of those frequencies come in the form of the Fluff knob, which is a combination tone and fuzz control. Rolling it back darkens the tone, very slightly subdues the midrange compression, and lowers the gain. Cranking it up opens up the compression-like qualities, brightens up the midrange, adds girth, gain, and a very subtle hint of high end spittiness that is reminiscent of germanium fuzzes. The tone control is interactive with the Fluff control, and helps pull back some of the high end filtering to reveal those nastier and more aggressive high-end dynamics.

BRING ON THE FLUFF

The Cream Puff is transparent in its own way, but is very unsubtle. It’s thick and it’s heavy, and the aforementioned spongey compression-like activity occupying the midrange makes it feel even bigger and more overbearing. Rolling off your guitar’s volume cleans up the fuzz just fine, but those mid-compression artifacts are still there, flexing a dark and boomy side of the pedal that isn’t really face value. Loud and powerful tube amps with a lot of headroom I find work great with the Cream Puff, as it really lets its tone shine through. Lower-headroom amps still sound good with it, especially with the Cream Puff’s Volume cranked up.

It’s really hard to put this pedal into any existing category, because it both looks and feels completely original. Harmonically, it’s got a very unique tone, and may not be for everyone. Perhaps that’s why it’s become such a cult classic over the years. If you want your tone classic or tried-and-true, this pedal is not for you. This pedal is for the folks who like experimenting with the old and the new, who feel like classic Big Muffs, Fuzz Faces, or Tone Benders just aren’t scratching their fuzzy itch.

WHAT WE LIKE:

Dark fuzz tones with a spongy feel and attack. Midrange is very prominent and slightly compressed, creating a deep and creamy tone. Versatile, and interaction between the tone and Fluff control is intuitive.

CONCERNS:

Not your typical fuzz-distortion and has a bit of a learning curve. Not for the set-it-and-forget-it types. Huge midrange doesn’t really leave room for the highs to shine through as much as I would have liked.