Ah, fuzz: one of the simplest, oldest, and arguably most sonically recognizable of guitar effects. Even for non-players who don’t understand the whole pedal thing one bit, simply citing ‘the intro to Satisfaction’ will illustrate the power and enduring legacy of the effect.
In today’s pedal market, there are more fuzz options than ever before. The simplicity of the basic fuzz circuit means that most pedal companies have at least one fuzzbox in the catalogue, and some, such as Big Muff originator Electro-Harmonix, has numerous different flavours of its classic pedal to choose from. It’s a lot to consider if you are after a new fuzz tone for your rig. Today, we’re going to look at the most popular fuzz pedals over the past year on Reverb, covering both new and used sales from our global gear marketplace.
Seen something you need to add to your board? Head to Reverb.com and pick one up for yourself!
1. Electro-Harmonix Op Amp Big Muff Pi Reissue
The Big Muff is the single most popular and iconic fuzz pedal of all time, and last year Electro-Harmonix released two reissues that pay homage to different eras of classic Muff tones, but in small and affordable packages. The Op Amp Muff is closely associated with Billy Corgan and his tones in the Smashing Pumpkins. In fact, you can find a demo with Billy playing the reissue on the Reverb YouTube channel.
2. Electro-Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff Reissue
The other reissued Big Muff from last year, the Green Russian, replicates pedals from a chapter in the early 90s when Electro-Harmonix shut down its New York factory temporarily and was operating out of Russia. These Muffs are known for their added bass punch, and they’re favoured by sludge metal guitarists and all manner of bass players who want to add some dirt to the low-end.
3. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
While the two specialist Big Muffs mentioned above rose to the top of the pile last year, the standard Muff, with its iconic large box enclosure, continues to sell well. If you just want a fundamental fuzz tone, this is the standard issue.
4. Chase Bliss Brothers Analog Gain Stage
Released to rave reviews at the Winter NAMM show back in 2017, the Brothers from Chase Bliss Audio is really much more than a fuzz pedal, packing six circuits across fuzz, drive, and boost modes. Its two channels are internally stackable and endlessly tweakable, meaning that this standalone pedal can cover just about any drive and fuzz sound
you might imagine.
5. JHS Muffuletta
For the Muffuletta, the innovative minds at JHS Pedals effectively replicated the nuances of six different Big Muff pedals within one compact unit. Five of the options represent different eras of historic Electro-Harmonix Muffs made famous by the likes of David Gilmour and J Mascis. The sixth mode offers JHS’s own preferred tweak on the original circuit.
6. Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi
Yet another classic take on the Big Muff concept from the crew at Electro-Harmonix, the Nano simply takes the standard circuit and shrinks it down into a smaller box. For players with growing pedal collections but limited pedalboard real estate to accomodate them, this is an obvious choice over the rather bulky standard model.
7. ZVex Fuzz Factory Vexter
ZVex’s Fuzz Factory was a game changer in the realm of boutique fuzz designs when it first came out. An aggressive, glitchy and gritty type of fuzz, the Fuzz Factory creates wild oscillations that can be variously controlled via gate and stab knobs.
8. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
Yet another Big Muff iteration, this particular model adds a ‘tone wicker’ circuit that kicks in a high-end circuit boost for added treble content. There’s also a switch to bypass the tone control, which is lacking on the standard-issue Muff.
9. Jext Telez White Pedal
The Jext Telez White Pedal was an exclusive Reverb release, which means it ranks higher on our list than it does across the whole pedal market. This pedal is designed to replicate the tight, fuzzed-out tones of the Beatles ‘White Album’. If you’re a Beatles fan, this is a fantastic pedal to add to your board.
10. Death By Audio Fuzz War
Built by the noise-rock mavericks at Death By Audio, the Fuzz War is a popular choice for the more adventurous rock guitarist who craves unbridled helpings of noise as part of their overall tone.