Best Fuzz Pedal

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018​

With the right fuzz pedal, you can get the great effects that you want as you play. Our shopping guide teaches you about fuzz pedals and helps you find the best one.    

BEST FUZZ
PEDAL 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Whether you love grunge from the 90s or classic rock from the 70s, this is the fuzz pedal for you. You can adjust the gain and treble after picking the genre you want to recreate.

PROS

Designed for those who love music from the 1970s and earlier, this fuzz pedal helps you recreate all those classic sounds. It has three modes that let you pick what type of music you want to play.

CONS

This pedal produces an extremely fuzzy sound that might sound too distorted for you. Some users found that adjusting the knobs didn’t really change that sound.

BOTTOM LINE

Capable of working with a power adapter or a battery, this fuzz pedal lets you play anywhere. It provides good sound and has a bypass system that enhances those notes when playing any type of music.

PROS

Made right here in the United States, this pedal comes in two finishes that let you match it to your instrument. The V2 features a battery connection and is compatible with power adapters also.

CONS

The high price tag might put this pedal outside of your budget. One reviewer claimed that the company makes better fuzz pedals that cost less.

ZVEX Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal

BOTTOM LINE

With German transistors from the 1960s inside, this pedal will really produce all the classic sounds and notes that you love. It features a funky graffiti design on an aluminum chassis.

PROS

This fuzz pedal provides the best of both modern and classic elements because it works with newer instruments but uses old stock from the 60s. The vintage transistors inside produce a classic sound.

CONS

One review claimed that the pedal created a squeaky sound and not enough fuzz. Others liked the fuzzy sound produced but thought it was too loud.

BOTTOM LINE

The basic design of this model makes it a good choice for beginners because they can access and use all features with ease. The FFM3 works with any boards too.

PROS

Dunlop took its classic Jimi Hendrix fuzz pedal and shrank it down to make this mini model, which has the same features. Its compact size is great for playing at home and on the road.

CONS

This fuzz pedal may have some quality issues in terms of how the parts work together. It doesn’t work well when stacked with other pedals either.

BOTTOM LINE

With this pedal, you can produce fuzzy notes and add as much reverberation and distortion as you want. The six controls across the front let you control all aspects of your music.

PROS

Designed for musicians who want to do it all, this pedal lets you adjust the fuzz and five different features and settings. It works with any 9V power supply for added convenience.

CONS

This pedal costs more than you may want to spend. Some users found that it worked best at higher settings but not as well on other settings.

Shopping Guide for the Best Fuzz Pedal

When you sit down to play a few licks on your guitar and find that it doesn’t produce all the right tones, it might be time to take a look at the effects pads that you use. An effects pedal is really just an extra tool that works with both your guitar and amp to create a different type of sound. Famous musicians and guitarists use some of the best fuzz pedals today when performing live. You can use our guide to the best fuzz pedal of 2018 to find one for your own performances.

The top fuzz pedals of 2018 come from manufacturers that any performer or musician will know. You may even find some products from the same companies that made your instruments and models that are compatible with keyboards and other instruments too. We know that beginners and less experienced players may not really understand what a fuzz pedal is or how to changes their notes, which is why we’ll go over how the pedals work in a later section. Our shopping guide also covers what to look for in a pedal and the top options. You’ll find the five best fuzz pedals for the year too.

Shopping Guide for the Best Fuzz Pedal

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Selection Criteria

We have a number of talented musicians and musical experts working for us and set them to work finding the best fuzz pedals around. They used their own experience to make a list of the best features, including the power that the pedal has and how the knobs work. We worked with our team as we consulted with top experts in the industry to see what professionals look for in fuzz pedals and what features are the most important for beginners. No matter how much experience you have, you’ll find one of these effects pedals that is right for you and your instrument.

Fuzz pedals work in the same way that distortion and other types of effects pedals do. While you can always play your guitar by itself or when plugged into an amp, you can use a pedal to give your music a whole new sound. Our team found the best products for you because they spent hours conducting research on different pedals and brands. They looked at the best sellers and the top choices on Amazon as well as the pedals that experts recommend. We also took into account reviews and ratings to narrow down our list to the best five fuzz pedals.

Selection Criteria

How We Picked the Best Wheel Cleaners

  • Consulted with leading experts in the field
  • Looked at dozens of fuzz pedals on Amazon
  • Read more than 20 websites to find more information
  • Examined more than 100 product reviews
  • Rated the most important factors and compared those factors to the top products

Behringer makes the best overall fuzz pedal, which is the Super Fuzz SF300. Designed for those who love music from past eras, this is the ultimate pedal for beginners and more advanced players. One unique feature of the SF300 is its sound modes. You can pick a grunge mode to play like Kurt Cobain and then set the pedal to its classic mode and rock out like The Beach Boys or any band you love from the 60s and 70s. It also has gain boost mode that boosts the amount of gain applied to each note that you play.

This gets great reviews because of its sound shaping options. Not only can you adjust the gains and levels, but you can also adjust the EQ level. The Super Fuzz SF300 has a simple switch on the top right that you slide down to access the mode that you want. It also has separate knobs for changing the treble and bass as well as the level and gain. Behringer added white lettering that shows you both the minimum and maximum settings for each of those features. It even has a top light that comes on when you use the pedal with a battery or power source.

What is an Effects Pedal?

An effects pedal is essentially really just an accessory that works with your guitar. Some of the top models will work with a handful of other electronic instruments too. You can pick a model such as a distortion pedal, which will distort the notes and give songs a gritty and dark tone. We created a shopping guide to the best distortion pedals that you can use when shopping for one. There are also overdrive pedals that add even more grittiness to those notes.

Fuzz pedals became popular during the 1960s and are still popular with many guitarists today. Some of the top classic rock and pop songs of all type feature a fuzz pedal playing in the background. The Rolling Stones used one when recording “(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in 1965. Instead of producing sharp or gritty notes, these pedals add a fuzzy or wavy tone to your notes. You can adjust the fuzz up or down to create a clearer tone or a more distorted tone.

A good fuzz pedal lets you become a grunge superstar and play all your favorite Nirvana songs. You can also use one when playing some lighter songs from past decades. As long as you know what to look for, you can get a great effects pedal.

What Songs Feature Fuzz Pedals?

What is an Effects Pedal - WITH TEXT

How Does a Fuzz Pedal Compare to Other Types of Effects Pedals

Whether you like the pounding and screeching sounds associated with hard rock or the blaring tones of heavy metal, you’ll want to hook your guitar up to a distortion pedal. Each note that you play will go through your guitar’s cable to the pedal, which transforms those notes into pounding and thumping tones.

When you use an overdrive pedal, you’ll experience even more distortion. The pedal provides a boost to the amp that increases both the tone and the volume of those notes. If you try to use one of these pedals when playing a song from The Beach Boys or another classic band, you’ll find that your songs have a slightly angry edge and that they just don’t sound right.

Fuzz pedals will still distort the notes but will provide each one with a slightly fuzzy sound. This type of pedal will actually clip the top off of each sound wave to give those notes an almost flat tone that sounds just like your favorite songs do.

If you really aren’t sure which type of pedal is right for you, you can look at those that produce multiple effects. We included one of those pedals on our list because it gives you more control over your tones and notes.

How Does a Fuzz Pedal Compare to Other Types of Effects Pedals - WITH TEXT

How Much Gain is Too Much?

Gain boost is a term that manufacturers and musicians use to describe how much bass an amp produces. The amount of gain produced can seriously impact the songs that you want to play. Take for example a pedal that produces too much gain. Instead of your music having clear top and bottom notes, you’ll hear a hissing sound coming out of your amp. A higher boost can also produce more static and feedback that seriously changes the music and can also damage your amp. If you keep using the pedal after noticing those sounds, you may eventually blow the amp.

Other problems can occur when you choose a pedal that doesn’t have enough boost. Gain is important because it actually helps sustain notes. When you play a lick on your guitar, the amp can hold that note for several seconds or more. If the pedal cannot produce enough gain, you’ll have a difficult time holding those notes.

If you buy a cheaper fuzz pedal that does not produce as much gain as you want, you have the option of stacking it with another pedal. This takes some of the pressure off of it and allows the other pedals to work together to produce clear tones and good gain.

What are the Benefits of Stacking Pedals?

  • Lets you play different types of music
  • Provides you with a good pedal board
  • Allows you to mix and match different genres
  • Produces a wide range of sounds
  • Helps you customize your music

Professional guitarists swear by Wampler products such as its Velvet Fuzz V2, which is why we named it the best fuzz pedal for pros. Unlike other models that come in just one finish option, this one lets you pick between two. You can choose a darker finish that features softer shades or gray and silver or a more colorful design that uses different shades of green. Both versions provide you with all the same features though. The V2 uses a true bypass system that allows notes to move faster through the pedal and into your amp before reaching your ears.

Best for Pros Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Fuzz Pedal
Wampler Velvet Fuzz V2 Fuzz Pedal

If you like the idea of using different power sources, this is the best model for you too. While you can use it with any 9V battery, it is also compatible with AC adapters. It features input and output jacks located at the top of the pedal for added convenience and good capacitors inside. A basic switch in the center of the pedal lets you choose a big or a tight sound. You can also use the knobs around this switch to adjust the volume and fuzz. Wampler added a third knob that lets you adjust the overall brightness of your notes too.

Minimum vs. Maximum Settings

Beginners often think that bigger and badder is always better. When they see a new effects pedal, they immediately turn the settings up as high as they will go. As you look at the top fuzz pedals, you’ll find that most models feature black knobs with white letters off to the sides. This tells you which way to turn each one down to the minimum level or up to the highest level. Before you go all out and turn those features up as high as possible, try using the pedal at the minimum levels. You can slowly increase each one until you get just the right amount of fuzz and the sound that you desire.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping for a fuzz pedal is whether you typically play by yourself or with friends in a band or group. Most pedals are suitable for solo play, but not all pedals work as well in a group. You may have issues with the tone control and other features that prevent your notes from blending with the rest of the group. Some pedals can even make it impossible for others to hear you because it cannot keep up with your mates. If you play with others, you need to make sure that the fuzz pedal can handle working with a crowd at any of its levels.

Minimum vs. Maximum Settings

Ways to Replace Worn Lettering and Markings

The lettering or markings used on your fuzz pedal help you keep track of the minimum and maximum settings. While you can use it once those markings wear off or down, you can also repair or replace those markings. You can use simple pieces of masking tape that you write or use a little white nail polish to fill in any broken spots in those letters.

Design Features Worth Considering

  • Durable case: No matter how careful you are when playing, you can make mistakes because you feel distracted by the audience or because someone yelled your name at home. If you step down on the case of a cheap fuzz pedal, your foot can go right through the metal and completely crush all the internal parts. We recommend that you look for fuzz pedals with crush-proof or crush-resistant cases that can handle all your weight.
  • LED light: As you rock out, you don’t want to stop and make sure that your fuzz pedal is on and working. That is why you’ll want to look for one that has an LED light. This light often sits near the top or the bottom of the case, but some have a light right in the center of the pedal. It only comes on when there is power running to the pedal.
  • Knob placement: It can take days or even weeks of experimenting before you find the settings and levels that work best for you. If you buy the wrong fuzz pedal, you can lose all those settings because you accidentally hit a knob when turning it on. The best pedals have knobs with some space in between each one that lets you adjust one feature or setting at a time.

Signs of an LED Shortage

When you buy a fuzz pedal with an LED light, a short in the wiring can develop over time because of how you carry and use the pedal. Some of the more common signs of an LED shortage include:

  • The light flickers when you turn on the pedal
  • You notice that the light keeps going on and off as you play
  • The light stops coming on at all
  • You have crackling or similar noises coming from the pedal when you turn it on
Design Features Worth Considering

AC vs. Battery Power

Like other types of pedals, fuzz pedals will work with both adapters and batteries. You typically want to choose one that either comes with an AC adapter or is compatible with one of those adapters. Most of the top models work with any 9V battery. You can remove the cover from the battery compartment on the back and insert the battery before securing this cover. While some 9V batteries are stronger than others, you may still not get the lasting power that you need. The battery may only provide the pedal with a few hours or power. If you leave the battery in when you stop playing, it may be completely dead the next time you want to play.

AC adapters are a much better option for frequent players because you can use one anywhere you have electricity, including on stage in a music venue and in the comfort of your own home. You’ll want to look for an adapter that has a longer cord though. This ensures that you can play far away from an outlet and that you don’t need to change where you play. Though very few fuzz pedals come with their own power supplies, you can pick one up for around $20 to $30.

How to Change a 9V Battery in a Fuzz Pedal

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the small screws that secure the battery cover to the pedal
  • Place the screws in your pocket or a safe location
  • Carefully wiggle the old battery until it pops out of place
  • Line up the coils on the new battery with the connectors inside the compartment
  • Press down until the new battery snaps into place
  • Put the cover back on the pedal and screw it back on
AC vs Battery Power

When you want to rock out to all your favorite classic bands, this is the fuzz pedal that you want by your side. While modern pedals use newer transistors and internal parts, the manufacturers of this one actually tracked down new old stock from the 1960s. They used the same German transistors that pedals used in the 60s inside the aluminum chassis on this one. Those parts give each note a deeper and fuzzier tone. Despite using some old parts inside, this pedal has all the modern conveniences that you want. The manufacturer guarantees that it will work for you and offers a money back guarantee to those not happy with their purchases.

Best Classic Pedal ZVEX Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal
ZVEX Fuzz Factory Vexter Series Fuzz Guitar Pedal

Many shoppers actually like the look of this model, which has a silver aluminum box design with graffiti effects painted across the front. That design might remind you of the gritty venues where your favorite bands played in past years. The five knobs across the top correspond to a different feature, including drive and gate. You can easily reach down and turn one of those knobs and adjust it while still keeping your hands on your instrument. This pedal also has drive and stability controls too.

True Bypass vs. Bypass

Unless you take off the case and open up your fuzz pedal, you may not realize just how much circuitry it has inside. Cheaper pedals have more circuits and require that sound waves move over each one before finally coming out the opposite side and entering your amp. The basic bypass systems that some pedals use will significantly change your notes. You should think about this in terms of the old telephone game you played as a child. By the time the phrase made its way from the first player to the last, it no longer had the same meaning. When you choose a fuzz pedal with a basic bypass system, the notes will go through the same distortion.

Fuzz pedals with a true bypass system create less distortion because the sound waves move right through the pedal and over its circuitry with fewer stops along the way. Those waves will move in a straight line from the input to the output and into and out of your amp. Each note on those waves will have the exact tone and sound that you want. If you aren’t quite sure how this works, you can use the illustrations below to see how a true bypass system operates.

True Bypass vs Bypass

Expert Tip

Formulas that change colors as they work are great for those who want to save time. You can check on the product after a few minutes and easily spot any areas that you missed.

What to Look for in YouTube Videos

One of the best ways to see how a fuzz pedal performs before you spend your money is with a few YouTube videos. Musicians post video reviews on the website and actually show you the fuzz pedals in action. You should look at a few things when watching those videos, including:

  • Musician’s movements: It’s a good idea to watch how the musician moves while using that fuzz pedal and how well he or she can adjust the pedal. This lets you know whether you’ll need to take one or both hands off your guitar to change the controls.
  • Volume: Before listing to the music produced, turn up the volume on your speakers as high as you can. Even pedals with the highest reviews can produce a small amount of feedback and/or static. If you listen closely, you can hear whether that static is something you can handle or whether you want to invest in a different model.
  • Design: You’ll also want to look at the pedal as the musician plays to see whether it has a convenient design that will work for you. Now is the time to look at the location of the input and output jacks as well as the size and location of the knobs. If the guitarist struggles to use those knobs or has problems with the jacks, you’ll have the same experience.
What to Look for in YouTube Videos

Did You Know?

Music historians and experts credit Glenn Snoddy with creating the first fuzzy guitar solo. When working on “Don’t Worry,” the audio technician heard a broken tube adding a fuzzy tone to the song, which Marty Robbins recorded. They liked the way it sounded so much that they left it in the song. Snoddy then recorded other artists playing with the same broken tube.

What Can You Do with a Fuzz Pedal?

You really can do almost anything with a fuzz pedal. The pedal produces a rich effect that can sound buttery smooth or a little rougher. Though some prefer using the pedal to add a nice wavy effect, others like using these pedals to create tones that almost sound like glitches. One nice feature of models that have a gain boost is that you can use them with or without that boost. If you turn up the gain boost and rock out with a higher fuzz setting, you can then turn down the fuzz and still get the full effect that you want. Some of the ways you can use a fuzz pedal include:

  • Experimenting with different tones before playing live on stage or in a recording studio
  • Emphasizing a specific portion of a song
  • Getting a crowd excited about a new song
  • Rocking out to a guitar solo

When you see your favorite band play live, you might notice that some of their songs slow down and change slightly right before the bassist or guitarist rips into a solo. The chances are good that those players used a fuzz pedal to produce those notes. You can get the same effects when playing live or recording.

Which of Your Favorite Guitarists Use Fuzz Pedals?

What Can You Do with a Fuzz Pedal - WITH TEXT

You may not have enough room to use one of the larger fuzz pedals, but you don’t need much space to use the FFM3. Dunlop took its classic Jimi Hendrix model that is similar to the one this classic guitarist used and put it into a smaller case. While it’s up to 50% smaller than other fuzz pedals, it still provides you with all the same features that you need. The case itself uses a durable type of metal that can stand up to road trips and stage performances without breaking. Even if you drop the pedal, it will keep working.

Best Mini Fuzz Pedal Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendriz Fuzz Face Mini
Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendriz Fuzz Face Mini

Beginners will like the basic design of this model because they don’t need to fumble with a lot of knobs and use features that they don’t like. It has just two knobs on the front. One of those knobs allows you to adjust the volume, while the other controls the fuzz. You can increase the fuzz when rocking out to classic songs and turn it down when playing lighter music. It also has a built-in LED light that shows you when the pedal has power. While it doesn’t work well when stacked with other pedals, it will work with almost any board.

Do You Need Any Frequency Effects?

While fuzz pedals have a number of great uses, you may want to produce some other types of effects too. A good example is a wah-wah pedal. If you ever heard a song that had a slight wailing sound to it, you head a wah-wah pedal firsthand. These pedals work because they actually change the frequency of a note. A wah-wah pedal looks similar to the pedals in your own car. When you press down with your foot, you can create a long or short note and give the note a funky wailing sound. Many disco songs used these pedals. There are other effects pedals that can add funky effects to your songs and adjust the pitch or harmony.

Before spending money on a fuzz pedal, you should make sure that it’s compatible with any of the other pedals that you might use. As a beginner, you probably just want a basic model that works with your guitar. Once you reach a higher level though, you’ll want to stack pedals together and change up your songs. As long as you have enough cables and clear inputs and outputs on each pedal, you shouldn’t have any troubles stacking and using them together.

Do You Need Any Frequency Effects Without Name

Types of Effects Pedals You Can Use

  • Compression pedal
  • Volume control pedal
  • Delay pedal
  • Reverb pedal
  • Instrument modeling pedal
  • Amp emulation pedal
  • Looper pedal

Transistor Type

If you focus too much on what the pedal looks like, you might buy one with a great design that doesn’t produce all the tones you want. One feature you should consider is the type of transistors used inside. Manufacturers today typically use either silicon or germanium. Germanium is a metallic material that some prefer because of the notes produced. Those notes tend to sound a little warmer and brighter. This material will also work at all sound levels. If you turn the volume down, you’ll still get a fuzzy sound.

Transistors made from silicon work better at higher volumes than lower settings. It produces a clean and bright sound that will continue as you crank up the volume. Silicon transistors typically produce cooler notes though.

You’ll also find a few models that use new old stock transistors. New old stock refers to older parts that are still in their original packaging but were never used. Companies use those transistors to give a fuzzier and more vintage sound. If you ever wanted to sound just like The Stones or any other treasured band, you’ll want one of these pedals. They give you the benefits of vintage pedals without any of the hassles of owning an older model.

Transistor Type - WITH TEXT

Country of Origin

The odds are good that you care more about the sound produced and the way the fuzz pedal works than where the company made it. Some guitarists stick to those produced in certain countries though because they feel the sound quality produced is better. It really comes down to a choice between fuzz pedals made in Russia and the United States. American made products appeal to those who want to support the country and stimulate the economy. One thing to keep in mind though is the actual construction of the pedal. Some companies buy parts from overseas and assemble the pieces together, which allows them to say they made those pedals in the United States. You may want to look at where the actual parts come from before you buy.

While Russian fuzz pedals are popular with a number of musicians, these models are harder to come by today. You had more options during the 1990s and early 2000s, but the number of companies in the country making the pedals decreased over the years. A handful of other countries make fuzz pedals as well. The most common are those made in Germany and other parts of Europe.

Country of Origin1

WARNING

You should avoid any fuzz pedal made in China. While these models are often fairly affordable, they use cheap parts that will wear out quickly. Some of the cheapest foreign made pedals even use plastic cases.

Instead of choosing just another fuzz pedal, you can invest in the Afterneath and get all the distortion and other effects that you need. We highly recommend this pedal for those who play professionally and those who want a pro sound. It has a control that actually extends the life of any reverb. Instead of those notes trailing off quickly, you’ll put more power behind your notes and create tones that last longer. At just over two inches thick from the base to the top of each knob, this pedal is easy to set up and use with an instrument such as a guitar or keyboard.

Best Effects Pedals - EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverberation Effects Pedal
EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverberation Effects Pedal

Each of the six knobs that you see will correspond to a different feature. The length knob allows you to extend the tone of your notes, while the diffuse knob produces softer and lighter tones. With the dampen and drag knobs, you can create the right notes each time you play. You’ll also find reflect and mix knobs that help you customize your music. When connected to a 9V DC power adapter or supply, an LED light will come on to tell you the pedal has power. This is really the best fuzz pedal for those who want to create their own unique sounds.

What Features Should You Consider in a Fuzz Pedal?

  • Cost: You should check out our pricing section if you have a specific budget in mind and need an affordable fuzz pedal. The cost can range from right around $20 to more than $300.
  • Stacking: Unless you know that a fuzz pedal will provide all the effects that you want, you’ll probably want to stack it with some other gear, including a soundboard and a distortion pedal. You should always make sure that the pedal is compatible with any of the other gear you hope to use.
  • Settings: Don’t assume that looking at the knobs will tell you everything you need to know because you should also look at what those knobs do. A good fuzz pedal will have at least three knobs, including a volume and a fuzz knob. The top models will have other settings that let you create a more customized sound.
  • Case: Plastic cases are only suitable for those who play in one position and keep their pedals off the floor. If you move around while playing or use a pedal that you place near your feet when sitting, you must ensure that it uses a durable metal case.
  • Transistors: It’s also important that you look at the type of transistors used in the top pedals. Not only can you choose between those made from germanium or silicon, but you can also choose those made in the United States or overseas.

Expert Tip

If you love a vintage sound but don’t want to rely on an old fuzz pedal, look for those made by Electro Harmonix. The company started making guitar pedals in the late 1960s. Though the design of these pedals changed over the years, they sound the same way they always did. You can shop for limited edition and special models that mimic the design of the company’s original fuzz pedal too.

What Features Should You Consider in a Fuzz Pedal

What to Consider When Buying Vintage Fuzz Pedals

  • Compatibility: The chances are good that the modern electric guitar you just bought won’t work with an older model fuzz pedal. Many modern musicians actually invest in better fuzz pedals that they know will work with their instruments and amps. If you must buy a vintage model, make sure it’s compatible with your guitar.
  • Working order: When you buy any type of older electronic, you should always check with the seller to make sure that it’s in working order. You can also read the fine print in the description and look for wording that indicates the pedal might need some work.
  • Manufacturer’s warranty: A small number of companies offer lifetime warranties that will transfer from one owner to the next. Even if the fuzz pedal has a lifetime warranty, you have no guarantee that the manufacturer will still cover it. You might buy a fuzz pedal made by a company that is no longer in business too.
  • Cost: The most important thing to consider when shopping for used gear and vintage electronics is the overall cost, including how much you will pay to buy the item and how much it will cost to maintain and use it. Vintage pedals typically require much more maintenance than modern pedals do.
What to Consider When Buying Vintage Fuzz Pedals

Benefits of Modern Fuzz Pedals Over Vintage Models

  • Requires less maintenance
  • You can find replacement parts easier
  • Guitar service shops have more experience repairing newer products
  • Newer models are compatible with most guitars and instruments
  • You'll have access to better transistors and other parts

How to Clean Your Fuzz Pedal

Cleaning is just one way to properly maintain your fuzz pedal. You can use the same cleaning process on distortion and other types of effects pedals too. There are two different options you can use.

Spray Cleaner
The best and most convenient way to clean your fuzz pedal is with a spray cleaner designed specifically for effects pedals and electronics. You can spray a small amount directly on the pots and then turn the pots in both directions to make sure that the cleaner gets deep inside. Experts recommend using a lubricant on those pots too. You’ll apply a small dab of the lubricant to the pots and then twist them again. The right lubricant will work on other areas of the pedal, including the tip and barrels.

Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is a simple product that you might have in your bathroom or your medicine cabinet already. When applying this liquid, you can use an ordinary cotton swab. A second swab wiped over the surface will remove any excess liquid. As the alcohol dries quickly, you can leave it on the pedal and let it dry naturally without causing any damage. Distilled white vinegar mixed with water works equally well.

WARNING

Do not use any type of lubricant that you use around your house or any bathroom/kitchen spray cleaners on your fuzz pedal. Those products can significantly damage the transistors and other internal parts.

How to Clean Your Fuzz Pedal

When to Upgrade Your Fuzz Pedal

The best time to replace your fuzz pedal is when it no longer delivers the performance that you want. A good fuzz pedal can take you from the doo-wop sounds of boy bands from the 1960s through the grunge era of the 1990s and then transport you right into the present day. If your musical interests change and the pedal cannot keep up with those changes, it’s time for a replacement.

Another sign that you need a new fuzz pedal is when your old model doesn’t deliver all the sounds that you want. When you buy a new pedal, you’ll probably spend a few days experimenting with all the features and creating the perfect amount of fuzz. If you change to a new cable or replace your old amp, that old pedal may not work as well as it did before. When you upgrade your amp, you should consider upgrading your fuzz pedal too.

We also recommend replacing any pedal that produces too much distortion. That distortion can create a screeching sound or a squealing noise that turns off listeners and makes you want to cover your own ears. No matter how many adjustments you make or what cables you use, eliminating those sounds may require a replacement of your fuzz pedal.

Signs of a Broken Fuzz Pedal

When to Upgrade Your Fuzz Pedal - WITH TEXT

Tips for Testing the Pedal for the First Time

Depending on how much experience you have, hooking up your fuzz pedal for the first time can be a breeze or an extremely frustrating experience. With the tips below, you’ll have no problem setting up that pedal to make it work with your guitar and amp.

  • Start with the input jack: Before beginning, make sure that you unplugged all items and that there isn’t any power running to the amp, instrument or pedal. You’ll then insert one cable into the input jack on the pedal and run the cable to your instrument.
  • Use the output jack: You can then insert the second cable into the output jack on the pedal and run it to the amp. This tells the pedal that it will receive a signal from your guitar and that it will then transport that signal to the amp.
  • Plug everything in: Once you have all the cables connected, you can plug in your devices. If you use your fuzz pedal with a battery, you will turn the pedal on instead of plugging it into a wall outlet.
  • Select a low range: Before you begin playing, you’ll want to adjust all the settings on your pedal. We recommend starting out at a lower range the first time you play. You can then adjust all those settings to get a customized sound.
Tips for Testing the Pedal for the First Time

Expert Tip

You can use these same tips when troubleshooting your fuzz pedal. Troubleshooting lets you try out the various settings and get an idea of what problems exist and how you can fix those issues.

How to Stack Your Pedals

An easy way to take your fuzz pedal to the next level and to get even more out of it is with a process called stacking. This lets you stack and use multiple pedals together and allows you to create your own pedal board. You’ll want to make sure that you buy pedals that produce the sounds that you need and models that will work together.

When designing a stacked system, you really need to consider which pedals are best for your rig. You typically want at least one fuzz pedal and one distortion pedal. Some guitarists may want to use some of the lesser known pedals such as a wah-wah pedal in addition to a volume control option.

You can then put all those pedals on the floor and decide on the layout that you want to use. While some players like putting the fuzz pedal on one end, others like placing it in the middle. The closer that it is to the amp, the fuzzier its sounds are. If you move it further away from the amp, those sounds will sound crisper and clearer. It’s then a simple matter of running shorter cables from the input and output jacks on each pedal to the other pedals and your amp and guitar.

How to Stack Your Pedals

Tips for Using a Fuzz Pedal

  • Experiment with fuzz: No matter how much you want to dial the fuzz knob up all the way, it’s best to start out at a lower setting. Once you understand how this control will impact your music, you can experiment with how to use it and which settings are best for different songs.
  • Use the volume the right way: Unless you want to make your neighbors scream and you pets run away, you should experiment with the volume in the same way that you experiment with the fuzz. A higher volume setting can create so much distortion and feedback that you cannot hear the notes as you play.
  • Watch the temperature: Many beginners do not understand the impact that temperatures have on fuzz pedals. As the temperature rises, the pedal can produce notes that lack the sound you crave. If you use the pedal at a lower temperature, the pedal can create notes that are more compressed and lack the booming volume that you want.
  • Check the gain settings: You already know what a gain boost does because of a section above, but you might forget to check those settings as you play. Most fuzz pedals have either a gain or a sustain knob that you can adjust to get the exact sounds you want.

WARNING

Even if you use a fuzz pedal in a cooler room, it can still overheat because your playing causes the temperature of the circuits inside to rise. You must keep an eye on the temperature of the pedal as you play.

Tips for Using a Fuzz Pedal

How Much Does a Good Fuzz Pedal Cost?

Though you can get a cheap guitar for around $100, you need to spend at least a few hundred to purchase an instrument that can keep up with all your playing. The cost of an amp and cables, as well as any other accessories that you need, can add even more to your total costs. Once you shell out money for all that equipment, you may not want to spend even more on an effects pedal.

While some experts will only recommend expensive products, we managed to find some more affordable products too. The amount that you’ll pay for a fuzz pedal starts at around $30. Our choice for the best of the best pedal actually retails for less.

After playing around with that pedal, you might feel comfortable upgrading to one that retails for up to $100. These high-end pedals allow you to do more mixing and create a more customized sound. If you want to sound like Cobain or any other guitarist though, you’ll want to spend at least $100 on a fuzz pedal. Some of the top pedals that guitarists use on tour can retail for $300 to $500 or even more. Those pedals produce reverberation and volume that fans can hear throughout a stadium or venue.

How Much Do the Best Fuzz Pedals Cost?

How Much Does a Good Fuzz Pedal Cos With Name

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Some musicians want to create a more authentic sound and spend money on vintage fuzz pedals from the 1970s or earlier. You can find older models available for sale online. Those pedals might cost just a few dollars or hundreds of dollars. You may have problems finding someone local who can repair those pedals though or find replacement parts.

A: Though you hear a lot of talk about classic bands and artists who used fuzz pedals, some modern acts do too. Queens of the Stone Age use the pedals both in their live shows and when recording their albums. Jack White uses fuzz pedals when performing with The White Stripes and when creating solo music.

A: One of the more basic pedals that any musician can use is a volume control pedal. You can connect it to your amp or to your instrument before you play. It sits right on the floor in a convenient location near your feet. When you want to increase your volume, you can tap down on the pedal with one foot. Though not a must-have pedal, it comes in handy when recording and playing live.

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