Thursday, May 18, 2023

Super Identity Crisis...

Most pedal nerds know some history about the legendary Super Fuzz and that it got its humble start in 1967 as a stand-alone unit called the "Baby Crying" Fuzz, made by the Japanese brand Honey. 

What is a bit less known is that, 

A: the original designer of the Super Fuzz is still a mystery! (yes, Fumio Mieda, designer of the Univibe, did NOT also design the Super Fuzz) 

B: production of the FY-6 (Super Fuzz) ran for 10 years! And, 

C: in that time they were licensed to an almost endless list of brands, small shops, importers, and distribution companies.

So part of my ongoing (and super nerdy) research into the true history of this pedal is this little photo list of some of my favorite (and lesser known) variants, in a somewhat chronological order of Super Fuzzdom throughout the years. I hope you enjoy! 🙏

Honey Baby Crying Fuzz (The original, made from 1967-1969, produced by Honey. As of now it's still unclear how long, or if at all, Shin Ei continued with the Honey branding after they purchased the company)

LRE Super-Fuzz (It's starting to look like the gray LRE might be the first OEM, made by Honey, Super Fuzz. But I have some pieces of evidence I still need to find to confirm that)

Univox Super Fuzz (the Univox version either came right after or right before the LRE. Also note that these are the only two with that oval-shaped logo plate, and the only two made in a gray enclosure)

Companion FY-6 Super Fuzz (In 1969 Honey was purchased by Shin Ei, who began to produce the pedal under their house brand "Companion")

Shaftesbury Duo Fuzz (The only version with a left-leaning badge!)

Apollo Deluxe Fuzz Tone Expander 

Factone - Fuzz Machine (One of the rarer examples, there have only been two Factone pedals to pop up, and both in Japan) 

Mica-Tone Super Fuzz (the Musical Instrument Corp of America, aka MICA, imported and sold three different fuzzes in the mid-late 60s. The MICA Wailer [same as the LRE Fuzz Sound] the MICA-Tone Fuzz [which was a rebranded Manny's Fuzz] and this)

LRE Super-Fuzz (1970 sees the LRE version go black and also sees Univox most likely ending their contract with Shin-Ei, taking over production in-house with the release of their big box orange & blue Super Fuzz. One year later LRE would end their own deal with Shin-Ei and begin to sell rebranded Univox/Unicord pedals through their catalogs and in stores)

Shin-Ei Companion FY-6 Super Fuzz (Shin-Ei begins to rebrand their Companion line with their own name)

JH Experience Fuzz (V1, I actually love that janky sticker label. Also, while I can't confirm that "JH" isn't an attempt at a subliminal Jimi Hendrix reference, I also can't deny it) 

As you probably noticed I don't have cool little details for most of these, and some of them I'm guesstimating the date. But the point really is that the most retold story about the wedge-shaped Super Fuzz being produced in the late 60's, until Univox changed everything with their big Orange & Red version, is actually... not true.

We find plenty of Super Fuzz wedges dated well after 1970, with the latest I've come across is 1977! And that's a pretty insane revelation considering that most of us thought they were somehow all made between 1968 and '69. 

So hopefully this was somewhat informative for you all, and definitely let me know what your favorite version of the FY-6 Super Fuzz is or what crazy obscure branding I may have missed. 

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Bakelite Fresh Fuzz

For nearly 20 years there has been a mysterious photo of a plastic Seamoon Fresh Fuzz floating around the internet. It came from a long-defunct Japanese website and had no context or clues as to who owned it or where it came from... 

At the time I had some thoughts on what it could be, but for years it was the only one I had ever seen. That is until 2011 when I came across a random posting on a guitar forum where the author was showing off his modest fuzz collection; among them a second plastic Seamoon Fresh Fuzz! I immediately joined the forum and reached out to the owner. He was very reluctant to sell, and after a few back and forths, things sadly went south.

It would be 9 long years before I had another siting. This time a badass reader of the blog reached out to me and sent photos of his pedal (I featured one of them on the big Fresh Fuzz article a few months back). Unfortunately though, I somehow missed that email and didn't see it until 2 years later! And by the time I responded he was no where to be found.

I was starting to give up all hope when, fast forward to a couple of months ago, a friend/fellow pedal collector gave me the contact info for a potential owner, complete with a photo! This would be only the 4th plastic Fresh Fuzz to ever come across my screen and I knew I couldn't let it slip away. So I got to work crafting the perfect email, hoping for a huge score but expecting not even a reply.

Well, as you can probably guess, things went well. Because here she is! The very first, very fragile, and very very rare V1 Seamoon Fresh Fuzz from 1973. The enclosure was made by Daka-ware (aka Davies Molding) using Bakelite plastic. Very few of these were made and even fewer survived: 

So if you happen to also have one of these I would love to hear from you! Send me an email or reach out through instagram.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 3, 2023

MKI Tone Benders, full on!

In case you haven't come across any of these demos before, here are a few examples of one of the best sounding fuzzes of all time!!!

These are all original MKI Tone Benders, from 1965:

*Big thanks to Philip, Graham, and Jerms for making these demos of this impossibly rare pedal!

some day....some day. 🙏

thanks for watching!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

SOUND Pedals, Brazil.

SOUND Pedals was a brand out of Brazil that began in the late 60s and went all the way through the mid 80s. Their first efforts were combination pedals, typically featuring a wah and any insane mix of additional effects they could think of...

I originally found out about them through the amazingly named Devils' Fuzz; which is purported to be a Big Muff circuit. I was lucky enough to come across Fernando L'amounier recently, who happens to own an original, and he sent over this demo for us (also comparing it to the ES-4, Fuzz Wah):

After a bit more digging I came across this demo for the SOUND ES-3, which employs the mix of Fuzz, Wah, Repeat, and Siren effects! This thing is completely ridiculous. Check it out///

And finally, here's our friend Fernando back again, this time with most of the SOUND lineup///

For more info on SOUND Pedals and some background history, check out this site:

thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

LRE Super Fuzz and Super Drive?

Starting in 1968 LRE (or Lafayette Radio Electronics) began selling their branded version of the Honey Baby Crying Fuzz, or as we now know it, the Super Fuzz. Along with Univox, they were not only the first OEM versions of this pedal, but also the only two in a gray enclosure with an oval-shaped logo plate. 

In 1970 Univox began selling their version of the circuit in a Red (Orange?) and Blue enclosure. It's currently not clear if Univox began producing the pedal themselves or if Shin Ei continued the production, but what is clear is that the circuit layout and board changed with the aesthetic makeover, and a sticker proclaiming "Made in Japan by Univox Corp of Japan Ltd. under license of Unicord Inc. Westbury, N.Y." was affixed to each pedal.

More interestingly perhaps, is that in 1971 LRE began placing a section in their monthly catalogs showing an orange Super Fuzz and their version of the Uni-Drive, called the Super Drive

While it is possible that we have seen an orange LRE Super Fuzz, because none of the pedals have brandings directly on them, we can say for certain that at least in the 20 years I have been collecting, not a single LRE Super Drive has ever popped up. 

But I am very hopeful that some have survived! 

LRE then has 3 versions of the Super Fuzz, and in my opinion here is the probable timeline:

1968 - Gray LRE Super Fuzz

1970 - Black LRE Super Fuzz

1971 - Orange/Blue LRE Super Fuzz

1970 LRE Catalog:

1971 LRE Catalog:

With the help of a few equally nerdy friends, I am currently working on a more comprehensive history of this classic fuzz.

So if you happen to have any info, personal stories, or anything that could help date these pedals, please hit me up via email or instagram message!

Thanks for reading,