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Spirit In The Sky

10/21/2002 5:03 AM
Leo Spirit In The Sky
Which fuzz would you use if you were going to try to duplicate Norman Greenbaum's tone on "Spirit In The Sky?" Anyone know what he used originally?  
--Thanks, Leo
10/21/2002 2:07 PM
Mike Gooch

Leo -  
Here is a thread I copied from the forum some time ago. Hope it helps!  
Mike Gooch  
"Spirit in the Sky" Fuzz:  
I have been on a quest for what I consider the "Holy Grail" of Fuzztones for over two years. The closest I have come is the Tonebender Mark II, no mods, seriously mismatched transistors, but still no go. The Bosstone and Maestro are similar, but just not throaty enough. I think it's all to do with crispness and I think Germanium is just too warm. Silicone designs seem to be too sustainy and trebly though. I know the original song wasn't recorded with a fuzzbox but I am sure it is possible with a box. It really does seem quite unattainable. I have played with caps and EQ of the aforementioned pedals, timbre doesn't seem to be the problem, its more of a gating type effect. Not as gated as the Maestro, not as sustainy as the Three transistor Fuzz. It's gotta rip. I've been meaning to perf up the Univox Square Wave, supposedly it is a really raunchy one, but I don't have the parts on hand( or locally available). Any suggestions? Gus?  
Back in high school I managed to totally nail that Greenbaum tone. I had an old script logo phase 45 which no longer phased. The only thing it produced was a beautiful fuzz. However, I was a fool and decided to fix the thing. Yeah I have a decent phaser now, but where is the love?  
try the anothersickfuzz schematic it gates(adjustable) and it has a shorter sustain. A lot of the sound could be in the fretting hand finger control.  
There is another Fuzz Type to try! The Stellan Sweetfeets is over the top with driving distortion, not so much mushy Fuzz like you would think!! I used NTE103A transistors and have had a lot of fun with this pedal.. It is a Fuzz but keeps the distortion quality with plenty of sustain,, Try It--it is an easy circuit...Steve  
I recently had the privilege to have communicated with Mr. Norman Greenbaum, the writer and guitarist of "Spirit in the Sky" and asked him what kind of fuzz he used, and he told me he didn’t use a fuzz, the sound came from a modification that his road tech had done to his GUITAR internally. He said he had no idea what his tech had installed in it, as he no longer had the guitar. I have been on a quest, so to speak; on also trying to find that sound, but I think you would have to get some kind of information from whatever was available in those days to do that kind of modification. Until then, I am still researching this and if I come up with the answer, I’ll post it.  
Dr.Dan (
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10/21/2002 7:21 PM
Ben N

I once got a similar tone by plugging an SG directly into the mike input of a stereo cassette deck with the receiver tape monitor on--crazy, gated, total IMD noise. I wish I still had the tape. Gross gain/impedance mismatches can be a beautiful thing.
10/21/2002 7:35 PM
the beginning of that post was mine, still stand by the tonebender mkII with painstakingly sorted transistors. Bosstone comes just as close
10/22/2002 1:41 AM
ed guidry
Wouldn't you think you could get that gated sound by building a fuzz and deliberately mis-biasing the transistors?
10/22/2002 4:53 AM
Can't you get that gated, severely squared thing with a Fuzz Factory?
10/22/2002 2:56 PM
never tried a fuzzfactory, ed you are completely right about the misbias, the germs I used all sounded horrible in a fuzz face, many leaky and low gain. btw, Gus's Rite-Fuzz also comes really close to Spirits tone.
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