Top 10 Best Fuzz Pedals of All Time
1. Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone
What better way to start this list off than with the pedal that started it all? Being the first ever commercially produced distortion device, it initially had some poor sales results despite its quality and innovativeness. However, when Keith Richards used it on the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," the Maestro FZ-1 went down in history as one of the most important guitar pedals of all time.
2. Univox Super-Fuzz
Another vintage pedal that's really rare to find and that's highly valued among collectors these days. The Super-Fuzz circuit was designed by a Japanese manufacturer named Honey. Later taken by Shin-Ei and sold under the Univox brand, the first official Super-Fuzz was produced in the late '60s.
3. Vox Tone Bender
Another rare pedal, the Tone Bender by Vox was produced for a short period, sometime during the second half of the 1960s. What's really interesting is that the first 100 Tone Benders were made with wooden casings. Later switching to steel boxes, these simple pedals were used by the likes of Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Pete Townshend.
4. Fender Blender
Made by the legendary guitar and amp manufacturer, Fender Blender fuzz was a bit more complex compared to these other early dirt boxes. Coming a bit late to the fuzz effect race, Fender had to make a special new product in order to compete on the market. The Blender had four knobs ñ volume, sustain, tone, and blend which blended the dry and wet signal while also adding a lower octave. It also had two switches, one on/off and the other for boosting high-end frequencies.
5. Death By Audio Fuzz War
This fuzz pedal, called the Fuzz War, is handmade by a New York City-based company called Death By Audio. Just like most of the fuzzes out there, it features simple controls ñ volume, tone, and gain. However, what makes it special is that it features more of an aggressive tone compared to most of the other similar effects out there. It can do anything from mild overdrives to extremely distorted sounds.
6. Wampler Velvet Fuzz
Built by Wampler, Velvet Fuzz has three basic knobs for volume, tone, and brightness. There's also an additional switch for two clipping modes ñ "big" and "tight". By switching over to the "tight" mode, the sound gets closer to a regular distortion pedal. Pretty versatile newer generation pedal that still pays respect to the old-school fuzz effects.
7. Way Huge Swollen Pickle
While it has somewhat of a bizarre name, Way Huge Swollen Pickle is an amazing fuzz pedal that gives its users a great number of options for dialing in great tones. It features five controls in total ñ loudness (volume), sustain, filter (tone), scoop (for shaping mids), and crunch. There have been a few different versions over the years, with the latest one MKII offering a more pedalboard-friendly size casing.
8. Zvex Fuzz Factory
Fuzz Factory is a great example of those newer fuzz pedals, manufactured by a smaller independent company called Zvex. This small fuzz offers a strong punch and a lot of sonic versatility, anything from sweet overdrives to insane ripping sounds. There are a few versions, some of them which are hand painted.
9. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
Electro Harmonix is one of those pedal manufacturers that's been present on the market for more than fifty years. Well, it's not a surprise really since they made the legendary Big Muff Pi. This simple ñ yet amazing ñ pedal was first produced back in the late 1960s and has been used by countless guitar heroes of the '70s and the '80s, including David Gilmour, Carlos Santana, and Ronnie Montrose.
10. Fuzz Face
Probably the most famous fuzz pedal, both for its sound and peculiar design, is the legendary Fuzz Face. This pedal was originally manufactured by Arbiter Electronics with the earliest versions bearing germanium transistors inside, giving Fuzz Face a very unique tone. Ever since the early '90s, the manufacturing has been taken over by Dunlop, making both germanium and silicon transistor versions over the years.
The Fuzz Face was pretty much popularized by Jimi Hendrix, although other legends like David Gilmour and Eric Johnson have used it over the years.