Guitar Magazine

BUILD YOUR OWN FUZZ PEDAL

There are plenty of ready-to-go pedal kits out there but something as simple as a vintage-style fuzzbox can be built from scratch. Doing so will help you learn more about the circuitry, as well as make modifications to optimise its tone and versatility along the way. Fuzz Face lore is awash with snake oil and there are terrible, mediocre and even some quasimythic gold-standard examples out there.

Thankfully, knowledgeable replica builders have had decades to analyse this relatively simple circuit and develop a clear understanding of the variables that distinguish the best from the rest. Many have kindly shared their findings, demystifying the Fuzz Face in the process.

Here, I will demonstrate how to build a basic Fuzz Face from scratch and explore how to make the circuit sound exactly as you want it to. I’ll also be building a more advanced version with switchable transistors and some other boutique tweaks.

POSITIVE ELEMENTS

Before we begin our ground-up build, let’s get the important stuff out of the way and distinguish between the two Fuzz Face eras.

Arbiter Electronics began manufacturing Fuzz Faces in 1966 using NKT275 PNP germanium transistors. Capable of sounding wonderful but notoriously inconsistent, the NKT275’s performance varies depending on ambient

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