In many ways, the history of fuzz is the history of modern guitar pedals. The FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone from Gibson Maestro was not only the first fuzz pedal but is also widely credited as the first major, mass-market pedal in general.
Created as a way to replicate the sound of guitarists like Link Wray – one of the first guitarists to intentionally overdrive his vacuum tube amp – the FZ-1 was far from successful upon its initial release.
Then came Satisfaction.
When attempting to lay down a guide track for the brass section on the iconic Rolling Stones hit, rock legend Keith Richards used the FZ-1. When he recorded the track, Richards intended it as a simulation of the brass sound that would ultimately be replaced. He was reportedly ‘mortified’ when the song was put out but his feelings swiftly changed when it became clear that it was a colossal hit.
Not only was Satisfaction the defining sound of 1965, but it sparked a wave of interest in Fuzz pedals and the FZ-1 took off overnight!
All good things come to an end, or at least that’s what people thought in the ’90s when the last FZ-1 Fuzz Tone re-issue came to an end. A few decades later and the original sound of fuzz is back with the FZ-M.
But is Gibson Maestro’s latest release a faithful recreation of the original fuzz pedal?
The FZ-M might look different to the FZ-1 but how does it compare sound-wise?
Well the FZ-M is an almost perfect recreation of the FZ-1’s classic overdriven sound. It brings all the tone and definition you can expect from such an iconic pedal and – if you can’t find an original FZ-1A or FZ-1B knocking around – this is the closest you can get to the sound of the Rolling Sounds.