Do you remember your first encounter with fuzz? I remember mine very vividly. I was still at school at the time and played in a small band with rudimentary equipment. Once we won a competition and went to a local music store as a prize. That was truly an experience of a lifetime because I had the chance to play with so many amazing guitars. I looked around and there it was, a little fuzz pedal waiting for me. I had no idea what it was and started asking so many questions!
The shop owner was kind enough to plug that bad boy in and perform for us. I will never forget the feeling I got from hearing those tones. Since then I have been on the venture of finding the best fuzz pedal for my music. I successfully accomplished this task. Now it is your turn. Keep on reading to find the pedal of your dreams.
What’s The Best Guitar Fuzz Pedal
Are you looking for more fuzz for your sounds? Velvet Fuzz V2 is the pedal you need. With the original design and simplicity of use it can become useful addition to your effects pedals. By itself, Velvet Fuzz V2 may not feel the best fuzz pedal one possessed, but when you use it with other pedals you will feel the fuzzy vibe. It has 3 knobs: fuzz knob controls the fuzz in your signal, the Volume knob controls the level of the output and the Brightness is used for trebles. One more interesting feature that you will find using this handmade fuzzy pedal is Big/Tight mode. This switch helps you to play sounds either distorted or in a slightly vintage style. In short, Velvet Fuzz V2 is the pedal that is not trying to stand out with multiple features but is a reliable device, with good compatibility and sound.
- Works great with other effects pedals
- Thick tones
By thinking outside the box ZVEX Fuzz Factory brought to life the fuzz beast. With a completely different design and original graphics, Vexter Series Fuzz pedal was born. ZVEX actually took the game to the new level with this pedal. It has 5 different knobs, features of which are little bit obscure at the first look. First one which is less complicated to understand is the Volume knob, then we got Gate and Compression knobs that control the bias, next is Drive and it controls the input and output, the last one is Stab, which manages the supply voltage. If you are a beginner it may take some time before adjusting to Vexter Series, but when you do, whole new world of different sounds opens up. It is up to you whether you want to play with cranky and distorted effects or vintage fuzz, just turn on your Vexter Series and experiment.
- Two germanium transistors
- Awesome features
- Big variety of effects
- Original design
- Not for beginners
- It can oscillate unexpectedly when switching between modes
Not a fan of Dunlop pedals? This little creation may change your mind. Fuzz Face is half size of the original pedals, that gives you some space on your pedalboard. It is simple and cheap pedal, which offers clear fuzzy sounds just like high priced boutique pedals. You may question what makes this pedal excel. Well, its main strength is germanium, which makes sounds warmer than silicon. FFM2 offers dynamic range of sounds that are easily regulated from your guitar. Clear, warm, spongy vintage tones (with real fuzz) will transfer you in 60’s and make you feel like Hendrix on the big stage, rocking the world. I think this little pedal has much to offer. So if you are looking for best fuzz pedal, Fuzz Face Mini can be your best companion.
- Great price
- Compact device
- Good sound
Hoof V2 Fuzz is awesome remake of old Hoof Fuzz pedal, offering a better variety of features and an enhanced system. This versatile pedal is handmade, but, still, it is durable and has 4 different modifications: Tone, Level, Shift and Fuzz. Tone knob manages the bass boost, Level controls the tone level, Shift knob – the main strength of the pedal, is responsible for tone frequency and eliminates the dirtiness on the bass, while Fuzz is to alters the fuzz. It may take some time to adjust to this pedal but once you do, you will not be disappointed. Hoof V2 Fuzz is everything you can look for while choosing the pedal. This high-quality and flexible device with great fuzz and clear sonic spectrum is worth of every penny.
- Great quality
- New and interesting features
If you want to tame the beast, Fuzz War is your pedal. With standout graphics and noticeable design this pedal delivers unbelievable sounds. This is endless impact of fuzz and distortion. Fuzz War has 3 knobs, smaller knob is for volume control, other two are Fuzz and Tone knobs. Fuzz regulation gives you the opportunity to alter sound from booster pedal to unexplored zones of the fuzz. Tone knob is responsible for tone adjustment. Even though controls are simple it is really hard to control this pedal because of its vast possibilities. Playing with Fuzz War feels like you have opened Pandora’s box. In simple terms, whether you are a professional guitar player and want some new experience or a beginner who is not afraid of madness kept in this pedal, feel free to dive into the sounds of Fuzz War.
- Outrageous sounds
- Simple modes
- Flexible and effective tone control
- Not for everybody
- Treble booster is slightly thin when used alone
Do you want to turn your sounds from mild to wild with dirty fuzz? Badass Variac Fuzz can become your good friend. MXR has created killer pedal and added one secret ingredient that made it even more attractive. With Variac Fuzz you can experiment with everything – from low, distorted and cringy sounds to high, clear, aggressive fuzz. This monster has 3 regular controls and 1 extraordinary knob. Output knob manages the tone volume (but be careful, it can be very loud), Tone is responsible for sound clarity or heaviness and Gain controls the fuzz. Finally, the Variac knob controls the voltage and gives you the flexibility to manage the sound from 5V and deliver thickest fuzz and gradually light it up by turning the knob clockwise up to 15V. In short, MXR made 100% versatile Super Badass pedal that gives you limitless opportunities to experiment with.
- Variable voltage
- Great quality
At times you think you have seen all kinds of pedals, then something extraordinary comes out and surprises you. Kingmaker Fuzz is exactly that kind of one. This intriguing pedal combines high tones with sophisticated technology. It is whole new level of fuzz pedals. Kingmaker itself has 4 different knobs: Drive, Level, Bass, Treble and Heavy/Normal/Octave switch. Knobs’ features are quite simple and self-explanatory. What is more interesting is what the fuzz trio pedal delivers. The heavy switch delivers thick tones and saturated fuzz, Normal offers slightly reduced input signal and clear sound with responsive fuzz, Octave may remind you of Octavio pedals, while delivering throaty grind. With good EQ capabilities and stereo input and output, this pedal is really something. In addition to this you can set the Neuro app and experiment with 40 different options. Also Kingmaker gives you opportunity to save your sound to Neuro Hub or share it with the public using the app.
- Good quality
- Good price
- Wide range of options
- Not for everyone
- You cannot switch between the fuzzes on the fly
While other pedals offered multiple features and sound variety Soul Food pedal is the sound clean master. If you have distorted pedals in your effects chain and want to clear them up, add this one to your pedalboard and feel the clean boost coming out of the pedal. Soul Food removes the dirt and mud from the sound and shapes the tones in its charismatic way. The pedal has 3 knobs: Vol, Drive and Treble. Keeping knobs counter clockwise the pedal will deliver clear tones of your amplifier – turning them up will change the sonic spectrum and let you mix without overbearing sound. Soul food will be your amplifiers best friend. So if you want something versatile to clean up the sound, you have found the one.
- Extremely affordable
- Works well with other pedals
- Delivers quality clean boost
- Small range of options
- Treble control might produce a piercing sound
If you are a fan of ‘70s fuzz and the original tones those early pedals delivered, Fulltone ‘70 BC-108C will be a perfect match for you. It consists of BC-108C silicon transistor, which is the main reason why this pedal is so powerful. These transistors are intentionally mismatched to add extra dirt to your growling fuzz. The controls on ‘70 BC-108C are quite easy to tweak: Mids adjust mid-range frequencies and let you find the perfect balance and sustain. This knob add a significant amount of gain to your tones; the Fuzz controls the amount of effect added to your audio signal, while Volume modifies the level of the overall output of the pedal. Additionally, ‘70 BC-108BC comes with an internal pot, which takes your ability to control the sound to a whole new level. This little hidden gem manages the responsiveness of the pedal and lets you to soften or compress your sound. This pedal offers a powerful fuzz, that will make your ears bleed if used with a boost or a badass amplifier.
- Versatile tones
- Full range of control
- Adds ‘70s vibe to your tones
- Takes practice to adjust it well
Donner Stylish Fuzz falls into the category of inexpensive pedals. It will not blow your mind or turn your world upside down, but the fuzz it delivers is still quite descent. It has a huge Bustain knob in the middle, which allows you to go from subtle, thin fuzz to a robust one with just a simple twist. It can deliver a classic fuzz when set in the middle as well. Volume and Tone knobs on the upper edges of the pedal let you modify the level and amount of the effect. As I have already mentioned, Stylish Fuzz is not as powerful as other more expensive pedals, but it does quite a good job for the price. What is more, it is very small and compact and will save you a lot of space on your pedalboard. All in all, this is a pedal that knows what to do.
- Good quality
- Compact design
- VERY affordable
- Cannot be powered with battery
- Can be noisy
Difference between fuzz, overdrive, and distortion
There is nothing more tangled and complicated than the world of audio effects. With the abundance of choices, it is hard sometimes to tell apart one thing from another. This is especially true in terms of the effects that have the same nature, such as distortion. Though the technicality of its types is not that different, the sound each of them delivers is quite unique and suitable for specific music. In order to understand your tones well and create quality composition, it is crucial to know what each and every effect does and how they alter your notes. Fortunately, I am here to help and will assist you on your way to the world of distortion.
Distortion is an audio effect that is created by clipping the signal. This produces a growling, gritty tone, adds thickness and texture to your sound. This effect was discovered when several musicians played through faulty amplifiers, which delivered a distorted sound. This term is used to refer to the combination of effects as well as a single type. I want to describe the latter, in order to draw your attention to the differences in sound. Distortion is harsher than overdrive while being subtler than fuzz. It can easily be transformed into both by varying the intensity of the effect. If you listen to it carefully, you will notice its unique nature and fall in love with gain and sustain. In short, the distortion itself is quite different from its counterparts allowing you to create a more distinct and powerful sound.
As I have mentioned above, overdrive is a subtler type of distortion. It does clip your signal, but not in a harsh way. The sound it produces resembles an overdriven tube amp and is quite gritty. This effect is warm, with the right amount of gain and clipping. It can be used at lower settings for smoother tones or cranked up to its fullest for heavier, distortion-like sound. Regardless of options, overdrive never loses its warmth and heavenly tubes, which makes this effect really stand out. It is more suitable for classic rock and blues, but has enough flexibility to match any type of music.
The star of the show – fuzz – is the heaviest form of distortion. Honestly, it is my favorite one. We should all thank Grady Martin for discovering this effect in 1961. He was performing with a faulty preamplifier, that had somewhat a fuzzy tone. This discovery quickly turned into a trend and was caught on by a lot of musicians. Later on, first fuzz pedals were introduced, which made this effect even more desirable and accessible.
Fuzz is created by clipping the signal severely. It has a vast amount of gain and sustain, along with harmonics. This effect distorts your sound in a heavier way and saturates it with character. If you play heavy metal or others of that ilk, fuzz will quickly become your best friend. Legendary musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Paul McCartney also used it in their music in order to deliver those gritty tones.
How to choose a guitar fuzz pedal?
As with many other devices, there are a lot of things you should keep in mind when purchasing a fuzz pedal of your dreams. A number of personal factors interfere with our choices and they all need to be considered while making a final decision. Your preferences, taste and music play a huge role in leading your options in a certain direction but technical features should never be neglected. I will discuss several significant points that will make your fuzz experience better.
At first glance, this might seem like a meticulous thing, but it makes a huge difference in the final end. From my experience, professional pedalboards tend to be overcrowded, with little to no space left for new pedals. That is why you should make sure that a fuzz stompbox of your choice will fit properly on your pedalboard.
Affordability is the most subjective feature in my opinion. It all depends on how much you are willing to pay in a single device. Nevertheless, there are some things that make certain pedals worth splurging. For instance, additional features and good built quality mean that regardless of price, the pedal will last you for a long time and save you from buying separate device for everything. In case you are on a budget, you can still find some badass pedals that will do the job decently. Take one more look at our list and I am sure you will come across the one that satisfies all your needs.
Even the simplest fuzz pedal comes with a Volume and Fuzz controls. Generally, this is quite enough to get the effect you want and apply the right amount of it to your sound. But the more features you can adjust, the more precise your tone will be. For instance, some pedals offer Bass and Treble knobs that balance out different characteristics in your sound. Many of them let you switch between vintage and modern tones. All in all, these features are good addition to any pedal, since they make them stand out in the crowd and scream your name.
Silicon and Germanium Fuzz
The subject of transistors falls right into a technical category, but they define your sound a great deal. Silicon transistors have harsher sound, as they have high gain nature. They are more durable and reliable since they can withstand high heat. The fuzz itself has more frequency in this case, delivering modern, compressed tones. Germanium transistors, on the other hand, have softer sound and vintage notes. They are more expensive compared to silicone ones. In short, they can both deliver powerful fuzz, but each of them has a different touch to it.
All things considered, choosing the best fuzz pedal is not a child’s play. It takes a lot of time and consideration, as well as requires proper research and dedication. Hopefully, I have provided all the information you will need on your way to finding your soulmate of pedals. All you have left to do is purchase it, plug it in and let the creativity take its course. Once you dive into your music and fuzz it up a bit, you will travel to a parallel universe. Never stop improving and striving for more, because fuzz is all about passion and drive that comes from within. Good journey, my friend, you have great things ahead of you!