My version of the FZ-1 is named BINX. I tune Binx against my favorite original examples (I have a few), whether using the original RCA devices or some other type. One can expect moderate gating (slightly less than many originals, but still enough to provide exciting decay), robust saturation, and emphasized mids. I do not try to make this circuit something other than itself; specifically, I have no interest in making it sound more like younger effects.
A Standard Series build will feature enclosure, color, parts selection, and circuit construction of my choice.
Binx is available in Standard, Focus, and Old Pal construction.
AN HISTORY OF THE MAESTRO FZ-1 FUZZ TONE
The first commercial fuzz effect was the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone. I’m sure there were plenty of obscure distortion units kicking around the U.S. and UK prior to Maestro/Gibson’s FZ-1, but, to my knowledge, none remain. The FZ-1 was developed as a three-stage clipping circuit built around a trio of RCA 2N270 germanium transistors. The unit operated on two AA batteries generating 3 volts. As is well documented, the resulting effect emphasized the middle and high frequencies resulting in a clear, articulate sound. The high-gain circuit amplified noise at idle, so the units were generally tuned for moderate gating, mitigating the noise problem and limiting sustain.
The inherent qualities of this circuit, specifically the attenuated low-end and gated sustain, were considered limitations by some consumers.
The FZ-1 is one of my favorite fuzz effects. I find the sharp, uncompressed attack pleasing. Too, the gating effect adds a lot of interest to note decay: when the circuit is tuned to my tastes, I hear swirling, stuttering, and phasing effects as the gate clamps the signal.
To hear the FZ-1, (though I do not find it a particularly good example of this fuzz's capabilities), check out The Rolling Stones Satisfaction song. I also find Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat a great demonstration of the FZ-1 sound, regardless of whether one was used in the sessions. Finally, some of the mid-era Beatles fuzz tones sound very FZ-1 to me.
Binx is made to order. Please allow up to ~6-8 weeks to shipment. Thanks!