15 of the Best Mini Fuzz Pedals - 2018 Edition

Electric Guitar Guitar Ownership Guitar Pedals Effects Pedals Fuzz Mini Fuzz Pedals Mini Fuzz + -
2018AfBlg15MiniFuzz700

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 tried to assign the most relevant type-reference to each pedal - so you get an indication of the kind of tones you might get - of course their are demo videos attached too.

 

I am still a big fan of mini fuzzes, and still on the trail of trying to acquire as many of these as I can. I was surprised to find copies of the discontinued Lovepedal Bonetender still for sale at German store 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 around - either on Reverb or Ebay, so that may be a tricky acquisition. I was also fortunate to get the only Malekko Omicron Fuzz I’ve seen around for the last 12 months - everything else is still fairly widely available and in current circulation - and mostly on sale for between £100 and £150.

 

So in order of listing, I personally have the Little Fuzzy Drive, KOSound Fuzz, Bonetender, Malekko Omicron Fuzz, Black Secret and Baltic Blue Fuzz. Next on my list of likely 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 have to snap them up quickly before they rise up in price or someone else nabs them. I saw a Fuzzolo for as low as £87 at one stage, and they’re now back at £107 - generally I grab them if they go sufficiently or significantly under £100. There’s still a fairly broad range of prices here - these are based on the lowest cost I could find at the time.

 

You don’t get quite the versatility and depth of texture necessarily as some of the larger fuzzes - although every single one of these sounds great in its own right. For some people one of these may be your ideal all-time fuzz, for others they are neat space-savers if you want to / need to effortlessly slot a fuzz onto your board - and again even though they don’t have quite as many flavours as the compacts do - or the complex and interesting mixes of several rare transistors - all of these are dynamic and worthy of your attention - whether you like Fuzz Faces, Big Muffs, Tone Benders or more Gated or Velcro style varieties.

 

Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand:

Amsterdam Cream Big Eye Fuzz [Fuzz Face] - £170 (Reverb)

This simple single dial fuzz has a lovely creamy fuzz which sits somewhere between a Silicon Fuzz Face and a regular Big Muff Pi - gets more distorted as you crank, but can be very smooth and musical too. Amsterdam Cream has nothing to do with Holland, but originates in South Korea!

El Músico Loco Wee Beaver Small Fuzz [Big Muff] - discontinued - $150 when new, occasionally on Reverb

The Small versions of these seem to be very elusive at the moment, not seen one for sale for a good 12 months - not that I've been particularly focused on getting one. They can 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 quite a while 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, as well as 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 site has all the details you would ever want to know including how Maxon and then Ibanez came to clone the Big Muff sound. The 850 Mini Fuzz is just the latest step in that history.

JHS Mini Foot Fuzz [Fuzz Face] - £129

This one sounds like a really good Silicon Fuzz Face - possibly the best of the purely 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 regularly on Reverb - I by chance came across a near mint one based in France - which cost me around £80 with delivery - so roughly half price. I've acquired 2 cool Tone Benders in pretty quick succession and can't decide which one I prefer - they both sound great.

Lovepedal Bonetender [Tone Bender II] - discontinued - £157

I had been on the hunt for one of these for a while and came across one quite by accident really on the Musik Productiv site - I actually though there were several in stock here, but seems like I snapped up the last one. A really cool Tone Bender MKII pedal in a suitably compact enclosure.

Malekko Omicron Fuzz [Superfuzz] - discontinued - c£100 (Reverb)

Based on the slightly 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 allows you to select octave, low-end-boost and both together.

Mooer Black Secret [Rat] - £42

I actually have 2 mini Rat clones - this Mooer, and the also excellent BYOC Li'l Mouse - both sound great. I slightly prefer the Mooer though as it has a 2-way voicing toggle for additional fat mode, and it has more volume and gain on tap for greater versatility.

Mythos Golden Fleece [OD/Fuzz] - £139

Interesting pedal this one, based on the Hudson Broadcast (£155) I believe - the original being a 3-dial medium-sized pedal. The Golden Fleece shrinks it all down to a mini pedal with a single dial which sort of ramps up volume with a touch of gain as you crank it. All the controls you really need are the volume and tone dials on your guitar - so you can crank the pedal and do the rest from the comfort of your guitar. This pedal sounds lush and has just the right mix of fuzz and overdrive for a gorgeous rich and harmonic tone.

OneControl Baltic Blue Fuzz [Big Muff] - £70

One of 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 gives you 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 mini has at this low price. Most fuzzes are really simple 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 released of these pedals - a superior Octave / Octavia in mini format and with a whole lot of versatility via its 4 dials. It also has a 2-way toggle which allows you to switch off the fuzz and just use this as an upper octave pedal. Pigtronix make some really smart pedals at all the different size, and I've been really impressed by its growing range of mini pedals.

Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep [Bleep Fuzz] - £119

This is one of the more unusual fuzz pedals, and pretty unique at the mini size - comes with an Igor expression pad, and lots of options to shape the tone - into some truly oddball squelchy and bleepy fuzz tones. For sure an acquired taste, but for experimental noisemakers this 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 mini Zvex is the closest you can currently get to that buzzy gated core Zvex sound in a mini form factor - just crank the pulse-width dial clockwise for ultimate satisfaction.

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's the last one I discovered so sits outside the main 15 for now - it's currently discounted by a third obviously super rae, and less than a JHS Foot Fuzz for a pretty decent Fuzz Face clone - could be worth a gamble for someone.

Final Thoughts

The more I get into Fuzz, the more I realise the strengths and limitations of each format and each family of fuzz. As I've said a few times - the vast majority of fuzzes are pretty simple circuits and contain relatively few components - which can be acquired and assembled at low cost. It's when you try to source rare and exotic vintage Germanium and Silicon transistors that the prices start ramping up. Also - the more dials you add, the more expensive the circuit - as you need a bunch of components for each dial and switch.

 

What is amazing is that quite a few 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 deliver a fuzz anymore. What's more is that most of these mini fuzzes are engineered to be pedal-board friendly and can handle an upstream buffer and boost.

 

I had not really intended on getting the KOSound Fuzz, but £80 is a pretty sweet price for something that 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 am generally more actively on the hunt for the rares and discontinued pedals - and the Deaf Audio Little Voodoo Fuzz intrigues me a touch for that reason. Otherwise there are 4/5 pedals actively on my wishlist. I really want a Fuzzolo, Golden Fleece, Foot Fuzz and Octava - which will give me a really broad and useful range of 10 mini fuzzes!

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