What are the Best Budget Guitar Fuzz Pedals?

budget guitar fuzzGuitar fuzz pedals with great tone, but without putting too much of a dent in our wallets.

Fuzz pedals are a great addition to any guitar player’s pedal board. They have a distinctive sound that’s different from overdrive and distortion. Everyone from Black Sabbath to The White Stripes use them, and after more than 50 years, even non-guitar players are pretty familiar with their sound, and have come to expect it. Today, we go over a list of fuzz pedals that just might give you that perfect fuzz tone that you’ve been looking for, without forcing you to set aside too much of your paycheck.

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Dunlop Silicon Fuzz Face Mini Blue

Dunlop Silicon Fuzz Face Mini BlueDunlop Silicon Fuzz Face Mini Blue

The Dunlop Silicon Fuzz Face Mini Blue is a modern design of the legendary Fuzz Face. As the name suggests, this pedal is housed in a much smaller package than its vintage bigger brother. This is a bright and aggressive pedal built with vintage spec matched BC108 silicon transistors. There are two knobs: Volume and Fuzz, which is where you’ll dial in your sound. Continue reading “Dunlop Silicon Fuzz Face Mini Blue”

Germanium and Silicon in Fuzz – What’s the Difference?

germanium and siliconGermanium vs Silicon? This is often an intensely debated topic. Learn the difference between these two types of diodes and how they affect your fuzz pedal’s tone.

Let’s talk about the difference between germanium and silicon transistors and what it means to guitar players and audio in general, especially fuzz.

The Fuzz Effect

Fuzz is a type of distortion that guitar players use. It is most often found in an effect pedal and it creates a buzzy tone that is associated with an overdriven amplifier or a torn speaker. Transistors play a vital part in the design of this effect and their germanium and silicon diodes can sound quite different in the final result.

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How Does a Fuzz Pedal Work?

fuzz pedalYou’ve heard of Fuzz pedals, and probably used one. But do you know how they work?

Fuzz

Fuzz is a type of distortion that was originally marketed in the early 1960s as a device that you can use to emulate the sound of Orchestra instruments such as the Trumpet, Cello, Bassoon, Saxophone, etc. It was a Saxophone sound that Keith Richards wanted for the beginning of “Satisfaction,” that prompted him to try out a Fuzz pedal. It was also during this time that the Kinks, Link Wray, and many other early Rock & Roll and Blues guitar players reportedly punched holes in their speakers to get a fuzzy sound. You can hear a torn speaker in “Rocket 88” (the first Rock & Roll song), by Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston. Other notable songs from that time that feature Fuzz are “You Really Got Me,” by The Kinks and “Rumble,” by Link Wray. The aggressive Fuzz tone of this song actually caused people to feel fearful, so the song was banned from the radio.

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What are the Best Guitar Fuzz Pedals?

guitar fuzz pedalsLet’s take a look at a few of the best Guitar Fuzz Pedals on the market today to see if we can find the perfect one to suit your needs.

Guitar fuzz pedals are often great substitutes for other solid state, and sometimes even tube-driven, overdrives and distortions. Fuzz was actually the first solid state distortion available to guitar players and it has been around long enough to have a vintage sound to it, as well as a long list of big name users. Fuzz is usually created with either germanium or silicon fuzz-based transistors. The germanium-based fuzz boxes produce a warmer sound, more like a tube amp, and you can also change the fuzz level by adjusting your guitar’s volume.

Germanium-based fuzz boxes are affected by the environment and can sound differently on warm and cold days. Silicon-based fuzz guitar pedals will sound brighter and sharper, and since silicon transistors are cheaper than germanium, they are usually cheaper as well. The level of fuzz is not affected by the guitar’s volume knob and silicon is much less susceptible to the environment. Both types of distortion are capable of going from just a hint of fuzz to massive levels of tone-changing fuzz at any volume level. Right now we look at the best of the best guitar fuzz pedals, so you can see which one is right for you.

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Fulltone 69, the Fuzz that Roared

Fulltone 69 fuzzIf you are in the market for a truly amazing, world-class Fuzz pedal, look no further; the Fulltone 69 is your baby.

Of all the fuzz pedals I have tried, the Fulltone 69 is really the king. This is an incredibly transparent pedal with a top-shelf fuzz that can be easily rolled back for great tonal variations. Here’s more of what you should know about this impressive pedal:

Serious fun with Contour

The knob labeled “Contour” is where the real fun starts on the Fulltone 69. It is kind of a combination mid-range / thickness control. Needless to say, when turned down, the fuzz is a bit thinner as is the overall tone. This is helpful if you want fuzz without all the “woof.” When you increase the Contour level, the fuzz gets thicker and has more body. This also adds to the random harmonics and general squeaks that are likely to come out of your guitar. If you experiment by using less drive and more Contour (or vice verse) there are some seriously fun sounds to be found.
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