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Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz Pedal Considerations and Alternatives

Abominable ElectronicsBaltimore Sonic Research InstituteBossFTelettronicaFuzzFuzzlordHiero EffectsLone Wolf AudioPepers' PedalsSilicon FuzzSuper-Fuzz Style+-
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The Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz (1993-1997) has long been a perennial Boss favourite - even though long since discontinued. Second-hand prices are hovering as high as they have ever been (as much as $600 equivalent) and there’s a certain anticipation that following the success of the TB-2W and (re)launch of the HM-2W that the FZ-2 may just be the next in line.

 

While I feel that much the same as with the HM-2W - Boss will be wanting to see a populist petition first before they commit to the return of the FZ-2. And we might very well see another fuzz variety first before the eventual revival. For sure though it has to be somewhere on Boss’s radar as the demand for it is just that high.

 

This is obviously based on the Univox (Shin-ei FY-6) Super Fuzz from 1968 but comes with 7 transistors rater than the typical 6 for this format - 3 x 25K184 + 25A1335 + 3 x 2SC3378. It is a very slightly different voicing to that classic upper harmonic octave fuzz - and is often known as the core sound for the band Electric Wizard for Mode II.

 

Controls : Level, Tone : Treble, Bass, Gain, Mode : Fuzz I / Fuzz II / Gain Boost.

 

There are a number of formidable, mostly BB-size alternatives on the market - note that some of my preferences are earlier and discontinued models - which will be noted. The most recent addition to this mix has been Peper’s Pedals Humungous Fuzz which is probably the most appealing of these besides the FZ-2. For a compact size enclosure alternative I really don’t think you can go wrong with FTelettronica’s Dystopian Fuzz variety.

 

Note that there is another well-known ’B’ brand variety which I deliberately exclude from here as I cannot support that brand’s philosophy - particularly after they took over and destroyed TC Electronic’s brand equity.

 

Here are your core runners and rider then :


Boss FZ-2W Hyper Fuzz Waza Craft (TBC) - est. $179/€179/£169

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Controls : Level, Tone : Treble, Bass, Gain, Mode : Fuzz I / Fuzz II / Gain Boost.

 

So as before on this blog - I have mocked up a potential FZ-2W Waza Craft Edition - which distinguishes itself by that classic Standard/Custom Mode Switch - while obviously a la HM-2W - that can also be situated on the rear of the pedal. I would imagine the Custom mode to be an even beefier variety of the core Hyper Fuzz voicing - the rest of the controls are as per the discontinued model. This should do very well for Boss whenever they finally decide to release it - which could still be a year or two down the road!


Abominable Electronics Demon Lung Fuzz - $250

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Controls : Volume, Low, Mid, High, Clean, Gain, Second Footswitch Mode I/II.

 

Patrick Emmons clever take on the FZ-2 features 3-Band EQ, a Clean Blend control, and a second footswitch for flipping between Mode I and II - all really smart innovations of the original - and a definite contender as the best FZ-2 alternative - if you're cool with the macabre artwork of course!


Baltimore Sonic Research Institute FZZ Hyper Octave Fuzz - $229

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Controls : In, Out, Blend, High, Mid, Low.

 

Here I feature the rather rarer monochrome variety of enclosure where the standard has a red facia plate. This is another 3-Band EQ alternative - also with a Clean Blend Control. For sure another cool variety.


FTelettronica Dystopian Fuzz - €132

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Controls : Bass, Treble, Gain, Mode : Fuzz I/Fuzz II/Gain Boost, Level.

 

FTelettronica really makes some super quality replicas of a vast variety of killer pedals - and their Dystopian fuzz is probably the closest thing to the original Boss variety in form factor and function. Contains all the same controls is a similarly compact enclosure - and for pretty good value too - made in Italy.


Fuzzlord Effects FU-2 (early edition) - $205

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Controls : Bass, Voicing : Scooped/Modern, Treble, Level, Expander (Gain).

 

Note that I've gone for an earlier edition here which has a 5th Mode / Voicing control which is essentially a mids shift Scooped/Pushed / Vintage/Modern type of affair (same as FZ I/FZ II switch - which gives the pedal a little more versatility. The later and current editions don't have the voicing switch any more - which is a bit of shame to me - so I advise you look to get an earlier edition second-hand.


Hiero Effects Phatoum Fuzz / Churchburner - $200

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Controls : Volume, Gain, Low, Mode : FZ I/Gain Boost/FZ II, High.

 

Once more I've gone with an earlier edition of the pedal instead of the current standard Churchburner graphic which will be a little much for some. Another fairly straight clone with all the same controls as the FZ-2 original. A decent proposition - while I possibly prefer the FTelettronica Dystopian just a smidge more.


Lone Wolf Audio Dominator Fuzz - discontinued - $250 whne new

No Demo!

 

Controls : Boost, Volume, Fuzz, High, Clip : 6-way Clipping Options, Low, Clean Blend, second Mode Footswitch : FZ I / II.

 

Alas this seems to have been around for only a very short time - been discontinued for a while now I think, and unfortunately has no YouTube demo to its name either - despite a superior features set. Pretty unique in having 6 different Clipping Options, and where the unlabelled control I believe is a Clean Blend knob. Smart Mode-switching via a second footswitch - pretty much the same as on the Demon Lung above. An interesting variant for sure.


Pepers' Pedals Humongous Fuzz - $185

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Controls : Level, High, Low, Gain, Mode : Fuzz I/Fuzz II/Fuzz III/Boost, Extra, Clean, second Mode footswitch too.

 

Tony Pepers is the latest to throw his hat in the ring - with one of the most appealing BB-size variants of the FZ-2. He adds a further Fuzz III mode which is a combination of I and II really, and he also adds an 'Extra' control and Clean Blend. The 'Extra' allows you to blend in a HM-2 EQ which further energizes the output. There are further internal EQ band dip-switches to control how that is applied.


Final Thoughts

There are of course other variants and varieties out there which you may like too, but I decided that the above capsule was about right for the task. Which means an honourable for the Minotaur Sonic Terrors Saturnine Fuzz.

 

If you have other preferred varieties and alternatives to the FZ-2 that you feel I have skipped (besides the 'B' word) I will of course be happy to hear from you.

 

Where do you stand on the Boss FZ-2? And will you sign the petition once that starts making the rounds!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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