- Way Huge Green Russian Fuzz
- Keeley Electronics Fuzz Bender
- Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi Bass Fuzz Pedal
- Way Huge Swollen Pickle MkIIS Jumbo Fuzz Pedal
- MXR Sub Machine Fuzz Guitar Effects Pedal
- Pro Co Fat Rat Selectable MOSFET Clipping and Boost Distortion Pedal
- Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal High-Voltage Distortion Pedal
- What Is A Fuzz Pedal?
- What A Fuzz Can Do For Your Bass Tone
- Turning Up The Bass With Fuzz
The quest for the perfect bass fuzz pedal can feel like traversing an infinite maze of knobs, switches, and jargon-heavy descriptions, but fret not tone seekers. We’ve done the heavy lifting. Wondering which fuzz pedal will give your bass that delicious fuzzy tone in 2023? Want to add warmth, sustain, and character to your bass tones like Chris Wolstenholme from Muse, Krist Novoselic from Nirvana, or Cliff Burton from Metallica? This guide cuts through the noise to present the best bass fuzz pedal of 2023. With insights on pedal features and brands, pros and cons, and the benefits of owning one, this guide will help you to find the best bass fuzz pedal for your rig.
The Way Huge’s Russian-Pickle has been known to recreate the sounds of the iconic green Sovtek Big Muff from the ’90s, making it a fuzz pedal with a special charm and characteristic. Its sound stands out due to its mid-range bump, which differentiates it from the Sovtek originals. Its physical structure is in a considerably convenient form, as it’s housed within a Way Huge Smalls enclosure, making it an easy fit for pedalboards. Moreover, the Russian-Pickle offers flexible power options, being able to run on a 9-volt battery or various power supplies.
- The Russian-Pickle embodies an authentic and distinctive sound of Russian “muffiness”, breaking the well-codified green-Muff mold.
- The pedal works perfectly in harmony with other gain devices, providing a smooth, creamy fuzz tone with a punchy midrange and fat bottom end.
- Its smooth, less-scooped sound makes it blend well with other gain devices, which makes it a versatile addition to any pedalboard.
- Its size and style are designed to be pedalboard-friendly, making it convenient for use.
The Way Huge Russian-Pickle is priced competitively at around $149. This makes it a more cost-effective alternative when compared to some of the higher-end boutique fuzz pedals available on the market.
In our experience, the Russian-Pickle has a lot to offer for bass players. For those who are fans of the desert-rock grind and the iconic Gilmour sounds from the mid-’90s, this pedal provides an extra harmonic color that’s quite appreciable. Its distinct mid-range bump also sets it apart from the original Sovtek Big Muff, which is a unique selling point for this pedal.
The smooth and less-scooped sound of the Pickle is also a plus, as it blends well with other gain devices. This harmonious compatibility makes it a suitable pedal for those who prefer pedalboard maximalism. However, it’s worth noting that this characteristic might not suit everyone’s sound preferences. The emphasis on the mid-range bump, which differentiates this pedal from the original, might not be to everyone’s liking. All in all, though, we find that this pedal’s pros considerably outweigh its cons.
The Keeley Fuzz Bender is a distinct fuzz pedal created by Robert Keeley. Its design incorporates a hybrid array of two silicon and one germanium transistor, allowing for a broad spectrum of tonal possibilities. The pedal’s larger-format enclosure makes it easy for musicians to adjust the strategically positioned knobs with their feet. Furthermore, the Fuzz Bender is versatile and compatible with single-coils, humbuckers, and a variety of amplifier types.
- Offers a wide variety of versatile fuzz tones, which can be adjusted and customized to fit various musical styles.
- Features powerful bass and treble controls that can add depth and softer contours to vintage voicings, thereby enhancing the tonal quality of the output.
- Equipped with an active EQ stage that permits for 20 dB of boost and cut at 100 Hz and 10 kHz, allowing musicians to shape their sound more precisely.
- The inclusion of a bias knob helps control the bias of the transistors, impacting both sustain and the overall personality of the fuzz tone.
- Its larger enclosure allows for easy adjustment with your foot, which is a convenient feature for live performances.
The Keeley Electronics Fuzz Bender is reasonably priced at between $120-$150 USD.
From my personal experience, the Keeley Electronics Fuzz Bender has several notable pros. The active EQ stage is a standout feature, offering 20 dB of boost and cut at 100 Hz and 10 kHz, enabling me to shape a broad range of voicings. Moreover, the bias knob control brings in a new dimension of tonal possibilities, from thick, warm tones to bright, glitchy sounds. The pedal’s compatibility with various guitar and amplifier types also adds to its versatility.
However, the pedal’s complexity might be a bit daunting for beginners. It might take some time to explore and understand all its features. Plus, the larger format of the pedal, while advantageous for foot control, might occupy more pedalboard real estate than some might prefer. Despite these minor cons, the Fuzz Bender is a remarkable pedal that offers a unique range of fuzz tones.
The Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi is not your average bass fuzz pedal. Taking the best aspects of its smaller sibling, the Bass Big Muff Pi, it offers an enhanced and versatile experience for bassists. It’s equipped with the same analog circuit inspired by the Sovtek Big Muff Pi and USA Big Muff Pi pedals, yet has several added features tailored for both stage and studio use. The pedal includes volume, tone, and sustain controls, a blend control to mix dry signal with the distorted tone, a noise gate to combat hum, and a -10 dB pad switch for active pickups. It also offers true-bypass switching and the option of battery or power-adapter operation.
- Delivers the iconic Big Muff sound with enhanced versatility
- Has an expanded set of tone-shaping controls
- Footswitchable crossover that allows for variable high- and low-pass filters
- Offers a blend control to mix dry signal with the distorted tone
- Includes a noise gate to combat hum
- Incorporates a -10 dB pad switch for compatibility with active pickups
- Provides multiple connection options, including an XLR direct out for low-noise signal transmission to a mixing console, a 1/4″ buffered output for a dry, unaffected signal, and a standard 1/4″ output.
This feature-rich fuzz pedal is priced at around $150 USD, presenting a great value for bassists in search of versatility and the classic Big Muff sound.
From a personal perspective, the Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi stands out due to its foot-switchable crossover—a unique feature that enables variable high- and low-pass filters to refine the tone and feel. It’s also lauded for its convenient output options, variable-blend control, gating, and foot-switchable crossover circuit. The gate control is particularly impressive as it effectively eliminates background noise without compromising the gain or the low end.
The pedal allows for beautiful sustain and can deliver stoner rock and raucous-metal riffs with an earth-shattering low end. Its crossover circuit brings a new element of tone-shaping into play—the high-pass filter brings more presence to the high end and focuses on the upper mids, while the low-pass filter lets more subs pass through. This, coupled with reducing the blend control for a more dry signal, allows for a range of tones that should satisfy a wide array of bassists.
Indeed, the Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi is highly recommended for bassists seeking a versatile and powerful fuzz pedal that delivers the iconic Big Muff sound with numerous tweaks and connection options.
Unleashed in 1997, the Way Huge Swollen Pickle MkIIS is a compact yet robust fuzz pedal that delivers powerful sounds. This versatile gadget offers a unique spin on the classic Big Muff fuzz, which is well-established in the music industry. Enclosed in a durable metal case, it flaunts five exterior knobs for controlling volume, fuzz intensity, tone, notch filter, mid-scoop, and two internal knobs for adjusting clipping diodes and the intensity of the mid-scoop control. The pedal offers a vast array of fuzz tones – from a slight crunch to an aggressive buzzsaw. Additionally, it can double as an overdrive pedal when the crunch knob is adjusted and the amplifier’s front end is pushed with the volume control.
The Way Huge Swollen Pickle MkIIS jumbo fuzz pedal comes with some standout features:
- It delivers a classic Big Muff sound with added tonal possibilities.
- Five exterior knobs and two internal trim pots allow for extensive control over fuzz tones and midrange frequencies.
- The Scoop knob gives the user control over midrange frequencies, and the Crunch knob adjusts the compression intensity of the sustain.
- Built with high-quality components and solid construction, it is an ideal choice for gigging musicians.
- Suitable for various musical styles, including rock, emo, post-hardcore, post-rock, metal, dream pop, black metal, and atmospheric post-metal.
For pricing information regarding the Swollen Pickle MkIIS we recommend visiting the manufacturer’s website or a trusted instrument retailer.
In our experience, the Swollen Pickle MkIIS jumbo fuzz pedal has several strengths that set it apart. It can produce thick and aggressive fuzz tones, and its high-quality construction ensures durability. The pedal’s range of sounds is impressive – from clean tones to thick fuzz to overdrive crunch.
However, it may disappoint musicians who desire to recreate specific sounds, for instance, the 90s-era Smashing Pumpkins. It’s also worth noting that while the pedal’s extensive control options and powerful sound characteristics are a perk for some, they might be a bit overwhelming for others, making it a tool that’s not necessarily suited to everyone.
The MXR M225, also known as the Sub Machine, is an octave fuzz pedal that goes beyond your traditional riffage. It embodies MXR’s renowned La Machine fuzz circuitry, which is lauded for its buzzing, full, and sustaining fuzz tone. This tone is reminiscent of the mid-60s to early-70s fuzz but has a unique silicon edge. A distinctive feature of the Sub Machine is its independent sub-octave circuit with its own level control. It also boasts a series/parallel switch, allowing the sub-octave and fuzz/high-octave signals to run independently until they are combined at the output. The pedal is marked by its high-quality components and durable construction.
- Features MXR’s La Machine fuzz circuitry for a nostalgic and rich fuzz tone
- Incorporates an independent sub-octave circuit with its own level control for tonal versatility
- Includes a series/parallel switch for additional tone control options
- Sturdy construction and high-quality components ensure long-term use
- Offers a variety of sonic surprises for explorative guitarists
The Sub Machine is priced at roughly $189 USD. Considering its unique features and tonal versatility, we believe it offers great value for its price. It’s an investment that aligns with the needs of those seeking a fresh and imaginative take on fuzz pedals.
From our experience with the Sub Machine, we have observed several pros and cons that might be important for potential users to be aware of. On the upside, the sub-octave effect can be used alone or in combination with the fuzz circuit. This extends the range of tonal possibilities, which we find quite impressive.
However, we’ve noticed that the sub-octave effect can sound a bit artificial at high levels. This is not necessarily a deal-breaker as it can be dialed back to create a more seamless part of the fuzz voice at lower sub volumes. All in all, the MXR M225 is a versatile pedal with a lot to offer.
The Pro Co Fat Rat is a cutting-edge distortion pedal that offers a wide range of tone options. This pedal boasts selectable MOSFET clipping circuits, meaning it can create a variety of unique tones and levels of distortion. There’s also a “FAT” selection for those who want a thicker tone with the renowned RAT bite. Moreover, the Pro Co Fat Rat provides an easily interchangeable socketed op-amp, broadening the possibilities for experimenting with different sounds. It’s a versatile tool that can be powered by either a 9V or 18V power supply, plus it features a battery compartment for convenient portability.
- Versatility in tone: The selectable stock “RAT” or new MOSFET clipping circuits allow for a wide range of tones and distortion levels.
- FAT selection: This feature provides a thicker, more robust tone with the characteristic RAT bite.
- Easy customization: The socketed op-amp can be changed easily, offering the chance to experiment with different chips.
- Portable: With its 9V or 18V power supply options and a battery compartment, this pedal is easy to take on the go.
Given its advanced features and versatility, this pedal can be seen as a worthy investment for any musician looking to expand their sound. Check out the pricing with official distributors.
From our perspective, the Pro Co Fat Rat has numerous benefits. Firstly, it’s built with high-quality materials, including a durable steel enclosure, heavy-duty footswitches, knobs, and jacks, ensuring it lasts for the long haul. There’s also an on/off LED indicator and a military-spec glass-epoxy circuit board, testifying to its robustness.
Notably, the pedal has earned a strong reputation for its versatility and ability to deliver a broad spectrum of distortion tones. It can render amp-like and natural sounds, making it a favorite for solos where it can enhance bending, sustain, vibrato, and harmonics. Additionally, it’s a popular choice among bass guitar players and those who use lower tunings.
However, some customers have opted to swap the stock op-amp for an LM308 chip. While this isn’t a con per se, it’s worth noting that the pedal is still highly regarded even with the stock chip. In essence, the Pro Co Fat Rat is celebrated for its build quality and sound quality, making it an attractive choice for musicians of all kinds.
The Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal is a revolutionary distortion pedal that breaks the mold of traditional fuzz effects. This pedal utilizes a unique combination of a step-up flyback transformer, a Xenon gas tube, and an antenna to convert guitar signals into high voltage impulses, creating a distinct and innovative range of fuzz tones. In addition to the standard Plasma Pedal, Gamechanger Audio also offers the Plasma Coil, a special version created in collaboration with Jack White’s Third Man Records, which features octave down and/or octave up textures. Both pedals are characterized by exposed Xenon tubes that emit electrical charges similar to lightning, making them as visually striking as they are sonically distinct.
- A distinct and unique approach to fuzz effects through the use of high voltage impulses
- A broad range of fuzz tones from bass-heavy to sharp buzz
- Features an instant noise-gate effect for precision and sustain
- The Plasma Pedal offers a Blend knob for adjusting the mix between dry and processed signals
- The Plasma Coil provides adventurous players with a variety of textures and harmonic options
- Visually striking design with exposed Xenon tubes and lightning-like electrical charges
The pricing of the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal sits at around $350 USD. To obtain the most accurate pricing information, we recommend checking the manufacturer’s website or authorized retailers.
From our perspective, the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal offers a number of advantages. The technology used in these pedals delivers an unparalleled range of fuzz tones, from deep bass to piercing buzz, while still maintaining clear note definition. An additional feature we appreciate is the instant noise-gate effect, which immediately silences the output when the player stops playing, providing precise control over sustain.
However, the unique clipping caused by high voltage discharges can present a slight challenge in finding the ideal settings. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rewarded with one-of-a-kind, idiosyncratic fuzz tones. The Plasma Pedal’s Blend control also makes it suitable for players who want more subtlety in layering their fuzz effects, while the Plasma Coil is ideal for those seeking more adventurous sounds. And let’s not forget the visually appealing design, with its exposed Xenon tubes emitting lightning-like electrical charges, which adds a certain electric appeal to this innovative pedal.
A fuzz pedal is a type of effect pedal used primarily with electric guitars and bass guitars. This musical accessory plays a crucial role in generating a unique and distinctive tone, characterized by its distorted and fuzzy texture. The sound imparted by a fuzz pedal can range from a subtle warmth and sustain to heavy and aggressive distortion, providing the musician with a broad palette of tonal possibilities.
Reference material indicates the existence of several leading brands in the market that manufacture fuzz pedals, including Behringer, JHS, Electro-Harmonix, Joyo, Boss, MXR, Danelectro, Way Huge, Catalinbread, Walrus, Aguilar, Darkglass, and Zoom. Each brand offers a variety of fuzz pedals, each with a unique set of features, varying sizes, appearances, and price points. These variations allow musicians to find a fuzz pedal that perfectly aligns with their personal preferences and musical requirements.
Fuzz pedals are celebrated for their ability to add depth, warmth, and character to a guitar or bass tone. They can emulate the iconic sounds of renowned musicians and bands—such as the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, David Gilmour, and Nirvana—allowing current musicians to tap into a rich history of pioneering sounds. Besides emulating famous tones, fuzz pedals are capable of generating a wide range of original sounds, from subtle overdrive to intense distortion, adding elements of grit, aggression, and individuality to the mix.
Beyond their tonal versatility, fuzz pedals provide practical benefits as well. For instance, when used with a bass guitar, a fuzz pedal compensates for the loss of bass frequencies caused by intense clipping, ensuring that the tone remains thick and full. This effect is achieved by starting with a clean signal and gradually increasing the amount of fuzz until the desired level of saturation is achieved. For optimal results, it is suggested to roll off the tone and use the neck pickup to retain clarity and warmth.
Whether one seeks to emulate the iconic sounds of legendary musicians or create a unique and personalized tone, a fuzz pedal provides the versatility and flexibility to do so. Offering a vast range of tonal possibilities, this device serves as a crucial element in shaping the sonic character and emotional impact of a musical performance.
A fuzz pedal can be a transformative addition to your bass gear arsenal. They can provide a unique aesthetic to your sound, creating a warm, rich, and full-bodied distortion that can elevate the tonal quality of your bass. A good fuzz pedal will add a depth of texture to your music that is both engaging and captivating.
Fuzz pedals can also be incredibly versatile tools, allowing you to achieve a wide range of sounds and effects. It can be used to create everything from a subtle, warm growl to an all-out, aggressive roar. This range of sonic possibilities makes fuzz pedals a favorite among bassists across various music genres, from rock and blues to jazz and beyond.
Moreover, fuzz pedals are designed to interact seamlessly with other elements of your rig. This makes them an excellent addition to your pedalboard, offering a way to enhance and shape your tone in a manner that complements your other gear. It’s worth noting that the characteristics of a fuzz pedal can be significantly influenced by the other elements of your signal chain, such as your bass, amplifier, and any other pedals you might be using. This means that a fuzz pedal can offer a unique and personal touch to your bass tone, reflecting your own individual musical style and preferences.
Whether you’re slapping away on your bass or sending out smooth jazz lines, the charm of a fuzz pedal can be the defining ingredient in the recipe of your tone. The beauty of a fuzz pedal lies in its versatility, transforming your bass sound from a mere rumble in the background to the beast that roars out distinctive, fuzzy, and unforgettable tones.
Both the Pro Co Fat Rat and the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal are prime examples of how fuzz pedals can revolutionize your bass tone. The Pro Co Fat Rat’s durable build, variety in tone, and easy customization make it an excellent choice for musicians eager to experiment. On the other hand, the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal, with its unique combination of a flyback transformer, a Xenon tube, and an antenna, promises an unforgettable, electrifying experience.
No two fuzz pedals are the same, each offering a unique touch to your sound. So, it’s all about exploring the market, trying out different pedals, and finding the one that resonates with you. Once you have your fuzz pedal, the world becomes your stage, and your bass lines become the anthems that get heads bobbing and feet tapping. The right fuzz pedal does more than just change your sound; it shapes your identity as a bassist. So go forth, find your fuzz, and let the world hear your roar.