You cannot talk about Octave Fuzz Pedals without mentioning Jimi Hendrix and his sound technician Roger Mayer - who together collaborated to create the very first octave pedal - the Octavia - which reproduced the input signal from a guitar one octave higher in pitch, and mixed it with the original and added fuzz. This sound is best known via the classic Hendrix tracks Purple Haze and Fire which went on to inspire a whole category of pedals - including the other legendary octave pedal - the Tycobrahe Octavia.
Jimi variously called his pedal the ’Octavio’ as well as ’Octavia’ so now we have Roger Mayer making updated versions of his original Ocatvia, the Tycobrahe Octavia being remade by Fulltone as the Octafuzz, and Jim Dunlop buying up the Hendrix licencing rights and putting out its own version - the Octavio. All these pedals used Silicon transistors initially, but it’s not clear what they use now, some may well have switched to more controllable OpAmp chips.
I’ve marked up the below listed pedals in parenthesis as to whether they are octave up or down - in fact 9 of the 12 are ’Up’, 2 are ’Down’ and the odd one out kind of glitches in ’Both’ directions. All the Up ones are pretty much derivations of the original classics, while the Okto Nøjs and Blue Box are more more modern evolutions pitching in the other direction.
For a while I thought I really needed an Octave Fuzz pedal - and my favourite candidate at the time was the Fulltone Octafuzz. However back then my power supplies weren’t all fully isolated, and the Octafuzz most definitely requires isolated supply with reversed polarity or centre positive lead - so that kind of put the plan on hold. In the meantime I came across the rather cool mini Malekko Omicron Fuzz - a regular powered Germanium diode fuzz with 3-way internal voicing switch - and which just happens to cover octave tones - so I settled on that.
The odd pedal out in this listing is the Evil Filter which combines a number of different effects under the same chassis, while my other favourite here is the really new Pigtronix Octava - another cool mini pedal - with 5 tone controls and the ability to turn down the fuzz.
So should be plenty of options here for everyone - in terms of size, sound and feature-set.
Pedals listed alphabetically following on from the sort of originals.
So Roger has pretty much been making iterations of his original Hendrix Octave pedal since 1967. There are no existing demo videos of the latest 'Classic' version enclosure, but it is pretty much identical to the Octavio Vision featured in the above demo - it moves away from the original rocket-ship style 2-knob version with an additional Tone dial. The principal changes are in the layout and inputs/outputs but the internal components remain largely unchanged to preserve the legacy. Of course the Octavia sounds fantastic, but I fail to see why vintage pedals have to have such oversized enclosures. The Malekko Omicron Fuzz comes plenty close enough in an enclosure almost one tenth of the size? If Roger Mayer made his Octavia in a compact enclosure I feel sure he would make more sales.
As I mentioned in the intro, this was for a while my number one target - but I was a touch put off by its power requirements and need for isolated centre positive supply. The pedal is simple to operate with just Volume and Boost dials and a Octave / Fuzz toggle. This is an exact modern remake of the Tycobrahe Octavia which pretty much sounds the same - i.e. great - the only word of warning here is this pedal's power requirements - otherwise it's a great indicator for how easily vintage pedals can be compacted down and accurately remodelled when engineered properly.
This is actually a pretty decent Octavia clone - made pseudo authentic because of the Jim Dunlop company's ownership of Jimi Hendrix's licensing rights. It's sort of a classic example of marketing as the actual original derivations are the Octavia and Octafuzz, and unlike the Fuzz Face, there is no direct lineage or legacy here - this is actually a Dunlop clone of the original. With all that said - it actually sounds really good and is a worthy addition to this list.
I covered this pedal in an earlier post on 9 of the best Envelope Filter Pedals - yet this pedal gives you a lot more - it's also a formidable fuzz pedal, and it by mixing up the various filter dials in combination you can get a sort of glitched out octave fuzz in both directions. So it's a rather unusual both wholly justifiably worthwhile pedal for inclusion here - although significantly oversized compared to the others here. A really interesting pedal nevertheless.
A classic Octavio / Octafuzz style clone with 3 dials - Volume, Octave and Boost. It sounds pretty great and at a pretty reasonable price - and it certainly gives you a little extra feature set over the Hendrix Octavio. If you're budget conscious then this gives you everything you need.
This modern evolution is quite a different pedal to the others listed here - not just because its octave down, but you have a dual channel dual fuzz with a mix of dark raspy fuzz and some really synthy like fuzz tones. I really like this, just my usual complaint about enclosure size - that said there is a lot going on here and properly innovative.
This is a really unusual noisemaker - actually specifically an Upper Octave Feedback Fuzz - which sounds suitably squelchy and doomy - and perfect for a post apocalyptic soundtrack - as demonstrated in Dennis Kayzer's above video. Really cool sounding as far as I'm concerned and a slightly more textured flavour than the others on the page - well worth consideration for the more experimental of you - purists however are unlikely to like this.
I was lucky to come across a mint version on Reverb.com going for just £100 - this pedal is based on the legendary Univox Superfuzz. It looks really simple on the surface with just Drive and Volume dials - but the real magic happens inside the pedal where you can toggle between Octave Fuzz | Fat Fuzz | Octave + Fat. 3 cool modes which sound great. I did an article on how great all these mini fuzzes were, and I am slowly but surely acquiring all those listed. This one now has a degree of competition from the very new Pigtronix Octava Mirco - but they not sound significantly different - and I will get the Octava too eventually!
Only the second Octave Down pedal featured here, and this is quite a different proposition to the multi-faceted Okto Nøjs. The Blue Box generates heavy and glitchy / almost synth-like at times - sub octave fuzz tones - pitched 2 octaves below input signal. You just have two dials here - Output and Blend - so this is definitely one for the purists - just really the opposite of the Octavio - and pitched down instead of up, but sounds really good for pretty reasonable money.
This is newest kid on the block - released late 2107 if memory serves - a great little octave up fuzz pedal with 4 dials and a Fuzz on/off button. Sounds really cool, and gets added to my must-have mini fuzz pedals list which I'm doing rather well with at the moment - still plenty to get there, and I still haven't acquired a Dr Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep yet or the Zvex Fuzzolo - both of which mini fuzzes have been on my wishlist for the longest time. For the Octava you have Volume | Blend | Filter | Drive - so really good tone-sculpting options for such a small pedal, and quite different to how the Malekko Omicron Fuzz does it.
This octave-up fuzz from Canadian fuzz specialists delivers a relatively unusual warm and really musical Germanium tone. Sounds quite different to the other mostly Silicon octave fuzzes in this listing - with its additional 3-way Texture voicing toggle too - this is sort of the Thorpy Fallout Cloud of the Octave Up pedals and will really appeal to vintage style fans. I really love the sound of this. Note that the stock model comes in rather ugly yellow colourway and the above is the more limited custom aged copper colourway. This is a really cool pedal actually and probably my favourite sounding of the Octave Up ones! I may see if I can hunt down a copper version at some stage. Reverb.com actually has a really nice custom weathered rust colourway version at the moment - going for around £150.
Another slightly smoother sounding Octave Up style pedal, but not close to as warm and rounded as the 76 Octave Fuzz above. Here you have the customary twin Volume and Effect dials, but also a 3-way tone toggle which provides additional low end and mid-range boosts. Quite a different sounding Octave Up pedal - yet not quite as cool as the 76 Octave Fuzz which is my favourite sounding one in this listing.
As always I went into this one very open minded, and tried to draw on as large a selection as possible - at different sizes, price points etc. All of these are actually pretty good in their own way. and the Hendrix Octavio actually really pleasantly surprised me. The big winner here though for me was the SolidGoldFX 76 Octave Fuzz which sounds beautifully warm and rich and quite different to the much cooler sounding mostly silicon octave fuzzes on this page.
I have a soft spot for mini fuzzes - and so will be getting the little Pigtronix Octava at some stage, but I also now have a mind to hunt down a 76 Fuzz - in anything but the stock ugly yellow colourway! Pretty much all of these sound quite different to each other, and most generate really unique tones - so that everyone should find something they like here if they indeed like this style of effect.