This is a follow-up and extension to my August 16 post from last year. The number of recommended mini pedals has gone up from 9 to 15, and we’ve attempted to assign the most relevant type-reference to every pedal – so you get an indication of the kind of tones you could get – of course there are demo videos attached also.
I am still a huge fan of mini fuzzes, and on the road of trying to acquire as many of them as I can. I was surprised to find copies of the discontinued Lovepedal Bonetender still for sale at German shop Musik Productiv – so of the original nine I have 4, and of these 15 I have 6 now.
I have not seen any examples of the Wee Beaver Fuzz Small about – either on Reverb or Ebay, so that might be a catchy acquisition. I was also blessed to acquire the only Malekko Omicron Fuzz I’ve seen around for the last 12 months – everything else is still quite widely available and in current circulation – and largely available for between #100 and #150.
So in order of record, I personally have the Little Fuzzy Drive, KOSound Fuzz, Bonetender, Malekko Omicron Fuzz, Black Secret and Baltic Blue Fuzz. Next on my list of probable acquisitions are the Zvex Fuzzolo, JHS Mini Foot Fuzz, Mythos Golden Fleece and Pigtronix Octava.
Some of these get discounted every now and again – but you must snap them up quickly before they rise up in cost or someone else nabs them. I saw a Fuzzolo for as low as #87 at a point, and they are now back at #107 – generally I grab them if they go satisfactorily or under #100. There’s still a fairly broad selection of prices here – these are based on the lowest price I could find at the moment.
You don’t get quite the versatility and depth of feel necessarily as some of the larger fuzzes – although each one of these sounds great in its own right. For some people these may be your perfect all-time fuzz, for others they are neat space-savers if you would like to / need to effortlessly slot fuzz on your board – and even though they don’t have quite as many tastes as the compacts do – or the complicated and interesting mixes of many rare transistors – all of these are energetic and worthy of your attention – if you enjoy Fuzz Faces, Big Muffs, Tone Benders or more Gated or Velcro style varieties.
Pedals are listed alphabetically by manufacturer:
Amsterdam Cream Big Eye Fuzz [Fuzz Face] – #170 (Reverb)
This simple single dial fuzz has a beautiful creamy fuzz which sits somewhere between a Silicon Fuzz Face and a regular Big Muff Pi – gets more distorted as you crank, but may be very smooth and musical too. Amsterdam Cream has nothing to do with Holland, but appears in South Korea!
El Músico Loco Wee Beaver Small Fuzz [Big Muff] – stopped – $150 when fresh, occasionally on Reverb
The little versions of these seem to be somewhat elusive right now, not seen one for sale for a good 12 months – not that I have been especially focused on acquiring one. They could go for around #70 second hand if you find one. Sounds really great – slightly aggressive and distorted type of fuzz.
EWS Little Fuzzy Drive [Fuzz Face / Muff] – #144
For a long time this was my main fuzz pedal – ever so versatile and use friendly – and build around an OpAmp rather than Germanium or Silicon transistors – so it can sit anywhere and take a boost or buffer upstream. Comes with three dials – Tone, Gain and Volume, and a 2-way voicing toggle which takes you between Fuzzy Drive and Fat Fuzzy modes – some would very much put this in the Big Muff -style camp, but I can also get some Fuzz Face
Ibanez 850 Mini Fuzz [Big Muff] – #80
The history of Fuzz is a fascinating subject – as is that of the key types along the way like the various Big Muff types and their clones. The Kitrae website has all of the details you would ever need to know including how Maxon and then Ibanez came to clone the Big Muff sound. The 850 Mini Fuzz is only the most recent step in that history.
JHS Mini Foot Fuzz [Fuzz Face] – #129
This one seems like a very good Silicon Fuzz Face – possibly the best of the only Fuzz Face minis – capable of searing and singing tones. You can rarely go wrong with a JHS.
KO Amps KOSound Fuzz [Tone Bender II] – $150
These Canadian pedals are largely only available in North America and Mexico – but they do turn up fairly frequently on Reverb – I by chance came across a near mint one based in France – that cost me around #80 with delivery – so roughly half price. I have acquired 2 cool Tone Benders in fairly quick succession and can’t decide which one I prefer – they both sound great.
Lovepedal Bonetender [Tone Bender II] – stopped – #157
I had been on the hunt for one of them for a while and came across one quite by accident on the Musik Productiv website – I really though there were several in stock here, but seems like I snapped up the last one. A really cool Tone Bender MKII pedal at a suitably compact enclosure.
Malekko Omicron Fuzz [Superfuzz] – stopped – c#100 (Reverb)
Based on the marginally cult and much loved Univox Superfuzz – this is a suitably gnarly octave pedal with plenty of gainey fuzz on tap and an internal 3-way voicing switch which permits you to pick octave, low-end-boost and both together.
Mooer Black Secret [Rat] – #42
I actually have 2 miniature Rat clones – this Mooer, and the also excellent BYOC Li’l Mouse – both sound great. I slightly prefer the Mooer though as it’s a 2-way voicing toggle for additional fat mode, and it’s more volume and gain on tap for increased versatility.
Mythos Golden Fleece [OD/Fuzz] – #139
Interesting pedal this one, based on the Hudson Broadcast (#155) I think – the first being a 3-dial medium-sized pedal. The Golden Fleece shrinks it all down to a miniature pedal using a single dial that sort of ramps up volume with a bit of gain as you crank it. All of the controls you really need are the tone and volume dials on your guitar so you can crank the pedal and do the remainder from the comfort of your guitar. This pedal sounds lush and has just the perfect mix of fuzz and overdrive to get a gorgeous rich and harmonic tone.
OneControl Baltic Blue Fuzz [Big Muff] – #70
Among the really great mini fuzz pedals which allows you to achieve 3 Muff flavours via just the standard 3 Tone, Volume and Sustain dials. Sweeping through the dials provides you with a great mix of Pi, Triangle and Ram’s Head tones. A really dynamic pedal with superb clean-up potential.
Outlaw Effects Five O’Clock Fuzz [Big Muff] – #35
This Canadian-designed and Chinese-made pedal is the most affordable in this lineup yet still delivers impressive toneage. It’s kind of surprising how much range this miniature has at this very low price. Most fuzzes are really straightforward circuits and as long as you’re not using super-expensive rare transistors your components should come well within the #10-#15 mark.
Pigtronix Octava Octave Fuzz [Octavia] – #135
This is most recently published of these pedals – a superior Octave / Octavia in mini format and with a whole lot of versatility via its 4 dials. Additionally, it has a 2-way toggle that allows you to switch off the fuzz and only use this as an upper octave pedal. Pigtronix make some really smart pedals at all the different dimensions, and I have been really impressed by its growing range of miniature pedals.
Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep [Bleep Fuzz] – #119
This is one of the more peculiar fuzz pedals, and pretty unique at the miniature size – includes an Igor expression pad, and lots of choices to shape the tone – into some truly oddball squelchy and sleep fuzz tones. For sure an acquired taste, but for experimental noisemakers that has enormous potential.
Zvex Fuzzolo [Gated Fuzz] – #107
It’s not so long since I acquired a Vertical Zvex Fuzz Factory and Side Effects Woolly Mammoth 7 Clone – this miniature Zvex is the closest you can currently get to this buzzy gated core Zvex sound in a miniature form factor – just twist the pulse-width dial clockwise for ultimate gratification.
Reserve 1 – Deaf Audio Little Voodoo Fuzz [Fuzz Face] – $99 (Effekt Boutique)
I ran into this Norwegian gem on boutique German pedal shop site purely by chance – it is the last one I discovered so sits out the most important 15 for today – it is currently discounted by a third party obviously super rae, and less than a JHS Foot Fuzz to get a fairly decent Fuzz Face clone – could be worth a bet for somebody.
The more I get into Fuzz, the more I realise the strengths and limitations of each format and every family of fuzz. As I’ve said a couple of times – the huge majority of fuzzes are pretty simple circuits and contain relatively few elements – that can be obtained and assembled at low cost. It’s when you try to supply rare and exotic classic Germanium and Silicon transistors that the costs start ramping up. Also – the more dials you add, the more expensive the circuit – since you want a bunch of components for each dial and change.
What is amazing is that a number of pedals here can compete with some of the best that are available at much larger sizes – you really don’t need a super-sized enclosure with 24V power requirement to provide a fuzz anymore. What is more is that a large part of these mini fuzzes are designed to be pedal-board friendly and can handle upstream buffer and boost.
I had not really intended on getting the KOSound Fuzz, but #80 is a pretty sweet price for something which normally fetches $150 and is usually only available across the water at $150 + shipping + customs duties! – So I’ll take that as a win. I’m generally more actively on the hunt for the rare and stopped pedals – and the Deaf Audio Little Voodoo Fuzz intrigues me a bit because of this. Otherwise there are 4/5 pedals actively on my wishlist. I truly need a Fuzzolo, Golden Fleece, Foot Fuzz and Octava – which will give me a very broad and useful assortment of 10 mini fuzzes!