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,

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