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!