Welcome to our Top 20 Best Fuzz Pedals of 2014 Buyer’s Guide! This is a chronicle of the very best fuzz distortion pedals available on the market. The theme of this article is to include what we consider to be the very best of what’s out there. We don’t care about the brand name printed on the pedal. We only care if it’s good. We’re just listening to see what really stands out as a cut above the rest.
On this list you’ll find a few familiar pedals from big name companies, some underground entries from companies you may have never heard of, and some wild and weird designs that push the creative boundaries of what’s possible in a fuzz pedal.
These fuzz pedals all have one thing in common: they meet our highest standards for sound quality, design, and playability. These fuzz pedals ARE the best of the best.
This isn’t a “fuzz pedal shootout”. The pedals aren’t listed in any particular order. All of these pedals are great in their own unique ways. Of course, a good fuzz is a very subjective thing and tastes vary greatly. What one person thinks is a great fuzz pedal, someone may think is terrible.
One thing is certain – if you’re looking for your next fuzz pedal, there is definitely something on this list that is right for you. Whether it’s traditional classic fuzz, modern variations, or otherworldly fuzz insanity, you’ll find it all here in our Top 20 Best Fuzz Pedals of 2014 Buyer’s Guide.
Important Note: This list is a work in progress. If your favorite fuzz pedal isn’t listed here, let us know in the comments. We’re going to update this list periodically whenever we come across a fuzz pedal that meets our demanding high standards, so check back to see which new fuzz pedals make our definitive list.
We also thought it would be a good idea to put all the pedals on one page instead of making you refresh the page over and over. We hope this makes viewing this list more enjoyable. Just scroll away to your fuzzy little heart’s content. Thanks for supporting Best Guitar Effects!
Now without further ado, here are the top 20 best fuzz pedals of 2014.
The original Fuzz Factory was released 2 decades ago, and its reputation and popularity have been growing ever since. Matt Belamy from Muse even had one built into his guitar! And while the original Fuzz Factory has remained in production and become a modern classic, Zachary Vex decided to outdo himself and release the ZVex Fat Fuzz Factory. The Fat Fuzz Factory offers all of the original functionality and tones of the original Fuzz Factory with the addition of the 3-way toggle switch that lets you choose between 2 sub-oscillation modes for an even “fatter” fuzz sound. It’s awesome. Really awesome. If you already have an original Fuzz Factory, an upgrade is well-worth considering as this pedal has massive fuzz potential. Once you hear the difference, you’ll be sold.
Street Price: $199, More Info: ZVex.com
The Red Witch Fuzz God II takes silicon fuzz to new extremes. Red Witch have earned a reputation for making some of the best all-analog pedals to be found anywhere, and the Fuzz God II is no exception. While this pedal can invoke all manner of classic overdriven fuzz tones, the Fuzz God II really comes alive when you Awaken its Wrath. You can rain down on your audience with storms of fuzz fury and smite those who would dare question your omnipotence. Flip the Lightening toggle switch to instantly double your gain to make the unworthy tremble in fear. Rule over creation with the aid of the Fuzz God II and issue forth thine holiest commandment: Thou Shalt Rock.
Street Price: $249.99, More Info: RedWitchPedals.com
There’s nothing like a Muff. The Big Muff Pi has been a classic fuzz/distortion pedal for over 40 years. It’s been made in countless variations over the years and has produced many spin-off pedals bearing the “Muff” name and hordes of imitators and clones. The Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker is one of the best out there. It features the awesome sounds of the original Big Muff Pi, but in a more pedalboard friendly enclosure and with 2 unique features. The Tone switch lets you remove the Tone control pot from the circuit for some full-range, unadulterated, massive Muff madness. And the Tone Wicker switch lets you add in a screaming top-end boost. This is my personal favorite EHX Big Muff fuzz pedal. It might become yours, too.
Street Price: $90.47, More Info: EHX.com
The EarthQuaker Devices Hoof Reaper Octave Fuzz takes two of their best fuzz pedals, the Hoof and Tone Reaper, respectively, and combines them into one pedal with a great Octave Up function thrown in. This is one of the most widely varied tone-sculping fuzzes out there and is a staple on this list. Both the Tone Reaper and Hoof are exceptional fuzz pedals in their own right, and to have them both in one pedal produces an unbelievable amount of textural variety. This is truly a fuzz pedal that does it all. EarthQuaker Devices have garnered a reputation in recent years for making some of the most cutting-edge and great sounding pedals around. Once you play the Hoof Reaper, you’ll understand why.
Street Price: $295.00, More Info: EarthQuakerDevices.com
While we’re on the subject of extremely versatile fuzz pedals with an insanely wide range of available tones, I must mention the Death By Audio Apocalypse. This pedal offers everything from mild overdrives to absolutely crushing fuzz tones with some octave fuzz thrown in to boot. The 5-way position switch and Sweepable Frequency Equalizer let you dial in a fuzz tone for any occasion. Try using it in conjuction with another distortion or fuzz pedal for some twisted EQ sculpting possibilities.
Street Price: $270, More Info: DeathByAudio.net
The JHS Pedals Pollinator mimics classic “Fuzz Face” tones with twin, hand-matched Germanium AC128 transistors while exceeding those original designs with more volume output and an external Bias control. This awesome stompbox is one of my favorite Germanium fuzz pedals. It offers subtle boosts to full-on, psychedelic “Purple Haze” fuzz sounds. It cleans up when you roll back your guitar’s volume knob better than just about any fuzz pedal I’ve ever heard. Max out the fuzz or pull it back just a bit to the find the “sweet spot” for a sound that’s great over clean or overdriven amp sounds. Want the best “Fuzz Face” tones out there? The JHS Pedals Pollinator is hard to beat.
Street Price: $199, More Info: JHSPedals.com
“What the hell is that thing?” you ask? It’s the Walrus Audio Janus. I absolutely love this pedal. It’s a marvel of concept, creativity, and successful execution of a radical design concept. It offers exceptionally good fuzz tones with an equally great tremolo thrown in for good measure while using 2 joysticks to control parameters of each effect. While fuzz and tremolo may seem like an unlikely pairing in a single pedal, they work surprisingly well in the Janus. This pedal is great for studio work or real-time, live sound mangling as you can control the joysticks with your foot while standing. Don’t worry, if you want to use the effects in a more traditional context, you can set the joysticks and leave them in position if you’d like. However you use it, you must admit that the Walrus Audio Janus is one hell of a creatively engineered fuzz pedal. It’s this kind of forward-thinking instrument design that inspires the most adventurous musicions to break new ground themselves.
Street Price: $289, More Info: WalrusAudio.com
You want a crazy fuzz pedal? You’ve got it! The Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DrFF-3 (and Igor) is one of the most insane fuzz pedals I’ve ever seen and played. It has one gain setting: Kill! Throw the knifeswitch on this monster and… it’s alive! The DrFF-3 offers wild oscillating fuzz sounds with intense harmonic overtones that you can dial in with the OSC. knob or in realtime via a unique method of foot control. With the aid of Dr Freakenstein’s trusty assistant, Igor, you can use your foot to control the extremities of this pedal while you blast your audience with an all-out sonic assault. This pedal is the sonic equivilent of plugging your brain into an electrical outlet. It’s another great example of the truly creative effects pedal design that could only come from Rainger FX.
Street Price: $319, More Info: RaingerFX.com
The SolidGold FX If 6 Was 9 BC183CC is a fine example of vintage fuzz tone meets modern design pulled off exceptionally well. With it’s Hendrix-inspired name, you should already have an idea of what you’re getting with this pedal. New old stock BC183 Silicon transistors and vintage spec carbon comp resistors set the foundation while an external Bias control and Tone switch let you sculp the tone and response of this pedal. The If 6 Was 9 covers the full range of vintage Silicon fuzz sounds and even cleans up when you roll back your guitar’s volume knob, making it a remarkably versatile and dynamic fuzz pedal. SolidGoldFX will only have the If 6 Was 9 around for a limited time as those NOS BC183 transistors are quite scarce, so get it while you can.
Street Price: $174.95, More Info: SolidGoldFX.com
The El Rey Effects Mystic Ouija Fuzz is an affordably priced fuzz pedal that covers a wide range of overdrive, distortion, and fuzz tones. The overall sound at higher gain levels really captures hybrid fuzz/distortion tones that give the Mystic Ouija Fuzz its own unique voice. A 3-way clipping adjustment switch gives you choices of asymmetrical diode clipping, symmetrical diode clipping, and asymmetrical LED clipping. Furthermore, the wide-sweeping tone control offers a simple and effective way to tweak the voicing of the pedal to your liking. Feeling superstitious? Consult the oracle of fuzzy overdrive with the Mystic Ouija Fuzz by El Rey Effects.
Street Price: $140.99, More info: ElReyFX.com
The J. Rockett WTF Fuzz is a fuzz pedal for people who don’t like fuzz pedals. This pedal offers a very wide range of overdriven fuzz sounds thanks to the interplay of its easy to use controls. Quite simply, this pedal must be played to really understand how good it is. Even on extreme oscillating fuzz settings, a slight turn of your guitar’s volume knob will bring the fuzz back from the brink of destruction. The Boost footswitch also gives you access to an additional volume control (labeled Boost) for 2 distinct output levels. Even if you don’t like fuzz and somehow found your way onto this top fuzz pedals list by mistake (and happened to read this far), you should seriously check this pedal out. Guitarists who favor very musical overdrive/distortion pedals will find much to appreciate here.
Street Price: $229, More info: RockettPedals.com
The Demeter Amplification Fuzzy Octavulator is a fuzz pedal created with expert precision by a true artisan. While many amp companies hash out pedals on the side to tap into the pedal market, you can tell that the pedals built by Demeter Amplification are made to very high standards. Just plug into one and see for yourself. This pedal has great clean tones and excellent preamp-like response. It’ll overdrive and get dirty with the best of them. If you’re chasing some Hendrix mojo, you might find all you need in the Fuzzy Octavulator.
Street Price: $309, More Info: DemeterAmps.us
The JHS Pedals Bun Runner is the result of a collaboration between Josh Scott of JHS Pedals and Drew Shirley from the band Switchfoot. It features the JHS Pedals Astro Mess Fuzz pedal on the left and a modified Tone Bender on the right. Combining the best of both Silicon and Germanium fuzz into one pedal, each side may be used independently or cascaded in either order for an incredibly wide range of extremely high quality fuzz tones. This is another one of those all-in-one fuzz boxes that just may cover every sound you could possibly want in a fuzz pedal. Having such an exceptionally high quality Tone Bender style fuzz with Bias and Tone controls definitely makes it worth considering; having all that with so much more makes it a potential must-have.
Street Price: $315, More Info: JHSPedals.com
I didn’t really know what to think when I first saw the Cusack Music Tap-A-Fuzz. My first thought was, “Are they joking?” Well, actually, yes, they were. But this pedal isn’t a joke at all. It takes Cusack Music’s insane Screamer Fuzz pedal and combines it with real-time tap-tempo gain modulation for wild rhythmic sounds. Aside from those extra bells and whistles, this pedal is an amazing sounding fuzz/overdrive pedal. It’s like a hot-rodded Tube Screamer with “broken op-amp” fuzz, each of which can be used separately or together. Pick a waveform, tap in a beat, and you’ll have access to a whole different world of modulated fuzz tones. This is another one of those strange and bizarre fuzz pedals for non-traditional guitar experimentalists, yet it still has plenty of versatility for traditional uses.
Street Price: $275, More Info: CusackMusic.com
The Dr. Scientist Frazz Dazzler is a high-end boutique fuzz pedal that is hand-made using components of uncompromising quality. Its quirky design includes some features that make this pedal another unique entry on the list, the most notable being its Mix function that may also be controlled via external expression pedal. Guitarists and bassists alike will appreciate how this allows the Frazz Dazzler to add some extra defintion to your fuzz tones. The Sizzle knob and internal Bass trim pot will let you further define your sound, and a Gain switch will kick the fuzz up a notch with some splatty flair. This fuzzy little robot that could only come from Dr. Scientist will wreck havok on those you unleash it upon.
Street Price: $199, More Info: DrScientist.ca
The Malekko Diabolik JMJ is the signature bass fuzz pedal of Justin Meldel-Johnsen. Malekko and Justin worked together, starting with Malekko’s B:ASSMASTER bass fuzz and tweaking it until the Diabolik JMJ was born. The simple control layout lets you achieve all-out, chord-decimating fuzz carnage as well as great “clean/dirty” fuzz tones thanks to the ability to blend your dry and wet signals. It sounds huge but isn’t overly bass heavy. Despite being a bass fuzz pedal, it works very well with guitar and also stacks well with other distortion/overdrive pedals for unique hybrid fuzz tones.
Street Price: $149, More info: MalekkoHeavyIndustry.com
The SolidGold FX Formula 76 draws inspiration from classic 70′s fuzz pedals including the Univox Super Fuzz and Ibanez Standard Fuzz, adding additional tone-shaping flexibility for the ultimate vintage/modern octave-up fuzz pedal. Controls for Compression and Tone let you tweak the ultimate “Super Fuzz” style sounds while the Tone foot-switch offers a radical top and bottom focused EQ shift for massive fuzz mayhem. This pedal is a nasty, hot-rodded “Super Fuzz” for modern guitarists who want to unleash a savage onslaught of fuzz.
Street Price: $199, More Info: SolidGoldFX.com
The Empress Effects Fuzz is a straight-ahead, no-nonsense fuzz pedal. It also sounds fantastic. If you want plenty of tonal variety from a mild boost to a gritty overdrive to full-on maxed fuzz with plenty of EQ tone shaping in an ease-to-use format, the Empress Effects Fuzz may be for you. Roll back the Bass and Treble and boost the Output for a mean mid-boost. It’s perfect for solos that’ll cut through the mix.
Street Price: $149, More Info: EmpressEffects.com
Yes, Death By Audio has another entry. Why? Because this pedal is a monster. The Death By Audio Thee Ffuzz Warr Overload was designed to take the Fuzz War pedal to new extremes and adds a top-boost feature for an additional high-end onslaught. It was co-developed by John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees to deliver ultimate raging fuzz sounds. This underground fuzz pedal is too good to go overlooked, so here it is. If you think you can handle Thee Ffuzz Warr Overload, don’t wait around too long as it’s a limited production of only 500 units.
Street Price: $225, More Info: DeathByAudio.net
Rounding out our Top 20 Best Fuzz Pedals of 2014 Buyer’s Guide is the Hunger Bender from Tone Hungry Effects. The classic Tone Bender needs no introduction as it is one of the original fuzz pedals from the golden era of fuzz that also includes such gems as the Maestro Fuzztone and Arbiter Fuzz Face. I sought all over for a great modern Tone Bender that captures the vibe of the original. I ended up stumbling across a pedal builder in Canada named Juan who hand builds his own pedals and sells them under the Tone Hungry Effects moniker. The Hunger Bender sounds awesome and is a pedal I’m really glad to have discovered. It’s a pedal in vein of the classic Tone Bender MKIII, featuring a Tone knob to compliment it’s Level and Attack controls. This awesome pedal is a great reminder that the pedal you need to achieve the sound in your head may not come from a big-name brand you’re familiar with but a great indy pedal designer you’ve yet to hear.
Street Price: $170, More Info: Tone Hungry Effects
That concludes our Top 20 Best Fuzz Pedals of 2014 Buyer’s Guide. Thanks for reading.
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