Private: Do NOT follow this link!


Breaking Down the Break-up Part 2



The real godfather of all things distortion, the fuzz pedal was initially intended as an effect that would let a guitar player mimic the raspy, reedy tone of a saxophone. The legendary riff from the Rolling Stones classic song “Satisfaction” is archetypal of the fuzz sound—as are many of Jimi Hendrix’s ground breaking solos. The very best fuzz pedals are beloved for their “playability”— meaning the extent to which their response and dynamics can be controlled by your pick attack and your guitar’s volume control. Unlike linear boosters which generally don’t have a ‘sound’ of their own, fuzzes are used for their own inherent tone and drive qualities. However, they can also be used to drive a tube amp into overdrive. Ultimately, most great guitarists with definitive fuzz tones are using their pedals in both of these ways simultaneously to create a larger, more interactive instrument out of the individual components in their rig.



Just like the name suggests, an overdrive pedal seeks to replicate the sound of an overdriven tube amp. In the doing so, it often facilitates the real thing a little more quickly by pushing your amp into clipping a little earlier, just as a boost or fuzz will frequently do. While fuzz pedals of the ’60s and early ’70s inherently sound very little like an overdriven amplifier, the overdrive pedal came from a demand for warmer, gentler drive similar to that of a good valve amp turned up loud. The granddaddy of overdrives is the Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808 which was adored by players who wanted less than the extreme hair of the fuzz pedal, but more than the pristine clarity of a clean amp. The development of overdrive pedals continues today as manufacturers constantly strive to perfect the transparent, dynamic, valve-like tone. It remains probably the most popular single breed of pedal and the cornerstone of many a pedalboard.

Written By Nick Durant, Allegro Music Chelmsford 

Back to recent articles