We all love a good fuzz pedal, but since each has its own character, finding exactly the right one can lead to frustration or, according to Brian Wampler, Fuzztration: “The torturous feeling of desperation when searching for the perfect fuzz.”
The obvious solution would be a fuzz pedal with a wider than usual scope, going beyond a standard two- or three-knob unit’s limited sonic possibilities. How about two distinct fuzz voices to start off with, separate bass, middle and treble controls to tweak them with, plus an added footswitchable upper octave that can be pre- or post-fuzz? Yep, that’ll do nicely.
The Fuzztration’s Tight voicing covers the typical Big Muff territory of fuzz that verges on distortion with a scoop in the midrange. In an A/B test, it shows itself a more than capable substitute as the three tone knobs offer extended nuance over the Pi’s single Tone knob. The EQ knobs, in fact, have a massive part to play in the pedal’s versatility; moving from the neutral 12 o’clock settings offers emphatic cut or boost in the relevant range. Switch across to the Open voicing and you’ve got thicker, responsive fuzz with a full midrange that can offer smooth sustain but can also get raspily unkempt around the edges with judicious use of the treble knob.
The Octave in its Pre setting offers shades of the Octavia that should please Jimi fans. Open Fuzz plus Pre Fuzz Octave gets you close to the Octavia/Fuzz Face combination, although be aware that the fuzz here does not clean up nicely like a Fuzz Face with volume control. Place octave after fuzz and all hell can break loose: if you’re looking for spluttery mayhem or just something a little wilder than the norm, there’s loads to be explored. Incidentally, the octave can be used independently of the fuzz and is great for giving single-note lines a sitar-like effect.
Any attempt to create everyman’s fuzz pedal inevitably runs the risk of lacking any character of its own. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. There’s nothing bland about the Fuzztration: this is a pedal that revels in plenty of pizzaz while ticking the (fuzz) boxes of many, encompassing classic rock tones, familiar to all, as well as more ‘out there’ stuff for the iconoclasts.