Behringer is known for creating superb, affordable guitar effect pedals, probably the best in the market. Because of that, we’re going to review the superb, easy to use, and affordable Behringer Super Fuzz.
First of all, though, let’s understand what fuzz is, and then I’m sharing my review of my favorite affordable fuzz, a guitar pedal I think is paramount to any aspiring guitar player.
More so, the Behringer Super Fuzz is the ultimate pedal for beginner guitar players. Let’s see…
What is a fuzz?
Even seasoned guitarists have a hard time figuring out the differences between distortion, overdrive, and fuzz, so we’re going to look at the three different effects and how these sounds interact with your guitar and your amplifier.
In order to understand the differences, we need to look at each type of effect with a bit of detail. If you want the short version, just skip to the summary section.
If you stick around, though, you might learn a thing or two, which means you will be able to apply overdrive, distortion, and fuzz effects accordingly.
A guitar fuzz pedal should be part of every rock guitar player’s pedalboard.
The overdrive pedal
Overdrive pedals are the natural companions of valve amps as they work better on the clean channel of a valve tube amp.
These pedals drive your valves to the point of distortion without you having to turn the volume knob of your amp above 5 or 6 points. The purpose of overdrive pedals is simulating the sound of rolling the gain knob of your amp all the way up, only that this is a safer, friendlier option that won’t mess up the clarity of your guitar.
Overdrive pedals represent the closest you can get to pure amplifier distortion without blowing your speakers, your ears, or your windows.
So, essentially, an overdrive can get you the same dynamics as valve tube amp: when you play your guitar through a cranked tube amp, you will be able to get in and out distortion depending on how hard you play your guitar.
That also means you could use an overdrive pedal on solid-state amps to imitate the sound of valve tubes distorting your sound.
That’s exactly the effect overdrive pedals try to give you, and you can also go in and out distortion depending on how hard you play. It means the effect responds to your touch: as you play soft, you’ll hardly notice the gain; and if you play harder, your signal starts to break up.
Overdrive also gives you a soft-clipping sound instead of earth-shattering crunch tones. The overall sound is smooth, dynamic, and feels like the natural high-gains of a valve tube amp.
Musicians define it as a “gentle distortion” you can fully unleash when playing hard. To get the full benefits of overdrive, you should play it through a valve amplifier, as these pedals work better at lower volumes. Remember tube amps need lees volume to be loud than solid-state amps.
OVERDRIVE USES: overdrive pedals are good for blues, rock, and country players, as well as musicians looking for a gain boost with a bit of vintage flavor without losing the original tone of their amp and their guitar too much.
The distortion pedal
Distortion pedals are more aggressive than overdrives as they completely change your guitar tones for their own creation.
An overdrive mimics the sound of a cranked-up amp, but a distortion pedal has its own agenda and tweaks the sound accordingly.
These effects cram a load of dirt, filth and grit into the signal, which depends on how you configure the pedal. It can give you serious rocking crunches or the-end-is-near kind of tones by saturating your signal completely.
With most distortion pedals, it doesn’t matter how soft or hard you play, you’ll get the same effect. The reason is these pedals are hard-clipping devices with the only purpose of distorting your sound.
A distortion is associated with metal genres and metal bands, as the tone is “heavy” and “aggressive” as it darkens the output whilst boosting the signal. Additionally, it compresses the signal which gives you more sustain.
Distortion pedals sound great with solid-state amplifiers as they can give you the all-out attack of the dirty, acid and heavy sound you might be looking for. I personally recommend the Blackstar ID: Core as a fun, budget metal amplifier.
DISTORTION USES: fans of rock, metal, and other heavy genres will love distortion pedals. These are also ideal for power chords, strong chorus lines, and overall metal riffs.
What is fuzz?
Now, fuzz pedals are a different beast altogether. Whereas distortion pedals give you a high-gain distorted sound, they fear to thread to where fuzz pedals can go.
Fuzz pedals take your sound and clips it to the extreme, an effect known as square-wave clipping. Also, it compresses the distortion to make a completely new sound.
These pedals saturate your tone and cover it with a “fuzzy” feel. They offer great sustains by heavily processing the signal and offering a more artificial tone. Some guitarists describe it as having the amp “broken.”
Overall, fuzz sounds like you push the amp past its maximum and unto uncharted territories, and it sounds great.
Fuzz pedals clip so hard they make it very difficult to play lead lines. However, they can boost your power chords or huge riffs, because the amount of power a fuzz pedal brings is astonishing.
Think of The Smashing Pumpkins, which used plenty of EHX Big Muff pedals. Jimmy Hendrix also used plenty of fuzz pedals, like for example the Fuzz Face coupled with a wah pedal. Another great example I have is Queens of the Stone Age, which, personally, is my favorite band.
FUZZ USES: post-punk, grunge, post-grunge, alternative rock, stoner rock, progressive rock, Hendrix-style tones, big riffs, and those wanting to add an element of surprise to their tones.
As you can imagine, fuzz pedals are typically more expensive than overdrive and distortions. They are more popular and represent an essential part of every guitar player’s pedalboard, just like delay pedals and reverb/chorus effects.
Are you interested in fuzz pedals by now? If so, let’s go on towards our review…
Your first fuzz pedal: the Behringer Super Fuzz SF300 (review)
The Behringer Super Fuzz SF300 is the best budget distortion pedal there is. If you ask me how cheap this is, my answer, simply, is “really cheap.”
Actually, it’s the only fuzz pedal at this price point offering a solid, even mid-level fuzz distortion.
See, Behringer is known for doing this: they build affordable pedals whilst cutting mostly on construction materials (like using plastic chassis instead of aluminum and other more expensive materials). Thus, the company delivers top-quality pedals at friendly price points.
For its listed price, which is probably less than what you would spend on a movie date with your partner, you get a functional pedal that serves for a variety of genres and styles.
Okay, it’s not going to take the world by storm. But it’s certainly the best for the price range. And even more.
Additionally, I personally love about this pedal how friendly it is to beginner guitar players. Fuzz pedals tend to be complex, but this one is very easy to use.
Features and Level Controls
The sound of this pedal intends to recreate a variety of heavy super fuzz tones coming out the ‘0s and ‘70s rock and early metal music (like Jimmy Hendrix or Peter Townsend). It means you’ll be able to take a vintage route with your sound.
The pedal ships with one input jack, and one output jack, plus an LED status indicator and an on/off button.
You can power this unit with a 9V battery or with your own PSU-SB DC power supply (which is not included).
What stands on this unit is the three-way Mode switch. This option allows you to choose one of the three super fuzz presets available:
- Super Fuzz 1 gives you classic fuzz frunge and gain boost, which is the Jimmy Hendrix tone we were talking about;
- Super Fuzz 2 gives you a grunge style, which is acid, dirty, and ready to play some QOTSA;
- Gain boost raises the overall output of your guitar. This option can even push your amp into overdrive.
Each mode gives you a different tonal foundation you can further shape with the rest of the knobs. For example, tweaking the Super Fuzz 2 you can go from QOTSA all the way back to Black Sabbath.
Even so, by simply changing this switch, you already have a noticeable result.
Let’s see these knobs now:
- Level: it’s a standard control that controls the distortion level you infuse into your guitar. The more you turn it up, the less clean your guitar sounds as it becomes saturated with the hard-clipping effect.
- Gain: it’s an essential component of every distortion. As you crank this knob, you’ll get a fuzzier and heavier distortion and dedicated gain.
- Trebble + bass: it’s the 2-band EQ. Trebble makes your sound modes brighter, whereas bass increases the presence of low-end frequencies.
As you see, the controls are pretty straightforward. You can simply start by putting every knob in the middle, and then dial it to your heart’s content.
Although the price says “I sound cheap,” the real sound is instead a nice surprise. This pedal offers a range of heavy fuzz sounds that make you think of classic rock music. If you’re into that early metal and early rock sound, then this is something you’re going to like.
The tone is mostly fat and bass-driven. However, tt’s versatile and powerful enough for both live shows and recording studio situations.
Overall, you wouldn’t find the performance it has on any other super fuzz pedal at this price range.
Why would you choose a Behringer Super Fuzz SF300
Some guitar players switch from these basic and affordable super fuzz pedals to try crazier, more advanced options selling at insanely high prices. However, if you don’t have that kind of budget but still want to experiment with new sounds without risking too much money, the SF300 Super Fuzz pedal can travel with you from a beginner level all the way to professional setups.
What I love about this device is how well suited it’s for beginners. If you’re a beginner guitar player wanting to get into the world of pedals for the first time. See, as it’s easy enough for beginners, as well as really affordable, it’s a nice experimental device for newbies wanting to see what else can they do with their electric guitars.
Its main feature, the three different super fuzz modes, makes it so easy to use this pedal and gives you fair versatility. More so, with the Trebble + Bass knobs, you can get really close to the professional sound of an EHS Big Muff fuzz pedal. It’s also great that you can actually get an overdrive effect with the boost mode.
I must also highlight the blue LED lights telling you if it’s on or off is a great addition for live shows. Dark stages are easy to find.
Does it have a downside?
While some people complain it comes in a plastic casing, which decreases its durability, it greatly decreases the price. It’s not really a complaint as we should take excellent care of all of our instruments, no matter what they are built off. Furthermore, it’s sturdy enough to travel around the tour bus with you.
So, although the enclosure it’s not made of metal as most pedals, it still works.
Lastly, some guitar players might find this vintage sound a bit old-fashioned. If you’re into more modern tones and music genres, then this is probably something you’d want to skip.
Is the Behringer Super Fuzz the best cheap distortion available? Probably yes. Besides, this is a pedal made for newbie and intermediate guitarists. It can give you authentic tones and show you you don’t need to break the bank to have a professional distortion.
More so, it makes it very easy for you to experiment, learn, and eventually craft your own sounds you can then take to the studio or the stage.
It’s so easy it will keep you interested in growing your abilities and skills with distortion pedals, just like any pedal should.
And if you need some last guidance:
- Overdrives pedals give you a gain boost as they “overdrive” the valves of your tube amp or mimic the sound of overdriven tube amps. It has a very sensitive dynamic as the harder you play the more it distorts.
- Distortion effects add consistent dirt or crunch to your playing. The distortion is the same no matter how hard or soft you play.
- Fuzz effects are aggressive and compressed distortion that heavily clip your signal. Super fuzz alters the waveform into square waxes, which make your amp sounds like it’s broken.
What’s your favorite distortion? Leave it in the comments below!