The Best Fuzz Pedals You Might Not Know About

The world of guitar and bass fuzz pedals is a wide one and there have never been more options when searching for a fuzz pedal than right now. The fuzz circuit itself is one of the easiest for new pedal smiths to try their hand at, which means that virtually every boutique pedal brand has a fuzz or two in their repertoire. Combine that with a legacy of fuzz pedal production that goes back to the '60s sounds of Hendrix and Santana, and you're left with a spectrum of stellar stompboxes that exceeds every other type of pedal.

While much has been written describing the subtle differences of the classic fuzz pedals -- your Fuzz Faces, Fuzz-Tones, Tone Benders and Big Muffs of the world -- today we thought we'd take a look at some of the very best modern boutique fuzz pedals currently on the market. All these pedals take the fundamental fuzz sound that's been heard on records from Satisfaction to the Smashing Pumpkins to St. Vincent, the Black Keys and beyond, and give it a little spin.

In this roundup, we're focusing on some lesser-known options, but there are plenty of other modern classic boutique fuzzes that are worthy of consideration. These include the Zvex Fuzz Factory, the Death By Audio Fuzz War, and the EarthQuaker Devices Hoof (and its variations) among many others. Have a favorite of your own? Let us know in the comments.

Our Pick
Fuzzrocious Grey Stache
GREAT FOR: "Players after the quintessential Big Muff tone with a spectrum of mids and an array of customizable add-ons."
Compare Prices

Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz
GREAT FOR: "Players who want a versatile fuzz that won’t eat up valuable pedalboard real estate."
Keeley Monterey
GREAT FOR: "Players who want that classic Hendrix tone plus multiple effects on deck to tinker with."
Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh
GREAT FOR: "Seasoned players who want a spectrum of available tones and controls."
Malekko B:assmaster
GREAT FOR: "The bassist looking for an immediate ticket into doom, stoner metal, or prog rock domination."
JHS Mini Foot Fuzz
GREAT FOR: "Players who want a rich, mid harmonic-laden fuzz without breaking the bank."
Old Blood Noise Endeavors Haunt Fuzz
GREAT FOR: "Players who want a gated fuzz with some snarl to it."

Our Pick: Fuzzrocious Grey Stache

When the company’s name is “Fuzz” with an “ocious” attached to the end, you’re in the clear assuming they know how to make a fuzz box. The Grey Stache is their take on the classic “Civil War”-era Sovtek Big Muff, which is still sought-after by tone junkies for its ability to put a fat bottom end on the fore while retaining clear mids and tonal clarity. The circuitry in this boutique rendition does wonders capturing all of that aural gold through the simple but responsive layout of volume, tone, and sustain knobs—the same found on a Big Muff.

The extra touch of magic here is the tone stack and added mids control to toggle between boosted and scooped modes at the player’s discretion. If you’re keen on even more features, the Grey Stache also comes with company-made mods for momentary or latching oscillation, added germanium diodes, and and a killswitch. In our humble opinion, everyone looks better with a mustache, and the Grey Stache will look (and sound) perfect on any board in need of a dirty yet versatile fuzz tone. For the low-end aficionados out there, the Grey Stache is also celebrated as an absolute go-to bass fuzz.

Great for: players after the quintessential Big Muff tone with a spectrum of mids and an array of customizable add-ons.

Old Blood Noise Endeavors Haunt Fuzz

An upstart boutique favorite that’s gained critical acclaim and a cult following in under two years, Old Blood Noise Endeavors is lauded for producing oddball effects that defy convention. The Haunt is no stranger to this formula; built on a foundation of switchable silicon transistors that take you from a buzzy drive to a RAT-esque onslaught, this pedal’s multiple personalities will all make friends with a fuzz enthusiast. The builders at OBNE made navigating the Haunt’s tones a surprisingly simple affair: two switches control the diode configuration and a bass boost while knobs for volume, fuzz, gate, mix, and tone handle the rest.

Great for: players who want a gated fuzz with some snarl to it.

Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz

The Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz earns a well-deserved place on this list for its wide spread of options in a sleek little package. Built on a four-stage circuit with a nod to the classic Big Muff tone, a meat-and-potatoes gritty wash is just the basecamp on this mountain of fuzz. Pre, focus, and mids knobs give the Musket more ammunition for carving out a tonal EQ suited just to each player’s taste. One of the more compact pedals on this list, throwing the Musket into the mix is an easy affair for even the most crowded pedalboards. Load it, take aim, and fire when ready for a fuzz assault.

Great for: players who want a versatile fuzz that won’t eat up valuable pedalboard real estate.

Keeley Electronics Monterey

If it's vintage, psychedelic fuzz tones you crave, the Keeley Electronics Monterey is a one-stop shop for all your Hendrix-y needs. This pedal is the lone multi-effect on the list and boasts a warbly vibrato effect as part of the package. At its core, though, lies a vintage-voiced octave fuzz with its own dedicated channel that absolutely nails classic germanium tone. If you find yourself wanting more than just octave fuzz, the pedal’s three-way switch kicks in the aforementioned vibrato as well as wah and rotary modes with a separate mod section, which has octave control for sculpting entirely new tones.

Great for: players who want that classic Hendrix tone plus multiple effects on deck to tinker with.

Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Supreme

The ancient pharaohs, acting as living gods, were denied nothing in their rule on earth, and the Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Supreme holds reign over an entire kingdom of fuzz tones. Expanding on the original model, the Supreme ropes in a six-way diode selector for germanium, asymmetrical germanium, silicon, MOSFET, LED, and bypass modes. The result is a wide range from a traditional ‘60s-era tone to a raw, mean gurgle skirting into distortion territory. An added pre input knob grants even more control with the presence of front-end saturation completely customizable according to the player’s whim. Finding a fuzz you’ll fall in love with on this pedal isn’t a question of “if,” just a question of “when” you can stop playing with all the features.

Great for: seasoned players who want a spectrum of available tones and controls.

Malekko B:Assmaster Fuzz

The spiritual heir to one of the architects of the bass fuzz, the Maestro Bass Brassmaster, the Malekko B:Assmaster is an original that’s been around for decades. Far from the grandpa of this list, the pedal’s endured so long because generations of players keep coming back to the angry, growly silicon goodness inherent in this effect. With three knobs for control over volume, bass, and sensitivity and a two-switch layout for toggling between unique tonal and harmonic profiles, the B:Assmaster’s unrepentant low-end snarl is not for the faint of heart. A bit big in the chassis department and erring on the side of the more expensive pedals on this list, this giant is well worth the investment and has a signature sound from the moment it’s plugged in.

Great for: the bassist looking for an immediate ticket into doom, stoner metal, or prog rock domination.

JHS Mini Foot Fuzz

While JHS is a widely known name within the pedal community at large, the svelte JHS Mini Foot Fuzz, with its aggressive silicon circuitry, is something of a sleeper hit. Smoother than other pedals on this list, the distortion kicks closer to the low-mids and plays nicely with the mid harmonics for a round, full profile with a gritty edge. The impossibly compact 1x3” enclosure also weighs in at the smallest on this list, so making room on a cramped pedalboard is a non-issue when this little guy can nestle in just about any nook or cranny. Oh, and did we mention the price? The Mini Foot Fuzz also clocks in at the most affordable pedal with plenty of used ones typically selling for well under a hundred bucks.

Great for: players who want a rich, mid harmonic-laden fuzz without breaking the bank.

comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

iOS app store button
Android play store button