10 Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals of 2023

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For many of us, fuzz is an obsession. Like delay, it’s usually one of the first guitar pedals with which we start to experiment. Some want to copy famous songs and riffs and others just want to pursue sonic mayhem. Either way, there’s a ton of ground to cover and this will be less a “desert island” group than a “must have” from among the wide range of fuzz tones available on the market today.

1. Monsterpiece PNP DLX Fuzz

It’s almost impossible for me to simply pick just one fuzz out of Richard’s line. I have tried almost all of them and some of my favorites are his DZT (Dizzy Tone), the Angry Dick 2000 (best Bosstone I have ever played), and the PNP DLX which is sort of a modified Fuzz Face silicon/germanium two-transistor blend with input bias and transistor bias. It records magnificently. Plus, open ‘em up and you’ll find the most meticulous, beautiful wiring on the market.  Better yet, Richard’s pedals are generally cheaper than most—just ask him and he’ll customize anything you want. I’ve heard a few people complain about the “homebrew” designs of his pedals but that never bothered me. I’d rather have a killer tone and save some money. One of the nicest people in the pedal biz.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

2. Spiral Electric FX Black II

The Black V1 was a staple on my and my bandmates’ board for the last few years but Tom Cram has upped the game even more with the Black II. He’s refined it, swapped out to some different transistor combinations but kept the same bias and detail controls that made the V1 so killer. Based loosely on the classic Mosrite fuzz, this takes it far, far into the next level, and modernizes it. Every recording I’ve ever done with the Black I or II has been a no-brainer. Just plug, play, and record. It doesn’t need a lot of caressing or EQ after the fact and sits perfectly in your tracks. A real beauty and a steal for the money when you consider how versatile it is. Honorable mention to his Demhe fuzz which is a bit smaller and less expensive.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

3. CMC Guitar and Effects Triple Octave Manipulator

I did a full review of the Triple Octave Manipulator earlier in 2022 and several months later I have not changed my mind. It’s definitely the best octave fuzz/distortion I have ever played and I must have tried dozens over the years. It tracks perfectly (a big deal) and allows you to blend gain and volume on each channel of upper octave, lower octave, and sub-octave. Incredible. I remember playing it on a track right after I got mine and the artist I was working with screamed “MORE!!!” That’s worth it alone, eh? You can get pretty creative with this pedal and I come up with many new and exciting parts that I’m sure would never have occurred without it.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

4. Super Electric Effects Jen Fuzz and Sustain

I’ve played a few Jen Fuzz clones as well as an original. Jimmy Behan’s version is by far the best. What makes it special is his addition of two, 3-way toggle switches to combine different transistors.  Both switches down settings are the gnarliest, more outrageous settings by the way. It’s fantastic! Completely bananas. The original Jen Fuzz is a curious beast anyway because it’s not spoken about as much as many other fuzz models but it’s one of the first gated, splatty fuzzes I heard and it’s different in that it has more sustain than most gated fuzzes which makes it really great for slide guitar work among other things. So you get cutting, biting, spitty fuzz but it sings at the same time. Quite an unusual combination. Jimmy is based in Ireland but he ships his pedals out fast and like Monsterpiece he can make you any classic you wish for a very reasonable price.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

5. Faceless FX De Sade Fuzz

Tim at Faceless FX is not playing around when it comes to fuzz. Each model he makes is meticulously tuned and crafted and I have yet to hear one that wasn’t the absolute best representation of that type of fuzz. His De Sade is a magnificent rendition of a Tonebender Mk1 but far, far better. It’s thicker, fatter, heftier, wider, creamier, and more textured but yet still biting in a classic way. If you’ve ever tried a Tonebender and loved it but thought, “I wish it was more…” then the De Sade is for you. One of the truly best fuzzes you will ever play and it works in almost any musical context. This fuzz may have more overall character than any I’ve ever played.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

6. Drolo Lilac Cloud

David Rolo is one of my favorite pedal builders period and many of his devices are amongst the most cutting-edge in the industry. So when he told me he was designing a sort of Harmonic Percolator hybrid I jumped at the chance to try it. He came up with a pedal that has two different clipping choices via a toggle switch, a feedback knob (in a fuzz!?!?) that contours the sound more than you’d think, and in a very unique manner, a “flab” knob to tighten or loosen the feel and a bass and treble control. The best thing I can tell you about this pedal is that every time my bandmates and I were listening back to recordings they kept asking, “Wow, what fuzz was that?” and every time it was the Lilac Cloud. It rips with a lot of heft as well.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

7. Basic Audio Kay Fuzz

If you’ve ever wondered what fuzz Daniel Lanois uses then here’s your answer: he uses a classic, wah-enclosure Kay fuzz. It’s a zippy, biting octave fuzz but the octave isn’t as pronounced as some other octave fuzzes such as the Octavia that Jimmy Hendrix used. It’s a bit more subtle than that, but it definitely cuts through a mix. However, they are known to vary in sound a lot from pedal to pedal and are somewhat unreliable. Step in John Lyons and Basic Audio. His single-footprint Kay Fuzz is not only solid but he made some improvements such as a 2-way diode toggle and a 2-way fat toggle to flesh out more bottom out of the fuzz. That is how I use it. He also added an octave switch between the level and fuzz toggle so you can choose how pronounced the octave is. Brilliant.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

8. Chase Bliss Audio Bliss Factory

One of the very first fuzz pedals that blew my doors off was the ZVex Fuzz Factory. It was wild, insane, almost uncontrollable (in certain settings), and HUGE. The Bliss Factory is a “souped up” version of the Fuzz Factory and a collaboration between Chase Bliss and ZVex. It has everything the Fuzz Factory had plus a resonant filter, presets, and digital control via the renowned Chase Bliss dip switches. Think of it as a fuzz sandbox in a playground where you’re the only kid. It’s like donuts to Homer Simpson in that, is there nothing it can’t do? It can be sinister, it can be snarling, it can be fat and wild and it can be everything in between. Truly a fuzz feast that will keep you stuffed for hours and hours.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

9. Collector Effector Moon Wolf Octave Fuzz

Since it’s almost impossible to get your hands on a GS Wyllie MoonRock the next best thing (and practically the same) is the Moon Wolf. Wyllie was a curious character who made fuzz art in his small shop out of found materials but they sounded even better than they looked. Sadly, he passed away some years back, but Patrick from Collector Effectors got to hang out with him beforehand and glean some insight. The thing that’s particularly revered of the Moon Wolf is the fuzz swell you get, sort of a bloom when the fuzz is full clockwise and the octave is glorious. Not too much and not too little. All of Patrick’s pedals are superbly tuned and have beautiful character and note decay. You can tell he really has great ears when you play his effects.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

10. Green Carrot Pedals Pumpkin Pi

I first heard about the Pumpkin Pi in a video demo about five or six years ago and I knew I had to have one. Fortunately, I placed an order just before a trip to the UK (where they are built) and received it there before my trip back home. It’s a twin-channel Muff combining a Green Russian-based model with the IC-based NYC model (think Billy Corgan) in one unit. You can use them separately or combine them but together they create a wall of sound quite unlike anything else. They obviously took a lot of time to tweak the circuits so they could play nice together and not fall apart when combined, yet still, sound great on their own. Massive. Just massive. And a ton of fun to play. Allow at least six weeks for delivery but definitely worth it. Very affordable as well.

Best Fuzz Guitar Pedals

Honorable Mention: Phosphene Audio Sci-Fi 91 — I have to mention this fuzz simply because I’ve ended up using it on so many recordings. It’s a crazy, gated, velcro, spitty, textured fuzz that has an extremely unique voice and cuts through anything. I’m never sure what I’m going to get out of it but it’s always fun. David always comes up with wild pedal designs that are always left of center and you can find his inventions on Etsy and Reverb.

So, there you have it. My top ten (eleven) that I’ve played extensively over the last several years after much testing. I’ve tried to cover octave, gated, classics, and unheralded sounds but of course, there are many, many more we could cover. Maybe in the future. In the meantime, fuzz is never wrong.

**All products are independently chosen by American Songwriter editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

**All products are independently chosen by American Songwriter editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

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