Coxsackie Antique Center

Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow

Collecting Fuzz Boxes

by Ed Ranno, Vintage Guitar Sleuth

The first time I recall hearing the sound of a Fuzz Box (also called a distortion box) was at the beginning of the Beatles song, "I Feel Fine." It was one of the coolest sounds I ever heard.

I should explain or define the term distortion when referring to music as follows: the twisting out of a natural, normal or original sound and/or to reproduce the sound improperly. That said, most of us could remember the Rolling Stones tune, "I can't get no satisfaction" and recall this buzzy sounding bass line that kept us humming along.

In the mid-1960s the music industry began producing distortion boxes. I was a performing musician at the time and was totally thrilled by the results of those unique items.

Today collecting "Effects" (as they are called now) has great rewards. Today there are much more elaborate and expensive units but the earlier ones still hold a special fascination for collectors. Most of the original Fuzz Boxes sold for around $50.00. In today's collectors market some early or rare effects can fetch several hundreds of dollars. But many can still be found for a song and a dance (pardon the pun); especially at flea markets and garage sales.

Aside from the bigger Musical Equipment Manufacturers like Ampeg, Fender, Vox, Guild, and Ibanez, here are a few names which usually make the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I'm collecting - Fuzz Face by Dallas Arbiter, Wah Wah by Farisa, and Volume Pedals and Maestro (a subsidiary of the Guitar giant, Gibson) My Personal favorite is called the Fuzzz Boxx. It was made by Universal Amplifier Co. and sold by Sam Ash (a famous music store in New York City).

I often used the Fuzzz Boxx myself and was always pleased with the unbelievable sounds that emanated from it. However, like so much memorabilia from the 1960s, it has been separated from me. At least I still have those fond memories.

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