What’s the Best Fuzz Pedal on the Market? – 2018 Edition
The effect pedal you use can make or break a performance. Fuzz pedals can create such great effects if they’re good quality, but can also sound like a broken record if they’re low quality. That’s why I’m here to tell you about the best fuzz pedal models available on the market.
Best Fuzz Pedal
How to Choose
The process of choosing the right fuzz pedal will change depending on what you’re looking for. Fuzz pedals sound best when they’re used in certain genres of music, such as rock or punk, so consider the type of music you plan on making. If you plan on creater lighter music, then you should check a few different pedals. Once you’re confident a fuzz pedal is right for you, you can start narrowing things down to specific models. The two most important things to ask yourself are:
- How much you’re willing to invest
- How complex you want your pedal to be
The amount you want to spend on your pedal will affect the quality of pedals that are available to you. Remember: we get what we pay for, so if you want a really high-quality sounding pedal to be prepared to spend a bit more. If you’re a beginner and you aren’t interested in the top models, you can still get a great sound with lower-end pedals.
The complexity of your pedal is also something you’ll need to consider. Beginners may want fewer features than more advanced musicians who have had more time to learn how fuzz pedals work.
Advantages of a Fuzz Pedal
Fuzz pedals are a great choice for musicians who want a heavy, grainy sound in their music. These pedals aren’t subtle the way compression pedals are, so be prepared for an obvious effect. Some musicians are hesitant to invest in more subtle pedals because they want to hear an obvious effect when they’ve invested in a product, but this definitely isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with a fuzz pedal.
As technology advances more and more, the crystal clearness of a guitar’s tone on an amplifier has also improved. If you’re looking for a more vintage rock sound in your music, this might be alarming to you, but don’t worry. The fuzz pedal will allow you to return to that rough grainy quality and add modern twists if you want.
Things to Look For
When you’re considering a fuzz pedal model, make sure you research the company’s reputation before making your purchase. If a company has a good reputation, then you can be confident that their products will:
- Do what the company says they will do, and
- Won’t break or fall apart shortly after buying them.
Also, it’s always a plus if your pedal comes with a warranty. Check to see what the company’s policy is for pedals that stop working under different circumstances. If there’s no warranty, you might want to read even more about the producers of the pedal to make sure they create high-quality products.
The Best Way to Use a Fuzz Pedal
You can take advantage of your fuzz pedal by playing heavy power chords. The pedal will allow you to step those chords up to the next level and create a true heavy rock sound. Although you’ll still be able to hear the pitches you’re playing, these pedals sound best when you’re music isn’t overly dependent on certain melodies coming through.
Fuzz pedal effects can often overpower the natural tones of your guitar, so you may hear more fuzz than instrument depending on the setting you’re using. You’ll get the best sound if you plug your fuzz pedal in right after your guitar (rather than another device between the pedal and guitar) and then the fuzz pedal into your amp.
If you want to read more about how to get the best tone from your fuzz pedal, check out this link.
The Best Fuzz Pedals of All Time
1. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
In my opinion, this is the best pedal for a reasonable price on the market right now. This pedal was used by some of the biggest names in guitar, including Hendrix and Santana, which demonstrates the timelessness of its features.
One of the things I love about this pedal is that in addition to sounding great, it’s also really easy to use. You don’t be intimidated if you’re a beginner because the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi has just three main controls: Volume Control, Sustain Control, and Tone Control.
By playing with different intensities on each control, you can find the perfect level of fuzz and sustain for your music.
Depending on how bright you want your sound, you can play around with the Tone Control and then try out different levels of sustain for different intensities.
The longer your sustain, the more obvious the effects of the pedal will be. The grungiest effects will involve loud volume settings, dark tones, and long sustains.
- Reasonable Price
- Timeless sound
- Easy to use
- Not very complex
- Medium price
- Not as unique as other pedals
2. ZVex Effects Vexter Fuzz Factory
This pedal steps things up in terms of complexity, making it a good pedal for experienced musicians. If you purchase this pedal, you’ll have five settings: Volume, Gate, Compress, Drive, and Stability.
Combining the Zvex Fuzz Factory settings will allow you to create a unique sound. The volume control will affect your output signal. This pedal also has a gate setting, which will affect the squeals or buzzing you’ll hear as your sound starts to decay. Imagine an actual gate that when open, will allow those feedback noises to come through, and will block them out when closed.
Your compress setting will then let you alter how soft or harsh your sound is. When you want to tone down the intensity of your effect pedal, try taking away some of the punch by turning the knob to the right.
Your drive setting will increase the amount of fuzz you’re hearing. If you want a grainy sound that dominates the natural tones of your guitar, try experimenting with the higher levels of this setting.
The stability setting will affect the feedback pitch, which means you’re going to have to play around with this setting and use your ear to get the right sound.
- More settings
- Unique sound
- Gate setting
- Complexity may make it difficult for beginners
- Less of a vintage sound
3. Boss FZ-5 Fuzz Effect Pedal
The Boss FZ-5 Fuzz Effect Pedal is one of the most popular fuzz pedals available on the market. This device will give you vintage rock fuzz sounds but is clearly built with a modern twist.
This device was designed to emulate three popular vintage fuzz pedals: the well-known Octavia Fuzz, the Maestro FZ-1A, and the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face. The FZ-5 has therefore been designed to sound imperfect, kind of like all of those classic pedals that gave guitarists like Hendrix that unique, unforgettable sound.
This pedal has a Fuzz/Boost knob, which is a great feature to intensify your effects volume.Make sure you keep in mind that this model doesn’t really qualify as a high-end pedal.
You’ll be able to get a great fuzz sound with this pedal, but if you’re willing to invest more, you’ll most likely be more satisfied with higher end models like the ZVex Effects Vexter Fuzz.
Some musicians have said they were hoping to hear a sound identical to vintage pedals but found this pedal didn’t have the same charm. That’s not to say this product doesn’t sound great, though.
- Reliable brand
- Inspired by popular vintage pedals
- Less unique than other pedals
- Not high-end
- Less charming than original vintage models
4. Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal
This pedal is by the same makers of the Big Muff Pi. This pedal is a bit more complex than some other fuzz pedals, primarily because it has distortion and overdrive features in addition to your fuzz settings, but it’s a really affordable option. Multiple features can be a positive or a negative depending on what you’re looking for in a pedal.
Some musicians feel that pedals with only a fuzz function perform better fuzz effects than pedals with numerous settings. I don’t think this is necessarily true since some of the best pedals I’ve come across have been multi-featured pedals.
This pedal has three knobs: Treble, Volume, and Drive. Treble controls are good for intensifying certain frequencies, but some guitarists have found the upper registers to sound a bit shrill on this pedal.
To get a vintage effect, try turning the drive all the way up and the volume setting down, and you’ll hear an old-fashioned rock sound effect. In my opinion, this pedal is a bit brighter than the other pedals I’ve mentioned, so make sure you like the tone before your purchase.
- Vintage sound
- Good for beginners
- Bright sound
- Shrill high notes
- Not very complex
- Medium price
5. Danelectro CF-2 Cool Cat Fuzz V2 Effect Pedal
Last but not least, Cool Cat fuzz pedals will bring a strong sustained fuzz to your music. Other musicians have been surprised at how great this pedal sounds considering it’s affordability. This pedal has four controls: Fuzz, Treble/Bass, Volume, and Bypass.
Unsurprisingly, the Fuzz setting will be the knob you’ll want to focus most on when you’re experimenting with different fuzz sound effects. You can then experiment with how the different controls interact to create your ideal sound.
In my opinion, this is the best fuzz pedal for guitarists who know how and want to create a specific fine tuned effect. You can control the frequency extremes of your fuzz effect by toying with the Treble/Bass knob, which will address the issue of shrill high notes.
The volume setting on the pedal will affect your intensity by making the sound louder or softer, and will project low fuzz settings for a more subtle effect.
You’ll also have a bypass footswitch pedal, which will let you turn off the effects. This is useful for musicians who want to alter back and forth between natural tones and fuzz tones.
- Strong sustained fuzz
- Bypass foot pedal
- Treble/Bass knob is finicky
- Not great for beginners
- Medium price
Hopefully this article helped you make your decision on which fuzz pedal to purchase. Fuzz pedals are a great way to create a thick, heavy sound that works great with rock songs. Remember to ask yourself how much you’re willing to invest and how complex you want your fuzz pedal to be. Asking these questions will narrow down your options. Once you’re sure about what you’re looking for, you’ll find the perfect fuzz pedal in no time.
If you want more information on how to create a unique sound, follow this link. Enjoy those fuzz effects.