Fuzz is the sound that a lot of people associate with distortion and some even overdrive but being able to customize the sound of it on its own can add great depth to your sound. One of the original pedals, fuzz has a legendary status, ever since Keith Richards helped it make a name for itself in the early ’60s.
They’ve both remained a favorite over the decades and have been making the sound of different genres richer as a result so think everything from Hendrix to the Rolling Stones and The White Stripes. Think Foxy Lady as made even more legendary by Waynes World with that semi distorted, fuzzy riff.
If you are still building your pedalboard or just want to find the right product for your sound, we have created the following list of the best fuzz pedals.
Quick Summary of Fuzz Pedals
Electro-Harmonix Op-amp Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal
This little beauty will need no introduction for many guitarists and has a famous sound to go with its classic design. You get to control tone, sustain, and volume so it covers all the basics without giving you too much to think about whilst giving you the choice of bypassing the tone. It offers a grunge Esque grainy sound with plenty of crunch although you can tone this down as much as you like to recreate that Smashing Pumpkins style sound.
It is pretty compact so it’s easy to find room for it and you’ll be glad you did if you are looking for a heavier rhythm guitar sound without relying on distortion. We like that it is still reasonably priced making it possible to get the same pedal than some of the world’s most famous bands has used for decades. For fuzz that is full of tone and has enough scope for you to change things up a bit, the Electro-Harmonix Op-amp Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal is a great option.
- Compact design
- Great price
- Iconic fuzz pedal sound
- Vilume, sustain, and tone knobs
Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Guitar Effects Pedal
The compact size means there is no excuse to miss out on the excellent tone options of this reputable fuzz pedal which is why so many electric guitarists and even bass players make room for it on their pedalboard. There are two clipping options so you can use the distorted sytle of fuzz for a more agressive sound or tone it down for a pure fuzz sound.
The build quality and componenets are what impresses as they manage to provide a sound thart is hard to better at the price. Control the high end with the brightness knob and the tight/big switch allows you to completely changes things up with note definition and clarity or a saturated fuzz. Great for rhythm or making a solo stand out without taking over.
- Two clipping options
- Tight/bright switch
- Quality build
- Not quite boutique level
Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion
Best For Hendrix Style Sounds
Whether you are looking to recreate the sound of the legend himself or just want to play with something similar, this is as close as you can get to the iconic Hendrix sound. It is built with the same cirtcuit as Hendrix’s classic Jhf1 fuzz face so expect to have a lot of fun with the simple settings.
It has a relatively compact design and gives you the only essential options – volume and fuzz. There is true bypassing switching to maintain the quality to the sound and offers a full yet smooth fuzz sound that is reminiscent of the 60’s. A lot of people like to plug complement the sound with a strat and it has a small footprint making it ideal for a pedalboard. There is a larger version but this is easy to use and sounds great.
- Compact design
- Iconic 60’s sound
- Easy to use
- Same circuit as Hendrix’s Jhf1 fuzz face
- Some people want more options
Way Huge WHE401 Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz
Turn up the high gain for some graty fuzz with loads of presence or enjoy the smoother low end with this quality fuzz pedal. You can choose between a subtle fuzz sound or turn the crunch knob to up it to the max. There is true bypass and you can find that rasping sound with a hint of overdrive if you want to get it by turning things down a little or twist everything right for some extreme fuzz.
There is an LED indicator that makes it useful for gigging and it is best described as the ideal fuzz pedal for a guitarist who wants to find multiple sounds in one pedal. When you’re done with the outer knobs you can create a whole different sound by turning the internal duo giving you a whole world of new options again.
- Loads of sound options
- Crunch knob for upping the fuzz
- LED indicator
- Adjustable compression
- Can take some getting used to
Fender The Pelt Fuzz
The unique features on Fenders fuzz pedal ensure there are a lot of options for you to play with. You can do what you want with the mid-range thanks to the mid switch and the thick switch next to it allows you to give your sound a more rounded fuzz sound with more of a presence. Known for its silicon fuzz sound it allows your strumming to rasp behind the vocals or stand out if you have a new riff you want to play with.
The knobs are all backlit by LED and because of the various options and adjustments, you can make it is easy to find a distorted fuzz or change the character of your sound with the unique bloom knob.
- Lots of options for a contemporary sound
- Backlit LED knobs
- Silicon fuzz
- Reasonable price
- Not as good for a vintage sounds
EarthQuaker Devices Hoof V2 Germanium/Silicon Hybrid Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
Also Consider (Most Versatile)
Find the sound you have been trying to replicate with this versatile fuzz pedal that offers a hybrid of geranium and silicon fuzz. This makes for a unique sound that is a mix of temperature stability with plenty of tone. Because of the gain knob, you can amp things up to silly fuzz levels with an overdriven sound although you can also use it to find smooth sustain for an almost melodic fuzz.
The musical sounds are practical so this is no novelty fuzz pedal and most people will find it pretty easy to get on with. The tone has a full range with bass at one end and treble on the other. Mix sounds, play with the mids and you’ll see how versatile this thing is.
- Unique sound
- Shift, tone, level, fuzz knobs
- Can increase or dampen the muddiness
- Can be a bit pricey for some budgets
Fuzz Pedal Guide
For that authentic 60’s sound that Hendrix would have been proud of or to recreate the grunge-like rhythms and leads of the ’90s, a fuzz pedal can be a lot of fun. Sometimes a simple fuzz pedal has all you need but the more accomplished electric guitarist might want to be able to create different sounds using the same pedal.
When you know what the best fuzz pedals are capable of, it makes purchasing a lot easier. To make sure you end up with the right pedal for your needs, we have created the following guide.
What To Look For In A Fuzz Pedal
The options available to you will largely come down to your budget but if you have the extra to spend on a pedal with more adjustable settings then you can tailor a unique sound.
The budget options might just be fuzz and volume which is fine for some people who only want to create a certain sound but the more options you have, the more you can switch from 60’s rock to modern indie and everything in between.
All pedals are designed to be put through a fair bit of wear and tear, you do stamp on them to turn them on and off after all. Still, some are better suited to tour life than others so if you gig a lot, make sure you buy a product that is known for being robust and reliable.
This leads on from durability as a touring guitarist might not have lots of room to offer a new pedal on their pedalboard. This is where a compact or mini fuzz pedal might be best.
What Does A Fuzz Pedal Sound Like?
Sometimes it just sounds downright aggressive with a distortion that has been compressed so the sound is less crunchy but more has more grit to it. By clipping the signal it gives single notes enough a muddy impact although most brands give you plenty of options to customize the sound to your taste.
Fuzz Pedal Vs Distortion Pedal
The untrained ear might think that fuzz is a watered-down version of distortion but there is a lot more to it. Distortion has an aggressive sound that is used to create a heavier sound so it is well suited to rock and heavy-metal predominantly. Fuzz, on the other hand, is commonly used in the iconic ’60s blues as well as alternative music so it is used by everything from Hendrix to Smashing Pumpkins.
Distortion is driven by gain whereas fuzz works by clipping the signal leaving you with a rasping spit like sound that can be made cleaner or even thicker and sputtery depending on your taste.
Different Types of Fuzz Pedals
The two types of fuzz pedals include silicon and germanium transistors. They have different sounds so they are not to be confused as one. A lot of fuzz pedals lean to one or the other but there is such a thing as a hybrid.
These types of fuzz pedals are behind that warmer, clean sounding fuzz that some people will find to be easier on the ears and smoother. They are less common which in turn can ramp the price up a bit and was the type that was originally found in a fuzz pedal. One for the Hendrix tones.
On the other end of the scale, a silicon fuzz pedal offers a more cutting, aggressive tone. They are cheaper to make so you can usually pick one up for a decent price and for that raw sound, they make a great option.
How Much Does A Fuzz Pedal Cost?
Although the sky is the limit as to what you can spend, not everyone has enough in the bank to afford a boutique fuzz pedal. Thankfully, some excellent options cost a fraction of the price meaning you can pick up a great sounding fuzz pedal for around $100.
These might be a little basic in what they can offer so don’t expect much more than volume fuzz, and perhaps one other mode but reputable brands are offering great, iconic fuzz sounds.
For something that is going to have plenty of tweaks on offer and a wider range of sounds, you might need to pay with around $250 – $350.
What Is The Best Fuzz Pedal?
Although purists will argue until the sun goes down there is no arguing that you get good value from Electro-Harmonix Op-amp Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal. It offers a grunge fuzz sound and the ability to tone the crunch down at a reasonable price.
If you have more in your pedal savings account then you can get more features with Fender The Pelt Fuzz. This is better for a contemporary sound although if you want to replicate the sound of Hendrix then there are specific fuzz pedals that make it easy including the Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion. It is a simple product with a compact size ideal for a packed pedalboard.
Fuzz Pedals In Modern Music
Although some of the most famous uses of a fuzz pedal include the Rolling Stones and Hendrix, there are other reasons behind the popularity of the fuzz pedal.
A lot of people think of The White Stripes, Muse, and many others so it is clear that fuzz is alive and well. It has a reputation as being an experimental pedal since a lot of bands play with it to create new sounds but it has been a prominent feature in riffs, solos, and rhythm guitar for some time now.