In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: July 08, 2021
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Guitars can create a range of beautiful sounds that can really get a crowd going. But there are also a number of different effects that can help amplify and enhance these awesome sounds. One of these effects is the fuzz pedal. Made popular by rock legend, Jimi Hendrix, the fuzz pedal is a distortion that is commonly used today.
In our search for the best fuzz pedal, we’ve explored virtually every fuzz pedal around, almost 45 fuzz pedals, and bring you our list of the 10 best fuzz pedals. The Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Pi is our Editor’s Choice pick because of its superior build and impressive sound quality. If you want to check something else, we have included nine other fuzz pedals in this article to help you decide which one is ideal for you.
We’ve spent countless hours researching these fuzz pedals and have used a variety of sources online, including product pages, customer reviews, and YouTube videos to help discover the best fuzz pedals. In our review, we’ve described a number of different features that determine how great these pedals are. We examined for which instruments these fuzz pedals can be used, the controls, whether they had a true bypass, and how to power them. After our detailed reviews of each product, if you still have more questions, we hope to answer them in our comprehensive buying guide. So, let’s get started!
One of the most highly regarded fuzz pedals is also our Editor Choice. The Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Pi is one of the small-sized fuzz pedals around, but it packs an enormous punch.
Suited for guitars, the Big Muff sports three visible controls, the volume, sustain, and tone. Through these knobs, you can adjust your sound to produce amazing grunge tones with a bit more coarseness to that. It also has a switch that bypasses the tone knob to give you a no-nonsense kind of sound. You can also use the tone knobs to find that perfect strike of the heavy and edgy sounds you want.
There is some flexibility with the power supply as you can run it with a 9V battery, but an adapter can also be used, although you will have to purchase that separately as it does not come with this fuzz pedal.
Despite its small size, it’s built incredibly well and is very durable. The Big Muff has long been a favorite pedal to produce that aggressive and heavy-hitting fuzz style and is one of the best cheap fuzz pedals around. The Big Muff’s most notable user is Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins.
A really popular and modern choice of the fuzz pedal among customers is the ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory Vexter. It is our Customers’ Choice because it produces the widest range of fuzz sounds among the pedals from our list, and customers love it for that reason.
This pedal boasts classic germanium transistors and is made for guitars. It comes loaded with five knobs, including volume, gate, compress, drive, and stability. Having these five knobs allows you to manipulate the sounds as you want. From a classic fuzz sound to those heavy, fuzzy tones that you might need to tame a bit, the Fuzz Factory shows a fantastic performance.
It’s powered by a 9-volt battery, and you can use an adapter as well, but just know that it does not come with the Fuzz Factory. This fuzz pedal will also last you a while thanks to its solid, aluminum frame, that valiantly endures the abuse. Despite having the five knobs, some users have pointed out that they’re not fans of them being so close together.
Another fantastic fuzz pedal for guitar and bass players is our pick for the best analog fuzz pedal, the JHS Muffuletta Fuzz. It has a fantastic black and gold design that is simple to use and control.
When it comes to classic Big Muff tones, the JHS takes it to another level. It has four knobs to set the volume, sustain, tone, and effects. And boy, the effects do provide excellent sound. This pedal features dials, including The Civil War, The Russian, The Pi, The Triangle, the ’73 Ram Head, and the JHS 2015. This version of the JHS fuzz pedal includes the newest effect, the JHS 2015, which is awesome for bass players.
This analog fuzz pedal comes with a 9-volt adapter and also features a true bypass for much better sound. In terms of sound, the JHS delivers a fuzz that is subdued in compression but still gives you lots of mids and can easily kick up the power. Owners of this fuzz pedal did mention that the volume can get out of whack while using the JHS, and you might have to stop and dial in a new tone. Despite this and its somewhat high price tag, we still think this is an excellent unit.
The Dunlop JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion is a variation of one of the most legendary fuzz pedals in history. This version is the miniature version of the original Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, but like the original, this version has the same BC108 silicon transistors that can cover a wider variety of fuzz sounds.
On the surface, it’s incredibly minimalistic in design, as the inspiration of the Fuzz Face comes from the base of a microphone stand. Since this is a restart of the original model, it only has the basic volume and fuzz control knobs, which, if you aren’t interested in other control types, is all you really need out of a solid fuzz pedal.
It uses a 9V battery and does not use an adapter as a power supply source. Users who are trying to emulate the same dense guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix would be wise to give this fuzz pedal a go as it produces the sounds most similar to his riffs than any other fuzz pedal.
Far and away the coolest designed fuzz pedal is the Orange Amps Fur Coat. It’s also known for being one of the most versatile fuzz pedals out there for guitarists.
The controls on this fuzz pedal can adjust the volume, EQ, octave, and fuzz. The EQ knob itself covers a wide range of fuzz sounds from sharp and distinct to a more heavy and wooly fuzz. You can also vary the tones with the Fur Coat by adjusting the octave knob. On a low setting, you’ll notice a small change in tones, and you’ll really notice that change as you crank up the octave. With just the fuzz engaged, you’ll get the classic sounds of a warm and thick fuzz from the pedal.
This fuzz pedal also comes with a true bypass and can be powered using either a 9-volt battery or a 9-volt and 12-volt DC adapter that will provide more headroom and volume.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about bass players and present to you the incredible MXR M84 Bass Fuzz Deluxe. For bass players, it’s common that when they use a fuzz box, they often get a loss in the low end. To remedy this, many bass players use more modern fuzz pedals, which often come with a blend knob that enables the players to lower or increase the fuzz.
With the very lightweight MXR fuzz pedal, however, you can take the extra mile thanks to the dry and wet control knobs. These knobs take over the ‘clean’ and ‘effect’ signals and make you sound like you’re running two separate amps. Along with the wet and dry knobs, there’s also the standard tone and fuzz controls.
This fuzz pedal also comes with a true bypass, like most newer pedals, and is powered by either a 9-volt battery or an adapter. In terms of the fuzz sounds it produces, you can expect a massive range in tones, from one that has a more modern bite to the expected wooly, fuzzy funk sounds. While most bass players absolutely love the MXR, a few did note that they wished it had a volume control knob.
Is there seriously a fuzz pedal with a cooler-sounding name than the Way Huge Swollen Pickle MKII? Its unique and funky name is also what this fuzz pedal brings to the table for guitarists.
This stompbox features three knobs, including loudness (volume), filter, and sustain. It provides more tweaking options with the addition of two smaller knobs, the crunch and scoop. These knobs help to alter the fuzz’s compression intensity.
At first glance, you’ll notice right away that the Swollen Pickle is definitely much bulkier than other modern fuzz pedals. Because of this, it can withstand enormous amounts of wear and tear and will last you quite a bit of time. It produces a wide range of tones but is more known for a biting and gritty fuzz sound that can be compared to Jimi Hendrix. Just don’t increase the volume at its maximum because it can ruin the sound. It comes with a 9-volt battery, but you can also use an adapter if you prefer that as your power source.
The Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 is a fuzz pedal for the guitar that sports a simple three-knob design. The knobs control the volume, tone, and brightness, and there is also a big/tight switch to change or sculpt the settings of the fuzz signal. It has a true bypass and can be powered using either a 9-volt battery or a power adapter.
The creator of this fuzz pedal describes the sound produced by this fuzz pedal as “aggressive yet smooth”, and we couldn’t agree more. When set it to ‘big’, you get a lot of compression and fuzz. On the other hand, when switching it to ‘tight’, you’ll experience a much cleaner sound with a tight bottom end.
The construction of this fuzz pedal is also durable and sturdy and can take quite the beating, like most fuzz pedals today. It is a bit more on the pricier side, but it does produce a very smooth and balanced sound thanks to the toggle switch.
A company with a solid reputation for making some of the best guitar effects on the market is EarthQuaker Devices. Their Hoof Hybrid Fuzz, or more affectionately referred to as the Hoof, is no different.
Many people pick this because of its incredible versatility and depth of the sound. It has a hybrid germanium-silicon design and sports four controls on this stompbox: shift, tone, level, and fuzz. These controls all work well together to provide a much wider depth of tones, including grunge, alternative, and clean, modern sounds as well.
When it comes to power, it’s up to your playing needs as it can support a 9-volt battery or an adapter. From compressed distortion to smooth and clear, the Hoof can really show off its versatility, which can be amazing during any playing session or concert. Guitarists who have purchased the Hoof say it’s amazing but pricey at the same time.
One of a few fuzz pedals on our list that can accommodate both guitar and bass players is the Fulltone 69 MkII. As it says on the casing, it was hand-built in the USA.
This pedal has a simple design and only rocks a volume and fuzz control knobs with two smaller input and contour knobs and a true bypass. While the bright red casing and big white lettering may make this look like an unassuming fuzz pedal, you couldn’t be more wrong. Its vintage personality brings about great tones that have a rich and massive fuzzy attack. Adjust the ‘woofiness’ of your fuzz by lowering the input and play around with your harmonics and sustain by tampering with the contour.
Like most fuzz pedals, it is built like a brick and can last the punishment that you will put it through. It also has run on a 9-volt battery or an adapter if that’s what works best for your playing style. While this is a good fuzz pedal, many people have said that you could definitely get one that has more features at this price tag.
Why is it special?
Can use both guitar and bass
Rich and vintage tones
Can work with battery or adapter
What are the flaws?
Lacks value for the price
Things to Consider
After taking a look at those fantastic fuzz pedals, we now present to you our buying guide. In this section, you’ll find more detailed information about the different qualities of fuzz pedals, such as the types of fuzz pedals, effects, controls, construction, and prices, to name a few. We’ll hopefully try to answer any lingering questions you may have about fuzz pedals by going more in-depth in these aspects. Stick with us, and you will be able to get the pedal that suits your needs.
Things to consider before buying the best fuzz pedal
Before you go out and impulse buy a fuzz pedal, you should consider a number of different things about fuzz pedals. A lot of the considerations include what instrument does it support, the types of fuzz pedals out there, its effects, the controls and how it helps to adjust sound, what the true bypass affects, its power supply, the materials used to construct it, and possibly the most important consideration, is the price. All of these elements need to work for you and the instrument you play in order to get the benefits of the fuzz pedal.
The fuzz pedal you end up purchasing largely depends on the instrument you play. In particular, there are two most common instruments: guitar and bass. If you’re a bass player and you want to use a fuzz pedal, chances are you probably play the blues or indie rock because the fuzz pedal modifies the signal to produce a more fuzzy and buzzy type of sound. Whereas, with guitars, the fuzz pedal gives the effects of sounding more like an amplifier with a blown-out speaker.
Types of fuzz pedals
There are two common types of fuzz pedals. The first one uses germanium transistors, and the second one runs on silicon transistors. Germanium transistors can be found in old-school models of fuzzes that were more commonly used and created until the 1970s. In terms of the effects they produce, they sound much smoother and warmer and have a much more vintage tone to them. Jimi Hendrix was the biggest user of these transistors, and naysayers say that these transistors perform differently under different conditions (cold vs. warm temperatures). For example, ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory Vexter is an astonishing stompbox with germanium transistors that help to produce a wide range of fuzz sounds.
With silicon transistors, they began to be more widely used during the 1970s. They are very much different compared to models with germanium transistors. These transistors provide a full and crisp sound and are less woofy. It helps to accompany the sounds of a more modern and heavier guitar sound in rock n’ roll. The perfect example here is the Dunlop JHF1 that offers unique sound.
A fuzz pedal takes the sounds of your guitar to the depths. It is something that no other distortion can do. The fuzz pedal soaks your guitar tones and masks it in a fuzz-like distortion that produces a sound like no other. It has such a heavy feel to it that it may seem like your amp has blown out, but that’s the effect of the fuzz pedal! Some pedals also add a boost or even a drive effect to your signal.
You can even find octave fuzz pedals like the Orange Amps Fur Coat. It allows you to manipulate the octave over the fuzz to make it sound more in-line with your guitar. By simply turning the knob, you can adjust the octave to make it sound richer or cleaner, depending on the instrument you’re playing.
When it comes to any fuzz pedal, there are a number of different controls on them that can help to alter and distort the sound. One of those controls is the volume knob. When used with the pedal, the volume dial can heavily influence the sounds. When the volume is turned full blast, the fuzz has a very dark, woofy, and heavy sound, which can also be associated with wet knob control. When taking the volume down, you’re going to get a more clean tone that is better suited for more rhythmic playing. The dry knob on some fuzz pedals is associated with this cleaner signal.
With fuzz pedals that have dry and wet knobs, you are able to adjust ‘clean’ and ‘effect’ signals independently of each other.
Many fuzz pedals have a true bypass, and what it can refer to is a wire that runs straight through to the input and output of the pedal. When this pedal is in bypass mode, the signal from the guitar is sent to the guitar amplifier in the absence of the effects of buffering that can be commonly found in the pedals in-between. In a nutshell, true bypass connects the guitar or bass straight to the amp and helps to bypass the effects to give you a better sound. You can use the footswitch to enable or disable the bypass. The same can be found with the Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Pi, as well as the impressive sound quality.
When it comes to the power supply, there are two options: using batteries or an adapter. The case for using an adapter is that when you’re using the full capabilities of the fuzz pedal, you’ll quickly drain your batteries and will have to change them frequently, which can be expensive and.
Using an adapter is a more cost-effective way to make your pedalboard running. The adapter will provide you with a constant power source, so you won’t have to waste your time and money on batteries.
However, guitarists have said that despite the costly nature of batteries, these pedals produce a much better sound compared to the adapter-powered ones because of their ability to interact with the battery and thus, change the quality of the tone coming from the amp. These tonal differences provide a level of depth that adapters cannot. The Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 can use both power methods, so are feel free to choose, which is more convenient to you.
Generally speaking, fuzz pedals are constructed of a metal or aluminum body and are built to withstand quite a bit of abuse. They are quite durable, but since these fuzz pedals go through a lot of wear and tear, we recommend that you seek out a fuzz pedal that has an aluminum or metal body.
You will want something that is sturdy and durable enough so that it won’t break frequently, and you won’t end up replacing some parts.
The fuzz pedals are quite affordable and can range in prices between $100-200. While they are an accessory to your guitar-playing habit, some of the best fuzz pedals can significantly alter and distort the signal to provide you with an incredible sound that you are familiar with. It can be found in the music of some classic rock legends. We’ve broken the pricing down into three tiers to give you an idea of how much money you will require.
Chances are, if you’re using a fuzz pedal, you’re also going to be using a number of different stompboxes to give you the ultimate sound you’re looking for. When it comes to connecting your fuzz pedal and where the fuzz pedal should go in your signal chain, keep in mind a general rule that if you have a pedal that will amplify or alter the sound, you’ll want to put it close to the beginning. You’ll want to do this because if you put it later on in the chain, it will just amplify the sound of all the other pedals before I,t and it will throw your sound out of whack.
Technically speaking, fuzz is a type of distortion as it alters the tone and sound of your guitar. A distortion alters the sound altogether and saturates the signal, and you end up with a consistent amount of that effect. It produces a dark and heavy tone and is mostly found in heavier music genres. A fuzz pedal, however, produces a sound that goes above and beyond the heavy sounds that distortion produces. It gives an almost unrecognizable sound and produces heavy, fuzzy tones. Think of it sounding as if your amp has been blown out. For the untrained ear, it can tend to sound a bit off because of its sheer fuzziness, but the power that is generated from guitar riffs using a fuzz pedal is amazing.
If you’re using the fuzz pedal, there is a good chance you’re looking for a particular fuzzy sound to your riffs. Having said that, you’re probably going to be playing either rock, blues, or jazz music. To give you an idea of the genre of music to use a fuzz pedal, here are just a few of the mort notable names and bands to have prominently used a fuzz pedal: Jimi Hendrix, Jack White (The White Stripes), Lenny Kravitz, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Smashing Pumpkins, to name a few.
After taking you on that overwhelming journey of the best fuzz pedals around and our buying guide, we thought we would leave you with three of our favorite fuzz pedals to make things easier.
We obviously have to start with our Editor Choice pick, the Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Pi. This pedal is just an all-around popular option made famous by Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. It’s small, but it packs a versatile punch, and we adore it for that.