This machine is lightweight because it is rather small. This is a good thing if you want to take it on the go or if you don’t have a lot of room in your pedal box.
In other words, this device will be able to fit in wherever you need it to, as well as into your favorite board or practice space.
#2 As Good As More Expensive Models
This is an inexpensive solution when you want to see what a fuzz pedal can do. It isn’t one of the most popular name brand units, but it can behave like one.
It is able to put out some really serious sounds, much like more expensive models, so you can see what all the fuss is about.
#3 Attractive Look
It’s constructed of aluminum alloy, so it’s strong and able to hold up well over time. It’s also a bright green color, which is unique and fun to look at.
This means even though the pedal looks quite simple, it also looks like something you’ll want to use.
There is an LED light in the middle of it, to tell you when it’s working properly and a bypass switch to turn it on and off.
This true bypass system allows for zero interference when you are playing. There are no wires for it to pass through that can cause extra noise.
#4 Three Control Knobs
There are three knobs that control the pedal and they’re pretty straightforward. The volume button controls the amount of volume you can hear from the pedal.
The tone controls the tone that is being played. The sustain knob adjusts the level of fuzz, which is the most important aspect.
You can try changing the knobs to all different configurations, in order to see what it can do and what you actually like.
This runs the gamut of sounds and tones, so it should be interesting to play around with.
#5 Can Power With a DV 9V
This one can’t be powered by a 9 volt battery but you can plug a 9V power supply into it, which you probably have if you have other devices similar to this one. They are not hard to find and are standard for this type of machinery.
Who Should Use It
This is perfect for people that have never owned a fuzz pedal before and aren’t sure if they need one or not. This one is reasonably priced, so you can try it and see if you like the sound without having to pay a lot of money.
In fact, this one can play different sounds, so it’s a good representation of what top of the line fuzz pedals should sound like; ones that are more expensive and possibly more sophisticated.
This is essentially a no-frills unit, but you can’t tell when you’re using it.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced guitar player, you can also get some use out of it. You can’t have too many pedals, and this one should come in quite handy.
It’s small enough to stash away for a rainy day, or even place in the smallest pedal board that you have. In other words, this is the one that can be there any time you need it to be, or for use as a backup.
With the sustain knob and the other knobs, you can control all the major things you want to, and it has a true bypass, so it won’t mess with your overall sound and make it scratchy or distorted.
It also has all the features you’re used to like the LED indicator light and the in and out ports, so it’s familiar enough for you to be comfortable with, even if you don’t know much about fuzz pedals.
The one downside, which isn’t much, is that it doesn’t come with a power supply and it can’t be powered by a simple battery. This is just a minor inconvenience, since you have to plug most pedals in.
It’s also somewhat standard, and the hardware you need isn’t hard to come by. You may even have some lying around that you can use. If not, you can find them online or in music stores.
Overall Rating : (3.6/5)
This unassuming pedal is able to provide sounds that are usually reserved for more expensive devices, at a decent price point.
It has knobs that you can manipulate in order to hear different tones and sounds in the genre, which is a special treat. It is small and able to fit in pretty much anywhere you want to play it.
Besides that, it’s bright and beautiful, so it’s something you’ll want to use too. It might not garner a lot of attention from others at first, but once they hear it in action, they may be impressed.
It has sound quality that is professional, but you don’t have to be famous to use it. It is accessible to everyone and can help you practice your favorite songs with fuzz sounds.
It only weighs around 240 grams and is smaller than a remote control, so even though you may not think it’s capable of making the proper sounds, it can.
It’s worth purchasing if you are new to the pedal game or you are working your way up to more expensive fuzz pedals. It will keep you interested, set up is easy, and it’s a durable product.
If you know anything about this famed guitarist, you are likely aware of some of his biggest concerts. This pedal is reminiscent of these performances with a really smooth sound that is also quite powerful.
The fuzz face pedal he was said to use is what this one sets out to be, and there’s a lot of time and manpower that has been put into reaching this goal.
#2. Two Dials To Use
There are two dials to control, which change up the sound drastically. They are white and easy to see, since they don’t just blend in with the rest of the unit.
The dials are set to control volume and fuzz, which work together to create a few different fuzz effects that you may be interested in. They are classic fuzz face sounds.
#3. LED light
There is an LED that tells you when the machine is on. This can help out immensely when you need to know if this one is working correctly or if you don’t remember if you turned it on or not.
Furthermore it will help you be aware that your connections are properly hooked up to it.
#4. Strong Housing and Cool Paint Job
This one offers a lot of sound in a small machine. It is round and rather small at around 4 inches, but you won’t notice that when you’re using it.
The housing that it is built into is very strong, so it won’t wear out when you have to kick the power on and off while you’re using it. It is painted red and black, like a lady bug, so that feature is attractive as well.
It definitely won’t take up much room in your pedal box, if you have other items that you generally play with.
#5. Can Get Very Loud
Not only can this device get very loud, but when you use it with other additional pedals it can get even louder. This shouldn’t cause any problem though, and it shouldn’t add any noise to the music that you don’t want to be there.
Just make sure that you adjust all the volumes properly, to minimize any extra noises or feedbacks. This one packs a lot in a small box, so it doesn’t need to be all the way up to be enjoyed.
If you have been trying to get the Hendrix sound for a long time, this is a pedal that you might want to invest in.
There are a lot of people that get into guitar playing because they want to emulate some of the greats, and this pedal gives you a chance to do just that.
It works just fine with other types of pedals, so you don’t have to use just this one. It gets very loud, so unlike other types, you don’t have to turn this one all the way up unless you want to.
At the same time, you can turn the fuzz up and down to see all the sounds this one is capable of making.
It should make all the fuzz sounds you want to hear and it does it in such a small and unassuming package. It will fit right into your pedal box, and even has a graphic of Jimi on the side to make it look really cool.
On the flip side, if you are just someone who picks up your electric guitar now and then, you probably don’t need this pedal. There are many other fuzz pedals you can buy to play around with before you get something as professional sounding as this.
No matter who wants to use it, it isn’t hard to get down the controls and using it, so there’s no learning curve to be concerned with. Just hit the button to turn it on and off and get the dials where you want them, and you’re set. It may make you feel like a real rock star.
There is an issue where the tone may be harsh with some amps, but that is probably just a volume issue. If you turn the pedal down and turn the amp up, there shouldn’t be any more harshness.
You can also try turning the volume down on both things, to see what works before. This gadget gets very loud without messing with its volume, so it should have a good sound no matter what decibel level.
Let’s see this product:
Overall Rating : (4.4/5)
This pedal is something that will make you feel like a professional, whether you are or not, so there’s no harm in purchasing one if you are interested.
You can live out your dreams of being at some of the best concerts of the 20th century, all in the privacy of your home or studio.
This one has a unique look to it and it can fit into the palm of your hand, so it will have no trouble fitting in anywhere you want it to.
It is also capable of delivering different fuzz sounds, so even though some might think it’s just for one purpose, you can use it for many different things if you choose to.
If has great sound quality, is very loud, and is great for bluesy guitar sounds.
There are many years of research that have gone into creating this item, so it’s more than just a cool machine. This is a good buy and it’s unlikely to disappoint on any level.
There is a common phrase that describes how good things can come in small packages. That is the case with this Rowin LEF 606 Fuzz Pedal Mini, since it is small in size but can still produce good sounds.
This is one of the smallest pedals you will find, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t high quality. This is why it’s good for those that like to make music, but are on a budget.
If you don’t have the money to spend on more expensive fuzz pedals, this is one that you can invest in and feel good about.
It happens to be very lightweight and can fit well in your pedal box, or you can use it by itself, since it’s designed not to move around when it’s placed on the floor.
If you have used any type of portable pedal in the past, you can figure out how to use this one too. There are only 3 knobs to learn. This means you can change the positions of the controls until it sounds the way you desire.
The sustain knob is big enough to be able to adjust on the fly, if you need to.
If you have never tried a fuzz pedal before, this is also a good buy for you.
It’s not considered the best product you can buy, but there aren’t any complaints about it either. It offers a smooth sound and won’t come across as harsh, so you’ll be able to get a good idea of what this type of product can do.
This will prepare you for better units, if you decide you want one, although you aren’t missing out on anything with this one when it comes to fuzz pedals.
You can use it with other items or by itself and virtually anywhere you use your guitar normally, you can just take it with you and still continue to jam.
The only problem you may have is that it can’t be powered by a battery, so you’ll need to have a DC power supply to keep it powered up.
Let’s hear how it sounds:📹
Overall Rating: (4.8/5)
💡 The Takeaway
This is a small device but it’s a great starter fuzz pedal.
Not only does it have a really cool look to it, but it won’t take up a lot of room if you’re someone that likes to have a lot of options in their pedal board. It can also be placed right into a bag if you need to have it with you on the road.
Besides that, it’s easy to learn how to use, since it has simple controls, and it is capable of producing the fuzz sounds that you would expect it to.
At the same time, this machine is something you can really play around with, meaning you’ll be able to see what it’s capable of rather quickly. It’s perfect for jamming out all night long or just practicing some of your favorite songs.
Additionally, it’s very affordable and is something that is rugged enough to use for a long time without it becoming damaged.
You won’t even be upset about the sound quality because it is smooth and satisfying, and operates much the same as other fuzz pedals that cost more.
This one doesn’t really stand out in a crowd, but it does have a few options when it comes to different fuzz sounds, which isn’t something that’s offered in all units.
This is why it deserves some consideration if you have an opportunity to try it for yourself.
Not all fuzz pedals are created equal, but there are many kinds that will be able to deliver on a specific or unique sound you’re looking for. Just like the Kmise A0961 Genuine Belcat FUZ-510 R-Fuzz Tone Pedal that we are about to review today.
This Kmise model is something that is easy to use and can offer you a variety of sounds to play around with. Here’s a look at its features and who it is best suited for.
✔ Is a True Bypass
This pedal offers true bypass. That means there isn’t a lot of circuitry to get in the way of the sound and make it cloudy.
This is supported by the fact that there is an input jack, an output jack, and a DC input on the sides of the device. They are clearly marked, so you’ll be able to set it up within seconds.
There are no more connectors or anything like that for you to be responsible for. At the same time, there are no wires that come with this unit.
You will have to purchase them separately, but that also means you’ll know what quality your cords are. This lessens chances of there being a problem with the sound or the connections.
✔ Doesn’t Take Up Much Space
This cool machine is only about 4 inches by 2 inches, so it is rather small.
This means it won’t take up a lot of space when you want to put it in your pedal box, and it also makes it easy to take around with you if you want to play some music away from home.
✔ Easy to Use
It can be set up and used right out of the box. There are only 3 knobs to learn how to use, and that’s it.
There’s not a lot of buttons or controls that may confuse you. The housing and unit are designed to stay safe, so it shouldn’t become damaged very easily either, as long as you take care of it properly.
✔ Offers Over 30 Sounds
The three knobs that control this unit can be used in conjunction to create over 30 sounds.
In other words, once you start moving the knobs around, there are dozens of sounds that you can make when you’re using the gadget. The three knobs are level, fuzz, and tone.
✔ Great For Experimenting With Sounds
Since you can change the sound that this produces dramatically by experimenting with the knobs as you turn them, this one provides a good range.
It also allows you to see what different sounds can be produced with a fuzz pedal. Some models don’t perform a wide range of sounds, but this one can.
This is why it is a good one to learn with or just to use in your spare time.
This item is quite affordable, so anyone that has an electric guitar that they play regularly should think about acquiring one.
It will allow the average player or hobbyist to get into fuzz pedals by taking you through all the different sounds that can be made.
You can sound like some of your favorite songs or make sounds all your own while you are just playing your instrument. This isn’t considered to be a top of the line fuzz pedal, but there also aren’t really any design flaws or things missing from this device either.
It is a great starter piece for you to get acquainted with, before you move on to something that is more expensive or sophisticated.
If you are a professional musician, you can use this pedal too, especially when you are just practicing with it. You can play around with it a bit to see if it is good enough for recording or playing live music, as many people haven’t tried to do those things with this unit yet.
The look of the pedal is quite cool too. It is housed in a durable enclosure that is off-white. There is a splatter of red on it too, near the logos, which gives it a retro look that is pleasant.
The knobs are also retro inspired since they are black with silver tops and have grooves on the sides to make fine adjustments even easier. They may remind you of old amps or other musical equipment that you’ve seen before.
It can definitely look just right in your pedal box or by itself when you are playing with friends or at an event.
It’s easy to learn and get the sound just right and since it has true bypass, there isn’t going to be a lot of interference in the sound. It should come across just fine, so you can just enjoy the music.
On the other hand, you will have to provide all your own cords, which you may or may not be used to. This is a good thing though, so you can vouch for how good they are. You can use some of your favorite cords or something that you just have lying around.
This unit weighs less than 250 grams, so you do have to take a little care with it, but it’s built well, so that shouldn’t be a big problem either.
🎬 Let’s see this product in action:
Overall Rating :(4.6/5)
💡 The Takeaway
This pedal isn’t the top shelf unit you may be dreaming about, but it is something that is really great.
You can buy one and learn on it, and upgrade to something nicer if you want to. At the same time, it is able to give you a wide range of sounds, due to the customization that is possible when you explore different knob positions.
You won’t be sorry if you buy one of these because there are relatively no drawbacks to ownership and it is affordable and compact, so it isn’t going to hurt your pocketbook or take up a lot of space.
Those that have a bass that they really love and play all the time with other pedals could benefit greatly from this pedal.
Many people love that it is for bass guitars, but one disadvantage is that they wish it was for other guitars as well, since it’s so handy and can do so much.
If you are someone that performs or has a band, there is no denying that this is a machine that has pretty much everything you need.
It can do so many effects and has all the crossovers and other options you would want, so you may not have to take any supplemental machines when you when you’re doing a show.
This one is also a lot bigger than mini pedals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put it in your pedal box. It still isn’t too big to take where you want to go with it, and it only weighs a little over a pound, so it should be no trouble to carry around with your guitar.
If you’re new to the pedal game but not to the world of playing bass, this is something that you should definitely research as well. It may allow you to do all the things you’ve been thinking about, but you didn’t know they could be accomplished with just one device.
There are really no downsides to owning this one, and it doesn’t cost too much for most to be able to afford. It’s something that does a lot of jobs, so even if you only use it for a few things, it is still worth the money.
Besides that, it looks really cool and it’s still small enough to cart around. It may take a while to get used to the controls, but once you do, you’ll have a great understanding of all the things you can do with your guitar, and how you want to keep working at it.
Besides that, it will be fun to figure everything out.
The bottom line is that this is the only pedal you’ll need to have with you when you’re playing your BASS.
It can do all the things you want it to do, including distortion effects, crossover,and there’s even a noise gate. At the same time, you can change up the tone, volume, sustain, and more.
This gives you so many options to get the sounds you’re looking for, and it’s all available in one gadget. Of course it’s a little bit bigger than the mini models, but it’s worth it, since you won’t have to lug a bunch of pedals around with you if you have to be on the go or away from your home base.
It’s also something that is built well and is made by one of the top names in the business, so there’s no reason to think it won’t hold up over time, or that it won’t meet all your demands.
There are 3 knobs to manipulate when you want to change what the pedal sounds like. There is tone, which goes through the different tones it can play.
The fuzz knob allows you to change the amount of fuzz you want to hear, and the level knob lets you control the volume coming out of the device.
This case looks a lot like you would expect a case to look. It has a red metal enclosure with yellow paint.
The design of the pedal depicts Zeus holding a lightning bolt, up in the clouds, so even the paint on the machine is fun to look at.
It might even garner attention from your friends who may want to look at it up close when they see it.
Besides just looking nice, the case is built well too. The cover is all metal and is screwed on properly, so each of the delicate inside parts is well protected.
There are even 4 small rubber feet to ensure that it can sit on the floor well without sliding around. It may also sit securely in most pedal boards.
✔Multiple Power Options
When it comes to powering this one, you can power it with a 9 volt battery, which is not hard to find or have on hand. You can also use a DC power supply, like many other pedals of this type.
Either way, you’re probably familiar with these power options. There is even an LED light that shows you when it’s working correctly, so you’ll always be able to tell if it is powered fully before you try to use it.
Ability to toggle through modes: This one also has a mode dial, which is something special. It allows you to choose between 3 different modes, or diode arrangements, for a variety of sounds.
There is even a bass toggle switch to take advantage of. That means you have a bit of a choice when it comes to how much bass you want.
This is for those that are serious about their fuzz pedals. It isn’t hard to use but there are quite a few controls to get used to.
It was designed to give you a thick fuzz fix, which you may only be able to appreciate if you have played with pedals like this in the past.
It can be used with just a guitar or you can add other instruments into the mix, since you can turn down the different tones, bass, and other aspects.
In essence, this means that this gadget will always allow your guitar playing to shine. You can set it just how you like it, and change it up any time you want to.
Of course, if you don’t want to waste your time going through a bunch of fuzz pedals, you can go ahead and start with one like this.
It not only looks cool right out of the box, but it also has an easy setup. You probably won’t want to buy another one after you try it, unless you find one that has a specific sound you’re trying to use.
This is one of the best overall fuzz pedals that you can find, and many people that own one love it.
The manufacturer recommends that if you choose to use a power supply, you use one that is specifically for this pedal only. You don’t want to use one that connects to multiple pedals at once, since it may cause malfunctions or make this device work improperly.
This is a minor con of the product, but is something that is easy to follow, especially since it promises that there will be just the right amount of power to this unit at all times.
You won’t have to sacrifice any sound, as it will come through crisp and clear.
It’s also important to note that this one is still small, yet really delivers. It only weighs around 8 ounces and is small enough to put wherever you can fit it in.
Since it’s so sturdy, it won’t have much upkeep to worry about, but you should make sure that you handle it with care because it isn’t one of the cheaper models. You’ll want to protect your investment.
There are a lot of different fuzz pedals out there to choose from, but this one is something that you could pick out of a lineup. It is red and yellow, and it has so many knobs that it looks confusing at first glance.
However, once you keep looking, you’ll notice that it offers you a great level of customization when you use it. You can change the mode, bass, level, fuzz, and tone.
That means you have a great amount of control. It’s designed this way so you can use it when you’re playing just a guitar, or you can silence different parts when you may be practicing with a whole band.
No matter what, it’s a quality piece of machinery that is good for people that have experience using these pedals, or people that know that they don’t want to have to keep shopping around for the right one.
It can be very useful, but also really fun to use and figure out. It might take you a while to hear everything it can do, which is a good thing.
The MK II Swollen Pickle is an upgraded version of the original. Aside from being durable, the Swollen Pickle also has the same hefty sound that Way Huge is known for.
The Swollen Pickle is designed to provide optimum low end and high gain fuzz.
Its sustain control ensures you’re able to adjust the fuzz to the level you prefer. By making simple adjustments, you’ll get the right mix of loudness, sizzle and girth.
Other new features that have been added include the Scoop control which produces the traditional Swollen Pickle mid scoop. You can also adjust it to mid frequencies and be flat.
A Crunch knob is included, allowing you to modify the fuzz compression intensity.
If you check under the hood, it becomes clear the Swollen Pickle comes with two other controls, Clip and Voice. The Clip control lets you choose from a couple of clipping diode sets. If you want to switch from open smooth fuzz, you use the Clip.
The Voice control lets you control the external scoop intensity, i.e. from heavy mid cut to light.
The Swollen Pickle is built with versatility in mind, and this is obvious with its feature set. There is nothing here we can call “poor” sound.
The knobs eliminate the need for DBP switches, and you can do a lot by just playing around with the knobs.
The Swollen Pickle can produce everything from a fuzzy hiss to a crunching sound.
The Swollen Pickle allows you to go for a waspy overdrive by lowering the setting. You can also crank it up and put everything to max for a loud roar.
There is a bright blue LED indicator, and it’s a useful feature especially when it is night. This LED indicator is used to determine if the pedal is active or not.
The Swollen Pickle has 5 knobs, Scoop, Crunch, Sustain, Filter and Loudness. This gives you a lot of choices when it comes to fine tuning your project. While there are many options, the controls are intuitive so you’ll know what to do. There are also a lot of tutorials online that will help you get the hang of it.
The Loudness volume is the most basic, but it is very effective. The filter control allows you to change the pedal tone, with the sound allowing you to fine tune the sound.
The Sustain knob gives you control over the gain, while the Crunch knob modifies the gain tone. The Crunch control has three tone options, but you can set the control between these three.
The Scoop knob emphasizes the bass by scooping the mids out. The Swollen Pickle also gives you control over the tonal control.
As the name makes clear, the Swollen Pickle really has a jumbo size fuzz. It is based on the Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi, it has many new features that other fuzz don’t have.
Germanium transistors have a more classic sound, closer to Hendrix than the silicon. The drawback is germanium transistors are not consistent, plus they are more sensitive to temperature.
Germanium transistors function similarly, but the sound they produce will vary. Some fuzz pedals use the AC128, while others rely on the NKT275 transistor.
Because the old germanium transistors are sensitive to temperature, manufacturers have opted for silicon transistors. Silicon transistorsare more stable, and among the most popular are the BC239C, BC209C, BC183KA, BC183L etc.
If you’re going to buy a germanium transistor, make sure that it is of the highest quality. The type of transistor you choose will affect the performance.
Some germanium transistors’ gain value is inconsistent, and leakage current is possible.
The Fuzz Face circuit is a basic 2 stage amplifier. This is divided into the feedback network, the output stage and the input stage.
The feedback network has a direct effect on the other elements such as the frequency response, the output impedance, input impedance and voltage gain.
The Fuzz Face design was inspired by the Sola Sound ToneBender and the Maestro Fuzz Tone, but the Fuzz Face circuit is simpler with just a couple of transistors.
It isn’t clear just when the two transistor layout showed up however.
Layout and Design Notes
The classic Fuzz Face utilizes a single layer PCB. The board’s right side comes with pads where the cables are connected to the DPDT foot-switch, the potentiometers, jacks and battery clip.
A Common Emitter (Collector Follower) PNP amplifier is the input stage of the Fuzz Face. This gives it a low input impedance and high voltage gain.
You also get high output impedance. This is not the most ideal configuration, but it is simple and effective.
The Fuzz Face has a 2.2uF input capacitor, which gets rid of humming and safeguards the guitar and pedal against currents.
The 33KΩ R1 resistor on the other hand, configures the parameters, the collector current, bias points and the voltage gain.
The input impedance of the Fuzz Face is low, but this can be modified with a potentiometer. Also keep in mind the low impedance handles guitar pickup loads, and this is why they don’t respond if you set them following other pedals.
Given this fact, it is better to set the Fuzz Face first before the others in the chain.
The relatively simple layout and schematics of the Fuzz Face only goes to show that a fuzz pedal doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective.
Even with the simple arrangement, you will get optimum results when you play.
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.
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.
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.
The germanium vs silicon fuzz debate has been going on for a long time, and if you’re new to fuzz pedals, it might leave you confused. What is the difference between the two and which one should I buy?
We will explain the difference between the two, and hopefully by the end of this guide you will know what to purchase.
Some guitarists swear by one or the other, but both can and do deliver excellent results when properly used. The whole debate really should not exist because silicon and germanium use different approaches.
Germanium Up Close
Germanium was the first to arrive. If you listen to Jimi Hendrix rocking out with a Fuzz Face, that’s germanium working on his tone. Germanium had been used in semiconductors since the 1940s, but they really took off the in the 1960s as guitar effects.
Germanium transistors simulate the sounds of a Gibson GA-5 or other tube amps with the volume pushed up. These transistors have a warmness effect even when the speaker breaks.
Listen to germanium and you will realize that the sound is comfortable and somewhat round. Bring down your guitar volume, and the distortion level drops.
Germanium transistors have some unique traits that may be boon or bane depending on what you want to do. For instance, germanium react to temperature, so it sounds different in an air conditioned studio and an outdoor stage.
Most guitarists like their germanium cooled down, with some even putting the pedal in a freezer before use. We also have to add that germanium transistors store charges, so the sound can vary day to day.
Silicon Fuzz transistors
Silicon transistors were created specifically as a germanium alternative. They don’t store as much voltage as germanium so the sound.
These transistors function on a higher frequency, and this boosts the treble from your guitar’s signal.
Silicon transistors also have higher gain, so they distort differently compared to germanium. Silicon transistor distortion has a sharper, brighter sound.
Silicon also provides better response to power supply, and its browned down tone sounds great on a 9 V battery. Even if you reduce your guitar’s volume, the ferocity will still be evident.
Below is a summary of the two fuzz transistors and their traits.
Germanium Fuzz Characteristics
Not as harsh as silicon
Sounds better than silicon when 9V bolt battery is used
You need matched transistors for superior sound
Requires transistor matching to sound good
Nearer to classic 60s sound only if the right transistors are used
Fuzz distortion is not as evident as with silicon
Costs more than silicon fuzz
Heat sensitive, i.e. strong stage lights or the sun may cause problems
Silicon Fuzz Characteristics
The tone is more abrasive than germanium due to its sharp, high gain, high speed transistors.
The silicon material means it is more stable at higher temperatures
The fuzz distortion is at a higher frequency (fuzzier)
Sound is compressed, tighter and more “modern”
The transistors have higher tolerances, meaning it is easier to construct in case they’re not matched
Has a decent sound when used with a power supply
Which Makes for the Better Fuzz?
Each one has its pros and cons, but in general: if you want classic, warm tones, a germanium transistor is the ideal choice. If you’re looking for an edgier sound, you will be better off with silicon.
You may also want to keep an eye out for hybrid transistors. These have been specially designed so they provide the best that germanium and silicon have to offer.
These hybrid fuzzes have a wide array of tones, and its germanium transistor is driven by a silicon transistor.
This design provides the germanium transistor with greater consistency. This configuration also leads to greater definition and brilliance.
Whichever pedal you choose, it’s important that you take the time to learn how it’s used. Try out as many different distortion boxes as possible, and remember that more expensive isn’t always the best option.
Tips and Suggestions
Here are some more factors to keep in mind:
Learn as much as you can about silicon and germanium. An untrained ear will not be able to tell the difference. However, there is a difference.
If you want a smoother sound, germanium is the ideal choice. There is distortion, but it is more pleasing.
However, germanium transistors cannot handle high frequencies. This may be a good or bad thing depending on what you want to do.
There are a lot of reasons for this such as low bandwidth, low gain, capacities etc. Whatever the cause is, it may be good or bad depending on what you want to do.
The Miller capacitance refers to the capacitance between the tubes or transistors’ internal structure or pins. This is responsible for the smooth and round attributes of germanium.
The bottom line is germanium has a smoother sound than silicon. This is the reason why a lot of guitarists prefer them.
This doesn’t mean it’s what you should use of course. If you want a sharper, harsher sound, then go with silicon.
Silicon transistors have a crisper sound, and for many this makes all the difference. Its fuzziness is more obvious, and the signal doesn’t deteriorate even when you use standard pedal power supply.
We also have to stress that silicon transistors are easier to mass produce. While cost is a factor, don’t let that be the deciding one, as you have to consider the effects and what you intend to do with it.
Lastly, read customer reviews. Even if you narrow your choices down to either germanium or silicon, you have to figure out which brand to go with.
That is where reviews will help. You should read reviews and learn as much as you can about the brand.
As we have explained here, there is no single right choice. Some prefer germanium and others go for silicon fuzz.
By taking their attributes into account, you will know which one is the most efficient for the type of music you’re creating.
Fuzz pedals are electronic devices that are used to alter the sounds your guitar makes. There are many types of guitar pedals, but they generally work the same way.
Fuzz, wah-wah, distortion are just among the effects that can be produced. Here is how to use a fuzz pedal.
7 Steps in Using a Fuzz Pedal
Choose a guitar pedal. You can purchase these in a guitar shop or online. Or you can go to Amazon to get one.
Power the pedal. Almost all guitar pedals let you choose between two power options. A 9 volt battery is the most practical and portable solution. You may also go for an AC adapter so you don’t have to replace batteries. While you don’t have to replace the batteries, you have to make sure the cables don’t get entangled if you use several pedals.
Plug it in. Run a cable from the pedal’s input jack to your guitar. A 6 mm cable will do fine. Next, run another cable from the pedal’s output jack to the input jack on your amp. The majority of gas pedals use power when hooked up to an input jack, so you have to remove the cable when you’re not using it.
Turn on your guitar amp. Do this after making sure all the cable are properly connected.
Adjust the pedal knobs to the position you want. If it’s the first time you’re going to use it, set the knobs to the lowest setting possible. Use your feet to adjust the knob.
Adjust the knob as you tune the guitar. Just play the guitar and adjust the knobs until the fuzz is right where you want it. Fuzz pedals usually have different knobs to control so it is better to refer to the User’s/owner’s manual. That should explain what the knobs are for, but the “right” setting is up to you.
After you have the knobs where you want them, make a few minute changes via the switch. The slightest change can make a big difference, so experiment. That’s what a fuzz pedal is all about
How To Fix Oscillation Problems
Your wah and fuzz are connected, but all you hear is an irritating screech or a low frequency feedback. This is due to the fuzz’s input impedance. Its input is low and the interacts with the wah prior to the fuzz.
This interaction produces the feedback, but you can fix it two ways. the first option is to set the fuzz before the wah. Another option is to get a buffer or quality pedal to between the two.
Oscillation feedback may also occur if you are too close to the amp or there is a lot of gain. There is no single fix for this.
You can start by tuning down a bit until the feedback disappears. Grounding is important, so it’s a good idea to get a multimeter.
With a multimeter, you can inspect the ground wires. Ensure the connections are secure and hooked up to your guitar cord’s out shield cable.
Use The Volume Knob To Clean Up Fuzz
Your fuzz can be cleaned with your guitar’s volume. Most guitarists play around 7 or 8 in rhythm, then move up to 8 or 10.
You may want to try this and see what type of response you get. If there is none, there’s probably a buffer in the fuzz or guitar.
However, you will notice a significant fuzz reduction between a rolled back volume and a volume on 10.
Fuzz and Pick
The fuzz response to a pick improves when you roll the volume knob back. This is one of the things you’ll quickly learn with fuzz pedals, and it can really improve your playing style.
The general rule is the more intense the pick, the greater the distortion (fuzz).. You can use this technique for crunchy but clean passages. This is also a technique that Jimi Hendrix used.
Why Does My Fuzz Pedal Sound Bad?
There are many possible reasons, but these are the most likely reasons.
Pedals before a fuzz, even if it is off, will boost or buffer the signal, which leads to a crackling sound from the fuzz. If your equipment is arranged this way, you have to move the fuzz higher along the chain and nearer the guitar.
Another possible reason is the pedal may be just too fuzzy. Too much fuzziness can be due to the circuitry. It could be due to the circuit networks which aren’t handling the frequencies properly. It could also be due to the circuits not having enough gain. If you cannot fix the fuzziness, get another pedal.
Signal interference is another possible cause. If the pedal comes with plenty of gain but isn’t linear, it is going to pick up a lot of radio signals and generate distortion.
The wires and cables function as antennas. This is one of the reasons why fuzz pedals can be effective, but too much of it can cause problems. To avoid this, make sure the grounding is done properly.
Keep in mind this problem will worsen if there is bad grounding or you’re using very long wires. We mentioned earlier that a multimeter will be useful. However, some basic skills will help. You may also try to move the fuzz around and turn off any radio that’s running.
Another possible reason is the fuzz pedal is just poor quality. If that is the case, the best recourse is to buy a new one. That is the reason why you should read reviews and never settle for low quality products.
If you have several fuzz pedals, examine them one by one and test. When testing, keep things simple by just using an amp, the fuzz and guitar. Plug them and listen to any feedback. Add another pedal and see if that causes any change.
Using a fuzz pedal is easy, and really it’s all about adjusting the knobs until you get the results you like. As long as the cables are properly connected, there should be no problems.
The fuzz pedal is the original guitar distortion device. Fuzzes were developed back in the 1960s, and they remain popular to this day.
Fuzzes have a slight wobble, with a sparkly, warm and rounded distortion over the guitar. In short, a fuzz pedal adds sustain, girth and meat to your guitar playing.
What Else Can a Fuzz Do?
A fuzz pedal can do more than just augment sound. The more powerful fuzzes can take over the signal and modify it.
Meaning, your guitar signal will hit a spot and won’t be able to go through it without being completely changed, i.e. brick wall fuzzes.
There are however, other fuzz pedals that keep elements of the signal for a more consistent core and feel.
With brick wall fuzzes, there is greater processing compared to other pedals. There are fuzzes which are more flexible, allowing you to use different effects while making sure the important elements in your tone are preserved.
With a good fuzz pedal, you just need to up a tube amp if it starts to break. Do that and overdrive goes into gentle mode. If you need heavy distortion, just set it to the max.
Today’s fuzz pedals are capable of so much more, giving you the means to do the work you’ve always wanted.
Fuzz Faces and Germanium Transistors
Other fuzz pedals came before it, but the fuzz face is the one most guitarists like to play with because it’s the one Jimi Hendrix used. Apart from fuzz face, you’re also going to run into the word germanium often.
Ask any seasoned guitarist and they’ll tell you fuzz face quality varies greatly. The reason is the germanium transistor quality ranges from the excellent to the barely adequate.
The reputable brands actually take the time out to sort and manage these transistors.
Quality germanium transistors are preferable because they’re rounder, softer and more flexible. You cannot make music alone with these transistors, but making music with them is easier.
The fuzz faces from the mid 60s were basic, and usually there are no more than ten components in them. The most important elements are the NKT275 or the AC128 transistor.
New fuzz pedals moved away from germanium and turned to silicon. However, a lot of musicians find silicon transistors possess a harsher sound.
Not everyone agrees though, as there are guitarists who are happy with silicon transistors. Silicon fuzzes for instance, are ideal for setups with multiple amps.
However, the demand for germanium has led to the development of classic fuzz. Some of these pedals combine the two so you can have the best of both worlds.
Fuzz, Overdrive and Distortion
There are three basic types of distortion pedals: fuzz, distortion and overdrive.
Overdrive leads to boost gain, pushing your amp which leads to distortion. Distortion on the other hand, processes the signal of your guitar, turning it into a screamer before getting into the amp.
Fuzz is an even more extreme version of distortion known as square wave. Keep in mind that some brands use fuzz and distortion interchangeably.
But as we have shown the two are not the same and you need to be aware of that.
How to Find the Right Fuzz Pedal
Make sure you know the vendor’s return policy so you can return the fuzz pedal if it does not live up to your expectations. When testing, play the leads, single note riffs and the chords.
As the fuzz produces distortion, bear in mind they are not capable of handling more than a power chord.
If you’re going to use distortion boxes for leads, make certain it gives you lots of gain boost. Gain boost is crucial because without it your guitar signal could get lost.
Extra gain can be a good thing because it leads to more sustain.
Too much gain and it will lead to hiss, feedback and noise. Depending on your goal, this may be a good or bad thing.
What you should look for is a gain control that gives you enough boost to match up with the volume level of your guitar.
With just a few exceptions, the majority of fuzz pedals and boxes cut or boost EQ frequencies.
Also factor in how you intend to use your guitar. Some fuzz pedals sound amazing when you play solo, but the sound gets drowned out when you play with a band.
Modern fuzzes have precise tone controls, so use that to your advantage. Just keep switching and adjusting until you get the sound right.
If you’re in a band, it makes sense to test the fuzz with your bandmates to get an idea of how your guitar will sound.
Tips and Suggestions
Don’t fall in the trap of setting everything to max. It’s cool to have the knobs up to 12 o’ clock.
But some fuzz pedals produce so much distortion that you won’t hear anything when everything is at maximum.
There are no shortcuts, and there is no single perfect setting as it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Try the in-between settings and tweak those.
If this is your first time to work with a fuzz pedal, set the knob to low. Turn it up in increments until you find the right setting.
Look for fuzz pedals that are durable. If you’re going to rock, the pedal must be strong enough to handle your weight.
Control knobs have to be properly positioned, i.e. they must be within easy reach. At the same time, you don’t want them too close as you could accidentally move them.
A true bypass fuzz pedal is essential, and there has to be an audible click to let you know the switch is on. Some have LED lights that tell you it is active.
As we have shown here, there’s a lot you can do with a fuzz pedal. A lot of the problems that arise from their use stems from misunderstanding. The key here is your willingness to experiment and try different settings.