Maestro - FZ-1  [schematic]

Discussion regarding early stompbox technology: 1960-1975 Please keep discussion focused and contribute what info you have...

Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby modman » 16 Dec 2008, 16:32

But back to the beginning. Country music had survived the body blow dealt out by Elvis and rock 'n roll by developing the smooth, widely palatable Nashville Sound. In the studios of Nashville, this meant that a small cast of musical movers and shakers kept wildly busy, sometimes recording for as long as 15 hours a day. "We could do four sessions a day: 10am, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm," recalls the great session guitarist Harold Bradley, referring to the standardized times for three-hour sessions. "If you were booked solid for four sessions, they'd say, "We'll start at 1.30 in the morning'. They demanded it!" Bradley laughs. "The artists would say "We're not gonna cut it without you guys."
The pressure was intense to come up with great performances every time. The need for new and distinctive sounds meant players and producers were constantly on the lookout for new tools and techniques. In one famous incident the recordeing crew at Music Row's renowned Quonset Hut studio got creative when a malfunctioning pre-amp in the recording console produced a wild, evenly distorted sound. Making use of the sound was session great Grady Martin, who produced the famed distortion-powered solo on six-string bass for Marty Robbins' 1961 hit "Don't Worry." As that record puzzled and captivated listeners in the pop and country fields, the fuzztone era was under way. "Later when I found out what it was, I set about trying to develop that sound using transistors," recalls veteran engineer Glenn Snoddy. "We fooled around with it and got the sound like we wanted. I drove up to Chicago and presented it to Mr. Berlin, the boss at the Gibson company, and he heard that it was something different. So they agreed to take it and put it out as a commercial product." The result was the first off-the-shelf fuzzbox, the Gibson Maestro.


Thomas Goldsmith, "Country Guitars" in: Tony Bacon (ed.) Fuzz and Feedback,Backbeat Books, 2000, p.58

You can check whole parts of this book in the Google reader, but the above link I put seems to be dead.

As far as I've learnt so far, these early Langevin consoles had no fixed preamp in them. You had a choice among several preamps that would all fit. A halfway decent Langevin console nowadays sells for anything between $5-8k

Know I at least discovered where zachie got the basics for the Neve-story.
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby analogguru » 16 Dec 2008, 18:00

There is no evidence, that the defective preamp in the console was assembled with transistors. More, this statement:
"Later when I found out what it was, I set about trying to develop that sound using transistors," recalls veteran engineer Glenn Snoddy.

implies, that the distorting preamp could have consisted of.... tubes - which was normally in this era in professional studios.

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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby IggY » 16 Dec 2008, 19:16

here is where the record in question is to be heard: http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/i ... ic=68760.0
just log in or register beforehand!
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby modman » 16 Dec 2008, 19:31

or here:
http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/GG/Marty_Robb ... _Worry.mp3
here a 70s rendition by that man himself
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfvFwZt2 ... re=related
do wait for the solo, but it's on pedals steel now? Maybe the band own s a Snoddy protoype :wink: ?

Pressure was on Robbins to equal his feat of a year before when he hit numer one with what later became the archetypical cowboyl song, El Paso City, when they were making this track.

analogguru wrote:There is no evidence, that the defective preamp in the console was assembled with transistors. More, this statement:
"Later when I found out what it was, I set about trying to develop that sound using transistors," recalls veteran engineer Glenn Snoddy.

implies, that the distorting preamp could have consisted of.... tubes - which was normally in this era in professional studios.

analogguru


I'm sure it was a tube console!, that's what Snoddy is quoted on. Het had to clone that sound he got with a tube preamp by using transistors... If the preamp would have been solid state, than it would have been easy to adapt it.

If you click pdf page 4 of the manual and scroll all the way down you see the manual is dated April 1964 (4/64) we should be looking at Langevin 5116


It must be one of the consoles Jim linked to, some are mid to late 50s
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby JiM » 16 Dec 2008, 22:57

I've found some words of the designer of the AM-16 : http://www.3daudioinc.com/3db/showthread.php?t=53

Even if the AM-16 is a famous design, some people say (but don't trust internet forums :roll: ) that the real gems are indeed the tube preamps, especially the 116 and 5116. You can find the complete manual of the 116A in the link i've posted before.

The 5116-B circuit is different from the 5116, and was "new" in 1961

"the 1961 Langevin catalog, which has the AM-201A and AM-5116-B as new items, says 'a division of Sonotec Inc.'. The AM-201A is not in the 1963 catalog, but the AM-5116-B is still there, and still listed as a new item(?)." http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end ... ool-2.html

Here is a big schematic archive, including some Langevin manuals. Unfortunately not the 5116 ...
http://www.theused.com/resource/resource.php

Not directly related, but it might be interresting also : http://www.tangible-technology.com/tubes/1566/1566.html
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby analogguru » 16 Dec 2008, 23:30

I don´t understand why there is a hunt for the origin of this nasty fuzz - this "sound" is easily achieved with any shitty amplifier. Anyway, here is everything about the 5116-B:
http://www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/index.ph ... lectrodyne

some pictures of 5116 and 5116-B (scroll down):
http://www.archaicaudio.lunarpages.com/index2.htm
and you can even buy them... :wink:

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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby Solidhex » 16 Dec 2008, 23:33

analogguru wrote:The FZ-1 schematic is wrong - missing a 470k on the base of the second transistor.
The FZ-1A schematic appears to be right.

analogguru


So the Fz-1 has that 470k too? Damn, that's a lot of wrong schematics out there for the Fz-1 then. I built a clone of it and added that 470k due to the lack of sustain. So that sort of makes sense.

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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby modman » 17 Dec 2008, 17:04

analogguru wrote:I don´t understand why there is a hunt for the origin of this nasty fuzz - this "sound" is easily achieved with any shitty amplifier.


Fuzz didn't originate by accident and it's not even special. Bass feedback is fuzzy. I'm not looking for an original sound or the real fuzz. They just overdrove the preamp by DI-ing and electric 6 string bass guitar. Producer and musicians were apparently so drunk tired and or stoned that they liked it. Then who started the initial bullshit? The electronic engineer, who, in this case is the guy who's paid least. The musicians are in Marty's band, on a pay roll. Make no mistake, this is the guy who won the first Country & Western grammy about this time. Writers, singer, producer and record company are going to make a lot of money out of this (last) hit by Robbins.

Anyway, I think Snoddy kept the secret. The secret, btw, is that there is no secret, it's bass feedback/overdrive. Snoddy found a way to monopolize the obvious and furthermore let Robbins record do the marketing. This worked, but only on a limited scale, some country records used the sound, but Gibson almost didn't sell one Fuzz-Tone until 'Statisfaction' came out, late 1964?

What's more interesting is that the story is shedding some light on why it took Soddy so long to come up with the design?

    Don't Worry session is summer 1960;
    record reaches C&W #1 in Dec 1960; but his last top 10 hit ever.
    wins first grammy C&W in 1961 for El Paso City
    filed patent: May 1962; almost two years

You just trace the broken preamp and check what going on. But so far nobody has documented on the moment when the Fuzztone suddenly became an effect for electric guitar and not for bass? Is it because they cannot allow the bass to play the fuzzsolo and not have a proper mellow bassline going on underneath? In the youtube vid I posted, you see how much fun these guys have in the solo, but the fuzz seems to be played by the pedal steel player?

So Snoddy's exercise was not so much trace out, but devise a circuit that could give a guitar that bass distortion sound. Or wasn't the FZ1 still intended for bass? Or for no instrument in particular?

"Audio engineering suffers from misinformation, disinformation, and downright lying more than most fields of endeavour."

The whole mojo bullshit discourse started right there when Snoddy decided to go and sell 'a sound in a box' which you basically don't need, because you and replicated it by abusing a mixing board. The whole generation conception of a stompbox as "containing" a sound is bullshit by itself, so for me mojo, lies and misinformation were already playing a crucial role in the birth of the first stompbox. They were even a prerequisite for the first stompbox to be created. If Snoddy would have explained to everybody that the sound was simply overdrive the preamp etc., he would have had a hard time trying to sell his box, and seemingly, nobody outside of Nashville cared for it. Or all the engineers when they heard it knew what it was?

But when the kids SAW Keith on tv...
"The whole point of diy is diy. It's not dsoiyathodtr - do some of it yourself and then have others do the rest" (paulc)
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby Solidhex » 20 Feb 2009, 08:23

Yo

Let's talk about this evolution from recording equipment abuse to fuzz pedal. That's what I'm interested in. Let's take a look at the circuit and discuss how it works.
Clipping is an important effect. I think its pretty cool someone heard it and said "how do I do that on purpose, not by accident?" With all the "who did what" and people's personal tastes aside, what can we guess was the path that arrived at the Fz-1 circuit?

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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby modman » 20 Feb 2009, 13:20

Solidhex wrote:Yo

Let's talk about this evolution from recording equipment abuse to fuzz pedal. That's what I'm interested in. Let's take a look at the circuit and discuss how it works.
Clipping is an important effect. I think its pretty cool someone heard it and said "how do I do that on purpose, not by accident?" With all the "who did what" and people's personal tastes aside, what can we guess was the path that arrived at the Fz-1 circuit?

--Brad


Guessing is not so productive when there are so many facts. More facts than any other pedal, most of them are listed in the patent. The ultimate source for the circuit is to be found there, at the bottom in the footnote, where an article is listed as "Transistor Based Amplifier." in some 50s magazine.

I summarized what I found on the path to the FZ-1: a faulty tube console and Epiphone bass with built-in fuzz. Most of it is summarized in the below link. But discussion is by no means closed. :wink: Will take some time before all vintage gems are documented, but anyone who has relevant information can always post it in the wiki.

wiki/doku.php?id=maestro_fuzz-tone_fz-1
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby Solidhex » 21 Feb 2009, 07:11

Ha!

I love it. I imagine a lot of musicians back then had inadvertently grown a taste for fuzz and distortion just from dealing with the low power of amplification. If I could only put the sound of my 58' Fender Champ in a box...

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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby audiohub » 24 Feb 2009, 06:02

There's an auction running for a Gibson EBO bass with the built-in early fuzztone, with a few gutshots...
http://cgi.ebay.com/1965-Gibson-EBO-F-V ... dZViewItem
I wish we could see more of the board and components.
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) schematic

Postby royaltoots » 28 Mar 2009, 12:13

here is a (hopefully) corrected schematic for the FZ-1 - it's based on the fuzzcentral original, but with 2 errors fixed

Image
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby modman » 04 Apr 2009, 23:59

thanks for redrawing!

Didn't follow discussion on DAM - perhaps I should register over there... :wink:
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby theehman » 05 Apr 2009, 00:25

modman wrote:thanks for redrawing!

Didn't follow discussion on DAM - perhaps I should register over there... :wink:


Good luck. I registered 2 weeks ago and never got my confirmation email.
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby Electric Warrior » 05 Apr 2009, 00:31

modman wrote:thanks for redrawing!

Didn't follow discussion on DAM - perhaps I should register over there... :wink:


definitely! it's a great forum, especially if you're into vintage fuzz.
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby Electric Warrior » 05 Apr 2009, 01:20

theehman wrote:
modman wrote:thanks for redrawing!

Didn't follow discussion on DAM - perhaps I should register over there... :wink:


Good luck. I registered 2 weeks ago and never got my confirmation email.


maybe your email provider is blocking emails from europe?
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby theehman » 05 Apr 2009, 01:35

Electric Warrior wrote:
theehman wrote:
modman wrote:thanks for redrawing!

Didn't follow discussion on DAM - perhaps I should register over there... :wink:


Good luck. I registered 2 weeks ago and never got my confirmation email.


maybe your email provider is blocking emails from europe?


Gmail's usually pretty good about letting legit things through. I checked my SPAM folder for several days afterwards w/ no luck.
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Re: Maestro - FZ-1 ( Fuzztone ) (patent inside)

Postby Solidhex » 14 Sep 2009, 08:21

Oooff,

I can see why they changed the circuit to the Fz-1a. Even with the original RCA 2n270's with respectable leakage and gain there is a lot of noise and some oscillation with this circuit. Just built one up and had to parallel a 2k2 resistor with the 10k at the base of Q3. Sort of extreme. Didn't have this trouble before when building one with ac128's. The Fz-1a circuit seems to bias a bit easier.

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corrected Maestro FZ-1 schematic?

Postby royaltoots » 28 Feb 2010, 12:25

i don't come around here much anymore, but here's that amended schematic again - my old image host died

Image

I got a bunch of NOS 2N270s from Langrex in the UK, but none had gains over 80 - I can't find a full data sheet but the min hfe is meant to be 70 and most of mine are below this....

They don't work so well in the winter! seem to be more temp sensitive than other Ge trannies
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