Who doesn’t like fuzz?
It’s an amazing effect that just about every guitarist will use or will have used at some point.
Whatever fuzz sound you’re looking for, be it warm and psychedelic or aggressive, and in your face, the choice of fuzz pedals is staggering. The number of boutique and clone pedals is frankly insane. It seems like there’s a new fuzz pedal released every day. In fact, there very probably is.
We can’t even begin to review a small fraction of what’s currently available. However, we can give you a taste of what we believe are the best fuzz pedals currently on sale. We know there are going to be a lot of omissions, so apologies if the pedal you’re interested in isn’t covered.
So let’s get all fuzzy and go through them…
- Top 10 Best Fuzz Pedals For The Money 2021 Reviews
- 1 Wampler Velvet Fuzz Pedal
- 2 Orange Fur Coat Vintage Adjustable Octave Fuzz Pedal
- 3 Fender The Pelt Fuzz
- 4 ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal
- 5 Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion
- 6 EarthQuaker Devices Park Vintage Germanium Fuzz Tone Guitar Effects Pedal
- 7 Other MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
- 8 Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonic Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
- 9 ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud V2 Fuzz Pedal
- 10 Beetronics Royal Jelly Overdrive/Fuzz
- Best Fuzz Pedals Buying Guide
- More Great Pedals
- So, What Are The Best Fuzz Pedals?
Top 10 Best Fuzz Pedals For The Money 2021 Reviews
1 Wampler Velvet Fuzz Pedal
The Wampler Velvet Fuzz Pedal is a boutique, hand-wired pedal made in the USA.
This is a well-made, sturdy pedal with true bypass. Controls are straightforward and well laid out. There are three control knobs for volume, fuzz, and brightness. Additionally, there is a switch to change between big and tight.
When you’re in ‘Big’ mode, you get that hard, aggressive fuzz. There’s plenty of bottom end and vintage vibes reminiscent of Marshall stacks and Hendrix. The Wampler sounds a bit like a smooth version of a Big Muff when you’re in ‘Big’ mode, and you’ve got a decent amount of fuzz dialed in.
Switch over to ‘Tight,’ and the bottom end tightens up. Things become even smoother. In this setting, you’re starting to walk the line between distortion and fuzz. It’s not a bad place to be at all. There’s plenty of versatility to be had here.
Regardless of which mode you’re in, you can tame the bottom end by turning up the brightness. This gives you another great way of shaping your tone and adds so interesting texture to your sound. What’s more, there’s also no volume drop when you roll up the fuzz.
It’s got a great tone and works well in a chain with other pedals. In some ways, this is almost two pedals for the price of one. It’s a distortion and a fuzz pedal in one neat package. This is also a pedal that cleans up nicely when you back off the volume.
A great pedal for creating vintage 60s tones, Classic Rock, or more driven modern Metal sounds.
This pedal can do the lot.
- True Bypass.
- Good for both distortion and fuzz.
- The sound cleans up well at low volume.
- Sounds good in the chain.
- It’s expensive.
2 Orange Fur Coat Vintage Adjustable Octave Fuzz Pedal
The Orange Fur Coat gives you both Octave and Fuzz and has used the legendary 1970s Foxx Tone Machine for inspiration. For any guitarist now looking for a modern unit with fuzz and octave combined, the Orange Fur Coat is a great option.
There are four control knobs on the pedal controlling Volume, EQ, Fuzz, and Octave. There are two footswitches to change between Fuzz or Octave.
The pedal’s design is really cool and distinctive. We like it a lot. Unfortunately, there is a, however. The problem lies with the size and font for the control knobs. They get lost in the graphics of the pedal and are too small to read. Orange Fur Coat would struggle to pick out anything much more difficult to read.
If you’re’ at the age that you need reading glasses, or if you’re playing live, make sure you know what the control knobs do in advance. You’ll have no chance of reading them on stage. Even the two footswitches aren’t particularly clear, though, with a bit of a squint, they’re just about readable.
Turn the fuzz up, and you’re rewarded with fat, warm, and vintage sounding fuzz. With the EQ set at neutral, there’s still plenty of bottom end. Turn up the EQ, and things tighten up, and you lose some of the wooliness.
Turn on the Octave, and things start to get exciting. Power chords or single notes are given a new dynamic edge. The sound can be as subtle or as forward as you like. There are plenty of options to blend the tone and get some super cool sounds.
- It has Octave as well as Fuzz.
- Warm, vintage fuzz.
- Plenty of bottom end.
- Cool graphics.
- The size and font are very difficult to read.
3 Fender The Pelt Fuzz
Fender finally looks to be taking effects pedals seriously.
The Fender Fuzz pedal is one of a series of new ground-up designs. From their distinctive anodized brushed aluminum finish to the hinged battery compartment, they certainly look the business.
Looks are always subjective, and though we like the beautiful brushed aluminum finish, we love the magnetically sprung hinged battery compartment even more. A spring-loaded hinged opening that you can open with your fingers. Brilliant. Why haven’t we got this on every pedal? It makes so much more sense and is so much easier to use than a conventional battery housing.
Another cool feature is the LED lights on the control knobs that allow you to see your settings at a glance. Perfect for any gigging musician. Nice one Fender.
This is a silicone fuzz pedal. It has the usual three control knobs for level, tone, and fuzz. Additionally, it has a control knob for Bloom and two switches for Mid and Thick.
The Bloom knob controls the level of grit for your fuzz. You can go all the way from soft to hard. Turned to maximum, and you’ll get something akin to the sound of a Big Muff. Best of all, if you do choose to go heavy, you still get come great clarity.
To give more control of your sound, the Mid switch allows you to either boost or scoop out the mids. Plus, if you want to fatten up the sound, switch to Thick and off you go.
It’s great to see an all original design and circuit board. It’s a refreshing change from the vast numbers of boutique pedals that are simply clones of old classics. This pedal has plenty of great-sounding tones and can undoubtedly give some of the classic fuzz pedals a run for their money.
- LED-lit control knobs.
- Cool looking brushed aluminum finish.
- Patent-pending sprung hinged battery compartment.
- All new circuit boards.
- Wide range of fuzz tones.
- Not true bypass.
4 ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal
This is possibly one of the best fuzz pedals of modern times. The Fuzz Factory has been around for about 20 years but has already forged a well-earned reputation as being a versatile pedal. The circuitry isn’t based out on any specific pedal though it’s fair to say that the sound is straight from the 60s.
The cool thing about these pedals, as well as the sound, is that they’re all unique. They’re all hand silk-screened, and they’re all hand-polished. They’re also all assembled by hand. In a world where there’s so little bespoke anything, it’s refreshing to be able to own something just that little bit special.
The ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory uses two NOS germanium transistors. Controls are nice and simple but can easily dial in a huge variety of fuzz tones. The control knobs are for volume, gate, compress, drive, and stability.
The sound is very close to the legendary Fuzz Face. The ZVEX Effects Fuzz Factory can produce warm, laid-back Blues style lead tones. Alternatively, it can produce screaming blood-curdling fuzz mayhem. It can also produce pretty much everything else in between.
However you use it, there’s no doubt that the bottom end is very well covered. The Fuzz Factory has a prominent and distinctive bass. This works well with a bass guitar, as well as a standard electric guitar.
If you want to add attack, tonal thickness, create pinched tones or control feedback pitch, this pedal has you covered. It also has you covered to experiment and do so much more.
- Hand-painted and hand made.
- Uses two NOS germanium transistors.
- Wide range of sounds.
- Easy to use.
5 Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion
You can’t review the best of fuzz pedals, in any kind of list, without including at least one Fuzz Face.
This Fuzz Face, and there are many, is a mini version. It’s got exactly the same circuitry as a standard Fuzz Face with an added printed circuit board. However, this little blue fella won’t take up your entire pedalboard.
We’re sure you’ll agree that most of us love the original Fuzz Face, but what we don’t like is the crazy size. If you have a small to medium sized pedalboard, an original Fuzz Face is just too big. Like a lot of pedals of the 60s and 70s, we suppose like a lot of 60s and 70s cars too; they are massive.
Massive but unnecessarily so. Open up an old pedal from the 60s, and it’s a lot for metal with a tiny circuit board fixed in the corner. It’s the equivalent of one kid riding to school alone on a bus — a lot of wasted space.
In terms of operation, there’s not so much to tell. With just volume and fuzz, things are nice and simple. But sometimes simple is good. In this case, simple undoubtedly works. In fact, it works rather well.
So, this blue mini Fuzz Face has the same silicone BC108 jhf1 circuitry but in less than half the size. However, though it’s small, it doesn’t lack any of the punch of the original. You get the same psychedelic Jimi inspired fuzz tones.
You also get some great midrange and excellent clarity through the bottom end. Used for creating classic fuzz tones or boosting an overdriven amp, the Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini is a great choice.
- Creates classic Jimi fuzz tones.
- Strong mid-range.
- Clear bottom end.
- Simple to use.
- No EQ.
6 EarthQuaker Devices Park Vintage Germanium Fuzz Tone Guitar Effects Pedal
Buying an EarthQuaker Devices Park Vintage Germanium Fuzz pedal will guarantee you of some quality vintage fuzz tones. What’s more, you can do it without having to break the bank. If you’re chasing a Tone Bender kind of sound, but don’t want to sell a kidney in the process, read on.
The Park fuzz sound has its history based in the 1960s. Originally, Park Fuzz was a version of the Tone Bender. It was a branded version coming out of Jim Marshall’s Park Amplification company.
EarthQuaker has gone to great lengths to re-create and emulate this classic fuzz tone. They scrawled through original schematics and components. They visited old manufacturing sites, and they reverse-engineered and sourced NOS germanium transistors.
The result, from this boutique pedal builder, is a modern-day fuzz that sounds like it belongs back in the ’60s. This is a truly vintage-sounding pedal. It sounds amazing.
The pedal, like its predecessors, is easy to use. There are just three control knobs. There are volume, tone, and fuzz. There’ll be absolutely no problem with getting up to speed with this pedal.
The sound this pedal makes is excellent. With everything turned to 12 o’clock, you get some amazing creamy fuzz. Keep on cranking up fuzz and volume, and you’ll be rewarded with some ballsy screaming vintage tones.
The sound of the Park Fuzz is strikingly similar to that of a Tone Bender. You may not be getting an original Tone Bender on your board, but you will be getting a modern pedal, at a fraction of the cost, a fraction of the size, and one that makes a fraction of the unwanted superfluous noise.
The good news is that you’ll save so much money you’ll have enough left over to go and buy another guitar. And you can never have too many of those!
- You can buy one and keep both your kidneys.
- Amazing 1960’s vintage tone.
- Great build quality.
- True Bypass pedal.
- No unwanted noise.
- Not the most versatile fuzz pedal.
7 Other MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
MXR is a well-established and well-respected guitar pedal manufacturer. They make some absolute classics, such as the MXR Carbon Copy delay. This is a company that knows how to make and design a good sounding and durable guitar pedal. The MXR M236 Super Badass Variac Fuzz pedal is no exception.
This is an easy to use no-nonsense guitar pedal that’s built to last. It looks absolutely gorgeous in metallic purple. Simple but attractive.
There are four control knobs, which are for Tone, Output, Gain, and Variac.
We’re sure you’ll agree that one of the highlights of the pedal in being able to control the voltage through the Variac knob. Being able to lower or increase the voltage gives some interesting tonal effects. Something once only achievable by collecting a hoard of half-dead or partially dead batteries.
When the Variac control is up to full voltage, the tones are crisp and clear. As you turn down the voltage, emulating a dying battery of old, things get dark, very dark — the lower the voltage, the louder the call to satanic forces.
Turned down to only 5V, and you half expect Ozzy to poke his head around the door. At low voltage, you’re into seriously heavy rock, metal, and punk territory. Turn the gain up as well, and it’s going to get just about as dark as you could ever possibly want.
Conversely, turn the voltage up and the gain down, and things clean up beautifully. You still have plenty of attitude, but things sound altogether clearer, smoother, warmer, more refined. Ozzy has been dragged off to the pit of hell, and Clapton has taken his place. All white flapping shirt and shiny teeth.
The quality of the tones is nothing less than you’d expect from this easy to use, silicone-based, true bypass pedal. It’s one of the best sounding fuzz pedals we’ve reviewed and another great pedal from our friends at MXR.
- Great tone possibilities with Variac control.
- Simple to use.
- Excellent sound quality.
- True Bypass pedal.
- Power outlet on the side rather than the top.
8 Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonic Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
This looks straight out of the 60s.
The Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonic Fuzz pedal is based around a rare and obscure circuit. It’s called the Harmonic Perculator. It can certainly brew up sone interesting tones (See what we did there!).
The pedal can produce some unusual, predominantly even-order harmonics. The distortion is not overly bass-heavy. Plus, it’s clean and clear. So much so that it can even be used to play some complex chords you might not normally think of using with fuzz.
The Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonic Fuzz pedal can produce a wide and varied selection of fuzz tones. From sweet harmonics, to heavily saturated and distorted, to big and open, and to sparkling boost. The Karma Suture can do the lot.
It also plays nicely with other pedals and can work to enhance your pedalboard in several ways. You can obviously use it just as an out and out fuzz pedal. However, you can also use it to harmonically boost your sound. Place it after your overdrive pedal in the chain, and you’ll hear the tone stand out and come through loud and clear in the mix.
As if that’s not enough, you can also use it to bring new life to your phaser, wah, and a host of other effects. This is a pedal that can be subtle or completely in your face.
The magic pairing of the NOS PNP Germanium circuit together with the silicon NPN transistor makes for some crazy fuzz tones. Be prepared to do some experimenting and maybe even break out the manual, and you’re sure to add some new edge and excitement to your playing and sound.
- Brilliant visual graphics.
- Interesting Harmonic Perculator circuitry.
- Unique sounding.
- Clean sounding.
- Wide tonal variation.
- Takes some of the bass out of the signal.
9 ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud V2 Fuzz Pedal
The ThorpyFX is industrial looking; in fact, the ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud V2 Fuzz Pedal looks like something your 16-year-old son or daughter has put together as part of a metalwork assignment. The design and build look crude, though it looks like it could survive some serious use and abuse.
This is the second release from Adrian Thorpe and is his interpretation of the Big Muff, circa 1969 to 1973. It’s built to be bombproof and is encased in a laser-etched shell. The sides of the pedal have high guards to protect the control knobs from damage or being accidentally moved.
The guts of the pedal have high-quality componentry. The ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud V2 Fuzz Pedal features; 1% metal-film resistors, Panasonic and Wima capacitors, and Neutrik jacks. The rest of the internal connections and electronics are equally high end.
The controls are straightforward. There are four control knobs for volume, sustain, treble, and bass. It couldn’t be much clearer and less complicated than that.
Having the ability to control EQ is a clear advantage for the ThorpyFX over a lot of other Fuzz pedals. When you start to push a fuzz pedal hard into heavy levels of distortion, good and bad things can happen. The dark doom ridden tones can sound killer but can also get a little bit messy and a little bit muddy.
The ThorpyFX allows you to dial back some of the bass-driven doom. It allows you to retain some detail and clarity and also allows you to fry the mids and trebles in a more structured and distorted fashion.
Of course, if you still want to keep things messy, fill your boots.
- Teutonic build quality.
- High-grade componentry.
- Great EQ capability.
- Easy to use.
- Premium price tag.
10 Beetronics Royal Jelly Overdrive/Fuzz
This is an overdrive, and fuzz pedal rolled into one. The Beetronics Royal Jelly Overdrive/Fuzz looks great and functions great too. This is a dual circuit guitar pedal that runs both circuits in parallel. They can be used blended or separately.
The two separate circuits are assigned to either the King or Queen channel. With either channel, you can select to have fuzz on one, distortion on another, or blended and dialed into whatever combination you want.
We get that the King and Queen labels fit in with the name of the pedal. Personally, we’d prefer it to be labeled plain old boring channel 1 and channel 2. We’re not keen on the labeling of the Buzz switch either.
When you want to switch between King and Queen, the three footswitches are easily laid-out to facilitate the switch. What’s more, the whole guitar pedal is also wide enough not to have your feet getting tied in knots.
EQ controls on the Beetronics Royal Jelly Overdrive/Fuzz are excellent. It gives you a 10dB boost or cut off for treble and bass. It has plenty of room to shape your tone in any way you want.
The Beetronics fuzz has a DRY control to create cleaner tones with a fuzzy background. It also has a Buzz switch to increase the fuzz at the higher end. Something that you’d more typically expect to find on a vintage fuzz pedal.
The Beetronics Royal Jelly Overdrive/Fuzz pedal gives you two pedals in one. It also gives you plenty of flexibility to combine and shape those tones in several different ways. It’s a great pedal.
- Two-channel pedal for overdrove and fuzz.
- Excellent EQ.
- Great DRY channel.
- Robust build quality.
- It’s expensive.
Best Fuzz Pedals Buying Guide
What Is Fuzz?
Fuzz differs from both overdrive and distortion in the way it clips the original signal.
Overdrive pushes your sound to the point of breaking up the signal. An overdrive pedal is designed to mimic the kind of sound of a cranked-up amp at the point of break up. It’s a glorious sound.
Distortion, on the other hand, is a different animal altogether. Distortion will change and clip the signal to give a heavy, saturated, and dark sound. This is a more aggressive sound that’s often associated with Heavy Rock, Punk and Metal. With a distortion pedal, regardless of the volume, you’ll get the same clipped, altered, dark, and dirty tones.
Fuzz is different again. Fuzz will square off the signal. It goes past distortion. The square clipping creates a woolly and, well ‘fuzzy’ sound. The clipping is so hard that when you’re playing more ‘normal genres of music, blues, hard rock, country, etc., for anything other than lead, it generally sounds just too strange.
Fuzz is, therefore, generally for playing lead. Though it can be used effectively to play some heavy riffs and power chords, especially if you’re in a grunge, sludge, psychedelic or space rock band. Fuzz is a psychedelic, screaming sound – a sound so well personified by Jimi and the 60s.
Which neatly leads us to Fuzz origins…
Fuzz Pedal History
The Maestro Fuzz pedal was the very first fuzz pedal born from the serendipity of a blown transformer in an amp. The resulting sound, during a recording session with Marty Robbins, was deemed as sounding cool.
In 1961 (What a year), the Marty Robbins country song ‘Don’t Worry’ went on to be a hit. The recording engineer, Glenn Snodd, then went on to design a pedal that could replicate the blown transformer sound. The first fuzz pedal was born.
The use of Maestro Fuzz started to gain popularity until it was used by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in the song ‘Satisfaction,’ then fuzz exploded in popularity.
The Tone Bender in 1965 and Fuzz Face in 1966 soon followed. Jimi Hendrix introducing his psychedelic sound courtesy of the Fuzz Face. Guitarists around the world were soon to copy, and modern fuzz made its entrance.
Those searching for vintage tones will gravitate towards a fuzz pedal with germanium transistors. Germanium transistors were the very first to be used in fuzz pedals. They tend to produce smoother and warmer tones.
Germanium transistors are not as readily available as silicon transistors. They’re harder to come by and so are more expensive. Builders of boutique fuzz pedals frequently join a perpetual hunt for NOS germanium transistors, which further serves to push up their price.
Despite this drawback, if you’re looking for authentic vintage tones, germanium transistor-built fuzz pedals are hard to beat.
By the end of the 1960s, some clever souls had worked out that silicone could be used in place of germanium transistors. Then into the 1970s and beyond, as silicone became increasingly cheaper and more available, so did the choice of silicone-based fuzz pedals.
Silicone, though a good alternative, doesn’t give the same tonal effects as germanium. The sound is harsher, more aggressive, rawer. For Metal, Punk or harder genres of music this is preferable. If you’re looking for a more vintage and warmer sound, it isn’t.
The real advantage of silicone fuzz pedals is the price. Additionally, as fuzz pedals become ever more sophisticated, they’re able to produce a variety of different fuzz tones in the same pedal.
The EQ on a fuzz pedal is a great way of shaping and tidying up the tone. The set fuzz may not be exactly what you’re looking for; therefore, the ability to dial back bass or treble or put in some extra emphasis to the mids can be crucial.
Having an EQ can help to add clarity or take it away where ever it’s needed.
More Great Pedals
Are you looking for something to go with your superb new fuzz pedal? If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Tremolo Pedals, the Best EQ Pedals, the Best Boost Pedals, the Best Noise Gate Pedals, and the Best Phaser Pedals currently available.
Plus, you might also need the Best Guitar Pedalboard to keep them all on.
So, What Are The Best Fuzz Pedals?
Every guitarist’s idea of perfect fuzz is different. Indeed, a guitarist’s idea of perfect fuzz can change between recordings or songs. When it comes to fuzz, we all have our own ideas.
A lot of fuzz pedals have their own signature sound. There’s no doubt that each pedal’s variation of sound and how much you’re able to shape it, is huge. Consequently, it’s therefore extremely difficult to choose one pedal as our top pick.
With this in mind, and therefore by the very smallest of margins, our top pick goes to the…
The amazing vintage tone, with such great history, and now in a neat modern package, was enough to tip the balance.
We hope you find the fuzz pedal best for you. We’re all off now to down pens and channel our inner Hendrix.