BearAss - Fuzz, Compressor & Sustainer


Well-known member
BearAss works for rhythm, lead, and bass guitars, primarily (e.g., certainly you can use the Compressor for vocals or the Fuzz for instruments). There are three aspects to this pedal, including Fuzz, Compressor, and Sustainer; and with this being a two-channel pedal, there are a few options available at the click of a switch. This is the basic pedal options, which coordinate with a toggle switch:

  • With toggle switch up, the Green channel is a Compressor, whereas the Red channel is Fuzz.
  • With toggle center, the Green channel remains a Compressor, whereas the Red channel becomes a Sustainer.
  • With toggle down, the Green channel is a Compressor + Fuzz, whereas the Red channel is Fuzz only.

The COMPRESSOR section (Green Chn only) is fairly touch sensitive, and I find at quarter-way is more than enough for most of my purposes. It dials in well modestly, but it does give you ‘squishy’ and very compressed if you want. Super easy to dial into, since you merely adjust the compression ratio and then up the overall volume accordingly. The SUSTAINER (Red chn only) acts similar the compressor, which allows you to have two compression types between the two channels. Sustain operates via two-knobs, one that adjusts compression ratio, while keeping attack alive, and the other for Boost. Unlike the exaggerations of some reviewers (“sustain for days”), it does produce some sustain and note fullness, being a nice addition for lead playing. It’s not a ‘Sustaniac’ pickup, but it gets the job done if you want your notes to hang a bit longer. Both the Compressor and Sustain share the engine, but the Sustain involves the ‘attack.’

The FUZZ various quite a bit, in that it can sound very modest or very boisterous, and that’s without touching the guitar’s volume knob. Some fuzzes are simply full-bore no matter the setting, whereas the BearAss fuzz ranges from very smooth to thick and rollicking; further adjustments then can be achieved with the guitar’s volume for even more tone possibilities. The reason for the Fuzz’s unique quality is that it’s not exactly a fuzz, in that there are no germanium or silicon transistors. Rather, the fuzz section is based on an OPAMP self-distortion without artificial diode clipping, which produces a natural ‘hairy’ tone, thus making it a good alternative for someone who may not like traditional fuzz, but wants some of that hairy characteristic.

Compressor & Fuzz (Green chn, toggle down) work well together, in that the combo creates a softer tone. This makes the Fuzz less intense, but creamier and fuller for those wanting less edge. And there’s one other bonus, as well. Although the FUZZ section has its Tone knob, the COMPRESSOR and SUSTAINER sections have a dedicated ‘Voice’ knob, which controls the brightness of those two functions, helping to dial in darkness or some bite. This Voice knob works differently from a typical tone knob, in that it controls the middle frequency rather than treble (since the original input signal is maintained).

Like other LiberaToe pedals in my studio, BearAss has great analog sound, and the FUZZ (most notably) is highly usable across many platforms, since it ranges from very smooth and subtle to raunchy and bold. Both the COMPRESSOR & SUSTAINER are effective and simple to use… dial in the amount of effect, then dial in the volume/boost. The FUZZ also is a no-brainer, with Fuzz intensity, Tone and Volume. At about $150 USD (less expensive if you buy the module for the LiberaToe ‘System’ vs. the full pedal version), BearAss not only sounds good, but it has three commonly used function that can be dedicated to two channels. Excellent value and quality.