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.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Best Fuzz Pedals
- 1.1 Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Fuzz Pedal
- 1.2 ZVEX Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal
- 1.3 Dunlop FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini Distortion
- 1.4 EarthQuaker Devices Hoof V2 Fuzz
- 1.5 Death by Audio Fuzz War Effect Pedal
- 1.6 MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
- 1.7 Source Audio One Series Kingmaker Fuzz Pedal
- 1.8 Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal
- 1.9 Fulltone ’70 BC-108C Fuzz
- 1.10 Donner Stylish Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
- 2 Conclusion
Top 10 Best Fuzz Pedals
|Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Fuzz Pedal||(5 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|ZVEX Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Dunlop FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini Distortion||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|EarthQuaker Devices Hoof V2 Fuzz||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Death by Audio Fuzz War Effect Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Source Audio One Series Kingmaker Fuzz Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Fulltone '70 BC-108C Fuzz||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Donner Stylish Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
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, 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 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 pedal boards 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 pedal board.
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 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!