Okay, fuzz junkies: give me a hand!

I noticed there is the master fuzz thread, and currently another person soliciting advice about fuzz pedals, but I didn't want to hijack his thread... so here I am.

I've never really been into fuzz. However, a friend gave me his old Big Muff (the black Russian version) to screw around with, and it's got me wanting something to fill that hole in my setup, as every now and then you can't beat a big messy fuzz.

I like what the black Russian can do, but would like something with a bit more diversity. I'm also not willing to deal with the tone suck, and could do with something physically smaller- my pedalboard is getting pretty cramped. From what I've read, the more recent versions of this pedal have had true bypass so the tone suck shouldn't be an issue if I bought a new one, but still, I'd like something smaller and with more options. I've never been too impressed with EHX Big Muffs themselves, so those aren't really on my radar- though I'll be checking them out my next trip to GC. But, for the purpose of this thread I'm mostly looking for less common choices.

As for what I've looked at so far: first on my list was the ZVex Vexter Fuzz Factory, but the craziness is a bit much and I'm not sure it's what I'm looking for.

I watched a demo of the Neo Fuzz from MI Audio and like what I'm hearing there, along with the Blackout Musket Fuzz. I contrasted the Neo Fuzz from MI with the also-MI GI Fuzz and the Neo was much closer to what I want, no question. Seemed to sound warm and, well, fuzzy, while the GI sounded more harsh and sharp. I understand the difference is the Neo is made with Germanium transistors and the GI is made with Silicon.

I'd like something that can get a variety of usable tones- mostly a thick, warm Muff like tone, but if it had the option of getting crazy (like most of the Devi Ever pedals) that would be a big bonus as I'd love the option. But primary concern is a solid, versatile fuzz. But, all things being equal, I'd love something with the option to make some chaos happen now and then.

I'm not looking to spend more than $200, would love to stay under $150 if possible.

So, if the fuzz gurus here could point me in a few directions I'd appreciate it.

EDIT: I have several other distortion/overdrive pedals, so I don't need anything that pulls double duty as one of those- I'm looking for versatility within fuzz, not other types of distortion. Just thought I should clarify.
Last edited by Black13AB at Oct 31, 2009,
Well I like access to the kind of tones the Fuzz Face puts out- vintage fuzz- but am really into diversity and being able to shape tones. That's why I'm drawn to the Neo Fuzz mentioned above- it seems to allow a lot of variety that most others don't.

If some Fuzz Face pedals (or their many clones) can do this I'd definitely be into checking them out. I've heard mostly negative things about the Dunlop Fuzz Face- are you referring to that, or clones (like the Analogman Sunface- which I'm sure is great but pretty sure is well out of my price range)?
Gotta say, the more I look/listen, the more I like the Blackout Musket. Unless there's something that can beat it for versatility and adds some chaos/noise ability, it's what I'm likely going with. Still, any suggestions in that ballpark would be much appreciated.

I am definitely a fuzz junky :P

Based on what you've noted, I would guess that you would like a silicone fuzz. These are a little more woolly, think Hendrix Band of Gypsies sound.

Here are some of my fave fuzzes:

Dwarfcraft Shiva: Warm, musical, and downright nasty at the same time. Lots of fuzz on tap, but a nice definition to the notes as well. Love it.

Devi Ever Soda-Meiser: Affordable, crazy fuzz. Lots of oscillations and noise, but this can be controlled. Definitely good for some of the crazy sounds out there.

Fulltone '70: Silicone type fuzz, sounds great and pretty affordable.

ZVex Mastotron: Sounds much better than the Fuzz Factory, with more girth and a little bit of Black Keys vibe going on.

Way Huge Swollen Pickle: Fat Big Muff-type sound with more finesse and versatility. I've been able to get a ton of sounds out of mine.

Good luck man!