If you're a rock or blues fan - or if you are looking to experiment with a new playing style - then a fuzz pedal can be a great investment to unlock new sounds. But it can be difficult to know what the best fuzz pedal is if you've not used one in the past, especially as there are so many excellent products to choose from.
Choosing a new fuzz pedal shouldn't be stressful, though. It just requires a little research to ensure that you pick a product that delivers the key features that you'll require. You also want to make sure that you buy a pedal that delivers excellent value-for-money.
In this guide, you'll find a lot of important information that will help you pick the best fuzz pedal for your needs. For each review you read here, it can be very helpful to look up test tracks, so you can hear how each product sounds, which is crucial when it comes to picking any piece of music gear. If you need a Flanger pedal - click here.
Consider this list of our top fuzz pedals on the market, which will appeal to guitarists of all abilities. You'll be able to find a pedal in our list to suit all budgets too. If you want to get the most out of this guide, then also read the FAQs carefully, as you'll find some important information in this section too.
|Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2||EarthQuaker Devices||MXR M236 Variac Fuzz|
Here is Our Review of the Top Fuzz Pedals for Guitar:
Table of Contents
- Here is Our Review of the Top Fuzz Pedals for Guitar:
- Fuzz Pedal Buyers Guide
- Why and when would you need to use a fuzz pedal?
1. Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2
The Wampler Fuzz Pedal is an eye-catching pedal that looks as good as it sounds. Wampler prides itself as a company for which visual design is almost as important as the sound quality that its gear produces. This pedal comes in two different styles. The first version is dark green and has a fading image of a dandelion in the background. The second version is known as the 'Velvet' pedal, and it has this word emblazoned on the pedal itsels. This pedal has four knobs that allows for a lot of customization in terms of sound. The four pedals are for volume, fuzz, brightness, and big/tight, which is used for altering the fuzz signal.
Wampler pedals have an excellent reputation amongst guitarists, with many users making this their go-to brand when adding to their pedalboard. It isn't the cheapest pedal on the market, costing $200, but if you want quality, then it's worth spending the big bucks. It offers no volume drop from tone control, and it is also very flexible when it comes to tone sculpting too, which is down to the toggle switch. The build quality is flawless. It's a sturdy pedal that won't break in a hurry. You won't need to worry about it getting bashed about when on the road, nor do you need to be careful with it when you're rocking out on stage. It has high-grade capacitors and resistors integrated into it which help to enhance the sound quality. These superior features all contribute to a superior pedal that's well-suited to professionals and amateurs alike.
+ Diverse distortion capabilities
+ The deep, fat sound adds power to your playing
+ Big/tight switch
Why We Liked It - Wampler’s fuzz box is a great addition to your pedalboard if you are looking for a thick, fat and deep sound that is well-suited to blues and rock. It delivers beautiful tone every time you switch it on and if you combine it with your other pedals and guitar effects then it will be integrated seamlessly. As with all Wampler pedals, you're guaranteed exceptional sound quality, a durable construction, and reliable, long-term performance.
2. EarthQuaker Devices
EarthQuaker’s fuzz pedal also comes in two versions. The first design is black and white with a heavy influence from the fantasy genre. It features a wizard figure holding up a staff in the air. It's a vital piece of gear for anyone who doesn't just enjoy rock-n-roll but also is a fan of fantasy books, films, or games. The second design is blue and white with an old vintage phone as an outline.
The EarthQuaker can help you control the decay length of the reverb and you can also use it to adjust the spread of the reverb. As you turn the diffuse knob clockwise, you will get a more washy and ambient sound, while if you turn it counter-clockwise, you will get a sharper, more aggressive sound.
It is powered by a 9 volt DC power supply for pedalboard, but it’s recommended to avoid using this pedal on a daisy chain as it can create issues and possibly damage not only the EarthQuaker but the other pedals too. It’s also recommended to avoid running it at higher voltages than stated in the description as this can lead to disastrous consequences for your power supply. It features four dials, which are for reverb, repeat, time, and mix.
If you are looking for a pedal that allows you to use reverb and delay together, then this is the best choice on the market right now.
+ Unique designs
+ Great for ambient sounds
Why We Liked It - EarthQauker is an impressive pedal with funky designs to choose from. This is one of the best rated fuzz pedals out there. It's designed with user-friendliness in mind, and offers a lot of scope for experimentation.
3. MXR M236 Variac Fuzz
MXR is another popular brand in the world of music gear, especially when it comes to fuzz pedals. The design of this MXR pedal is simple but attractive, consisting of only a very deep, burgundy color. The voltage can be set from 5V to 15V and this can give you one of the most sought-after effects when it comes to playing hard-rock or punk, which is known as the ‘dying battery’ effect. You can achieve this by lowering the voltage, and as you increase the voltage, you will get way more clarity and more headroom at the same time.
You can create all kinds of sounds with this little device, from high-pitched starter violin sounds to something resembling Eric Clapton's iconic 70s era-style. The MXR has a fantastic overdrive feature that doesn’t get is easy to control and manipulate. The sustain and tone-shaping is also exceptional with this pedal. It truly is a high-grade pedal that delivers professional sound quality, as well as a huge amount of scope for experimentation.
+ Countless options for experimentation and customization
+ Simple, effective design
+ Very easy to use
Why We Liked It - MXR is a fuzz box like no other. It’s truly one of the best around when it comes to mixing and allows for a huge amount of experimentation. If you are looking for a versatile pedal that will help you explore new sounds, as well as bring the best out of your guitar, then you cannot go wrong with this superb fuzz pedal.
4. Mooer MFZ4 Fuzz Distortion
Mooer is known for delivering excellent value-for-money. It always strives to make quality pedals available for the masses, which is why it's become so popular with beginner and intermediate guitarists. This pedal is a superb choice for a novice who has yet to experiment with a fuzz pedal before. It ticks the boxes in terms of looks, with an attractive, turquoise color scheme which is enhanced by yellow-tinged labels. It's got a durable, sturdy metal shell that will withstand more than its share of knocks. It's a compact size too, which makes it perfect for transporting, whether that's to band practice or on the road.
It's a true bypass pedal, which is crucial if you're planning on daisy-chaining several pedals, and it's also important for live performances, as you don't want your fuzz pedal ruining your sound when it's not being used. This is a superb pedal regardless of the price, but when the price is factored in too, then it makes this fuzz pedal an absolute bargain.
+ True bypass
+ Small and compact
+ Heavy-duty metal shell
Why We Liked It - It's an affordable pedal that looks good, sounds good, and is built to last. Few pedals in this price range are able to offer the sturdiness that this pedal delivers. If you're looking for your first fuzz pedal or just want to bag a bargain, then you cannot go wrong with this Mooer fuzz pedal. The compact size also makes it ideal for taking on the road.
5. Valeton Lazaro Modern
Valeton’s fuzz pedal has a very simple and user-friendly design. It features a rich green color scheme that resembles fresh, summer grass and is a nice alternative to the usually gloomy, black, or gray pedals that are commonly available. There are four knobs on the front face of the box. They are for volume, bass, treble, and fuzz. It’s designed to be used both with an electric guitar or a bass guitar. It offers a wide range of tones from smooth overdrive to a very wild, aggressive fuzz that will please rock guitarists who want versatility from their pedals.
When you turn the bass and fuzz to perform at their full capacity then you will get a dark and gritty sound that has to be heard to be truly appreciated. It’s capable of producing many different fuzz tones and even a bit of overdrive. It’s an essential piece of gear for anyone that wants to create a gnarly, aggressive sound. Another top feature of this fuzz pedal is that it doesn't produce any unwanted feedback, which is very important for live performances.
+ No feedback
+ Simple and user-friendly design
+ Wide range of tones
Why We Liked It - This is a pedal that is not only affordable, compact, and user-friendly, but also packed with advanced features that few other fuzz pedals in this price range offer. Key to the quality of this pedal is its ability to deliver powerful fuzz that will suit hard rock, punk, and grunge guitarists. If you're looking for a pedal that is powerful above all else, then this is the one for you.
6. Way Huge WHE401 Swollen Pickle
If you're looking for a substantial pedal that is bulky and sturdy, then this Way Huge fuzz pedal has to be considered. It is certainly heavy-duty. But that means that it can withstand all sorts of punishment without being negatively impacted. It isn't just a hard-wearing pedal, though. It's also versatile and capable of creating great-sounding fuzz effects. It allows you to quickly adjust the intensity of the compression of sound thanks to the knobs provided. It can give you high-gain fuzz with a smooth, deep, and rich sounding low-end.
Way Huge first put this pedal on the market in 2008, and since then it has constantly improved it. And you only have to use it to recognize the attention to detail that's gone into the design and manufacturing process.
Above all else, this pedal is all about sound and tone. Jimi Hendrix would have loved to have had a pedal like this back in the 60s. And if you're a fan of his music, then we think you'll like this pedal, as it's possible to recreate his iconic sound while using it. But it's also versatile. It offers a lot of tonal possibilities, making it ideal for anyone who loves to experiment. To shape your sound, then this pedal features controls for sustain, scoop, crunch, filter, and loudness. This pedal doesn't produce any unwanted feedback. It's also a highly durable pedal that can withstand lots of knocks.
+ Gnarly and gritty sound
+ Thick metal casing
+ Smooth low-end sound
Why We Liked It - This little pedal packs a huge punch. It delivers awesome fuzz that fans of Jimi Hendrix will adore. It's built to last too, due to the thick metal casing. There's so much to love about this pedal. After spending a few hours experimenting it, then we can see you falling in love with it too. Quite simply, it is a great sounding fuzz pedal that is very versatile.
7. Catalinbread Karma Suture
This Catalinbread fuzz box has one of the most eye-catching designs around. It's got a purple color scheme with psychedelic-inspired writing on it. It certainly has a 60s vibe to it. But looks aren't all it delivers. It also offers versatility in terms of tone too. The only downside is that it can produce some unwanted feedback. But this is minimal, and the positives definitely outweigh the negatives with the Karma Suture Harmonic pedal.
Catalinbread has used a very rare circuit set-up here known as the ‘harmonic percolator’. It gives this fuzz box the ability to deliver even harmonics which give off stunningly clear distortions, resulting in a very pleasing sound. You will be able to play even the most complex chords, whether they are for jazz, funk, or rock and the audience will still be able to make out every note. This is the best feature of this fuzz box and it’s a force to be reckoned with! If you want a fuzz box that delivers clarity at the same time, then you can't go wrong with this one.
+ Harmonic percolator circuit set-up
+ Perfect clarity
+ Extremely versatile
Why We Liked It - Looks are definitely a plus point for this fuzz pedal. And if you appreciate a cool-looking pedal, then this is certainly for you. Your pedalboard will instantly look better once this pedal is part of it. This pedal also produces versatile sound and has a distortion circuit set-up that will allow you to ring out crisp clear chords. It's a solid all-rounder that's a safe investment, in our opinion.
8. Death by Audio Fuzz War V2
Death By Audio’s fuzz box has a very distinct design that is influenced by fossils and 1980s rock. The patterns are made to stand out but are still presented in an understated manner with the only colors used being silver and black. It brings back the vibe of old, gritty rock thanks to its design. This version of Death By Audio’s pedal has moved the trimpot back to the outside due to many customers complaining that they couldn’t fine-tune it properly when the trimpot was situated inside the pedal. It also delivers a gnarly sound that we adored.
The smoothness of the big muff is praised by many customers who find it a fantastic addition to their music gear arsenal. It's also a great fuzz pedal for a bass guitar. It may be too much for some people, but for musicians who like a bit of crazy, gritty fuzz it’s perfect. It has a rich, smooth, deep bass sound and is not as crazy in distortion as many other fuzz pedals can often be. It’s very sensitive to each string you pick whether it’s on a bass or electric guitar. There is no knob to adjust volume, but it evens itself out with the fuzz and bypass options. You can always throw a boost pedal into the mix if it’s too weak for your style of playing!
+ Durable metal shell
+ Deep, smooth bass sound
+ Small and compact
Why We Liked It - Death By Audio is certainly not one of the cheapest brands, but if you pay the big bucks then you're rewarded with a very big sound. It’s perfect for bass and electric guitar alike and will not give you any crazy distortion, but a reliable and gritty fuzz.
9. ZVEX Fat Fuzz Factory Germanium
The design of this fuzz pedal is simple but packs a punch with the influence of street art graffiti evident on the front, which is mostly covered with pastel green and silver colors. There is also another version of the design available that is blue and with “mastotron” written in white on the bottom of the pedal. Many customers praise this fuzz box for the interesting sounds that you can get when experimenting with the different knobs, which are for volume, gate, comp, drive, and stab.
It works well with both a bass and electric guitar and it delivers an exceptional low-end boost when used with either instrument. It's a pedal that's known for producing a big, powerful fuzz, as well as a distinct bass presence. This feature can be toned down with the toggle switch, but it is one of the key features of the Factory Germanium that differentiates itself from other fuzz pedals. There is plenty of tweaking and mixing that you can do with it, and it offers so many options that it can take months to fully discover and appreciate just what this pedal is capable of.
+ Exceptional bass presence
+ A huge variety of sounds
+ Powerful and heavy sound
Why We Liked It - ZVEX’s fuzz box is one of the most versatile pedals when it comes to achieving different tones. It has a great, unique graffiti design and is a bit larger than other pedals of its kind, therefore making it durable, sturdy, and guaranteed to withstand the rigours of regular use, whether that's on stage or in the rehearsal room.
10. ZVex Effects Wooly Mammoth Vexter
This is another superb fuzz pedal from ZVEX Effects. It costs a little more than a run-of-the-mill fuzz pedal, but the price still offers good value, in our opinion, as this is one excellent pedal. In terms of looks, then it doesn't disappoint, with a design that features a yellow woolly mammoth. This might not be to everyone's taste, but as with any effects pedal, what matters isn't how it looks but how it sounds. And this fuzz pedal certainly sounds good. It's well-suited to electric and bass guitars, but it perhaps best-suited to basses. It's got a gentle gate that silences your guitar between notes, which is a typical feature of a professional-quality pedal.
This ZVEX pedal uses a 9V DC power supply. It has an EQ control that can smoothly toggle between bass and treble accordingly. It’s capable of producing a wide range of tones and fuzz noises that are ripe for experimentation. It has to be considered as one of the most versatile pedals out there. It’s also one of ZVEX’s newer additions to the market, and it’s easy to see the improvements here from the previous pedals that ZVEX has produced.
+ Unique visual design
+ Variety of tones available
+ EQ control
Why We Liked It - ZVEX is definitely one of the best brands when it comes to unique sounds and designs. And this pedal is perfect proof of why. It features an original visual design that complements the equally original sounds that this pedal can produce. It's also a good choice for bassists who want to add some grit to their tone.
Fuzz Pedal Buyers Guide
What is a fuzz pedal?
Fuzz pedals or fuzz boxes are commonly mistaken to be the same as overdrive or distortion pedals, but these pedals are vastly different from each other and are used to achieve very different effects.
Origins of Fuzz Pedals
In the 1950s, there was a rise of distorted guitar sounds being used in rock-n-roll, blues, and other genres of music. This was a new effect that musicians and music fans quickly fell in love with. Usually, distortion only occurred when an amp was turned to full volume, but that was not a very convenient way to work, especially as this could negatively affect other elements of the sound. It also wasn't reliable. You would have to rely on luck to create the desired distortion. Also, having your amp turned up to the highest volume wasn't great for musicians ears either, and it could drown out other instruments, either on stage or in the studio. Fuzz pedals were designed to make this desired distortion sound available for everyone without having to crank up amps to their full volume. Fuzz boxes were the first devices to let electric and bass guitarists fully control the amount of distortion they wanted.
Fuzz pedals are pedals that are designed to provide you with sounds that are often associated with blues, jazz, or classic rock. This means that these small devices were made to emulate a distinct sound that used to be associated with well-known pedals such as the Big Muff. They are usually powerful little devices with 2-6 knobs that you can use to achieve the gritty and gnarly sound that was common in 1950s rock. Many notable figures have used fuzz pedals and made the effect become a feature of their sound style. Examples of guitarists who are associated with fuzz pedals include Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix.
Overdrive pedals are pedals that offer you a chance to produce natural, warm, and “tube” like sounds that are commonly associated with trumpets. They are usually used in a blues-rock setting because of the smooth distortion they offer. In essence, they are a type of distortion pedal, but they use soft-clipping, which means the tones are very smooth and were famous for providing harmonics that could otherwise be considered jagged in other types of pedals.
Distortion pedals usually use hard-clipping distortion, which means that they sound more jagged and spiky than overdrive pedals and fuzz pedals. The best example of music that uses these types of pedals is anything by Van Halen. These pedals usually create sounds similar to that of high-gain amplifiers and create very thick waves of sounds. They are crucial if you want to achieve a modern guitar tone.
Why and when would you need to use a fuzz pedal?
Many guitarists love fuzz pedals because they can help them achieve high-gain sounds that can be heard in songs like Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’. If you are not into these types of jagged or very high, smooth, almost violin-like electric sounds then fuzz pedals probably won’t be your cup of tea. Then again, these little devices are capable of producing a wide variety of sounds that will impress anyone who has the patience to experiment.
They are very versatile pieces of gear and can add clarity and crispness to your playing too, if you set them to do so. All in all, it comes down to experimentation. Some pedals are very easy to master but others are much harder due to the high level of distortion (click here for audio effects study) they provide and it’s hard to sometimes keep them under control. You can essentially use these pedals for any genre of music, from jazz or blues to classic rock and punk.
How do you choose the best-rated fuzz pedal?
It all depends on the kind of music you want to play, but the general rule is to focus on the knobs that the fuzz box includes. This will give you an idea of the tonal options that the pedal is capable of. Some pedals are bigger, some smaller, and this is important when you're considering how durable the pedal will be. You should also ensure that it has a strudy construction with a metal casing, as this will also contribute to durability. Other essential features to look for are what kind of power supply they need, and what voltage power batteries you will need to buy (if any). To be safe, it’s best to hear samples of the pedals you are interested in on YouTube to get an idea of what they sound like. Many experts also produce videos that compare fuzz pedals and play the sounds side by side so you can hear the difference between them. Also, it's always key for a pedal to suit your style, so don't ignore the color scheme too.
Our Top Choice spot has to go to Wampler! The Velvet Fuzz edition is the one that stood out the most to our team. The design looks great and would look fantastic with any piece of gear thanks to its vintage appeal. Wampler pedals are handmade in the USA with attention-to-detail assured with each pedal. The power supply needed for this Wampler is 9. This pedal is a true bypass pedal too, which is important for live performers as the pedal won't adulterate or ruin your sound when it's not in use.
If you've used a Wampler pedal in the past and enjoyed the sound it makes, then the Velvet Fuzz box is more than likely to equally impress you. The fuzz knob on this little device can go from giving you a little hint of grit and grind to full-on, aggressive fuzz. You will most certainly find something to fit you and your style of playing with this pedal, as it's designed with versatility in mind. There are many fuzz features to play around with, and that's what makes it one of the best-rated fuzz pedals out there, simply thanks to all of the options you have to regulate, distort, and mix the fuzz.
Wampler’s pedal has to be our Top Choice since it is affordably priced, built to a very high standard, and allows for a huge amount of experimentation.
Our Premium Choice spot goes to Earthquaker’s fuzz box. Not only is the wizard design fun and engaging to look at, but the features included within this pedal ticked our boxes too. When buying this pedal you will get a very easy to use and intuitive device. The Earthquake has six knobs that are all set-out in a way to be as user-friendly as possible. The knobs on this fuzz pedal are for length, diffuse, dampen, drag and reflect, which means that there are a huge amount of options when it comes to shaping your sound.
Thanks to all of the options available with the Earthquaker, then you'll be able to experiment and create a whole new sound. And you can achieve this without needing lots of experience with effects pedals, as the pedal comes with a clear guide that will help you understand all of the knobs, their functions, and even why they have been given their names. If you are a beginner or have never bought a fuzz box before, this is definitely your best choice because Earthquaker has made sure this pedal and its functions incredibly user-friendly.
This Earthquaker pedal is easily our Premium Choice. If you're willing to pay extra, then you're ensured a professional-level pedal that's so easy to use that a novice can start creating awesome sounds only minutes after taking it out of the box. For testing on Fuzz effects - read the study.
Our Great Value pick has to be MXR’s fuzz box. This is simply because it’s almost half the price of the previously listed pedals (which price in at around $200-$250) which is great value for anyone who is looking to try out a fuzz box and hear what it sounds like or what it can do for the rest of your gear, both sound and effects wise. It’s got an understated visual design that should fit any practice room or stage. It allows you to manipulate your sound thanks to the tone, variac, gain, and output knobs.
Even though it’s at the cheaper end of the price spectrum, it’s still a very high-quality, well-made, and well-crafted piece of gear that should serve you for a long time. As with all MXR products, then this pedal is built to last, and designed to deliver high-quality sound.
MXR’s fuzz box has to be our Great Value choice, simply because it’s the best choice for anyone that is on a budget, or anyone who wants to try out a fuzz pedal with minimum financial risk. The Fuzz Pedal is a variation on the distortion pedal, as mentioned before. For more info on this, read the study here.
Each fuzz box will suit a different guitarist or bassist depending on the type of sound that you want to create, as well as the amount of money that you want to spend. We've chosen our top ten, and we think that any of them would be a great investment. You just need to pick one that suits your style and budget. Now that you know about the best fuzz pedals on the market, all you need to do is pick one, and in no time, you can be creating awesome music.
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