Retro Channel: The Fuzz Clone

The Fuzz by Retro Channel is a Fuzz circuit built around the CA3046 transistor array. It’s a lot like a Fuzz Face and Tone Bender. It makes use of all of the transistors on the CA3046 and sounds pretty good doing it.

Here is a schematic I found over at

Q3 and 4 are setup like a Fuzz Face. Q2 is a buffer. Q2, 3, and 4 are arranged a lot like a three transistor Tone Bender. I’m not sure what is going on with Q1 and 5. I think these are setup to create a fixed voltage source to bias Q2.

I made one of these from a board someone gave me. It sounded pretty good so I thought I’d design my own board. Here are some links to that project:

This is the board I designed.

I had hard time with this board because I didn’t have a part in Eagle for the transistor array. Instead I used a generic 14 pin DIP and mapped everything to the pin numbers.

I was able to fix this PCB by creating a jumper with R10 to pin 10 of the transistor array.

How does it sound?

Sounds great, as good as any Fuzz Face. I’m not a cork sniffer so, the silicon nature of these transistors doesn’t bother me.

I made another mistake, and have the gain pot wired in reverse. It’s not a big deal since this sounds best with the gain all the way up!


Should you build this? Yeah! Especially if you have some CA3046 or CA3086 chips available. It sounds good, it’s not hard to build. CA3046/86 transistor arrays are not super common but can be found.

That said, this doesn’t provide anything that other circuits offer. If you’re looking to make a fuzz pedal you could be build a Meathead or other silicon fuzz face be just as happy, and it might be easier to find parts, since you would be able to use easier to find transistors.





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