Roundup of the Best Fuzz Pedals
Although sometimes interchanged with overdrive and distortion, fuzz is distinct from the two. It offers more dynamics than distortion, and more grit than overdrive, and it is well deserving of a spot on your pedalboard. Here we feature the best modern and classic fuzz pedals available so you can pick one that fits your style.
Fuzz pedals generally fall under two types, Germanium based and Silicon transistor based. Germanium based fuzz pedals are known for midrange-rich vintage-sounding fuzz tones, ideal for adding more crunch to your rhythm tones and violin like sustain to your lead lines.Silicon based fuzz pedals offer higher gain, with a relatively tamer, scooped and edgy flavor. These fuzz pedals are great for mixing with your existing overdrive or distortion pedal, and ideal for adding subtle grit that will not override your original tone too much. Whatever your preference maybe, you will find the best fuzz pedal for your needs right here:
The Best Fuzz Pedals
This table shows you all of the Fuzz Pedals that we recommend - scroll down below to read our extended reviews for each one.
|There wouldn't be a Fuzz pedal market today if not for the popularity of the Fuzz Face. Used by big name artists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Duane Allman, David Gilmore, George Harrison and more, the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face has set the standard high right at the beginning. Priced at around $190.||See our detailed review below|
|Electro-Harmonix played a major role in shaping the sound of rock guitar, and the quality of their dirt pedals gave them the staying power to not just survive, but thrive. The EHX Graphic Fuzz offers the most impressive sound and tone shaping features in this list, meant for players who want total control over their sound. Retail Price is $151.||See our detailed review below|
|In this age where pedal space is becoming a scarce resource, compact pedals that sound big are most welcome. This is what the Fulltone '69 mkII provides, classic Germanium fuzz sound in a small and compact chassis that can easily fit into your rig. Retail Price $160.||See our detailed review below|
|The original Rotosound Fuzz Pedal was not even publicly released but because of its impressive tone, it made its way into the guitar rigs of iconic players like Jimmy Page. Now this same fuzz pedal is made available for us mortals with added modern enhancements. Retail Price: $140.||See our detailed review below|
|Expanding on the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz, Dunlop created a number of uniquely voiced versions of the Fuzz Face. Of this long list of pedals, the BC108 silicon transistor based Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face is the most sought after, thanks mostly to its reference to the iconic guitar player. Retail price: $120.||See our detailed review review below|
|Although traditional fuzz designs are still prevalent, hybrids and modern fuzz pedals are getting more and more attention, case in point is the Keeley Fuzz Head. Instead of limiting you to either Germanium or Silicon, this pedal lets you switch between Silicon and Germanium for a wide variety of tones. Retail Price: $209.||See our detailed review below|
|Not for the faint hearted, the Wampler Leviathan Fuzz provides some of the most aggressive and brutal fuzz tones that you'll ever hear. It is truly a departure from classic fuzz designs, carrying a specially circuit that caters to guitarists who prefer high-gain sounds. Retail Price: $175.||Extended review below|
|The compact ZVEX Fuzz Factory houses an impressive array of tone shaping controls. It lets you personalize and fine tune your fuzz tone without compromising sonic quality and wasting precious pedalboard space, an important point of consideration in today's dwindling pedalboard real estate. Retail Price: $179.||See our detailed review below|
|Named after the popular song that featured a memorable fuzz guitar intro riff, the Satisfaction pedal provides straightforward classic rock tones that many will instantly appreciate. It gives you great sounding fuzz tones without going through time consuming trail and error tweaking. Retail Price: $60.||See our extended review below|
|Suhr's reputation as a guitar pedal builder continues to grow, thanks to the quality of their stompboxes. The Rufus Reloaded Fuzz provides an excellent example of what the company can do, successfully balancing tone shaping capabilities, great tone and versatility, all implemented inside a compact pedal. Retail Price $200.||See our full review below|
Dunlop JD-F2 Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face
The legacy and influence of Fuzz Face in the market, and in music as a whole is simply undeniable. Artists that many look up including my personal favorite Eric Johnson and Jimi Hendrix, built their unique tone with the help of the Fuzz Face. As such, it is only proper to give the top spot in this list for its current production line iteration, the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face.
The Dunlop Dallas-Arbiter JD-F2 carries over the same circuit design as the original Fuzz Face released back in the '60s while adding modern enhancements. It retains the original Germanium PNP transistor design, straight forward controls, vintage look and classic fuzz tones. It is simply the closest you can get to old Fuzz Faces, without costing an arm and a leg. Aside from getting the sound right, the pedal also retains the look and vibe of the original. The only downside to this pedal is its bulky size, but it is more than justifiable if you prefer the tone and look of the original Fuzz Face.
EHX Graphic Fuzz
If you are wondering where the Big Muff Pi is, we have included it in our Best Distortion Pedals list, simply because Electro-Harmonix labels it as a distortion unit. And so for this list, we went with the EHX Graphic Fuzz, a versatile and transparent sounding unit.
Instead of masking your tone, this pedal is known for its "warts-and-all" transparency, which means it doesn't overpower your tone, rather it lets the natural sound of your guitar and the nuances of your playing shine through while enhancing dynamics and attack response. My only complaint on this pedal is how it hogs pedalboard space, but its a small compromise considering the benefits that slider type EQ and controls provide. The graphic EQ on the front of this pedal makes it easy to shape the tone to your preference, and you get to instantly visualize your settings because of the use of sliders instead of conventional knobs.
This versatile and yet easy to use pedal is a must if you are looking for a flexible and transparent fuzz pedal.
Fulltone 69 mkII
The Fulltone 69 mkII is a compact and modern looking fuzz pedal that is still traditional at heart. It may not have fancy features but it scores highly in practicality and quick setup time, making it a welcome addition for players with big pedalboards, like Joe Satriani who plays and endorses the 69 pedal. You get classic Germanium fuzz sound in an easy to use four-knob configuration that can provide a wide range of fuzz tones.
Even with just two knobs, this pedal has surprising tone shaping capability, the 69 MKii's contour knob lets you tweak midrange, harmonics and sustain all at the same time, while the input bias knob lets you adjust the "woofiness" of the tone. To make the pedal easier to integrate into modern guitar rigs, the fuzz effect is a little bit tamer at lower gain settings when compared to other Germanium fuzz pedals. This way you can spice up your solo or crunch tones without completely changing the character. Although not as cheap as we hoped it would be, the fuzz 69 mkII is a worthy investment for those that want to create great fuzz tones.
Fulltone makes one of the Best Wah Pedals as well. .
Rotosound 1960s Fuzz Pedal Reissue
Because the original pedal was not made publicly available, only the elite few got to experience the subtle fuzz that this stompbox brings. Thanks to this reissue, we can now enjoy this uniquely flavored fuzz, which adds a vintage radio like "shhh" sound to your tone that is simply put really cool.
To retain the sound of the original, the current production Rotosound Fuzz Pedal is still based on Germanium, using a pair of vintage stock Darlington transistors that result in real classic tones. It features essential knobs for adjusting the Fuzz or gain level, tone tweaking via the treble knob and level setting via the volume knob. Unfortunately you can't go high-gain crazy, but with its unique and transparent fuzz tone, you might find yourself inspired to make music instead of merely playing with the controls.
Picky guitarists that are looking for new production vintage-sounding pedals will find the Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz Pedal to be very appealing.
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini
Because of the popularity of the Fuzz Face, Dunlop has milked the design to create different versions with unique tonalities. The Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini stands out from among this line, thanks mostly to its reference to the iconic guitarist, but also because of its modern and compact configuration.
This pedal is the closest that you can get to the '60s era Jimi Hendrix fuzz sound, developed by Dunlop by carefully examining vintage specimens. Thankfully, they didn't just stop at getting the sound right, they also addressed the bulky size of the original fuzz face and created a more compact version which bears the same circuit. And they were able to accomplish this without compromising components and the resulting tone, so you are getting genuine big Fuzz Face Hendrix tone within a more compact unit.
If you want to conjure Jimi Hendrix tone, or assimilate his sound without taking up too much pedalboard real estate, then get this pedal.
Keeley Fuzz Head
Keeley Pedals is known for pushing the boundaries while still retaining the vintage flavor of their effects, qualities that endeared them to many professional guitarists that include John Mayer, Peter Frampton and Billy Gibbons just to name a few. This holds true for the Fuzz Head, allowing you to switch between Germanium or Silicon based circuits built-into the pedal, both of which feature top notch sound quality as expected from the brand.
The ability to switch between two circuit types allow for a wide array of fuzz tones, making this pedal more like a 2-in-1 bundle. And the company was able to accomplish so much versatility without bulking up the pedal or adding more knobs. Backed by Robert Keeley's pedal building quality reputation, the Fuzz Head gives boutique quality tones, packed in a robust and compact chassis. As expected from Keeley, this pedal comes with a price tag that's slightly pricier than others but you are getting more than your money's worth because of the switchable transistor modes.
This is a versatile fuzz pedal for those that prefer to paint their music with more tonal palettes.
Wampler Leviathan Fuzz
The fuzz effect was used by iconic guitarists to break out from the conventional sounds of their day, ironically many now use the fuzz effect to stay within familiar territory. The Wampler Leviathan Fuzz does not sound vintage at all, but it's philosophy is very much vintage, designed to be a true departure from conventional fuzz designs.
The Leviathan caters to guitarists that prefer high-gain with its aggressive and brutal fuzz tones you'll ever hear. More than just providing high-gain, this pedal offers a variety of tone tweaking options, including a treble, bass, volume and gain knobs. For zeroing-in your personal fuzz flavor, the pedal comes with a roar/rumble switch that lets you pick between Germanium and Silicon based tones. While the classic tones of the Leviathan are not as convincing as I'd hope, it can still get the job done.
Still the pedal's versatility, monstrous tone and high-gain capabilities make this ideal for today's players.
ZVEX Vexter Fuzz Factory
Don't let its size fool you, the ZVEX Vexter Fuzz Factory is not your typical plug-and-play pedal. This compact pedal has surprising versatility, providing a number of tone shaping controls that goes beyond what other small pedals offer. This is truly a pedal for those that want to personalize their tone, while saving on precious pedalboard space.
For something so small, the pedal houses five knobs that will let you fine tune your fuzz sound as you prefer. Unique to this pedal are three knobs, the Gate knob, which lets you tweak the noise after the sustain, Compress knob, which lets you dial-in your preferred attack characteristics, and the Stability knob, which controls the feedback pitch. By tweaking these three settings along with the volume and drive knobs, you can create a wide variety of fuzz tones, that should be enough to handle various musical styles.
At the core of this pedal are two NOS '60s Germanium transistors, making this ideal for guitarists who are looking for a versatile unit with classic fuzz bite.
Electro-Harmonix Satisfaction Fuzz
For many guitarists, the most familiar fuzz tone that they can easily relate to is the trebly and brittle fuzz effect that Keith Richards employed on the popular The Rolling Stones' track Satisfaction. The EHX Satisfaction Fuzz is designed to reproduce this very same sound, so you can play the popular Satisfaction riff, or any other riff for that matter, with a classic rock friendly fuzz tone.
For plug-and-play convenience, Electro-Harmonix stripped this down to basics, with just two knobs that adjust volume and fuzz levels. This means that you can't mess with the "Satisfaction" tone, which can be bad for those who want to personalize their tone, but great for those that want to get the right sound night after night without the need for endless tweaking. In addition to its small profile and basic controls, this pedal is also relatively inexpensive, making this highly recommended for budget conscious players.
If you're looking for an affordable, straightforward '60s era fuzz pedal, then this is your best bet.
Suhr Rufus Reloaded Fuzz
While Suhr is known for their guitars and the virtuoso's that endorse them, other pedal manufacturers should watch out for Suhr's growing presence in the stompbox market. Being relatively new to pedal building did not stop them from producing impressive effects that include the Reloaded Fuzz, a versatile fuzz pedal that gives you everything you need and more.
To start off, this compact pedal comes with two distinct modes: Fat and Normal, which essentially lets you switch between Germanium and Silicon style tones. This allows for a wide variety of fuzz sounds to cover virtually any style of music. And note that you can switch between the two modes via the same single foot switch that you use to engage/disengage the pedal. You can even store the default mode that you want the pedal to start in via its built-in memory. In addition to its versatile and great sounding fuzz tones, Rufus Reloaded comes with a very dynamic octave-up effect that matches the fuzz section beautifully. Now you can reproduce the popular "Band of Gypsys" tone with just one pedal.
While the price tag can be a bit over the top for some players, the versatility and quality of this pedal more than makes up for the cost.
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