Saturday, September 16, 2023

Fuzz King(s)?

The Amplifier Corp. of America (aka Unicord) Fuzz King was first introduced in the summer of 1967 and was a cool take on the Maestro FZ-1A, sounding just as ratty and primitive. The pedal was released in North America and could be ordered directly from various electronics catalogs, in addition to simply walking into your local shop and picking one up. Judging by the components and general build style, it seems like the pedal was manufactured in the US, but I'm not 100% sure on that. 

One cool thing I have noticed after going through the history and connection between Univox/ LRE/ Honey/ Shin-ei, is that the ACA Fuzz King could be ground zero for how all of these brands came to be connected. 🤔

In the LRE catalog from Fall of 1967 the Fuzz King was also released as the "Fuzz Sound" (see below), for a whopping $26.95 (remember to add 9 cents for the battery), and promised to "make your guitar or bass produce the harmony of several wind instruments!".

Amplifier Corp of America Fuzz King

A year later LRE would release the version of the Fuzz Sound that you're probably more familiar with, made in Japan and sporting a circuit that was almost identical to the 1967 ACA Fuzz King, it was released under multiple brandings here in the US. Funny enough, one variation of this pedal, released by the brand Apollo, would ironically be labeled as "Fuzz King"...

But before you get a headache doing the calculus of what you just read, kick back and relax with the sweet sounds of the demos below ///


thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Fuzz Master, not that one...

Here's a weird one for you

Fuzz Master

So I know I've mentioned this before, but I have a couple decades-worth of photos saved on my hard drive of anything I deemed to be awesome and pedal related. One such photo (apparently saved in 2003) was a generic ad shot of a woman on the phone, and then for zero reason I can think of, this pedal just randomly cropped into the corner. 

The image was so tiny and pixelated that I had to do my best to blow it up to what you see above. And what you see is another mystery pedal, I'm going to guess from the mid/late 60s, called the "Fuzz Master".  It appears to be green, with knobs for Volume and Attack on opposite sides of the enclosure, and Input and Amplifier jacks at the top (although it seems like there is a jack of some sort visible on the side, so it could be possible that the labeling is just in a weird place?). The knobs remind me of the ones used on the Sekova wedge fuzzes, and the font and layout choice remind me of something else, but I can't quite place it...

If I had to put money on it, I would guess that this is a (Japanese?) Maestro FZ-1/1a clone, but sadly there's no way to know for sure. The term "Fuzz Master" was used other times in the 60s (i.e. the Claybridge Fuzzmaster from Australia, the Acetone Fuzz Master from Japan, and the Olson Fuzz Master from the US/Japan).  

One thing we definitely know is that starting around 1966 there were ads in every electronics magazine selling different fuzz build-it-yourself kits, and articles detailing how to build a fuzz from common components you could find at any hardware store. So it's possible that this is nothing more than a home project fuzz.

But it's also possible that there is some type of hidden fuzz history here... something that ties this pedal to a bigger brand! or a builder who went on to do something classic! or who knows what else! 

But what I do know, is now I must find one. :)

thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A quick update!

I just wanted to stop in and say Hello! to the readers of the blog. I realized recently that I haven't posted here in a while. I am still collecting and finding cool stuff! *see below But I haven't been able to carve out the time for my usual obsessive digging and pedal research....
Rogue Fuzz, Sierra Nu-Fuzz, Yack Fuzz, Exel Shatterbox

Above you'll see my most recent finds; a super rare Nomad Rogue Fuzz, an almost as rare late 60's YACK Fuzz Box from Japan, a rare Nu-Fuzz variant from their initial run under the Sierra Electronics brand, and finally an early 70s Exel Shatterbox made by B&M.

I have been stockpiling photos of awesome pedal related stuff since the Spring, so expect some deep dive posts in the near future!

Thanks as always for reading,

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!