Fuzz Face vs. Big Muff (Pedal SHOOTOUT Covering All Features!)

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Almost all people who use electric guitar pedals or have some acquaintance with the instrument know about the two big boys in the field- Big Muff and Fuzz Face.

In some instances, they might have utilized either or both and compared their benefits.

Otherwise, they might have performed a significant amount of research about them to find out which one suits their needs and preferences the best. 

The research would inevitably have brought the individuals and maybe even you to a common question- “Fuzz Face vs Big Muff: Which One is Better?”

In other words, the specifications and features of the two electric guitar pedals would have made you contemplate your selection parameters and final choice. Let us discuss more on the topic in this article. 

Fuzz Face vs Big Muff: Which You Should Prefer?

Fuzz Face and Big Muff are electric gear pedals and hence get used for the same purpose. However, it does not imply that the two are the same and can get utilized alternatively for a single application.

Instead, they have unique differences that generally pertain to the sounds and effects they produce. 

The overall choice or selection between Big Muff and Fuzz Face would depend on the sound or type of fuzziness you have been looking for or seeking.

For instance, you should select the latter if you desire a transition from a clean output to a fuzz bomb. On the other hand, the former retains its shift from fuzz bomb to fuzz bomb. 

Thus, we can say that Fuzz Face provides a more “fuzzy” output than Big Muff, which gives a less fuzzy or hairy distortion, as most guitarists call it. On top of that, the former has a better or more enhanced clean-up.

Furthermore, it provides more variation when you want to go through the guitar’s controls. 

On the other hand, Muff possesses a mid-cut that results in it sounding too “big.” Nevertheless, it provides an exceedingly distinct sound that suits several performances and occasions.

In addition to that, it makes it effortless to change the settings and is highly versatile. 

Thus, the choice between Fuzz Face and Big Muff should depend on the type or kind of output you want. You should go for the former if you want it to lean on the fuzzy side.

Otherwise, your selection should stay with the latter if you desire a gnarly sound effect. 

What Do We Know About Fuzz Face?

Fuzz Face is a popular electric guitar pedal used to create specific effects. Its unique design allows it to produce and generate a characteristic distorted sound, also known as “fuzz.”

It resembles the noise made by broken speakers or damaged electrical components. 

Fuzz Face is renowned for use by people who play electric guitars and electric bass. It had gained popularity primarily due to famous artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, David Gilmour, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, etc. 

What Do We Know About Big Muff?

Big Muff, also known as Big Muff Pi, is another pedal used for electric guitars. The Electro-Harmonix company produced the fuzzbox in collaboration with Soytek, their sister company.

The pedal makes a squeaky frequency sound or response and thus makes it suitable for use by bassists.  

The Big Muff Pi creates a unique distorted sound. On top of that, it has other features, such as reliability, cost-effectiveness, and variability, to back its popularity.

Over the years, various re-editions and versions of the electric guitar pedal had gotten released. 

What are the Points of Difference Between Big Muff and Fuzz Face?

Most people think Big Muff and Fuzz Face are the same as they serve the same purpose. However, they differ significantly based on various factors and parameters.

Let us delve deeper into the topic and understand the points of difference. Let us make a comparison table for better comprehending what lies under Fuzz Face vs Big Muff Pi.

Serial NumberBasis of DifferenceFuzz FaceBig Muff Pi
1.CircuitFuzz Face utilizes a simple 2-stage amplifier circuit with eleven components. They comprise four resistors, two transistors, two pots, and three caps. In addition, it comes with a feedback network path that can get broken down into the Input Stage, Feedback Network, and the Output Stage.The circuit used in Big Muff Pi comprises four common and cascaded emitter amplifier stages. They come with passive tone control. Overall, the schematic can divide into four smaller and simpler blocks entailing Clipping Stage, Output Booster, Input Booster, and Passive Tone Control.
2.Circuit OperationFuzz Face circuit operates by inputting a signal through a DC blocking resistor. It drives transistor one while transistor two remains directly coupled with or linked to transistor one. Thus, the circuit works using a “voltage biasing circuit.”Big Muff has an input resistor that diminishes the signal amplitude slightly and a coupling capacitor that removes parasitic and unwanted DC from the guitar. You can change the number of trebles and bass by altering the values of the two mentioned components.
3.SoundFuzz Face produces a vintage and warm tone owing to its mismatched transistors made of Germanium. On top of that, the electric guitar pedal features a switching system using a true bypass.Big Muff Pi produces a distorted sound akin to fuzz due to the two clipping stages that compress and saturate it. Overall, its output entails a broad range, from deep bass to high treble. In addition, its sounds and relatively smoother.
4.Weight and DimensionsFuzz Face weighs 2.2 pounds and has a dimension of 10.5 x 7.9 x 3.6 inches.Big Muff weighs 1.5 pounds and has a dimension of 8.6 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches.
5.TypesFuzz Face consists of 4 types or varieties.Big Muff Pi consists of 7 types or varieties.
6.Input ImpedanceFuzz Face has exceedingly low input impedance that changes with the potentiometer position. The value loads guitar pickups. Thus, it does not respond well when placed after other pedals. Big Muff has low input impedance. It can result in the guitar signal suffering tone sucking or high-frequency loss. Nonetheless, the rest of the circuit system and design compensate for the volume and tone loss.
7.Output ImpedanceFuzz Face output impedance gets influenced by the feedback network. It has a “real” value of 15 KΩ which varies with the fuzz control position and the volume control level. Big Muff Pi output impedance varies with the volume potentiometer position. The value never exceeds 10K.
8.Design EnhancementsFuzz Face has fewer to no enhancements compared to Big Muff. Thus, its circuit is comparatively less reliable and stable.Big Muff has all components made of silicone and all-transistor stages coupled with an emitter resistance. It allows the gain to be free from transistor intrinsic characteristics or temperature. On top of that, more than half its stages have Miller capacitors and feedback resistors, stabilizing the frequency response and behavior.

What Do the Various Types of Fuzz Face Entail?

Fuzz Face has a total of four types and variations of its own, including:

Germanium

Among the Fuzz Face types, the first is Germanium. It comprises high-caliber Germanium Transistor alternatives and Newmarket NTK275. 

Some examples include Basic Audio Orpheum II Germanium Fuzz – CV7355, King Tone MiniFuzz Germanium – NKT275 Thin-line, Expresso FX Germanium Fuzz – CV7005, etc. 

Hard Silicon

This variety comprises BC109/C, BC108C, and other similar ones. 

A few examples include Monsterpiece Scratchy Snatch 6-knob BC108 Silicon Fuzz, Tate FX Raise the Dead Silicon Lime Scream Fuzz – 2N3904 + BC547C, Fulltone ’70 BC108C Fuzz, etc. 

Soft Silicon

The soft silicon type encompasses BC183L and other similar ones. 

A few examples include Foxrox Hot Silicon2 Fuzz – BC183 version, King Tone MiniFuzz Silicon – BC183, SolidGoldFX If 6 Was 9 Silicon BC183C Fuzz, etc. 

Derivations and Hybrids

The derivations and hybrids consist of an extended feature or function set and diverse combinations of various transistors. 

A few examples include DanDrive Austin Pride Fuzz – 2 x NTE103 + 2 x NTE123, Chase Bliss Audio / Zvex Bliss Factory – 2N3904 + 2 x AC128 equivalent, Zvex Vertical Fuzz Factory Germanium Fuzz – 2N3904 + 2 x AC128, etc. 

What Do the Various Types of Big Muff Entail?

Big Muff has a total of seven types and variations of their own, including:

Triangle [1969] Original: 4 x Fairchild 2N5133 Transistors

This type got featured in JAM Pedals Red Muck Fuzz, Stomp Under Foot Red Menace, VFE Fiery Red Horse Fuzz, etc. 

Ram’s Head [1972/73] Original: 4 x 2N5087 Transistors

This variety got featured in JHS Muffuletta Multi-Fuzz, Basic Audio Tri/Ram Fuzz, Wren and Cuff Small Foot Caprid, etc. 

Op-Amp [1978] Original: JRC4558NB (Japan Radio Co.) Integrated Circuit

You may have seen this type in Fredric Effects ICBM 78, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Op-Amp JHS Mod, Wren and Cuff Eye See ’78, etc. 

Civil War [1993] Original: 4 x KT3102EM 9108 Transistors

This type had gotten featured in JHS Muffuletta Multi-Fuzz, Stomp Under Foot Civil Unrest, Mojo Hand FX Colossus, etc. 

Green Russian [1994] Original: 4 x KT3102EM 9108 Transistors

This variety is famous for its use in Fredric Effects Green Russian, EarthQuaker Devices Hoof Fuzz, Stomp Under Foot Red Menace, etc. 

Black Russian [1998] Original: 4 x KT3102EM 9108 Transistors

This type got featured in Foxpedal Defector, SolidGoldFX Germanium Imperial Fuzz, Blackout Effectors Blunderbuss, etc. 

Pi NYC [2000] Originally: 4 x 2N5088 Transistors

You may have seen this variety in JHS Muffuletta Multi-Fuzz, Stomp Under Foot – The Pi, Maxon – Fuzz Elements Earth FEA10, etc. 

What Does Fuzz Face vs Fuzz Face Mini Entail?

Fuzz Face is a popular electric guitar pedal. However, it takes up significant space on the pedal board. Thus, you may prefer using the Fuzz Face Minis that are like their larger counterpart but have a smaller footprint. 

The JHS Fuzz Face Mini electric guitar pedals come in three varieties. They include a version:

  • With silicon transistors
  • Having a pair of germanium transistors that remain slightly mismatched
  • Of the JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face

The Germanium Mini provides a warm-fuzz and classic sound, having a pleasant percussive pick attack and moderate gain. The Silicon version features more gain with a more biting top-end and scooped-out midrange. 

Lastly, the Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini merges the best aspects and elements of the former two types. It has significant sustain and an aggressive yet smooth sound. In addition, it has an impressive percussive pick attack.  

The three Fuzz Face Minis have substantial clarity and note separation. It stands true even if you crank the fuzz control. They are highly articulate and musical and come with a blue LED light. 

Another notable feature of the Fuzz Face Mini compared to the ordinary Fuzz Face is that they run on AC power. It implies that you will not require any batteries for them. You can merely plug them in and operate them as you like. 

What Does Fuzz Face vs Big Muff vs Tone Bender Entail?

Fuzz Face, Big Muff, and Tone Bender have a few differences that set them apart. They primarily affect the way the electric guitar pedals can get used and the sound effects they produce.

Overall, the differences lie chiefly in their structure, operation, and output. For instance, benders have more “craziness” while Fuzz Face gives a cleaner and smoother output.

The former is the better choice if you want to play several rhythms. On the other hand, the latter is better if you prefer subtle dynamic control and shifts. 

Fuzz Face provides lower gain and is more organic. However, Tone Benders possess more tap overdrive and are brighter. Also, they do not require much clean-up. 

Big Muff falls somewhere between Tone Blenders and Fuzz Face. They have significant tap gain and bottom end. On top of that, they are considerably fatter than Tone Blenders which are midrange and sharper. 

 Big Muffs produce highly compressed and roaring sounds. On the other hand, Tone Blenders give a buzzy and retro type of sound. It can get owed to their overdriven transistors.