When I started this roundup a few years ago, there were only 9 pedals in my selection, while this latest edition has 28 - which will likely be the maximum number I display here - I will just ongoingly swap in newer and more interesting pedals as and when I come across them - for future roundups.
I’ve long since singled out Fuzz Pedals as being particularly suitable for the mini format - and in fact my first long-term pedal-chain fuzz was the still excellent EWS Little Fuzzy Drive - which kind of gives you a flavour of both Face and Muff style fuzzes. Of the current listing of 28, I have 12* in my collection - with the DeadFX ’I can’t feel myFACE Super-Fuzz’ as the latest addition - thanks to a reader of my Instagram page for bringing my attention to that one (bradgilmartin).
I’ve also been really impressed with Dave Friesema’s growing range of mini fuzzes - he of Function F(x) fame - and would have included more of his here if there were more appropriate product shots in the right format. As it is I needed to spend a lot of time re-constructing his Clusterfuzz Mini in Photoshop for use in this and the previous ’Mini Pedal State of the Art’ feature - in fact there are a number of pedals shown here that needed to be significantly graphically / perspective manipulated for inclusion. I obviously have a preference for face-on visuals - so you can see exactly what’s going on with that pedal - you don’t get as clear an overview / understanding from a 3/4 view - I really need to see what all the knobs and switches do!
I was really impressed with the quartet of new Hendrix Mini Pedals Dunlop introduced at Summer NAMM 2019 (3 fuzzes + Uni-Vibe) - these are likely mostly SMD constructions - but there are some really clever features here and some fantastic artwork courtesy of UK design studio / design crüe ILOVEDUST - and they sound pretty great too.
My own 12 in the listing are the Analogwise Pocket Rocket Germanium Fuzz, DeadFX myFace Super-Fuzz, El Músico Loco Wee Beaver Fuzz, EWS Little Fuzzy Drive, KO Amps KO Sound Fuzz (TB MKII), KO Amps Rhino Fuzz (Skreddy Mayo), Lovepedal BoneTender (TB MKII), Malekko Omicron Fuzz (Super Fuzz), Mooer Black Secret (Rat), Mythos Golden Fleece (Fuzzy-Drive), Mythos Joey Landreth High Road Fuzz (Gated Fuzz), and OneControl Baltic Blue Fuzz (Multi-Muff).
In terms of imminent acquisitions - I will likely get a D-Sound Ram’s Head at some stage, and try to get hold of a Free Fall Diver Huge and NFYFX Mini Fuzz Factory clone - while the main emphasis will be on acquiring 3 of Dave Friesema’s mini fuzzes - or namely the Clusterfuzz Mini as pictured, his Professional MKIII (TB MKIII) and Hive Mind Fuzz (Buzzaround).
There’s a lot here besides which have been on my longer-term wishlist / acquisition list - including the Ibanez 850 Fuzz and JHS Mini Foot Fuzz - oh - and of course I really like those ILOVEDUST Hendrix Minis too. In fact everything on this list is legit and I would happily possess all - while of course I have other priorities too. I’ve already proclaimed that 2020 is going to be my year of Boss (rounding out that selection of mine), but I will also undoubtedly be doing a side project in acquiring more mini fuzz pedals too!
Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand :
This is a great little mini germanium fuzz that I've featured on here a few times (and had for a couple of years now) - it features 3 controls - Bias | Volume | Gain - with the larger knob being the Gain dial. This pedal is just really nicely calibrated and delivers highly appealing tones right across the spectrum from boost, through overdrive and well into zingy fuzz territory. It has that lovely warm Germanium character, and makes for an exceptional fuzzy-drive to at the intersection of overdrive and fuzz.
David Evans' rip-roaring power-house of a fuzz is a really finely calibrated take on the Super Fuzz which a much more controlled and evenly balanced frequency profile. You have 4 controls here - Volume | Fuzz | Clip (Diode Bias) | Tone - which allow you to really finely sculpt the tone of a fuzz type which is known for being slightly out-of-control! David has set out to improve the various shortcomings of the original source fuzz - yielding a much more usable pedal all-round with more volume onboard and in a much smaller format than the original.
Great sounding Ram's Head style Mini Big Muff clone with the usual 3 controls - Level | Drive | Tone - the latest versions come in a really attractive sparkling purple finish which is of course the only way you should have this pedal. This is most certainly on my imminent acquisition list. I already have the Orion Distortion/Fuzz from this same builder - a really versatile 6-knob sort of multi-muff style unit.
Probably the most straightforward of the Hendrix fuzzes - supposedly a slightly tweaked Octavio/a Fuzz with the Octave component removed from the circuit. You get 3 controls here - Output | Tone | Fuzz - sounds as great as it looks, and I will be adding this to the collection in the not too distant future.
The cleverest version yet of the Hendrix Fuzz Face sees Silicon/Germanium switching alongside the Buffer option - all in a mini format. From the same stable as such as MXR's recent Brown Acid Fuzz - the Dunlop group of brands knows a thing or two about making fuzzes - and when combined with the superb artwork from UK design crüe ILOVEDUST - this is just a perfect format all-round. Will definitely be adding one of these to the collection some day soon.
The classic Octave fuzz re-formatted in tiny enclosure with all the appropriate controls intact - Level | Fuzz - and an 'Octave' switch to bypass that if desired. I have the older sibling already - the JHM6 variant, and that did not come with an Octave switching option - but sounds great nonetheless. I feel that all these Mini edition Hendrix fuzzes are really pretty great and well worth a look-in, and the ILOVEDUST artwork is a really nice bonus here.
This actually took me quite some time to track down and acquire as it's been discontinued for a while - I got this Spanish pedal from Japan in the end - courtesy of Ebay, and paid around $20 more than original RRP. It's a really great sounding but non-specific Muff-style fuzz - with two controls - Volume and Countour. You get a huge variety of tones courtesy of just those two knobs, which are a fetching black milled aluminium pair on mine - but these seem to vary quite a lot. In any case a great little Muff style fuzz and one of my favourites in my collection. These were all made by hand and in different batches so the look of each can vary slightly - including the depth of engraving and position of jacks.
This wee fuzz was actually my first proper long-term fuzz and a big part of my early pedal-chain. You have 4 controls - 3 knobs : Gain | Tone | Volume - and a 2-way toggle switch - default Fuzzy Drive when down, and Fat Fuzz when up. In Fuzzy Drive mode at low to medium Gain with Tone middle or above you get great Fuzz Face style tones, and flipping to Fat mode and ramping the gain and adjusting the Tone appropriately - brings you smack bang into Muff-style territory. This is just a really great versatile fuzz regardless of its format - I really should be brining it into rotation more often as it still sounds fantastic. If ever you needed a great endorsement for OpAmp style fuzzes - then this is it!
I waxed lyrical about this great wall-of-sound fuzz in my 'Mini Pedal State of the Art' piece - and boy does this tiny pedal live up to its name. Definitely sort of muff style territory but a really thick, rich and beefy sound that defies expectation. Alas - and as I mentioned then - currently only in circulation in Japan (and at dealers who won't ship abroad) - I will still figure out a way to acquire this in the next year - I'm definitely hunting one of these down. It's Muff credentials are somewhat underlined by 3-knob control topology - Volume | Sustain | Tone. A really great sounding pedal all-round.
I've been following Function F(x)'s co-founder Dave Friesema's Pickdropper Instagram page for a while - and been loving the many mini fuzz pedals appearing there - initially as one-off custom builds, but a number of these will be made more readily available in the forthcoming year. I've pictured the Clusterfuzz Mini here - with the 6 main controls from the original - Volume | 8-Bit | Tone | Fuzz knobs, and then two toggle-switches - Filter and Clipping. The larger original full-size pedal obviously has 5 different clipping modes while the mini has 3 of the best of those. I would have include also in this listing the Professional MKIII (TB MKIII) and Hive Mind (Buzzaround) but was unable to find suitable photography for inclusion. I am already in communication with Dave with a view to commissioning those three early in the new year - and I dare say I will want a couple more - the 4-knob Skeleton Rat looks pretty decent too! And I will be doing a more in-depth feature on those particular pedals early in the new year. Note that demo is once more here of the larger size original pedal - no demo yet exists of the new mini as far as I'm aware.
Japanese brands Ibanez and Maxon made forays into Big Muff style fuzzes early on in that pedal's history - Ibanez's was weirdly named the OD-850 Overdrive - while on the Mini edition of that Ibanez has changed it to the more suitable 850 Fuzz! The circuit and controls remain the same - Tone | Level | Sustain. This is its own footnote really within Big Muff history - and is a perfectly valid choice vs say a Triangle or Ram's Head.
This is another one I've been looking to get for a while - a really decent Silicon style Face Fuzz with the classic Volume and Fuzz controls - but here also with +/- toggle switch for stepping up or down the gain. I've kind of been waiting for this to hit the magic £100 mark - and I keep forgetting to grab one in the sales - or else have other priorities - as happened again this year. I tend to focus a little more on the hard-to-get ones - generally with the expectation that I can more easily pick up those in wider circulation. I will definitely be getting one of these some day soonish though. I already have its somewhat larger Germanium compact format sibling - the JHS Pollinator V2.
I first came across KO Amps / Kevin O'Reilly courtesy of the above pictured KO Sound Mini Fuzz - an excellent mini Tone Bender MKII style fuzz with additional Tone control to match the typical Volume and Fuzz knobs - this gives you a lot more range than you would get from a traditional MKII - and is also somewhat different to the Bias knob you see on many similar pedals. I can't recall exactly how I came across it on Reverb.com - but I liked what I saw and heard - and it was soon added to the collection. The pedal came accompanied with a number of different capacitors - which are aided by a socketed circuit construction - allowing you to customise the pedal to a certain degree and to your own preferences. Even though built using BC108 transistors for more controllability and consistency - the circuit is voiced on the Germanium MKII.
I had been trying to acquire a Skreddy Mayo / Mayonaise for the longest time before I asked Kevin O'Reilly to make me one of his excellent mini Mayo clones - he had an earlier version in an actual Mayo labelled enclosure, but felt uncomfortable about possibly upsetting Marc Ahlfs by using that same name - so we settled on an existing lime-green 'Rhino' enclosure. I've since acquired an actual genuine MKII Skreddy Mayonaise too - so it's not as if I'm not supporting Skreddy too - now I just have two very capable Triangle-style Muffs at two different enclosure sizes. They are obviously tonally in a similar ballpark, but still can sound quite distinct. I really like my Lime Green Rhino - as I'm a huge fan of the Big Muff Triangle sound in particular!
This pedal keeps disappearing and reappearing in distribution - and I'm never fully sure if it's properly discontinued or whether new batches are still being made - there were long periods that I was unable to get hold of one of these before one magically materialised in the end. It's a great small format MKII Tone Bender style fuzz - with the classic 2 - Level and Gain knobs. Usually for fuzzes I like to have a third Bias or Tone knob - but on a mini I can often make do with two. This is in any case a great sounding pedal of the type and not too dissimilar to my KO Amps KO Sound Fuzz - albeit that has slightly more tonal versatility - I love them both obviously!
I believe this was the second mini fuzz I acquired - much like a number of these mini fuzzes I came across it happened somewhat fortuitously and serendipitously on Reverb.com - I liked what I saw and heard and soon snapped up this Super Fuzz style fuzz. It has a really smart 3-way internal voicing / mode switch which allows you to select octave, low-end-boost or both together. And while it doesn't quite have the versatility of my newer Super Fuzz - the DeadFX ...myFace - it still has plenty of range on offer and glorious tones!
I am a very significant 'Rat' fan with no less than 15 varieties in my collection already - including this one; and this is one of my two mini ones alongside the BYOC Li'l Mouse - which I equally love the tone of, but is somewhat underpowered on the output / volume side. For that reason I really prefer the Mooer take on the format - which comes too with additional 'Turbo' switch - to replicate essentially the character of the Fat Rat. Of the mini Rat pedals - I still find the Mooer Black Secret one of the best options out there - there are several great ones around actually - including the Dave Friesema / Function F(x) Skeleton Rat - which I may still very well acquire - with its 4 knob control topology.
Most associate Mooer with knock-off cheap SMD electronics and low cost offerings - so several would be surprised to find out that the Mooer Grey Faze houses a genuine pair of Germanium Transistors - and sounds pretty glorious with it. This is a pretty great Germanium Fuzz Face at a fantastic price - once again I would prefer an additional Bias or Tone dial here, but I will make do here with just the two classic knobs - Volume and Fuzz. A genuinely surprisingly good Germanium Fuzz Face - from Mooer!
I fear this may be somewhat endangered by the recent addition of Hendrix Fuzz Face with the same sort of control topology - but additional Silicon/Germanium mode toggle. Sure the Hendrix is a little more pricey at £139 - but on a head-to-head basis I really do prefer the artwork and feature set of the newer very similar but slightly better official Hendrix pedal! That means that these 108's will likely be discounted in the forthcoming months and available at a relatively appealing price point!
Conceptually this is not all together dissimilar to the above Analogwise Pocket Rocket - offering warm tones from boost, through overdrive and into fuzz. Albeit I'm not 100% sure this circuit is built on Germanium transistors - probably more likely warm Silicon types. In any case it sounds wonderfully warm and nicely balanced and is easily one of my favourite fuzzy-drive pedals - right in that sweet spot. This is indeed a one-knob wonder!
Joey Landreth's pedal I believe started its life somewhere along the road as a Golden Fleece, but was then tweaked and some further gating circuitry was added to give you more of the slightly squelchy starved voltage texture. The Golden Fleece and High Road actually deliver quite different tonality in the end with the High Road being slightly more aggressive and textured, and the Golden Fleece a little smoother and warmer - both of these are great buys and I love them both pretty much equally.
I already have a full-size official Zvex Vertical Fuzz Factory, so I have no qualms about getting this mini clone edition from Russian maker NFYFX. I assume it's based on the same circuit that features in their full-size / compact Germanium Fuzz - per the above video demo. Obviously there are no legends on this pedal so I need to remember the knobs from my original Fuzz Factory - which would be first Volume and Gate, with Compression then in the middle, and finally Drive and Stab on the bottom row. I've always liked the slightly random chaos of dialling in a Fuzz Factory - yes you need to exercise some patience, but you can get some fantastic tones if you're willing to 'tweak'. Many dislike the Fuzz Factory for the too many weird tones it yields - and if you dial it in wrong you can get a lot of horrible sounding feedback noise. For me the price and the package is just right here and it's another great fuzz that I have in both Compact and Mini formats! Note that the demo here is for NFYFX's slightly larger compact variant of this circuit.
Brett Kingman really won me over for this fuzz - a truly versatile and sort of magical Multi-Muff style fuzz with 3 really smartly calibrated knobs - Tone | Volume | Sustain. This is some more Björn Juhl BJFE magic where the Tone and Sustain dials in particular allow you to traverse through Triangle, Ram's Head, and more aggressive Green Russian style Muff tones. This was actually my favourite Muff style fuzz for quite a while and still gets in on the rotation every now and again. Beware thought that these smart looking pedals aren't that tough - I dropped one of these on my wooden floor and the Tone dial snapped off at the stem, and the obviously thin brushed aluminium enclosure was seriously bent out of shape from not that significant a fall - the equivalent of a car-crash write off - there was not enough left of the Tone stem to repair! I so love this pedal that I immediately ordered another one - but do beware that these are somewhat 'delicate' and should be handled with some care!
This is yet another long-term acquisition target that I keep meaning to get, but other priorities have gotten in the way - this will definitely happen some day - often the one I see at an appealing price is sold while I am considering and juggling priorities - I will have this one day for sure - to complement my existing Pigtronix Disnortion Micro. This is a really versatile pedal where you can switch the Fuzz circuit in and out - and blend in the Octave component. In fact you have 4 knobs - Volume | Blend | Filter | Drive and a Fuzz On/Off button - so plenty of scope for tone-shaping.
David Rainger's ingenious Bleep Fuzz was previously called the Dr Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep and this is essentially the latest iteration of the zany fuzz which comes with equally clever Igor Expression pressure pad and a whole load of control knobs - Bleep/Fuzz | Volume | Overtone | Modulation | Rate. It's another I keep meaning to get and just haven't got around to yet - I will most definitely try to slip it in next year - it's about time really I acquired my second Rainger fuzz.
The particular variety pictured are currently discontinued as Mark Svirkov makes each of these by hand and varies every edition he does based on prevailing mood and feel. This is a classic 2-knob Germanium Fuzz Face variety - although Mark also offers occasionally special editions with rare NOS Germanium Transistors - bringing the price to near triple this value. I'm not as enamoured with the latest available design for this pedal - I would likely just connect with Mark and ask for one of the older style ones - or wait and see if you like / prefer the next edition! Note that the above video demo is of the pricier limited rare NOS variety, while the above picture is of the standard variety enclosure.
The Silicon Fuzz Face pair to the above one - again check in with Mark and ask for one in the older style or wait for the next version to see if that is more to your liking. Both Germanium and Silicon fuzz are great sounding for this genre and made in a really cool, detailed artisan manner.
This is another interesting mini fuzz which gives you a tiny flavour of the Fuzz Factory - but in a much more controllable format. You get just two knobs here - Volume and Pulse Width - the latter of which shifts the square wave interval for more texture and aggression. A beautifully simple but characterful gated square wave fuzz that most love. It's one that keeps passing me by - and one which I should make a concerted effort to lock down next year.
I've mentioned before that we're living through the second golden age of effects pedals - and we've never had so much choice at so much quality, and across such a wide variety of parameters, form factors, noise generation type and manipulation and method etc. etc.
All of the fuzzes on this page have real 'quality' and can generate fantastic fuzz tones - it largely depends on you how you apply them, and which particular flavours of fuzz you like - but there should really be something for everyone here.
A great gateway drug for fuzzes is my long-term favourite EWS Little Fuzzy Drive - which just combines so many tonalities in such a clever and controllable manner. For those who are not sure where to start - try starting there. For more experienced players it's really a case of 'pick your poison!' As all of these are and have been wishlist pedals and acquisitions targets for me, and I would be delighted to own any and all of these.
In the process of doing this review I acquired the NFYFX Germanium Fuzz - it just seemed the right proposition at the right price - I will report back later on exactly how delighted I am with it - but I can't see how it can fail really as I love pretty much all varieties of fuzz.
So my tally here is 13, 14 if you include the Pigtronix Disnortion Micro in this category - and 15 when you include my BYOC Li'l Mouse. So I am not exactly out of options, but I would definitely like a few more. I've mentioned I really want to get my hands on a trio of Dave Friesema Mini Fuzzes, also the Free Fall Diver Huge, and the D-Sound '73 Ram's Head Muff Fuzz - I will be targeting all those. I will also be targeting the 3 Dunlop ILOVEDUST Hendrix Minis, the Octava, Bleep Fuzz and Fuzzolo for sure - oh and the Ibanez 850 Mini Fuzz and JHS Mini Foot Fuzz - probably in that sort of vague order. No doubt there will be other surprises throughout the next 12 months. There remains no doubt though that there aren't a significant number of really quite exceptional small fuzz pedals that really deliver!