Based around a classic octave fuzz design, the NVMBR Fuzz is so much more than it seems.
There are few things that get my attention more than single knob pedals. I’m a huge fan of any pedal that can pack multiple sounds and uses into limited control form factors. I would say I even live for finding great one knob pedals. So with that in mind, this October Audio NVMBR Fuzz may be the most versatile single knob pedal I have ever spent time with. The basic idea here is that you have an octave fuzz on one side of the toggle switch (bolt mode) and a ’70s punk-style distortion on the other (wave mode).
The ’70s punk distortion is worthy of being a pedal itself if I’m being honest, providing a rich, raucous sound that plays shockingly nice with single coil pickups. The single knob on this pedal serves as a master gain/level control, almost like how an amp’s master volume does more than just change the volume level. NVMBR also makes up for the bigger enclosure size with convenient top mounted jacks that help with your pedalboard management. October Audio has many other killer sounding one knob pedals, I’d highly recommend checking out the Richmond, VA-based company if you’re into treble boosters, fuzzes, and garage rock gain stages.
Review & Opinion:
The minute you plug the NVMBR in you’re going to have fun. Its best characteristic is just how smooth both the fuzz and punk distortion tones are. They really worked to remove some of those higher, sharp frequencies that can create those ear shattering fuzz tones. Instead, the octave fuzz is exceptionally rich in the mids. This really was apparent in the recorded sound of the pedal when I was looping it over rhythm tracks. There is a super fuzz-like signature in the sound, but far more controlled and warm to my ears.
As I said before, the punk distortion is something so special. And I’m really surprised at how much better it sounds on my P90-loaded guitars and my Telecaster than any humbucker-laden instruments. It has little to no hum or buzz that you wouldn’t already have, and it just creates this wall of sound that is very amp-like. Any gain stage that sounds like a cranked amp will always be a high scorer on this site, as it doesn’t feature that studio compression or EQ manipulation you get from more “traditional” gain circuits.
Having the ability to flip between these two, beautiful sounding gain stages is well worth the pedalboard space and the price of the pedal. In fact, the $145 price tag is quite affordable in the boutique fuzz world. Where the pedal really won me over though was the cranked octave-fuzz setting but with your guitar’s volume knob rolled down. You get a Green Ringer-style ring mod sound and it is awesome! Roll off your volume and it literally takes you to a whole new world that is highly useable and unique. So with basically one toggle switch, you get access to three pedals. How can you beat that?
Conclusion & Final Rating: 9.2 out of 10
When calculating the final score, I had to consider that this pedal has absolutely replaced the Danelectro 3699 fUZZ in my rig. It does the octave fuzz thing just as well, if not better, and the punk distortion and ring mod sounds just add so much flexibility at a lower price point. Plus, I feel that it sacrificed zero quality in build, sound, or aesthetics. So as amazing as the 3699 was and is, this is just a higher ranked pedal when all is said and done. October Audio absolutely impressed me with the NVMBR Fuzz in many categories I consider essential in my scoring rubric, including value for price, versatility, and ease of use. There is a slight amount of curation that goes into single knob pedals, meaning you are leaving lots of sonic choices up to the builder instead of dialing them in yourself. But here, they made all the right choices, leaving nothing more for me to do besides plug in a good guitar and run it into a good amp. This is probably my favorite octave-fuzz at the moment and is a phenomenal addition to any pedalboard!