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#1
This thread makes me look like a complete philistine, but I've never understood the appeal of using fuzz pedals at all. I simply cannot get my head around why anyone would want to make their guitar sound like this:



I know there is an almost endless number of flavours of fuzz pedal out there, but my point is that I haven't found a single one that made me wish I had one.

To me they take what would otherwise be a really great sounding rig and make it sound like the speakers are having a rectal prolapse. I WANT to understand why people spend (quite a lot of) money to deliberately make their setups sound (to me) like shit. I respect people who like to use them, but I find it bizarre that those people consider some fuzzes to be great and others horrible because I'm confused as to why you'd want your guitar to sound like that in the first place. What gives?

  • What do you personally think tonally constitutes a great-sounding fuzz pedal?
  • What are the musical purposes of different fundamental flavours of fuzz pedal? Be it silicon, germanium, fat, thin, high gain, low gain etc.
  • Is it supposed to be one of those situations where a fuzz pedal is MEANT to sound so awful that it sounds good?
  • Do you keep one just as a novelty effect that doesn't have much practical use? If you use one for adding musical value, then what value does it add?


Basically, what do you use them for? What does it do for you?

I know it sounds incredibly ignorant for me to ask (and I understand that I'm probably asking A LOT for an explanation), but I think some people who don't get their appeal are just too afraid to ask. But fortunately for them, I'm not.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Sep 18, 2016,
#2
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE


  • What do you personally think tonally constitutes a great-sounding fuzz pedal?
  • What are the musical purposes of different fundamental flavours of fuzz pedal? Be it silicon, germanium, fat, thin, high gain, low gain etc.
  • Is it supposed to be one of those situations where a fuzz pedal is MEANT to sound so awful that it sounds good?
  • Do you keep one just as a novelty effect that doesn't have much practical use? If you use one for adding musical value, then what value does it add?


Basically, what do you use them for? What does it do for you?

Excellent questions!

On advice of counsel, I'm asserting my 5th Amendment right to privacy.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
(Actually, I'm waiting to pick up some Chinese take-out, and will answer later when it is more convenient.)
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
I have been searching for a nice budget fuzz pedal that gets a super stoner/doom tone myself. Basically, a fuzz is supposed to mimic what happens when you completely overdrive an amp, both power and preamp sections. Dimed controls, slamming the front end with gain sort of stuff.

It can be tastefully used but for the most part, unless you are Sleep or Sunn O))) or Kylesa most bands do not use it as their main tone. I find one of the best usages of fuzz as an effect and not as a tone is "High Ball Stepper" by Jack White. He uses it to get a super heavy sound and set certain licks apart without cranking the gain and getting metal, so he still keeps the retro vibe of the whole song. However, as a standalone tone fuzz is great in bands like I've mentioned above, also Mutoid Man can have a pretty fuzzy tone at times but it's mostly from the Sunn amps they use.
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#7
I'm mostly about the Big Muff type pedals, but I like variations with more EQ so I can regain the mids and make it a bit more like a conventional distortion in terms of note definition. "Ratty" fuzzes have their place and my MXR with an octave up gets into that territory but my Swollen Pickle is my go-to. Set right, it can totally work as a regular distortion, but has the fuzz flavour I look for. For me, the key things are vast amounts of gain, such that even high notes will have a satisfying sustain - which is what it's mainly about for me - and a really thick, smooth sound. It's about sounding big and notes that last forever.

For what it's worth, the video you posted isn't what I consider a great fuzz sound, although I can sort of understand the appeal of that sound. All that velcro-ey sound isn't for me, I like smooth sounds. Also for what it's worth, I generally find fuzz pedals easiest to deal with as a set-and-forget pedal, as generally you have a bit of sweet spot in the middle of many, many absolutely atrocious sounds.
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#8
Fuzz's origins are a bit murky. Depending on who you ask, they were created either to mimic damaged amps in a more controllable (and cheaper) way, or to mimic the gritty sound of a saxophone- the original lead instrument of proto/early rock & roll. The truth probably lies in between; it may depend on the particular fuzz tone in question.

Simply put, sometimes, fuzz is THE defining tone of a song, a band or a genre. Acid rock wouldn't be the same without that thin buzzing fuzz tone, nor stoner rock without that low sonic rupture. Smashing Pumpkins and Kyuss/QotSA/TCV/EoDM songs wouldn't be right without the fuzzes they use.

Personally, I have many fuzzes, and a Russian Big Muff Pi was among my first few pedals.* I may actually have more fuzzes (at least 12) than any other pedal type...and I'm not through buying them.

Their value? Depends on what you're doing. Sometimes, they add a warmth, a hum. Other spit & snarl- your "so bad it's good" scenario. Sometimes, it is just that they add something to your tone for other pedals to play with.


* along with a few Line 6 ToneCore pedals and a Krank Distortus Maximus
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
It's what all the skinny jean-wearing, mustachio'd, flannel-clad hipsters are doing these days. Before long it will become too popular and will get shunned by said hipsters. I've never really owned one or messed around with one. Most of them, I agree, sound like shit, and take away all the natural tone from an otherwise nice guitar. But I do fancy some of the tones achieved by Queens of the Stone Age, which I believe is a really thick fuzz tone. So yeah, some of the thick, smooth tones are okay to me.

I do have an HM-2 which is sort of fuzz-like I guess -- but that's different, dammit. Nothing is gnarlier...
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#10
Pretty sure I'm too old, fat & nerdy to be a hipster.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#11
Fuzz pedals are distortion pedals for guys that are terrible at playing guitar, as opposed to distortion pedals which a lot of metal guys play - which can usually play guitar fairly well.
#12
i have a few uses, the hendrix FF tone is nice to have. the main use is for doom/stoner type of stuff (atm i am using a zvex mastotron for that). i also like how they can texture leads, that glassy smooth tone you get in the upper registers with the neck pickup of a strat are super yummy. they sound very liquid. i like that.

the destroyed fuzz is a blast to mess around with. But i will be honest, i don't spend much time working with it, but i immensely enjoy it when i do. i will use it for bits and pieces, but never as a base tone.

IMO fuzzes are awesome if you have the right pedal in front of the right amp at the right time. i used to not like them as much, but maybe they are a acquired taste.
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#14
I am by no means a fuzz fanatic but to me, the appeal of fuzz pedals is not their ability to chew up and spit out your guitar's tone in a manner that resembles a wet fart, it is the way they interact with the volume control on your guitar.

Most fuzzboxes lose that sloppy, noisy, oversaturated and overcompressed sound when you just back the guitar's volume off a little bit. you'll preserve the abrasive texture, but just turning the volume control down to 9 means you've got a raspy lead tone that has some definition and dynamics. Turning the volume down even more you can get some really hard edged crunch tones, and eventually you get a kind of interesting lo-fi clean tone too.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

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#15
Back in the day, fuzz was a go to effects for solos. Eric Johnson in Cliffs of Dover, David Gilmour in Time, Comfortably Numb etc, Mike Rutherford in Genesis - Firth Of Fifth just to name a few. It's all fuzz. And fuzz is great pedal for stoner rock bands, look at Electric Wizard - Dopethrone, Truckfighters - Desert Cruiser or Witch - Seer. You won't get that singing sound with distortion of overdrive.
#16
I didn't understand fuzz when I first started playing either, now I have 5 fuzz pedals and rarely play without one on.

Get one and you will understand the love of fuzz.
#17
They're just good fun, really. Some are big and powerful and make simple single note runs sound massive. Some (looking at you, Fuzz Factory) are just barely usable and are really just there to make obnoxious noises, which is also fun.

I have 3 fuzzes, and I love the sounds from all of them. I also love tight, precise distortion, but sometimes you just need to break out a fuzz pedal. There really isn't anything better for creating a wall of sound.
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#18
For me, Fuzz is a dirty chaotic and woolly version of drive. It usually sounds like ass unless your playing in the context of a band ( i.e. jamming). So if you're just auditioning the sound in your bedroom without bass and drum, you're not in the right context to really feel it's true power.

I typically use it when I need things to get crazy - like if you want a slow single note lead line played on the lower strings to really standout or if you want to get some feedback going.

Notwithstanding Eric Johnson, I personally find that fuzz excels at slower sustained playing, not faster staccato playing.
#19
For me, fuzz is something to be kicked on for intros or big breakdown riffs, like in "Evil Eye" by Fu Manchu.
#21
Fuzz pedals or "Fuzz Boxes" as we used to call them evoke that late 60's early 70's heavy overdrive pushing your amp to the brink of meltdown type of sound, Hendrix used the the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face to great effect original versions of those go for crazy money these days https://reverb.com/item/2659377-1969-dallas-arbiter-fuzz-face-very-rare-aqua-blue-case-with-bc108-silicon-transistors?_aid=pla&pla=1&gclid=CKCF2dfxm88CFVVahgodg5cMvw Currently I don't use Fuzz but I did when I was young.

I used to have a Fresh Fuzz by Seamoon when I was a kid and sold it cheap to get a better distortion pedal I wish I still had it as one recently sold on Reverb for $750 I also had a JAX FY2 sold it cheap and they can bring up to $300 now. I'd use a Fuzz pedal if I could get one cheap but I wouldn't use it enough to spend much on one.

Fuzz you like it or you don't.

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I think you have to be old to like fuzz. Not sure though...


You don't have to be old to like Fuzz but it helps!
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Last edited by Evilnine at Sep 19, 2016,
#22
Quote by Will Lane
I think you have to be old to like fuzz. Not sure though...


"Brazillians" have increased in popularity, recently...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#23
Certain sounds I want really raunchy. Fuzz pedals get me there. Its as simple as that. Most overdriven amps dont get half as chaotic as a nice fuzz.


I like a bit of sag and some fuzz on stoner tones etc... or more atmospheric stuff.


I am not old unleses 24 is old. I love fuzz
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#24
Thanks for the replies so far.

I see time and time again people say that they're really great for stoner/doom/post rock but I'm just not a person to understand why I'd want something like that over a tight metal tone. Since to me it just seems like a gimmicky effect, like an octaver or a ring modulator.

I've probably brought a lot more haters with that comment too.

I suppose if they're pedals that you only use for a bit of a giggle I can understand that, but building a band around that entire sound just doesn't work for me. And I wish I understood it.
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#25
Meh- I don't understand the appeal of entire careers of bands centered around "cookie monster" vox. I mean, I can DO it, and I think it makes for a good accent...but song after song after song?

If it ain't for you, it ain't for you!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#26
T00DEEPBLUE Do you understand disco? Dubstep? My Little Pony? The opposite sexual preference to your own? If it isn't your thing, it isn't your thing, I wouldn't worry too much about why you don't "get" it. I don't worry about not understanding the appeal of the Twilight series or Justin Bieber, I concentrate on the things I do like :-)
#27
i don't use fuzz that much, but i do like it for certain things.

basically:

(a) certain tones are hard to get without fuzz pedals (that's not to say you necessarily like those tones)

(b) rolling down your guitar's volume helps a lot to tame them, to turn them into more of an overdrivey type of sound. I'd only really much use full-on fuzz for lead guitar, really.

fwiw i use them for more classic rock type of stuff like hendrix, i don't play doom or stoner or anything like that, either. that devi ever one sounds awful to me as well, but that doesn't mean i hate all fuzz.
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#28
Quote by luke.g.henderso
T00DEEPBLUE Do you understand disco? Dubstep? My Little Pony? The opposite sexual preference to your own? If it isn't your thing, it isn't your thing, I wouldn't worry too much about why you don't "get" it. I don't worry about not understanding the appeal of the Twilight series or Justin Bieber, I concentrate on the things I do like :-)

But those things are objectively cancer though.
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#29
Then I say "Yay cancer!"
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#30
also low output fender-style single coils often work nicely for fuzz (for classic rock i mean)
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#31
It's a flavor man. I used to hate it but now I'm into it. Maybe you just aren't there
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#32
fuzz was indeed originally intended to make an electric guitar sound more like a saxophone (the lead instrument of the day). it then became the distortion pedal of 60s and can be heard on tons of 60s tunes. one nice thing about fuzz is how it reacts to your guitars volume control you can go from almost a clean sound to the extreme fuzz heard in the video. Hendrix used this trick a lot. when used well (and that definition depends on your ears) it can sound very cool and different than normal distortion. a song like Ina Gadda Divada just won't sound the same (or as trippy) with regular guitar distortion (though Slayer tried)

fuzz has a bit of a learning curve and can indeed sound like crap if not tamed by the user. not all fuzz pedals sound like the one in the vid.
#34
Quote by imunk123
that video demo is not a good example of its proper use i think


Yeah, the playing sucked. That pedal is pretty gimmicky.

I've started to think of guitar tones in terms of shapes. A quiet, clean tone would be a circle, turn it up, you get a bigger circle. Start to add some breakup, and the circumference goes from smooth to wavy, and fhe more distorted, the greater the depth and amount of the waves, until with fuzz, they're triangular peaks and troughs. Ok, if you're still reading, the fuzz I like is still mostly a circle, the depth of the spikes isn't that far; the core tone is there, with fuzz on top. What I don't like is when there's almost no solid circle in the middle, the spikes go almost all the way to the centre; it's almost all fuzz, with no substance.

Does that make any sense? Any better ways of describing it?

In a snappier comparison, if my tone is beer, and fuzz is the head, I don't mind a little foam on top sometimes, but I don't want a pint glass full of foam.
#35
I've never bought a Devi Ever fuzz. Don't think I will...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#36
I have a Devi Ever Shoe Gazer. The thing is a world destroyer that all but necessitates the use of a noise suppressor. Diff'rent strokes and whatnot. It goes well with a few of my songs. That's all.
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#37
luke.g.henderso
Quote by luke.g.henderso
T00DEEPBLUE Do you understand disco? Dubstep? My Little Pony? The opposite sexual preference to your own? If it isn't your thing, it isn't your thing, I wouldn't worry too much about why you don't "get" it. I don't worry about not understanding the appeal of the Twilight series or Justin Bieber, I concentrate on the things I do like :-)

Couldn't have said it better...
#38
I have a lot of empathy with your opinion. I have a LBM Pi, and every time I try it (rarely) I see it as a triumph of tonal mediocrity, you it more than one note and it turns into sonic mush. I think perhaps if I could learn to use it properly, things might be different, but the uncompromising awfulness discourages me.
Last edited by Tony Done at Sep 20, 2016,
#39
FUZZES I OWN (Part 1):




Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 20, 2016,
#40
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I've never bought a Devi Ever fuzz. Don't think I will...

I got to try a Synth Mangler last week. It was like being handed a phonebook in Mandarin-
"This is completely useless to me, but it wouldn't be allowed to exist if someone didn't really need it"
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