Fuzz pedal is considered as one of the most emblematic guitar effects. If you know the songs Satisfaction, by The Rolling Stones, Purple Haze, by Jimi Hendrix and Think For Yourself, by The Beatles, then you would hear the incorporation of the fuzz effect.
Nowadays, a lot of different fuzz pedals have been created, having multiple variations around the same circuit. There are those that have designs that back as far as the 1960’s.
Ever since that time, so many different types of fuzz and fuzz hybrids have been invented, all having different textures and tones. There are those that are known to be the 1954/1948 fuzz that comes with an on-and-off buffer to make it work well with a “wah wah.“
For 1954 fuzz, termed silicon fuzz, designed to be very playable and to sound like vintage germanium fuzz. Also, it is one of the better sounding fuzz pedals available on the market for an affordable price. On the other hand, 1948 fuzz is hand-matched germanium transistor fuzz.
It is known to be very similar to the original Fuzz Face, but hand made to make sure it sounds amazing. Aside from these, so many other kinds have emerged, wherein some have made a name for them and became the best fuzz pedals.
How to choose the best fuzz pedal
In choosing the best fuzz pedal, you first have to decide what you want. There are fuzz pedals made of germanium, and there are those from silicon. Now the former will give you a softer tone and a less harsh sound.
However, it is less stable with temperature. It is also more expensive. The latter then produces a more abrasive tone at times, but it is more stable at high temperatures. It is also tighter and compressed, making it more modern sounding.
So before buying a fuzz pedal, think first of what you want to get. Also, make sure you play not only chords, but single note riffs and leads too. This is because even though the best fuzz pedals give you exaggerated distortion, they can’t handle chords other than a fifth dyad or a power chord, in general.
Further, you have to make sure that a fuzz pedal provides a good amount of gain boost. Otherwise, the signal of your guitar could quickly disappear. Having an extra gain can increase sustain, which is a good thing.
However, the excessive gain could also end up in noise, hiss, and feedback. More importantly, take your time in tweaking those knobs, turning them down and working your way up. In this way, you find out if a fuzz pedal sounds great when each knob is turned up, or does not produce any sound at all.
What to look for in good fuzz pedal
In a good fuzz pedal, you have to look for that extra touch of magic, which is the tone stack as well as added MIDS control. This lets you toggle between boosted and scope modes at your own discretion.
You can also look for mods in a fuzz pedal to allow momentary or latching oscillation. Germanium diodes and a kill switch are also some of the features you can consider. Additionally, you may want to see some useful knobs, such as those that will take care of the volume, fuzz, mix, gate, and tone.
Having an own dedicated channel is a thumbs up too. And, if the product has a “wah” and rotary modes, plus a separate mod section, that is one good fuzz pedal. That is because they have an octave control for sculpting entirely new tones.
Moreover, if it has a six-way diode selector for various modes such as germanium, silicon, asymmetrical germanium, LED, MISFIT, and bypass, keep that fuzz pedal because surely, you are in for some really great time as the result is a wide range of tones, coming from a 1960’s tone to a raw and mean gurgle skirting into distortion territory. If there is also an extra pre-input knob for offering more control, you are in good hands.
|Donner Guitar Stylish Fuzz Traditional Rich,Aluminium-alloy Classic Effects Pedal||$||4.3/5.0|
|Biyang Fz-10 Fuzz Star||$$||4.1/5.0|
|Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion||$$$||3.8/5.0|
|ZVex Effects Vexter Fuzz Factory Guitar Effect Pedal||$$$||4.1/5.0|
|Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Big Muff Fuzz Pedal||$$||4.2/5.0|
|Joyo JF-12 Voodoo Octava Guitar Pedal||$||4.2/5.0|
|Electro-Harmonix Octavix Octave Fuzz Pedal||$$||4.0/5.0|
|EarthQuaker Devices Hoof Germanium/Silicon Hybrid Fuzz Effects Pedal||$$$||4.4/5.0|
|Fulltone ’70 BC-108C Fuzz||$$||5.0/5.0|
|BEHRINGER SUPER FUZZ SF300||$||3.8/5.0|
Donner Guitar Stylish Fuzz Traditional Rich, Aluminum-alloy Classic Effects Pedal
On the inside, a fuzz pedal is a simple circuit having so much gain, clipping and distorting a guitar signal. The simplest pedal designs only have two transistors though. But some contain more features and advanced designs to further suit your preference, such as the Donner Guitar Stylish Fuzz Pedal.
- Has a traditional fuzz effect and is made of whole aluminum alloy
- Got a LED indicator that shows the working state
- True bypass provides a transparent tone
- Comes with an abundant and great sound that almost sounds like a violin tone
- Has an adorable and fascinating appearance together with three simple knobs
The Donner Guitar Stylish Fuzz Pedal is sturdy since it is made of classic, strong and stable aluminum alloy. It has a working current of 5 mA and a power supply requiring a 9-V AC adapter. Also, it has a flexible and powerful volume control. With regard to the tone control, it is effective and smooth. Additionally, it gives you an ultra-rich and amazing sound, like that of a violin tone. It comes with a minimalistic appearance too. Plus, its three simple knobs make it stand out from the rest of the costly pedals on the market.
There is also an authentic bypass that provides a transparent tone. An LED indicator is also built on it to show the working state of this fuzz pedal. What’s more is that is known to be a classic fuzz pedal that allows a musician’s emotion to flow deeply. It even has a plum and rich traditional fuzz effect to add more quality to the sound of your guitar.
If you want a light fuzz, this is not ideal for you because it is a very heavy one, even if you put it at much lower settings. Further, it is said to contain a usable but limited range in saturation and tone. Keeping the sustained low produces a muddy and incoherent mess. If you then add a delay pedal, you experience a juicy yet dark saturated tone. But the biggest issue would have to be its noise that exists, even if you do not play your guitar.
The Donner Guitar Stylish Fuzz Pedal is still a recommendable product even with minor disadvantages. For one, it is usable and controllable as it produces a good sound and feel. It does not have a harsh nor rough sound either. And, its tone control is a big help in changing the tone from stifled to bright.
Biyang Fz-10 Fuzz Star
Fuzz pedals are slightly different than other pedals. They produce a metallic and thick tone that improves the sound of a guitar when played. If you want to experience this, the Biyang Fz-10 Fuzz Star can help you out.
- Has an analog circuit design for its three fuzz modes
- Tone, level and fuzz controls
- Contains a true bypass construction as well as stomp switch
- Utilizes high-quality parts like German WIMA audio capacitance and high precision resistance for a clear signal transaction
- Measures 2 ½” x 4 ½” x 1 ½” (width, height, and diameter, respectively)
The Biyang Fz-10 Fuzz Star provides multiple fuzz voicings and emulates virtually each standard fuzz box that exists on the market. Also, it comes with three variables of fuzzy tones that come from the three-position switch, which is the normal, bright and warm.
Normal mode kind of produces that classic saturated fuzz sound that is associated with the Big Muff. The bright tone, then, makes those power chords sting. Finally, the warm tone contains a dark and smooth tone. Further, it utilizes a nine-volt battery for its power supply.
What’s more is that it is included in the new lineup of its brand called “Baby Booms.” And if you want the right amount of wail, this is the ideal fuzz pedal. In addition, it is packed with a power punch that makes it great for pedal boards as it saves space.
And for those who were already able to try this product, they are happy that it is a true bypass since it sounds so much better compared to a triangle muff when it comes to tone.
As a whole, customers described it as some kind of a slightly defective muff that has less noise. But some customers find the opposite, as it is way too noisy. Others, then, were looking forward to a big muff clone, but sadly, it is not. Moreover, there is a bad hissing sound produced and its three-way switch seems to not make much sense because the low end is generally bloated and flabby.
The Biyang FZ-10 Fuzz Star emerged to be an acclaimed product, given that its pros prevail over its cons. It is affordable and it has several fuzz voicings plus a strong foundation. It even works ideally on pedal boards, offering three variables of fuzzy tones from its three-position switch, namely normal, bright and warm. And if you want a fuzz pedal having a smaller casing, this is great for you.
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion
Fuzzes are treated as the ancestors of distortion devices. They are also very helpful in producing your signature tones. If you want one, you can create your own fuzz pedal. Or, you can just buy a good one, like the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Fac.!
- Meticulously made
- Used BC108 silicon transistor and has been carefully matched to the original specs
- Needs single 9-volt battery for power
The Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face sounds very close to the Hendrix style that it is known to be mainly on bends. And even though Dunlop faced problems in the past when it came to fuzz pedals, they have now gained back their honor with this product.
That is because aside from Hendrix, it also sounds close enough to a Fuzz Face from the late 60’s/early 70’s. To add, it is built on a BC108 silicon transistor, making it authentic in its details. It has a hand-wired brown circuit board too that has no solder mask.
And again, since it sounds like a Fuzz Face, you will really adore it, especially if you are a fan of Jimi Hendrix. You will also appreciate that its circuitry has been carefully matched with the original specs.
Its 100% accurate look is a thumbs-up as well, complete with all the groove circular chassis and tooled clones of the original Fuzz Face knobs. And just to let you know, this product comes in a rare and vintage turquoise hammertone finish.
A big concern is that you can hear radio stations and even the phone calls of your neighbors via your amp. And if you look at its parts, they actually are pretty simple, that you can even make on your own fuzz pedal. Another thing is that it only runs on a 9-volt battery, which can be a bit unreliable as it may easily run out of power.
The Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face is kind of in the middle, like a 50/50 product, meaning, it is not that bad, but is not that great either because its pros and cons are closely balanced. While it performs well, given that it is made with a BC108 silicon transistor, the fact that you can hear unlikely noises (like your neighbor’s radio and phone calls) makes it a bit of a disappointment.
And even if it really does sound close enough to Hendrix style, some attested that it has simple parts that you can build your own fuzz pedal.
ZVex Effects Vexter Fuzz Factory Guitar Effect Pedal
Are you tired of bad performing fuzz pedals? Perhaps you have not yet been exposed to other kinds and different brands. With that said, here is the ZVex Vexter Fuzz Factory Guitar Effect Pedal to show you what a true fuzz pedal looks like.
- Made of two new “old stock” 1960’s germanium transistors
- Has gate, compress, and volume controls
- Got drive and stability controls as well
- Got aluminum chassis that is hand-silkscreened and hand polished
The ZVex Vexter Fuzz Factory Guitar Effect Pedal is said to be a super warm and driving fuzz, but still retains a surprising amount of tonal clarity and separation. Its volume controls are also very helpful as they get rid of buzzes, squeal, and hisses.
It also comes with five knobs that allow you to control the parameters at multiple operating levels; this also helps you shape your very own personalized fuzz effect. In addition, it’s got two (2) new old stock (NOS) germanium transistors, and is built on a hand-polished aluminum chassis that is complete with hand-silkscreened and two-color text.
Other than that, this product also has three adjustable parameters which are the gate, stab, and compressor. With the gate, you can set a minimum volume threshold that requires a certain amount of input before any signal becomes an output.
Thus, anything soft will get cut out. Background noises will be cut out as well when you are not using your guitar. Further, any note sustained gets cut short too once it dips below the set level.
In general, this fuzz pedal is said to be noisy. It also does not contain much dynamic quality when it comes to the output signal. Only a small number of guitars work well with it as well.
Moreover, these guitars seem to sound better with other fuzz pedals that are even cheaper than this product. Its stomp switch gained problems quickly too, as it stopped switching to a clean channel after just a day’s use.
A recommendable product, the ZVex Vexter Fuzz Factory Guitar Effect Pedal attacks from the other end of the volume, setting a max threshold, over which any input is bound to be cut by a factor of a compression ratio.
It is also designed to consume less energy, unlike other effects pedals, as its current is just less than 3 mA. And if you want to tune in feedback and fat fuzz, you can do so by lowering the stability.
Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Big Muff Fuzz Pedal
If you are looking for an incredibly flexible, powerful and rich sound processor, no need to look too far. That is because the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Big Muff Fuzz Pedal will give you all the sounds you want and need.
- Produces all of the classic sounds from the original NYC Big Muff Pi together with additional features
- Has a foot-switchable MIDS section to help cut through when recording or playing live
- MIDS section contains four controls to fine tune the midrange boost or cut
- Comes with a noise gate as well as an adjustable gate control to remove noise and hum while preserving your original tone and attack
- Its adjustable attack control adds punch to single notes and chords
The Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Big Muff Fuzz Pedal has a lot of knobs that perform different functions. One is the volume knob, which is also the master volume control for the whole fuzz pedal. It also comes with an attack knob that adjusts the volume for the attack effect.
Further, a tone knob exists that provides an array of sounds, from high treble to deep bass. Just turn the knob clockwise and counterclockwise to increase and decrease the bass.
And since it has a sweet singing tone and violin-like sustain, it has helped define the rock guitar sound. The brand has also put in additional features to satisfy the cravings of those who want more sound shaping control.
To add, it offers classic sounds from the original NYC Big Muff Pi so you are really in for a treat. Meanwhile, other knobs include a gate knob that increases the gate threshold and requires greater input amplitude to open the noise gate.
The only con about this product is that it did not work even after two tries, and that’s it.
The Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Big Muff Fuzz Pedal is an acclaimed product that has a sustain knob for adjusting the amount of sustain and distortion, similar to the original Big Muff Pi. There is also a MIDS frequency knob, setting the center frequency of the MIDS EQ circuit from 310Hz to 5.0kHz.
To hear the range of the MIDS frequency knob, just turn the said knob up past 3 o’clock. And with all the knobs it has, you are sure that you get to adjust whatever you can to get that perfect tone you want to hear. Truly, this is a must-try fuzz pedal.