Fuzz Pedal Ultimate Buyer's Guide
The Fuzz pedal is a staple in modern music. It was originally used for its ability to produce a dirty, gritty sound because of the limits of technology at the time. This effect continues to be a popular choice for a number of genres.
Since the introduction of the pedal in the early 1960s the fuzz pedal has continued to excite guitar players. Offering a rich sound and versatility that continues to be recognized by hobbyist and professionals.
How Fuzz Pedals Work
Fuzz pedals have been used for a variety of different genres, from pop to rock and roll to metal, and of course psychedelic rock artists who first embraced the introduction of the pedal in the 1960s. The effect is known to be essential in achieving the signature ‘dirty’ guitar sound that we all recognize, from artists such as Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour. Fuzz is essentially distortion but with a really unique character, and the pedals are sometimes considered to be the first effects pedals ever made, even before overdrives or distortions were created.
Modern and vintage versions of these pedals can be used to create a subtle effect for textured overdrive all the way through to an incredibly heavy and gritty tone that is still popular among some of today's biggest bands. The secret to this pedals success lies in the circuitry, which is designed to clip the waveform. This allows guitar players to get many different styles and sounds, as opposed to other effects such as overdrive which uses more basic circuitry.
Variations - Which One Is Right For You?
There are a huge number of Fuzz pedals on the market, which might seem overwhelming to a first-time buyer. There are vintage pedals that have been around since the '60s used by Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour, as well as modern Fuzz pedals used today by bands such as Radiohead.
The effect pedal can be used for a variety of different purposes, however it is most commonly used as a lead guitar effect. Fuzz pedals first became widely used during the 1960s and have been modified and recreated a number of times to achieve a unique sound. Fuzz was most commonly used with Fender amplifiers and Vox amps, however there have been some made with Marshall amps which can give off a much heavier sound.
The size of the pedals also varies from small box-sized ones (mini or micro pedals) that can be taken just about anywhere, to pedals that are much larger and more suited for the home environment. They also vary in terms of their clipping ability, which is what defines the Fuzz sound.
Each type of pedals comes with different clipping options such as germanium diodes, silicon transistors or LED's and come with control knobs such as Sustain and Tone that allow for greater adjustment and shaping of the signal. You will likely find that each brand or pedal manufacturer will set-up their pedal based on what they feel is best.
Ultimately, the best way to choose a pedal is to try out a few and decide which one suits your style and budget. Might Be Famous offers a number of options, including our own Fuzz pedal that we manufacturer and offer at an affordable price. Be sure to visit our guitar effects page to learn more.
Famous Guitar Players Who Use Fuzz Pedals
It is hard to name every famous player who used a Fuzz FX pedal, because they have been used in so many different genres and in countless bands. This iconic model has been used for over 50 years and is still widely popular today, with the first originally being created by a recording engineer looking to replicate the sound of an amplifier without any gain or distortion. Some believe the effect was first used by Link Wray during the instrumental, Rumble.
As a go to FX this pedal has been widely used in popular music throughout history, with favorites such as Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, The Doors, Jeff Beck, and Smashing Pumpkins to name a few.
The FX was also heavily used during the ‘60s and ‘70s on pop hits such as House of the Rising Sun
by The Animals and Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival. When it is time to break out a solo you can regularly hear it used to create a more aggressive guitar sound, such as Slash’s solo in Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N Roses.
Fuzz pedals began to rise in popularity during the ‘60s and Fuzz pedal manufacturers at the time included Electro-Harmonix, Maestro Fuzz-Tone and Fuzz Face. The pedals have come a long way since their first emergence, with some of the top manufacturers now including:
- Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff OR Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff
- Might Be Famous Fuzz Pedal
- Way Huge Swollen Picklec
- JHS Legends Of Fuzz Bender
- Jim Dunlop Mini Germanium Fuzz Face
- Z.Vex Fuzz Factory
- Danelectro 3699
- Benson Germanium
- Rowin LEF-306
What Is The Best Germanium Transistor For Fuzz Face?
It is hard to give a definite answer as Fuzz pedals will alter their sound depending on the pedal and amplifier. Fuzz pedals that use germanium diodes should offer a more vintage Fuzz guitar sound, which would suit those looking for a Fuzz guitar sound similar to what was produced during the 60s and 70s when Fuzz was first created.
Fuzz pedals that use silicon transistors or LED's will give a harder, more modern Fuzz sound and should suit those looking for something much edgier and aggressive.
Fuzz Guitar Pedal Price Range
There are Fuzz pedals that can be bought for under $100, while there are ones that can be bought for well over $1,000 depending on the pedal you are looking to purchase. Fender Fuzz-Tone is widely recognized for being the pedal that provides Fuzz guitar players with the sound at an affordable price, coming in at under $100.
Kicks Fuzz pedals are also great options for beginner Fuzz guitar players, providing a cheaper alternative to buying multiple Fuzz pedals. The Fender Fuzz-Tone pedal provides musicians with that warmer, vintage sound while being affordable and more suited to smaller venues.
How Do You Use a Fuzz Pedal in Your Rig?
Fuzz pedals work best when placed at the start of your pedal chain, with guitar players aiming to use pedals that have a higher intensity. While these pedals can sound good in with both solid state and tube amps, many players use the clean channel of a tube driven amplifier, such as the Fender blues junior amplifiers.
What Fuzz pedals are the best for bass guitar?
There aren't many pedals made specifically for playing bass guitar. When looking for a fuzz to use with your bass rig you might consider a regular fuzz guitar pedal if the manufacture states that it can be used for both bass and guitar.
What Fuzz pedals are the best for metal?
Some of the more ideal pedals might include: Death by Audio Fuzz, or the Russian made version of the Big Muff (if you can find one).
Be sure to continue reading by checking out our ultimate guide on setting up a pedalboard.