Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 8
I run the Fuzz Face into my Sunn Sorado (1968 all tube head connected to 4-12" Celestions) from both a Fender Telecaster with a Gibson PAF in the Neck position and a stock USA Fender Strat from the late 80s. With both guitars this thing adds quite a bit of unwanted noise to my sound, which isn't a huge problem for me because my band plays slow Doom Metal. If I were to try and play anything faster, a noise suppressor would be necessary. On its own, the Fuzz Face produces too saturated of a fuzz if the Fuzz control isn't kept below about 1 o'clock, and individual notes don't really ring through very well. I prefer to run an Ibanez TS-7 before it, though, and keep the fuzz turned nearly all the way down with the volume at about noon and get a very powerful growl out of my amp that still has some clarity and will literally sustain a note forever. Minus the Tubescreamer with this same setting, Vintage Cream or (Fuzz up just a bit) Hendrix sounds are easy to get. While it is possible to get good tones out of this pedal, you really have to experiment with the volume knob on your guitar and the Fuzz's controls with different amp and guitar combination you try it with.
Overall Impression — 7
Considering I'm not looking for a super tight sounding distortion when I play with my band, for me the Fuzz Face is a good match. I've been playing for about 9 years, 5 of which I've owned this pedal for, and have used several superior fuzz units but never bought them because they didn't really seem worth the extra money for me to replace the two I already have. That being said, the sound the Fuzz Face delivers is pretty hard to dial in and is kinda a one-trick pony as it really only does one thing well: messy, powerful-sounding distortion with lots of overtones, or with my Danelectro French Toast engaged it goes insane and spits screaming fire. If it were lost or stolen I'd probably march into my local shop and buy a Z.Vex Mastotron to replace it, as I prefer the tone and greater control that their pedal offers (actually it's superior in pretty much every way I can think of) for only about $20 more.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have felt confident using this pedal without a backup at gigs, although I do use another fuzz to make crazy sounds (a Danelectro French Toast) that could, I guess, be considered a backup. This thing tends to drain batteries if you forget to unplug it, so before gigging a fresh battery is a must. Other than the battery life issue, this thing looks and feels like a tank and I bet if I threw it it would break someone's skull and then I could plug back into it and melt everyone else's face.
Ease of Use — 9
An un-modded, pretty straightforward unit with just two knobs: Volume and Fuzz. That being said, it is actually pretty hard to get a good sound out of this seemingly simple pedal. There are only a few "sweet spots" for the fuzz dial, and the volume boosts the output of my guitar dramatically, so I have to make sure I'm only getting a small signal boost when adjusting this control. I'm not sure if it came with a manual, but it doesn't really seem necessary.