Effect history (Part 2): The 60s – transistor pedals

Effect PedalThe new transistor-technique

The first fuzz-pedals have been invented in the early 60s. One of the first pedals using the new transistor-technique was the Maestro Fuzz Tone Pedal which became famous by the Song “Satisfaction” of the Rolling Stones.

Only a short time later the first Tone bender and the technically almost similar Fuzz Face have been developed. Therefore the inventers used – at these days brand new – germanium- transistors. At the end of the 1960s silicon-transistors became cheaper and the manufacturers preferred the transistors with more gain and a sound that was more rough and bright.

Tone Bender has been used amongst others by Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck. The Fuzz Face, as well as the Octave Fuzz became legendary by Jimi Hendrix . His engineer (Roger Mayer) invented the wiring at the end of the 60s and still today he produces the Octavio and several versions of the Fuzz Face (similar to the ones Hendrix used in those days).

Fulltone TTE vs Strymon El CapistanTape-echo

The legendary Maestro Echoplex EP-1 tube-echo has been built in the early 60s. Led Zeppelin used it for the recording at the studio. Later it has been reissued in transistor-technique as EP-3. Fulltonestill produces both versions (the TTE and the SSTE).

Tape-echos with both, tube- and transistor-technique are still used today to boost the signal. For further information about this aspect click here.

The Wah Wah

In 1966 Thomas Organ invented the first Wah. It was supposed to imitate the sound of an attenuated trumpet. The Wah was produced by both Thomas Organ (USA) and Vox(Great Britain) and the wiring still is almost the same.

The Wah produces a bandpass-filter which frequencies can be shifted by a throttle.

Through the years the producers used varying inductors which are said to have different sound-properties. There were the following kinds of inductors: Halo, Film-Can, Stack of Dimes (used by Stevie Ray Vaughan) and, of course, the Fasel-inductors. Every variant has its own fans.



The Univox Uni-Vibe has been developed in 1968. Originally it should imitate a Leslie Rotary Speaker. But the pedal, based on a phaser, got its very own sound. One can listen to it f. e. in the song “little wing” by Jimi Hendrix. Until a few years ago Fulltone (Mini Deja Vibe) and Sweet Sound produced pretty good replicas. Unfortunately the original wiring today cannot be built-up because of the RoHS-regulations which determine that an optocoppler does not suit for the requirements. In consequence the current versions on the uni-vibe are built-up in a different way and therefore sound different.