I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days with the Hot Fuzz guitar pedal from BAE Audio (which you can hear in our Fuzz Shootout!). This pedal is a combination high frequency boost and fuzz effects pedal that emulates an English 70’s fuzz box. Each side of the pedal (Hi Freq Boost and Fuzz) operates independently but can both be used at once for a higher frequency distortion sound. The Hot Fuzz includes knobs for Hi Freq Boost Gain, Fuzz Gain, Bass, Treble, and Juice (the most important one, obviously). Having not messed around with a lot of fuzz pedals before, I was very excited to see the ins and outs of what this pedal could do. What follows are a few links to the different tones I was able to dial in with the Hot Fuzz, and then some more in-depth discussion on my own personal thoughts. Let’s jump in!
Signal chain: Strandberg Custom Boden 7 w/ Lace Aluma X-Bar Pickups –> Line 6 Helix (Stone Age 185 amp+cab) –> BAE Hot Fuzz –> Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
(no pedal) Just the dry amp sound, only for reference. A good starting point to see how the Hot Fuzz would sound just by itself.
This is the pedal with just a little bit of grit added to the signal. I tried to be more dynamic with what I played to demonstrate how the dirt cleans up pretty nicely when you play softer, but also gets fuzzier as you play with more attack. I noticed that the harder I played, the more high-end was audible. That’s probably due to the amount of Hi Freq Boost I had dialed in.
This is more of the quintessential fuzz tone I was going for initially. A super warm, thick sound that has just barely enough clarity in it to make sense of what’s going on. I turned the treble down and the bass up to achieve a fatter sound with a little more juice added. The bass knob fills out the lows and low-mids nicely while the juice gives it a bit more grit.
Almost the same settings as Fat, this tighter tone just had the addition of the Hi Freq Boost being active on the pedal. It added some clarity in the top and tightness in the low-end which was really unexpected but sounded great. A sound like this gave it more of an overdrive style than the previously fuzzier tone.
I wanted to see how far I could push the pedal, so this is the result of that effort. Everything was turned up quite a bit here, minus the treble, which made for some pretty chunky, fuzzy toneage. The hum in the background became a bit louder, but that sort of comes with the fuzz pedal territory.
If you want to AB these sounds back to back, check out the Gear Gods Soundcloud playlist with all the parts for easy access.
As you can hear, I was able to get a lot of varied sounds out of the Hot Fuzz. This ability to get such a wide range of tones was probably my favorite aspect of this pedal. With only a few minor adjustments here and there, this single pedal changed the tone quite a bit with very little effort. Great for us lazy people.
In terms of the actual fuzz sound I was able to achieve, there was a fair amount of compression that seemed to kick in when the fuzz started taking over. It was noticeable but gave everything a nice punch which gave it more of an aggressive sound (which you probably want in a good fuzz pedal). When the bass was turned up, the fuzz not only got more low-end, but also acquired a fullness that warmed everything up perfectly. I’ll probably end up never turning down the bass on this pedal.
When the Hi Freq Boost was active, it unsurprisingly gave everything more definition in the upper frequencies. I also noticed it delivered a great deal of punch, particularly during the lead playing. The Hi Freq Boost would be great to kick on during a solo section in a song with how much definition it gave single-note passages.
I also really dug how the pedal is powered when the input jack is connected to, which is pretty much all of the time.
As for improvements that could be made to this pedal, there were only a couple small things I noticed. My main gripes seemed to center around the treble knob, as I had to tweak it a bit more to make it sit just right. The other knobs felt fairly organic with how much they increased/decreased their specific parameter, but the treble seemed to go from 0 to 100 a bit too fast. I never really set it later than 2 o’clock because it just became too bright, but I suppose with the Hi Freq Boost active you wouldn’t ever really need to anyways. It also seemed to add a little honkiness to the tone which felt like it took away from the overall fuzziness that I was getting. Other than that, the bass knob seemed to act as a bit of a volume control, and left the tone being much quieter when decreased. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it felt like it was controlling a combination of both bass and volume at times. Not necessarily a complaint, but more of an observation. It might benefit from being labeled differently.
In short, my experience with the Hot Fuzz from BAE Audio was very, very positive. Although I’m not a player who would typically use a fuzz pedal in his rig, I can completely understand the desire for one like the Hot Fuzz. I think this pedal can really lend itself to a great deal of different sounds for all kinds of players, from dirtying a signal up just a smidge, to full-out gnarly goodness. It might be more effective in a live setup vs. recording in a studio, as I did some playing with it through an Orange 4×12 and it sounded positively massive. Just great for stoner, doom, and sludge stuff especially. With the features included on this pedal, I could definitely see a whole live rig being built around it.
To snag your own BAE Hot Fuzz pedal, you can pick one up from the good people at Vintage King!
Oh, and it totally reminds me of Boba Fett. You’re welcome.