Time is a great equalizer, maybe the great equalizer. It doesn’t care how smart, talented, important or kind you are, it just keeps on moving and eventually takes you with it. Time has had a tremendous effect on fuzz, as we’ve seen with all the recent entrants to the market. While some fuzz pedal forefathers from the ’60s and ’70s are still out there making their voices heard, the fuzz classics of tomorrow probably won’t resemble the fuzzes your grandpa plugged into when his group “The Merry Gents” played the “Spaghetti and Meatball Social” down at the Elks Lodge. And that is a good thing. TheToneKing.com takes a look at some of the fuzzes that are making their own case for greatness today.
TheToneKing.com visitors and viewers already know what kinds of good stuff James Brown of Amptweaker fame has been cooking up: versatile, customizable pedals that offer a slew of features catering to working players, studio hounds and casual players alike. My favorite feature is the Sidechain, which essentially a built-in effects loop that enables the player to patch in a second effect, pre- or post-fuzz, and add a little extra “secret sauce” to the already smoking tones contained within. Fuzz pedals are known for the powerful, expressive sounds, and the Tightfuzz takes that expression to whole new levels
Earthquaker Devices Hoof
As described by TTK during the Hoof’s 3P3D 2011 spotlight, Earthquaker Devices’ Hoof takes its tonal cues from the Muff family of tones, but brings those tones into the modern era in the form of a “Shift” control, which alters the character and response of the tone control and helps rein in the mud and wooziness on the bass side of the spectrum that can plague some Muff-inspired fuzzes. This gives the Hoof a level of versatility unmatched in the traditional design that it takes its inspiration from. Some players have even reported the ability to use it as an overdrive.
P.o.B. Mighty Tiny Fuzz
One characteristic that sets the pedals of today apart from those of the past is size. Pick just about any random old school fuzz classic. Chances are, you’ll run into odd jack configurations and huge footprints that make pedalboard integration is a significant chore.
Modern pedal makers have realized that you don’t need huge casing to make a great pedal, and one of the most compact on the market is the P.o.B. Mighty Tiny Fuzz. But the accolades don’t just end with the pedal’s footprint. The MTF is a seriously responsive, versatile fuzz can go from detailed and modern to fat with hints of classic fuzz buzz simply by changes made in your attack. It’s P.o.B.’s best seller, evidence that the MTF is making a mighty big name for itself among musicians.
GTM End of the World Fuzz
One of the most endearing qualities of a good fuzz pedal is that little bit of chaos that lurks within. That little bit of teetering-on-the-edge unpredictability is sometimes the very element that can take a routine guitar from blah to BLAM!
Well, the name “End of the World Fuzz” is not simply a marketing ploy. GTM’s signature Fuzz pedal sounds like a thousand ’60s and ’70s fuzz pedals were thrown into an active volcano, agitating it to the point of massive eruption. Send your bass player home and put your octave pedals on FleaBay; the low end in this pedal is enough to shake free the drywall from every part of your house.
ZVEX Fuzz Factory
Not much of a stretch here, but we can’t talk about modern fuzz greatness without mentioning ZVEX. By some accounts, the Fuzz Factory is already ensconced in the Fuzz Hall of Fame. ZVEX’s continued innovation on the Fuzz Factory concept, such as the Fat Fuzz Factory has established it as a true modern classic that redefined the term “tweakability” for effects pedals and the unique spin on pedal artwork that ZVEX has incorporated sets the ZVEX line apart visually as well as sonically.
TheToneKing.com readers: did we get it right? Tell us in the comments!
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