Sunday, March 25, 2012

1966 Maestro FZ-1A fuzz box

It's a unique coincidence that the fuzz box, one of THE most ground breaking sounds of 1960's guitar work was first 'isolated' in 1960 on, surprisingly, a country western record. Session man Grady Martin was cutting a six string bass track for a Marty Robbins record called 'Don't Worry' and a faulty mixing board channel was overloaded into severe distortion (eight years later the Beatles intentionally did this on the "Revolution" fast single version for some of the most extreme distortion ever cut to wax.)

The record became a big hit, and Grady Martin went on to duplicate the effect on a record called "The Fuzz" in 1961. At the urging of engineer Glen Snoddy (who pulled out the fuzzy circuitry for Grady martin), Gibson agreed to produce the fuzz box, with production beginning in 1962. 5000 pedals were built in '62, and most remained unsold until a record called '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' by rising English stars the Rolling Stones hit number one in the summer of '65, driven by an unforgettable Maestro fuzz driven lick played by Keith Richards as a way of emulating the sound of horns on soul records.

While the fuzztone *does* emulate a saxophone-like raspiness, instead it caused a revolution of psychedelic guitar tones that went on to define the tones of rock 'n roll, blues and soul records of the sixties and beyond. Fuzztone production exploded post-Satisfaction, and other famous 60's models include the Mosrite Fuzz-rite, and the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (UK) made famous by Jimi Hendrix.

As an extra cool touch, these fuzzbox has the same type of knobs as seen on the guitars of the era. In fact, they match the knobs on my SG Custom as seen in the video!

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