Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Fuzz

I'm sure by now you've heard of the fuzz that has taken the guitar world by storm: the Pharaoh. Let's see if this pedal lives up to the crazy hype it's received the past couple months.

The top row features the hi-lo input toggle and the bass and treble knobs
The bottom row features the fuzz and volume knobs
along with the three way diode toggle
The particular Pharaoh I received had a great purple finish (though it looks bluer in the pictures) with a matching purple LED. Needless to say Pharaohs are great looking pedals, very well made as well. The Pharaoh also has a great amount of tonal controls on tap. It uses a tone stack much like the Catalinbread Manx Loaghtan, though I feel EQ range on the Pharaoh is a bit different and more usable on my amp. You can dial in very doomy, dark tones with ease along with brighter overdrive like tones. Theres a two way hi-lo gain input switch along with the three-way toggle to switch diodes (germanium, no diodes, silicon). Of course theres controls for gain and volume to top it all off. Overall, the tone shaping options on this fuzz are impressive, making this a very versatile fuzz. One could use it as heavy fuzz for sludge/doom, a classic overdrive or even more of a clean boost.
The Pharaoh features top-mounted in/out jacks and a 9v Boss style plug

How it Sounds
As I touched on earlier, the Pharaoh is an extremely versatile fuzz with it's diode switching options. The germanium mode provides plenty of clipping and a nice warm tone, perfect for classic fuzz tones as well as providing a nice overdrive or boost. You can also switch out the clipping diodes for a huge volume boost with little clipping, perfect for use as a fairly clean boost. The silicon mode is where things get brutal, you can dial this fuzz in to do some pummeling sludge, stoner and doom tones. Throw in another fuzz, boost or overdrive to stack with the Pharaoh and things only get more brutal. The Pharaoh plays really well with other dirt pedals, with many varying results but usually all are pleasing. It would take me a while to demo all of the tones this thing has so I just did recordings of a few of my favorite tones from this fuzz.

Pharaoh Warm Drive by Mike Fetting

Pharaoh Germanium Overdrive/Fuzz by Mike Fetting

Pharaoh Heavy by Mike Fetting

Sorry for the low volume on the heavy clip, all clips were recorded with my Standard Rig. The heavy clip also has a Make Sounds Loudly Dirty Boost engaged for extra heaviness.

Final Words
I must say the Pharaoh is one hell of a fuzz and I really have no gripes about it. Anyone who loves fuzz could find an application for this beast. Whether you want it to provide pummeling doom tones, more of a fuzzy overdrive or a boost, the Pharaoh does it all. I really can't get a bad tone out of this thing and I can't recommend Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh enough!

Thanks to Holy Schnikes for lending me this Pharaoh to try out!


  1. Hey Mike, Thanks for the review. Clips sound good, a nice display of different voices.

  2. how well does it work with a wah pedal?

  3. I'm not really a fan of wahs so I don't own one. however if you go to Prymaxe Vintage's Youtube channel they do wah shoot-outs and use the Pharaoh in them.

  4. man i got one of teses sweet ass fuzz pedals, in a limited edition burgandy with an orange light. its badass but when runiing it with a 2010 charvel san dimas usa, a holyeir grail reverb, late 80s ibanez delay pedal, and powering all that through a 1985 mesa boogie mark 3 purple stripe 100watt head in white is.... hard very hard to find the sound you want with that set up. but man when i did whoooooo, it was badass.