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Fuzz the greatest sound on planet Earth

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Hi there,
Being on a fuzz spree I think it is time for some history of Fuzz the sound that changed the world.
Personally I think fuzzguitar has had greater impact on mankind than Man walking on the Moon.
I guess the first experience I had with fuzzed guitar was back in 1976 when I rented a guitar and an amplifier from a gypsie -I didn't know it then that the sound was distorted as I thought an electric guitar must sound like that as opposed to an acoustic guitar.....
Anyway the sound produce from that kit just playing one note is forever embedded in my mind and it was a sound that had a calling to playing guitar, which was fine as we had just started a band the very first band I was in and I knew no notes or chords while the sound itself was so seductive I figured I'll learn somehow 😉
I have had pleasure of having a long talk with mr picard who told me many things about fuzz like how it first was used on a country recording and how Beatles wanted to use fuzz and what fuzzes they actually used and so first some words from mr picard
Here is the oral history on the invention of fuzz:  https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/glenn-snoddy
Here is the Patent with his name on it:   http://www.muzique.com/misc/patent54.pdf
Beatles wanted to use the Gibson FZ-1 fuzz tone as early as 1963 on the song She Loves You
In 1965 Vic Flick walked into Macaris in London and asked if something could be done to his Gibson FZ-1 as it had a farty sound and very short sustain...
In fact the patent application states quite bit about that and personally I thought when reading that
and here are some things I have posted about FZ1 through the years:
On the Gibson fuzz I got the first one in a bag of fuzzpedals brought in by the King of Cheese collector of cheesy fuzzpedals. Those were things he'd use live and they were in many pieces. Some of them were of such nature that I did not know if I had repaired them after restoration so I had to call the guy to come down and play them for me so I'd know if they were in good working order, but the Gibson fuzz, I could get it to sound like a great rock n roll fuzz sound. Since it was broken in many pieces I had to geuss how to put it back together.
Most of these fuzzes came with a schematic attached to the bottomplate but those seldomly coincided with the actual circuit.
The FZ -1A did not though but there aren't that many parts anyway
The Gibson fuzz I thought first, why would the designer of this put bias at the outskirts of what the transistor could take- that would cut sustain short.........why would you want to do that? It required thinking backwards to what the impact of this sound would have been.
On one hand perhaps like the Bo Clason wrote about the Gibson saleguy that rang back to the factory asking the technicians to put in a switch for the greatest sound on Earth ..........and yes I can picture the technicians scratching their heads as I know from experience that communication between musicians and technicians was hampered by differences in language as in words that would connect.............
but anyway I thought it must have been done to deliberately cut sustain short-or the technicians would have had no clue- the latter also possible ..........
Anyway I thought about the Gibson and set it as I'd like it myself..........
I got many fuzzpedals in repair since most other repairguys wouldn't touch them and those backroom technicians that would just change parts according to a schematic they had found online with results accordingly so I eventually got them.
Well, in that bag there was also an FZ-S and that one I had to call the King of Cheese to come and play for me and explain what he liked about.

To the FZ1-A, and this was a unit powered by 1V5 and it said Maestro on top and then on front there was a small Gibson logo, anyway this unit had been modified before mainly to make it have a telejack input instead of a chord, I rebiased the second stage and drove that box with a Gibson Les Paul Special through a Marshall combo and yes that rocked, also since the output has highpassfilter or differentiator which then when the circuit was running what would be close to linear amplification if output would be low enough then at full tilt gave a squarewave with a differentiating peak, much like a Marshall on full tilt would..........

Here's how I viewed the unit as I got it and measured it for functionality:
The first transistor would bias due to leakage and would at least have an inputimpedance of say 270K at worst conditions; the second transistor was locked but would likely if drift of parts would not have occoured open only on peaks, which would be OK for just single well defined notes but that would be unpredictable with multiple notes- so I set that transistor for what would allow near linear amplification at sufficiently low levels not to indruduce massive amounts of distortion and that thusly would allow multiple notes, but now the unit would distort at a peak and and also during the envelope of a decaying note until level would fall to sufficiently low levels to make linear amplification possible but this mode only setable at one spot of the Attack control; now the third stage I figured would be driven by a large enough signal to make that stage hardclip but at the mentioned spot also have large enough input to drive this stage without cutting out and this due to the very low base emitter space; lastly the highpass filter at the output and this was made by a 3n3 capacitor loaded by 56K in parallell with Volume control would make this peak.......now the volume control set at '6' would present a large enough outputimpedance to form a lowpassfilter with the cable used to couple the unit to the amplifier, just slightly limiting the highest overtones.

Now the King of Cheese ofcourse used this fuzz for dying moans and sputtery sounds anyway.........

Later I got another Gibson FZ-1 but that was driven by 3V's and it was DOA aswell as dead when bought at a yardsale, but I thought it could be resqued from the trashbin.
This one had a few wires loose and some other components loose and it was requested by the owner that it should be drivable with a VL PP2 so I just flipped the reference to the circuit and made a zener limiter so 9V's could be 3V's and the unit was reboxed so it should hold together and yes I made a bias adjustment as I recall.

Aligning with basic theory of fuzzes the FZ-1 and FZ-1A would follow the principal of first creating a lowpass filter at the input as per inputstage and the hardclip and differentiate and this then preferably played with a fairly strong neck pick up and tonecontrol down...........ah but that's more of a sound like a brass instrument........
The sound of rock though one could think of nonlinear amplification exploring what would happen with seemingly linear stages whne driven to distortion- you know like a guitarist looking at an amplifier and asking the first question about it: " Can it distort?" hehehe...........ah no I don't belive there are any clean sounds as then you might aswell play through the HiFi stereo........distortion is also shimmer.......

Yes it would be possible to make a similar circuit with tubes and at the time this FZ-1 was made transistors were in diapers;) and often explained as they were in some of my books through tubecircuits.
In one of my tube manuals there's a short chapter on spets transistors- germanium types in glass containers with later models having a rubberhood since they'd be light sensitive.....
The RCA 2N270 that were used in the above examples is a more modern type, but such transistors would these days be found at electronic museums.
Yes it would be probable that the designers might have explained their circuit with tubes and also might figure someoneelse at the time would make such a circuit with tubes and so they might have wanted to prevent that via a patent.
The Music Man RD112 has a limiter circuit that is biased in a similar way but with tubes but that circuit does not have sufficient gain to make a really long fuzztone but it becomes sputtery and this was something made in the late 70's.
I would think that the designers of the Maestro/Gibson FZ-A to S were thinking that fuzz would be an extreme effect, hence the bias system to make the circuit only open on peaks.......
You know even in modern extreme high gain amplifiers of the 80's there can be 'gating' circuits like an in series antiparallell diode arrangement to cut out noise and statics.

Ah, but to this day the sound of that first FZ1A after it had life lingers ................

Holy Rock n roll

However, the sound of the FZ-1 as described above is somethingelse than sputtery and dying moans.....and it remains a favourite of mine for reasons outlined above.

For the FUZZ the Movie I know the director really wanted to ask about the knitty gritty details of fuzz as in what makes it sound good.
I'd view that as an impossible question to answer from anyother angle than the impact of fuzzguitar to the human mind as in how does this enter the conciousness?
Circuits? I don't know there could be very many, while imensly more sounds like a fuzz sound for each guitarist.Well nearly anyway as a signature.........
I don't think it is a question that can be answered in terms of use this transistor or this tube in this or that circuit, but I think like this that first there is a sound and then surely there must be a way of making that in a circuit and then if needed one can explain the function of a circuit, but that that would be always connected to a sound in the head.
I guess that's the backward approach I had when restoring those FZ-1's as in biasing for a sound I had in my head and it's a happy feeling each time a circuit comes alive like that.

Well, I'd think of extreme fuzz in many shades and some may have just a long fuzz tone.
Hm, not sure as I'd want to make a take on the Gibson/Maestro FZ-1: I don't have a stash of RCA 2N270's
allthough they might be available here
but what you get in terms of useable 2N270's I don't know.
For sake of bandwidth and some other caractheristics transistors used in this circuit ( that is without alteration to set bias et.c) germanium transistors would be the choice and of course many other transistors could be used 

The FZ-1/FZ1A/B's would not at all be about picking dynamics but on the contrary about the attack and hence the Attack control and so only if you'd play with a hockeymask you might pounder away some sustain;)

However if such a unit would be rebiased to allow linear amplification at sufficiently low levels then that would be a totally different ballgame........

And as I now have some germaniums that work I'll just as well give that a try

The greatest sound on Earth came about at several places also in the late 50’s in a sandpit outside the town of Skutskär and where a dance event was held and jazzguitarist  Kjell Sjölund told he had this gasoline driven power to his amplifier, of a popular swedish make at the time, but anyway as the dance went on the gasoline generator began to sag and voltage dropped and out of the amplifier came a sound that Kjell described as the greatest sound Earth more or less.
It wasn’t until 2003 that Kjell got this sound once more when by accident turning up the Volume and down the Master volume on a transistor amp he had had since a guitar fare sometime in the 70’s when he was endorsing the amplifier brand.I know a couple of other stories like this handed down to me from musicians and technicians 50’s and 60’s from my times at Tord’s
And there was this guy Rolf Odin that told me he had a pencil to protrude a small speaker that he had on top of his Dynachord Rex back in the early 60's and so he had a  distortion speaker that he could switch on when needed.
Right so why this long post about fuzz history and no Fuzz Face?
Well that's because the Fuzz Face as we know it came only later.
As a spin off inspired by what has been posted in this thread I am also doing Tone Bender Mark 1 in just a few and also that will be presented as DIY and I'll do a couple of other fuzzes that are related as just a few units but all can be made DIY and possible modifications and also why I have choosen to do certain things will be explained on component level for those interested.
To me sound always comes first and that is what hits the mind I'd think then to recreate a sound in the head there are paths and electronic solutions I'd seldom talk about because they'd usually  be less important but now for making a statement in the evolution of the sounds of Fuzzguitar.
Let's do all the questions on what does what in the Folk Forum when files can be posted and for that I will need some help as my files are anchient on paper and or one vintage Mac computer.
Thank you for all suggestions on what would be good controls and I can show those eventually while I'd suggest going first for the basics with some tricks
At your service and have sincere fun

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Blev medlem: 6 år sedan
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Great reading, thanks!

Morgan Benitez
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Blev medlem: 9 månader sedan
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This is the information I've been looking for, nice share mate!