Gnarly fuzz pedal recommendations

I think I'm in the market for a gnarly fuzz. I was playing with some octave fuzzes last week that didn't quite do it for me. But got me curious for a real face melter type fuzz. I have an Atreides Weirding Module, but it's maybe a bit too far, 'effect-y' and uncontrollable. I had an EQD Bit Commander a few years back, but didn't really use it much. It may have been right, but it wasn't at the time. But I do like that reign it in kind of fuzz. Fuzz wise I have a Carcosa, JHS Series-3, and the Big Muff Reissues (Ram, Triangle, OpAmp, Russian, Nano). I dig the Fuzz Factory model in the HX but tend to like outboard drives for quick adjustments. I think the model sounds fine, it's just the hands-on-edness of a drive pedal that I like. So far my short list is a real Fuzz Factory, the Redbeard Honey Badger is interesting, Jackson Audio Fuzz (is that just Fuzz Face with octave?), Spiral Allora. Anything else I should look at? I know everything sounds subtly different, but if I'm tone chasing that .5% and can get there with what I have, I don't need to grab something else.


I know everything sounds subtly different, but if I'm tone chasing that .5% and can get there with what I have, I don't need to grab something else.
The Carcosa is a versatile fuzz... but I wouldn't say that in general fuzz is
all about "subtle difference". Some are. Many are different from each other
in not so subtle ways.

The note decay on a fuzz can turn into a ring-mod-like clang or spritz out
like an atomized spray of iron shavings tracing the lines of a magnetic field.

Turning down the tone knob on your guitar can accentuate octave-up sounds
with some fuzz circuits. Turning down the volume knob on your guitar can
"clean up" the signal with Fuzz Face circuits or introduce chirps and oscillations
with other circuits, such as the Catalinbread Antichthon.

Fuzz Factory definitely is in the gnarly/mayhem fuzz category. But so are versions
of the Schumann PLL. I have a Montreal Assembly PurPLL and it is a lot of
psychotic fun, especially with bass guitar.


JptrFX has some cool fuzz devices, the Caroline Shigeharu is an awesome muff style thing, Wren and Cuff make fantastic fuzzed as well.

ETA* Idiot Box effects dungeon master and Blackout are super nasty.


Check the Spaceman Sputnik III I love that pedal when I want to get gnarly.

Here are a couple of clips of how I use it.


A little riff I wrote because of the pedal

First time using it


Foxx Tone Machine, dime all 3 knobs.

Unpleasant Surprise, all switches up, dime the knobs.

Fuzzrite, dime the knobs.

The JPTR FX Silver machine can do gnarly sounds but I bjave no direct experience.


I use a EQD Terminal and a Torn's Peaker and they fufill that function for me, but when I think of absolute gnarliness, I think of JPTR FX


So I'm assuming we should disregard octave fuzz, and focus on tricked out fuzz face and tonebender variants. Sound about right?

Function F(x) Clusterfuzz falls in that category imo.
The Fuzz Factory was a bit too unpredictable for me, the oscillation:useable ratio was leaning a bit too much to the weirder side. Which why settled on a Mastotron, which is less of a squeelbleethrob machine, and more of a heavey in yer face kinda fuzz.

Fred Smith

Source Audio Ultrawave.

It has fuzz, overdrive, distortion, foldover, multiwave distortion*, very clear octave up distortion, tremolo, ring modulation, compression, etc.

It’s stereo and there are hundreds of presets that can be easily auditioned and downloaded from Source Audio’s Neuro app.

Highly recommended.

Go to 4:52 for “Roswell Fuzz.”

* If you play in a band with another guitarist who uses a very thick, distorted sound, a multiwave distortion will immediately distinguish your instrument from the other guitarist’s instrument.
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