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Pete’s Gear: Gibson Maestro FZ-1A Fuzz-Tone fuzz box

Pete Townshend used a 1966 Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone fuzz box (serial no. 12362) on stage — occasionally (there many photos from this era showing Pete with no effects pedal) — in 1967. Noted dates include the Monterey Pop Festival appearance and, according to auction lot notes, was taken from the stage at the Who’s 17 November 1967 date at Shawnee Mission, Kansas, South High School.

The Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone was one of the first mass-produced guitar effects pedals, first introduced in 1962 as the FZ-1 and was made famous by Keith Richards on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in 1965. In 1966, the FZ-1, running on a 1.5v battery, replaced the original. The Fuzz-Tone itself was the basis for the Sola Sound Tone Bender that Pete had employed in 1965 and 1966.

The Fuzz-Tone featured two controls: Volume and Attack, and a footswitch.

During 1967 and 1968, Pete was primarily using the Marshall Supa Fuzz, along with an occasional Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, before switching permanently to the Univox Super Fuzz in late 1968.

Julien’s auction

On 31 May 2008, the Fuzz-Tone pedal was auctioned for $12,500 (along with a Coral Hornet) by Julien’s in the “Icons of Music” Benefiting Music Rising auction in New York.

Auction catalogue:

Lot 257 – Pete Townshend Maestro Fuzz Pedal 1967 Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone foot pedal with original battery, serial number 12362. Accompanied by a signed letter from Pete Townshend. This is a surviving piece of equipment from the The Who’s performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Townshend may have set his guitar on fire, literally and figuratively, but this Gibson foot pedal remained and continued to tour with The Who for the rest of 1967. This was pulled from the stage at Shawnee Mission’s South High School on November 17, 1967.

Estimated: $2,000 – 4,000

Realised: $12,500.00

Photo Gallery

Auction lot photo of Pete’s Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone and Radio Shack AA battery.

Auction lot photo of Pete’s Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone and Radio Shack AA battery. Photo © Julien’s

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