The Fuzz Face is a distortion guitar pedal designed in London by Arbitrer Electronics Ltd in the autumn of 1966. It produces a characteristic high distorted sound called fuzz.
Ivor Arbiter took the round shaped enclosure idea from a microphone stand and it was the first pedal including a DPDT stomp-switch. The effect became very popular because Jimi Hendrix played it and there were not many distortion pedals around at that time.
The gist of the Fuzz Face remains in the simple circuit that uses eleven components (2 transistors, 4 resistors, 3 caps and 2 pots) and the astonishing tones created with them; delivering a soft asymmetrical clipping that changes to hard clipping in both semi-cycles under the fuzz pot action.
Arbitrer Electronics manufactured the pedal from 1966 to 1975, Dallas Music Industries did a final batch in 1975-77, after that the production stopped. During its lifetime the pedal went through some minor cosmetic but major sonic changes. The fuzz face was re-issued from 1986 to 2000. In 1993 Dunlop took over the production selling the fuzz face in different flavors. Today, both the Dallas Arbiter and Fuzz Face trademarks are owned by Dunlop Manufacturing Inc.
This analysis covers the first Arbitrer Fuzz Face model equipped with PNP germanium transistors from the first releases which is considered the best sounding.