The 5 Best Octave Fuzz Pedals (2023)
An Octave Fuzz pedal combines the aggressive fuzz distortion with an octave effect that can greatly thicken the sound. It gives you the most aggressive type of distortion you can get. It has been around for decades and it is still the #1 choice for all players who need lots of screaming notes.
The trick with Octave Fuzz pedals is that the fuzz effect sounds amazing when combined with the signal that’s one octave up or down. In that case, this super-aggressive type of distortion gets a completely different flavor, which goes in a wide range from vintage guitar screams to modern synth-like tones.
That’s why octave fuzz pedals are such amazing tools, which are versatile enough to cover a wide plethora of music styles. Of course, that’s the main reason why many guitar players prefer the octave fuzz pedal over a standard fuzz pedal, so the number of these 2-in-1 pedals is growing every day.
My top recommended Octave Fuzz pedal is the JHS Supreme Fuzz Pedal. A perfect mix of classic and modern design that is easy to use.
My second recommended Octave Fuzz pedal is the MXR M103 Blue Box Octave, an affordable and compact pedal that delivers great sound for the price.
The 5 Best Octave Fuzz Pedals (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. JHS Supreme Fuzz Pedal
Today’s market is full of amazing octave fuzz pedals and there is a lot of them to love. Still, if I have to pick one, it’s the JHS Supreme Fuzz.
Many pedals sound as great, but this one stands out with its simplicity and easiness of use while offering a couple of aces up its sleeve to spice things up for a bit.
At the first look, you will find the look of this pedal quite unusual, as there aren’t many things at the top. However, everything makes perfect sense once you start to use this unit.
There are two knobs on the backside, Volume and Expand. The latter lets you crank up the fuzz and get some incredibly screaming tones. On the left side, this pedal offers a couple of buttons, which are real trumps, something that makes a difference.
The first one is the Tone button, which cuts the mids and makes everything sound smoother. On the other side, the JHS mode is quite the opposite and delivers tons of mid-range notes. In this mode, you may count on a classic Univox Super-Fuzz, which can be heard on so many legendary records.
2. MXR M103 Blue Box Octave
A good octave fuzz pedal doesn’t need to be expensive. You can find some pretty amazing units with a pretty good price tag.
Among them, the MXR M103 is my favorite. This affordable pedal delivers impressive tonal characteristics and at the same time, it is super easy to use.
The first thing you will notice about this pedal is that it features a typical MXR layout. It is compact and fits every pedalboard, and also features just a couple of controls. There are just two knobs, which will certainly make your life easier.
The first one is the Output control, which lets you set the amount of fuzz you want. The second one, the Blend knob, is the one that controls how much of the two-octave down tone you want to hear. Both knobs are sensitive and offer a lot of tweaking options. At the same time, dialing fantastic tones is super easy and convenient.
Other than these two knobs, you won’t find anything but input and output. The pedal runs either on a power supply or batteries.
3. Danelectro 3699 Fuzz / Octaver
The owner of Danelectro is Steve Ridinger, the same guy that designed the legendary Fox Tone Machine from the ‘70s.
These days, original Tone Machines cost a real fortune, so Steve has decided to launch the reissued version of the pedal. However, the new unit comes with a couple of significant upgrades, which makes everything even better.
The new Danelectro 3699 Fuzz / Octaver features the same circuit as the original unit, but also comes with several upgrades.
For example, the octave effect is more transparent now and also comes with a footswitch, which makes everything super-convenient. The tone is warmer compared to the original, while there is also a small toggle switch if you want to add a little bit of mid boost.
The rest of the pedal includes pretty typical controls. You may count on three more knobs – Volume, Fuzz, and Tone, which offer a lot of tonal tweaking options. The tone is warm, as I already mentioned. Therefore, if you’re looking for a vintage fuzz pedal with added flexibility, search no more.
4. Walrus Audio Kangra Filter Fuzz
Tone seekers will definitely like this pedal, as it offers an impressive range of sound options.
It is a versatile and super functional pedal, which besides a classic fuzz octave effect also comes with a vintage FX filter, for even more impressive tonal flexibility.
Soundwise, this pedal covers pretty much everything, so you can use it for both vintage and modern fuzz tones. The Walrus Audio Kangra features more knobs and switches than a typical fuzz pedal, but that doesn’t mean it’s too complicated to use.
The front row of three knobs is reserved for the filter FX, which you can combine with the fuzz effect, or use on its own if you want to get some vintage funky tones. A great thing is that the filter is foot-switchable, which makes everything super convenient.
When it comes to the fuzz effect, I like that small toggle switch, which lets you choose between modern and vintage fuzz. Both sound great and while the vintage mode delivers sharper sound, the modern offers more flexibility and suits more genres.
Also, I like the fact that the pedal features true bypass, which means your amp tone will remain intact when Kangra is on stand-by.
5. EarthQuaker Devices Hoof Reaper V2
Fuzz freaks like to have both green Russian- and ’60s silver Briton-type units on their pedalboard and EarthQuaker Hoof Reaper V2 packs them in a single stompbox.
In addition, it packs a fully-analog octave, for synth, screams, and other common octave fuzz sounds. The best thing is that transition between these modes has been improved and everything goes smoothly as butter.
On the left side of the board, you will find controls for the green Russian part of the pedal. It comes with three typical knobs – Tone, Level, and Fuzz, as well as with a Shift knob, which isn’t something you usually see on green Russians. This knob allows you to manipulate mid-range frequencies, so you may count on a much wider range of tones.
The right side of the pedal is reserved for the vintage fuzz. Of course, I’m talking about the Tone Reaper, the legendary British fuzz, which was really popular back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. While the left side of the pedal is more versatile, this one is more aggressive and seems perfect for lead tones.
Finally, there is the analog octave and a great thing is that all three effects come with their own footswitches, which is highly beneficial in live performances. Speaking of live performance benefits, the pedal also features a true bypass.
Check out our guide on how to setup a guitar pedalboard.
I hope this list has helped you determine the best octave fuzz pedal for you. A fuzz effect has been combined with an octave for a long in the form of an octave fuzz pedals, long time but sound enthusiasts are still discovering new spectrums of tones.
Some designers are chasing these new tone colors, while others are pretty confident in their sound quality and work mostly on improving flexibility. In any case, the choice is pretty big these days and it’s quite hard to go wrong with any of these pedals.
My top Octave Fuzz pedal pick is the JHS Supreme Fuzz Pedal. This is a very easy-to-use pedal with a classic-meets-modern design.
My budget Octave Fuzz pedal pick is the MXR M103 Blue Box Octave. If you want something affordable and compact, this quality-sounding pedal will do the trick.
Featured image (Left) of MXR M103 Blue box by Roadside Guitars / CC BY-SA