The Fuzz pedal effect is a distortion in its roots. The tone is heavily saturated, changing the sound in to a plain square wave with amazing sustain.
It is using two, tree or more transistors to amplify the signal
to a point were it starts to sound distorted and fuzzy, with infinite sustain.
Later in the years, the germanium transistors used in the first models, were replaced by silicon ones, because of inconsistent  production and faulty germanium transistors.

Silicon transistors are giving more gain, but sound brighter.

One of the coolest story behind the first fuzz effect recorded in history is:
In 1960, a faulty pre-amp on the mixer console, made Grady Martin’s recorded bass guitar to sound distorted and fuzzy.
The recording engineer Glen Snoddy loved it and tried to replicate this sound with transistors and later gave the new born circuit diagram to Gibson. Gibson Maestro  Fuzztone was born.

Tone Bender

Five years later 1965 electronics engineer Gary Stewart Hurst designed an effect pedal with the name Tone Bender, based on germanium transistors.
UK Fuzz box insanity , started at that time.

The first model – MKI,  became one of the most used pedals among the artist like:
Pete Townshed – Who, Jeff Beck of the Yardbirs and the Beatles.

You can hear the Tonebender MK I in Yardbirds track
“Heart full of Soul”.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9mQkFpkShg]
It’s a good example how this  pedal sounds.

Fuzz Face

The first Fuzz sound that comes in my mind is:

“Foxy Lady” song by Jimi Hendrix’s band ,The Jimi Hendrix Experience, debut album “Are You Experienced” released in 1967.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PVjcIO4MT4]

His Fender guitar plugged in to the germanium transistors based Fuzz Face made by Arbiter Electronics, changed the history
of the guitar.
His innovative approach to produce psychedelic tones and making his guitar screaming, changed a few generations of guitarists.

A true legend!

Big Muff

One of the most used fuzz pedals.
Really fat and big sounding fuzz.

The Big Muff use four transistors staged together and biased in way  where the first one is a clean boost, the second two are producing the distortion, and the last one is used to recover the volume loss during the hard clipping stage.
It is produced by Electro-Harmonix.

I will give you more modern example of how this pedal
“Cherub Rock” by Smashing Pumpkins is an amazing representation of the sound of this iconic  pedal.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-KE9lvU810]

In the 80’s the Big Muff pedal became a signature sound of many alternative rock bands.

Fuzz pedals are not everyone cup of tea.
The distinctive, destructive, cutting through the music sound, has become one of the most known guitar pedals ever.
Jimi Hendrix made this “strange” sounding box, his signature voice in the art, he had the talent, creating amazing sounding sonic pictures, dreamed by many generations .
The fuzzy sounding box still lives in many great musical pieces and continues to shine on many modern songs.

So, lets face it. the Fuzz  Face will live forever!