Fuzz and Distortion Pedals


A fuzz is a pedal that push your signal beyond what an distortion pedal wil do. And much more than a overdrive pedal to. That is one of the differences between fuzz and distortion pedals. The tonal wave of a fuzz can be completely flat. 

It can deliver a very distorted sound with a lot of compression. The sustain can be very long and the tone...well.. you have to experiment with it yourself! It goes from a little fuzzy buzzy sound to a big fuzzzzz

The fuzz saw its first daylight in the '60s.  The first fuzz pedal was the Maestro Fuzz Tone FZ-1 made by Gibson. You can read more about the Fuzz Tone here

Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face is a famous one also. It is made in England. Jimi Hendrix used it for his distorted sounds. You can still buy the Fuzz Faze today. It is manufactured by Dunlop.

Another famous Fuzz is the Big Muff made by Electric Harmonix. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) uses it for his creamy guitar sound.

The Bass Big Muff is great for guitar to. More about the Big Muff and David Gilmours sound you will find here .

Bass Big Muff


In most overdrives and distortions diodes are used to get distorted sounds. In a fuzz it are transistors that provides the distorted sound. Thats why they sound different. There are two kinds of transistors with their own specific character:

  1. Germanium transistors
  2. Silicon transistors

Germanium transistor

A germanium transistor delivers a smooth and thick tone. You will find them in the Maestro Fuzz Tone.

A fuzz with germanium transistors will sound different at higher or lower temperatures. Also the type of batteries will affect the sound. Alkaline batteries make it sound darker than non-alkaline batteries. If batteries get weaker, the sound can chance to.

Germanium transistors can react wrongly when a buffered pedal is placed between the fuzz and the guitar. You can lose bass or level and it can deliver a high oscillated sound. So if you have a buffered pedal, place it after the fuzz.

Silicon transitors

A fuzz with silicon transisors has a brighter tone. More fuzzy! The first Arbiter Fuzz Faces were made with germanium transitors, but after it became the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face they used silicon transistors. Hendrix loved them!

They are a little more harsh sounding than germanium and not so sensitive to different batteries and temperature.

Distortion pedal

Pro Co RAT 2

A distortion is less fuzzy than a fuzz, but far more distorted than an overdrive. As I said before, it is tricky to make the right definitions! Some overdrives can add enough gain to get into distortion territory. Distortions can sound fuzzy to....

The RAT is a famous distortion from Pro Co. Very populair in the '80s, specially the RAT2 with true by pass.

One of my own favorites is the ReezaFRATzitz made by EMMA electronic. Very tube like distortion. It goes from nice overdrive into heavy metal territory. 

It has an truly transparant buffered by pass that does not affect your tone

Emma ReezaFratzitz

There are many different distortions and fuzzes for sale. You have to experiment with it to find one (or more) that you like.   


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