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shadow__666 04-22-2009 10:46 AM

All right, since the thread didn't really take off the first time, I'm giving the OP a makeover.

1) What Is Fuzz?
Because I am a lazy mofo, I will simply copy and paste what Wikipedia says it is.

"A fuzzbox (or fuzz box) is a type of effects pedal comprising an amplifier and a clipping circuit, which generates a distorted version of the input signal. As opposed to other distortion guitar effects pedals, a fuzzbox boosts and clips the signal sufficiently to turn a standard sine wave input into a waveform that is much closer to a square wave output. The sound of almost creating a square wave gives a "Rough around the edges" effect that creates the classic fuzz tone. This gives a much more distorted and synthetic sound than a standard distortion or overdrive. Fuzz sounds also tend to have lower Mid frequencies than other distortion types. The term "fuzz box" is often used generically to refer to any effect pedal that produces a distorted sound.

As clipping is a non-linear process, intermodulation will occur, leading to the generation of an output signal rich in extra harmonics of the input signal. Intermodulation distortion also produces frequency components at the various sums and differences of the frequency components of the input signal. In general, these components will be not be harmonically related to the input signal, leading to dissonance. To reduce unwanted dissonance, simple power chords (root, fifth, and octave) are often used when using fuzzboxes, rather than triads (root, third, and fifth) or four-note chords (root, third, fifth, and seventh)."

Read it all and tl;dr for yourself.

2) What kinds of fuzz are there?
That's a very good question. Why? Because there are literally hundreds of different fuzz pedals floating around everywhere, most of which have their own distinct tone.

In my opinion, however, most (I said MOST, not ALL) fuzzes can be very loosely divided into two groups.

Vintage Fuzz: This is the "classic" fuzz tone. Think Keith Richards on (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Maestro FZ-1). Or Jimi Hendrix on Purple Haze (Fuzz Face). There are many other examples of a vintage fuzz tone such as the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff USA, Vox Tone Bender and Ampeg Scrambler. Keep in mind that, apart from the Fuzz Face and Big Muff, these pedals are all discontinued in their original form - if you want their sounds, you have to either look for used versions on eBay or for clones, which are fairly common due to the relative simplicity of their circuits. Newer pedals like the Frantone Cream Puff and MI Audio Neo Fuzz can also produce similar sounds.

Modern Fuzz: This is the fuzz tone most of us associate with alternative/noise rock. Loud, harsh, nasty and in-your-face aggressive. Think Jesus and Mary Chain, Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins etc. One thing to remember is that some of these artists use modded versions of vintage pedals (Smashing Pumpkins) or use several fuzzes often at once (Dinosaur Jr). However, if you want the nasty fuzz in just one standard box, this can be found easily from modern companies like Devi Ever and theSYLE.

3) I have ($X) and I want (Y) type of fuzz. What do I get?
Another good question. One tip to start - if you want to perfectly model a particular artists' tone, get their pedal and use it like them. If you want to sound just like Hendrix get a vintage Fuzz Face, or if you want to sound exactly like Billy Corgan get a Sovtek Big Muff and get his mod done to it.

Another thing to remember is that there are literally, as I mentioned earlier, hundreds of different fuzz pedals, many with totally unique circuits and tones. Don't fall into the trap of thinking "oh, it says Electro-Harmonix/MXR/(insert popular brand here), it must be good". With regards to fuzz pedals, often the best ones are from smaller boutique companies rather than the big names.

Finally, if you are handy with a soldering iron and have time time - build one yourself! Most fuzzes have simple schematics and don't require much more than some basic soldering skills and an ability to read schematics (unfortunately, these elude me). If you can't find a fuzz that's just right for you, get experimenting!

Having said that, if you don't want to model a particular artist perfectly, have similar weaknesses with tools to myself and are willing to stay open minded, what do you get? I have published a little guide here to help you.
(NOTE: All prices are in US Dollars. If you need help with Australian or New Zealand prices just ask on the forum and I will help you, any other currency someone else will).

Vintage Fuzz
1) Danelectro Cool Cat Fuzz = Probably the best you can do in this price range without going the DIY/BYOC route. This pedal is an almost-identical clone of the Frantone Peachfuzz, and as such does a very nice vintagey fuzz tone while also being capable of some nastier stuff on occasion, although it isn't a Devi Ever and shouldn't be treated as such.

2) Electro-Harmonix Sovtek Big Muff = A touch over $50, true, but worth it. Has a slightly thicker character than most fuzzes, but (at least unmodded) works best as a lower gain machine.

3) Ibanez FZ-7 = Good, rock solid all round fuzz. Isn't up to much on normal but flick the Damage switch and it comes to life. My choice if you want a 60s psychedelic fuzz sound without the genericness of a Fuzz Face.

Modern Fuzz
1) Danelectro French Toast = Very good value for $40. You get an octave setting and a fuzz that could make many other, more expensive fuzzes blush at it's power. A bit of a one trick pony though - it's either all in or not at all.

Also look out for various used pedals and if in doubt, ask.

The rest of the thread will come tomorrow.

unet 04-22-2009 10:51 AM


Well, second.

When i finish my internship next year, im gifting myself my first boutique Earthquaker Devices Dirt Transmitter.

tubetime86 04-22-2009 10:53 AM

CF-1 FTW!!! Best pedal under $50 by far.

ChrisN 04-22-2009 10:55 AM

The links in my sig - FuzzHugger, Devi Ever + Analogue Haven - are required reading for Fuzzheads!

I currently own a Fuzz Factory and a Wolf Computer.

shadow__666 04-22-2009 10:57 AM

Devi Ever fuzzes are beautiful.

IIf I had some money, I'd start importing them into New Zealand.

ChrisN 04-22-2009 11:02 AM

I'm still waiting for Andertons or V&RG to get the Hyperion back in stock!

familybucket 04-22-2009 11:05 AM

What is the best EHX Muff?

imgooley 04-22-2009 11:09 AM

Originally Posted by tubetime86
CF-1 FTW!!! Best pedal under $50 by far.

I paid 30 bucks for my Russian Muff so I think that's the best pedal under 50 bucks :stickpoke

shadow__666 04-22-2009 11:11 AM

Originally Posted by familybucket
What is the best EHX Muff?

It's subjective. I personally prefer the Sovtek Muff, but you have to hear it and the USA Muff for yourself.

unet 04-22-2009 11:18 AM

Russian Muffs FTW!

ChrisN 04-22-2009 11:21 AM

I preferred the Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker. Ya just gotta try lots out!

shadow__666 04-22-2009 09:26 PM

You guys need to check out He makes some great fuzz clones. I want that Fuzzrite clone or even the Shin-Ei if Brett's (Bostonrocks, UG's resident fuzz pedal builder) clone costs me too much.

toyboxmonster 04-22-2009 10:18 PM

Originally Posted by shadow__666
It's subjective. I personally prefer the Sovtek Muff, but you have to hear it and the USA Muff for yourself.

Don't forget the Little Big Muff.

Whole Lotta Led 04-22-2009 10:31 PM

I'm a big fan of the MKII and MKIII Tonebenders, two of the few fuzz pedals I can tolerate!

Skierinanutshel 04-22-2009 10:47 PM

Catalinbread V8 = win

shadow__666 04-22-2009 10:49 PM

Do you guys reckon you can do some reviews of your fuzzes? I'll put them in my OP and credit you guys.

Skierinanutshel 04-22-2009 10:50 PM

yeah, i can do one for the V8, can you wait until i go home from uni (weekend of may 1)?

shadow__666 04-22-2009 11:14 PM

Sure, no rush.

dcdossett65 04-23-2009 12:53 AM

my fuzz factory comes in a few days i'm super excited!

shadow__666 04-23-2009 01:38 AM

Bastard! I want a FF bad. I hear they aren't that hard to clone though...

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