Maestro Fuzz-Tone FZ-M

Satisfying Source
Maestro Fuzz-Tone FZ-M
Price: $149

Can’t get no satisfaction from your fuzz pedal? Step back to the source, with Maestro’s new Fuzz-Tone.

The FZ-M is modeled on the world’s first production fuzz pedal – the Maestro Fuzz-Tone FZ-1, launched in 1962 and made justly famous by Keith Richards. Suddenly, fuzz became a must-have flavor for the complete rock-and-roll guitarist.

Now, 60 years later, Gibson has revived the name – and the sonic fury. The packaging and layout might be new, but the ’60s graphics and that sound are all deliciously old-school. The all-analog FZ-M, though, includes a cool twist – it’s two pedals in one. The Mode toggle switches between Classic FZ-1 junkyard-dog snarl and a heavier, meaner Modern sound.

The FZ-M’s three-knob control layout is straightforward and intuitive. Attack dials in the fuzz levels. Tone lets you move from a bright, raspy, vintage voice to thick and woolly on the other end of the spectrum. Level sets output volume – and this circuit can go far beyond unity gain, if you wish.

Original examples of the FZ-1 are a bit tough to use these days, as they require two 1.5-volt batteries (the later FZ-1a and ’90s reissues needed just one). Happily, the FZ-M can run on a modern 9-volt battery or wall wart. Problem solved. And yes, there’s a true-bypass footswitch with an LED showing the box is on.

So, how does it sound compared to an old FZ-1? We were well and truly satisfied. You can go from smooth sizzle to downright nasty to overpowering with a simple sweep of the Attack dial. Tweak that Tone knob, and the Modern circuit offers a furious array of virtuoso fuzz timbres. And yes, the FZ-M can get suitably loud.

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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