Is Fender's The Pelt the most underrated fuzz pedal around?

Fender The Pelt fuzz pedal
(Image credit: Future)

While it's become normal to see boutique effects pedals at $200+, there are still plenty of bargains to be found. But what about the ones from mainstream brands that might not be getting their dues? Fender's The Pelt fuzz pedal could be a prime contender.

While Fender's pedal line doesn't get the tonehounds frothing like some others, it's been a dependable source of quality since the company joined the effects fray in 2018. The Pelt followed in the second wave of releases for that year and impressed us in out review. So it's not underrated by us by any means, but we don't sense it's got the love it deserves. 

A silicon fuzz pedal for modernists less bothered by the a hallowed land of Germanium, we were especially taken with the versatility afforded by the Blend control. Combined with a great range of drive it would make an ideal first fuzz for newcomers or those yet to be convinced. And it turns out Chris Buck is a fan of The Pelt too.

While he's not averse to waxing lyrical about '59 Bursts, Chris is no snob as his recent championing of the Squier 40th Anniversary Jazzmaster proves. Following a blazing demo with it, Chris explains his admiration for The Pelt below.

"It's been with me pretty much everywhere; live shows, sessions, innumerable YouTube videos. Even all over the Cardinal Black album," says Chris.

Which came as news to us because it wasn't on his pedalboard when we took a look  last year, but it turns out it's a bit of a secret weapon for him. And although Fender sent him the pedal five years ago, Chris stresses in the video above that it's not a sponsored affiliation in any way. He's also a big fan of that Bloom control. 

"It essentially affects how aggressive the fuzz sounds," summarises Chris. "When you turn it back to the left you're definitely in closer territory to, say, a vintage Fuzz Face. But by bringing it forwards it gives you that more aggressive, modern, spluttery, kind of Velcro-ripping sound. Which for me at least is where the Pelt comes into its own."

Fender The Pelt Fuzz

(Image credit: Fender)

The Pelt is also one of the few fuzz pedals I've tried where you can have some degree of confidence in running it into a clean amp in isolation and it not sounding like a bag of spanners

Chris Buck

Chris points to The Pelt's more aggressive side as being able to summon some of the Fuzzlord Scott Holiday's tones in Rival Sons. As Chris ably demonstrates with a touch of slapback echo. 

"The Pelt is also one of the few fuzz pedals I've tried where you can have some degree of confidence in running it into a clean amp in isolation and it not sounding like a bag of spanners," adds Chris. So one for the fuzz sceptics. And with the mid cut and mid push controls alongside the low end control of the Thick switch and Tone dial gives you a lot of options beyond many other fuzz pedals.  

The bad news is it's not very easy to find from the main retailers right now but Fender UK have it for £109 and it's $149.99 from the Fender US store

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.