Fuzz: The Fuzz tone basically is a heavily saturated guitar signal, hard clipping the sound to a plain square wave with amazing sustain.  Fuzz is created by boosting transistors and then severely clipped the guitar’s signal, creating a buzzy, not-quite-of-this-world sound. It sounds kind of synthetic, and far from warm or earthy.

In 1961, a faulty connection in a mixing board gave birth to fuzz.  Although it came to define the sound of rock guitar, fuzz appeared first in a bass solo of country singer Marty Robbins on “Don’t Worry.” The band and producers debated whether to keep the weird sound or record another take.

Simplest Definition:  A fuzzy, buzzy distorted amplifier sound.


Video Explanations:

Video: What Is a Fuzz Pedal? | Guitar Pedals

Video: Overdrive vs Distortion vs Fuzz: What’s The Difference?


Video: That Pedal Show – Classic Fuzz Tones: Where To Begin?


Effect Pedal Examples:

Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face Pedal

Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone

Univox | Super Fuzz

Dunlop JHW1 Jimi Hendrix Signature Fuzz Face Mini


Common Internal Components:

Most effect pedals will use either germanium or silicon transistors to create fuzz tone.  Germanium fuzz is less harsh, more expensive and gives a vintage sound.  Germanium fuzz is also affected by temperature.  Hot summer days would sound much different than cooler environments.  Silicon fuzz is harsher with more gain. Silicon fuzz pedals are usually cheaper and easy to mass produce in today’s market because most use modern low cost transistors.  Silicon transistors are not affected by temperature changes like the germanium transistors.

Original germanium transistors:  AC128, NKT275, SFT363E

Original silicon transistors:  BC183L, BC183KA, BC130C, BC108C, BC109C, BC209C, and BC239C


Written Articles:

Article: 50 Years of Making Fuzz, the Sound That Defines Rock ‘n’ Roll

Article: Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face Building Components


Fifty Favorite Effect Pedals for Sale:


Categories: Effect Types