Distortion is one of the key weapons in any guitarist's arsenal. Here are four filthy fuzzboxes to send you into overdrive...
London, England, 1964. A part-time inventor named Roger Mayer gives a prototype fuzz pedal to an up-and-coming session man called Jimmy Page, and in doing so, transforms the sound of rock ’n’ roll from twangy and twee to filthy and furious.
Mayer’s fuzzbox might not have been quite the first, but the prolific work of his big-name clients - Page, Jeff Beck, Big Jim Sullivan - ensured the sound got everywhere, and by the time Keith Richards clattered through the 1965 smash (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, the revolution was on.
Distortion is often the first effect on a guitarist's shopping list (aka ‘overdrive’, ‘fuzz’ or simply ‘filth’) and our love affair with it shows no sign of cooling. But these days, it takes different forms. Putting aside the fact that even basic amps are capable of distortion, the rise of multi-FX and modelling units like the Line 6 POD mean that a standalone stompbox has to be bloody good to justify its relative expense.
But then, you only have to check out the pedalboards of the stars to appreciate that dedicated pedals still very much have a place.
Would you seriously consider buying a compression pedal when you could blow the roof off with one of these? First up is ProTone’s Skumstortion (£129), followed by the bonkers Dr Freakenstein Fuzz (£249) from UK newcomers Rainger. We’ve got the compact FullBore Metal (£149) from effects guru MXR, and the long-awaited return of Mr FX himself, with the Roger Mayer Metalloid (£215). This will get loud.