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WORLD FAMOUS MUSIC STRINGS
James How Pioneers the Tru Bass black nylon bass string 1967
Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Rotosound’s Alan Marcuson, London 1967 1967
The Who Sell Out released, featuring The Rotosound Jingle. John Entwistle using Swing Bass strings 1967
Pink Floyd and Rotosound Strings at Abbey Road Studios 1969
New design packaging.
1960’s FUZZ REISSUE
RFB1 – 1960’s Fuzz Reissue
A faithful reproduction of our original 1960’s unit using the same circuit configuration as the original design.
Combined with modern resistors, capacitors and original germanium diodes.
The new pedal combines yesterday’s mojo and tone flavour with the reliability and stability of today’s technology.
The original prototype pedals were only ever available in limited numbers and never released for general sales.
Nonetheless these pedals were found all over the place – there is even a picture of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page playing one.
This is the only original Rotosound fuzz pedal of the era and should not be confused with the lesser cheaper copies currently available.
New circuitry designed by Dr. Barry R. Pyatt (of BBC & Rediffusion history)
Hand built at the Rotosound factory, Sevenoaks, Kent, England
For players and public alike, the long-running love affair with fuzztone guitar began in 1965 with Keith Richards, Satisfaction and a Gibson Maestro FZ-1. As so often, the lack of available pro-grade American kit helped fuel a whole new domestic industry. Gary Hurst designed the classic Sola Sound Tone Bender for Macari’s music shop, soon followed by the Vox Tone Bender and the Marshall Superfuzz. The original Rotosound Fuzz emerged somewhere in this mix, but it was a rare bird. Of the limited number that were produced, one found its way to Jimmy Page. Roll the clock forward almost 50 years, and Rotosound continues to endure.
This reissue comes as a consequence of a conversation between company chairman Jason How and an American fan, who eventually supplied an original to clone. While the circuit isn’t 100 per cent authentic as some parts are simply no longer available, pedal guru Dr Barry R Pyatt is responsible for a design that’s built around the core tone-generating elements. What you get is a moulded steel enclosure with a silvered hammer finish. There are just three knobs: Volume, Treble and Tone. Just like the original unit it relies entirely on battery power, so you’ll need to change the 9V from time to time.
Germanium transistors are inferior to silicon in just about every way except when it comes to musical application, where its distortion characteristics deliver a rich, warm fuzzy quality. Components need checking and matching by hand, but a properly-built germanium fuzz is a wonderful thing.
This new Rotosound unit demonstrates the extraordinary versatility of beautifully simple vintage-style electronics. However, the pedal sounds very different depending on the guitar you use. Fuzz doesn’t create sustain in the same way as a smooth overdrive or distortion will: it can certainly extend your notes, but really it dictates the characteristic of the sound wave and the tone.
An Eastwood with low-output DeArmond-style pickups delivers wiry, clipped classic pop melody lines. Fuzz was originally marketed to the dance band player for its ability to generate ‘organ like tones, mellow woodwinds and whispering reeds, booming brass and bell clear horns’ – and here they all are. With a Strat’s single coils the Rotosound Fuzz hands you early Hendrix on a plate, and the controls are highly sensitive so you can seriously tweak your tone. Moving on to a Gibson SG, the humbuckers take us down another of classic rock’s fuzzy byways where massive chords, powerhouse riffs and chugging rhythms lurk in the shadows. For general use, setting the Tone knob to about halfway gives you the option of bass or treble boost in either direction, and the fuzz effect can be adjusted for every colour from a mellow, bleary buzziness through to an evil chainsaw rip.
What a great pedal. It’s not cheap, but it totally does what it says on the tin. The Rotosound Fuzz combines beautifully with amp tremolo and varying degrees of valve distortion to conjure proper classic guitar magic. Germanium fuzz has found a niche in just about every genre of music since it was invented, so you’ll open up plenty of vintage territory… while claiming some of your own at the same time.