|The Fuzz Tone Patent (1965)|
|The original Fuzz-Tone|
|John Lennon with the Maestro at his feet|
|A typical stock FZ-1 schematic|
So to sum things up, I never actually played an authentic Fuzz Tone FZ-1 before and I probably never will. Thanks to the invention of stereo recording and mixing in the 1930's and the first LP in stereophonic sound, released in 1958, many records in the 60's were released with a hard stereo panning which enables one to completely isolate certain tracks by playing only one channel. Check out the Doors as a great example for that (Hello I Love You has the fuzz guitar only on the right channel). After many hours of listening to separated stereo channels I've been able to find setups which sound very similar to many of my favorite recordings.
The pedal has 3 knobs, VOLUME, ATTACK and STARVE. The ATTACK goes from very mild boost which sounds amazingly similar to the "clean" punchy sound on Roky Erickson's early albums (Tried to hide comes to mind) to full on fuzz-a-delic mayhem. The STARVE is what really gives the pedal it's distinct tone. With the STARVE maxxed out the sound is very full and modern-like but not very garage-psych like. As the STARVE is decreased the pedal comes alive. The VOLUME is straightforward except it does change the sound a bit. The pedal is not very strong in volume and I usually have the VOLUME dimed or close to dimed. I bet that part of my experience and mods were a result of the AC128 germs I used. Obviously, others might get different results with different germs.
Below are some clips taken with single coils Tele and ES335-style humbuckers. You'll hear many riffs and pieces from known classic tracks by Captain Beefheart, The Doors, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Stones, Beatles and Ennio Morricone. I loved this pedal so much that I did 5 demos with it. 2 with bass guitar on a Bassman style amp and an old Ampeg amp (all emulations). The two guitar demos are played through the Brittania VOX AC30 pedal emulation and a cabinet emulation. For classic mid 60's psychedelia the pedal works best with the VOX style amps and Fender twin reverb style. The Man with a Harmonica is from the Ennio Morricone's classic soundtrack. I think that the pedal, nails the sound perfectly if played on the right setup.