Maestro was a brand operated by Gibson from the ’50s to the ’70s. The FZ-1 Fuzz Tone was introduced in the early ’60s and ranks as absolutely classic vintage guitar effect.
The FZ-1B model listed here was a later ’60s edition that used a 9 volt battery.
The original Maestro FZ-1 contained a three germanium transistor circuit with RCA 2N270 devices, powered by two 1.5-volt batteries, and a lead cable to connect it to an instrument (bass as it was originally intended, or guitar). Germanium devices are temperature sensitive, and the effect responds to the incoming signal’s amplitude (volume) consistently.
Initially, the Fuzz Tone’s sales were disappointing, but after the success of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” the device became a huge success. During the recording of “Satisfaction” in May 1965, Keith Richards used a FZ-1 on the song’s distinctive guitar riff. According to Richards, he originally intended to use a brass section for the riff, but settled on the Fuzztone as a substitute.
As a result of the unforeseen demand for the device, all available stock sold out by the end of 1965. The pedal became a favourite of many garage rock and psychedelic bands of the time.
In late 1965, the circuit was revised, using 2N2614 or 2N2613 transistors, with pertinent biasing network, powered by a single, 1.5-volt battery. The model was re-designated as the FZ-1a, keeping the same wedge shaped enclosure as the FZ-1.
In 1968, an updated model with a different look and sound was introduced, with a circuit designed by Robert Moog using a 9-volt power supply and alternatively two or four silicon transistors, and labelled the Maestro FZ-1B. That is the model listed for sale here. And we have identified this one as a Mark II version, which does not utilize Germanium transistors.
This Maestro FZ-1B appears to have no changes or modifications under the hood. Just its original old school, point to point wiring all housed in its sturdy metal case, with its very own connecting cable ready to plug into your axe.
Everything works as well as it did on the day it was built – no crackles, pops or nasty noises – just good wholesome growling 60s fuzz. And nothing built today sounds quite like it.
Although this wasn’t the exact pedal used to get that iconic crunch on “Satisfaction,” the Maestro Fuzz-Tone FZ-1B will still leave you just as satisfied.