My name is Jef, and I am a fuzz pedal addict. With that out of the way, I thought I would share with you my favourite fuzz pedals and give you an idea of what is worth checking out in the current world of fuzz. These pedals are all in my own collection and after a long time using them, they are all circuits I would recommend to anyone looking for a great modern fuzz pedal.
My Top Fuzz Pedals
This list of stompboxes covers pedals that you can currently buy new. It doesn’t focus on vintage fuzz pedals or boutique stompboxes no longer made. I’m not going to tell you that you must try an effect which is no longer available, as that would make this list pretty useless for most players. Instead, this list covers what I deem to be some of the best modern-day fuzz circuits for you to try out in your lifetime.
I’m going to throw in a few curveballs for players looking for something fuzz-tinged, but not full-on fuzz, as I know not everyone wants straight fuzz for a dirt tone. So there are still ways to get some dirt in your rig without all-out fuzz circuits.
Way Huge Swollen Pickle MK IIS
The Way Huge Swollen Pickle MK IIS is essentially a Big Muff-style fuzz on steroids, with enough controls to allow it to cut through in a band situation. I’d highly recommend this one to anyone that wants a thick tone and needs plenty of girth for their fuzz.
Z.Vex Fuzz Factory Vexter
Next up is the Z.Vex Fuzz Factory Vexter. In my opinion, the Fuzz Factory is one of the most versatile modern-day fuzz pedals on the market. It can do classic fuzz tones along with crazy, ripped velcro fuzz tones, so it will really scream and feedback if you need it too, which is a lot of fun. Whether you go for the hand painted version or the Vexter edition, they all sound great and are definitely worth trying out.
The germanium transistors in this fuzz pedal can give you some wild fuzz tones. If you want to experiment with fuzz, then the Fuzz Factory is the one to go with.
Wampler Velvet Fuzz
To me, the Wampler Velvet Fuzz is a smooth, classic fuzz tone. It dishes up sweet soloing tones in spades. If you are seeking a great fuzz tone to make your guitar sing, then this pedal is one for you to check out. It is almost impossible to dial in a bad tone with this pedal, perfect for players looking for classic smooth fuzz tones.
It has two distinct modes, with each offering something very useable to guitarists. Both the Big and Tight modes do exactly what they say, with no explanation needed. This pedal just delivers the goods.
Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
The Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker does those thick ’70s fuzz tones. And the Tone, plus the Wicker switches, makes it even more versatile. The Tone switch will completely bypass the circuits’ tone stack, making for a more aggressive fuzz tone with increased output. The Wicker switch lifts the fuzz tone even higher and elevates it to new levels of fuzz. A great pedal, and I love the smaller enclosure of this one as well, as the old original Big Muff pedals are huge in comparison.
Behringer SF300 Super Fuzz
This is the cheapest pedal on my list, but please don’t let that put you off, as it is a beauty. The Behringer SF300 Super Fuzz is a clone of the Boss FZ2 Hyper Fuzz, which is itself modelled after the original vintage Univox Super Fuzz. It has three modes, an active EQ section, and an input that doesn’t mind buffers. This little plastic orange box is perfect for all your Doom riffs and early prototype Grunge-era fuzz tones from bands like Mudhoney.
Way Huge Smalls Russian Pickle
Another Big Muff-style fuzz? Yes! And I have to say that this Way Huge Smalls Russian Pickle is a doozy of a fuzz pedal and covers a lot of bases. Again, this one is based on the classic Army-green Big Muff made in the 1990s by Sovtek and has some amazingly fat fuzz tones, which sit well in a band scenario. Plus, you can emulate those later Gilmour lead tones from ’90s Pink Floyd as well!
Digitech DOD Carcosa Fuzz
The Digitech DOD Carcosa Fuzz has tons of output and loves all types of guitar pickups. The pedal has a nice, thick fuzz tone and really does reward pedal tweakers. It has a very ’70s flavour and an extended mid-range, with plenty of bottom end. If you want a thick, gnarly fuzz, then you really should check this one out.
Proco Rat 2 Distortion
I said I would throw a couple of curve balls and so here is the Proco Rat 2 Distortion. And yes, it will fuzz! This pedal goes from overdrive, to distortion all the way through to fuzz, so it’s a great effect to have around on your pedalboard. I must own about four of these pedals and they are just begging to be toured with. Just remember, the Tone control is a filter; the more you turn it up, the darker the pedal gets, and life is good.
MXR Blue Box M-103
The last ‘curveball’ is the MXR Blue Box M-103. This unruly pedal is an octave/fuzz/distortion unit once famously used by Jimmy Page on Fool In The Rain. It adds two octaves of fuzz below your guitar tone. It is an odd pedal for many players to get used to, but once you find your sweet spot, it has some very useful fuzz tones on offer. This is a pedal I use mainly in the studio when I want to add some extra layers to my guitar tones.
This list is by no way definitive and I could probably add another 20 or 30 pedals that I love. But if you are just starting your journey into the land of fuzz and are looking for something versatile, or just plain outrageous, then this list is a good place to start. Sure, I could have put a list of ToneBender clones or Fuzz Face reissues, and we could argue about germanium and silicon transistors all day long, but this list is all about pure fun and variety of fuzz tones.
Let me know what your favourite fuzz pedals are in the comments section below, and I promise at some point in the future I will create a list of classic vintage fuzz pedals and maybe even a boutique fuzz pedal list. As I always say, you can never have too much fuzz!
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