John Kelly (Sr) was an employee at Selmer’s Service & Repair Department during the early 1960s. At some point, likely during the mid 1960s, John Kelly (Sr) decided to start manufacturing his own range of valve guitar amplifiers. Kelly was joined by his son, John Kelly (Jr), and Kelly Amplification was born.1 The company may have included several other former employees of Selmer.2

Kelly built guitar amplifiers during the 1960s and 1970s, and the range of different models is fairly well known among collectors of British amplifiers. The company was apparently also responsible for providing an early fuzz box to the British market.

John Kelly (Jr) recalled his father working together with Larry Macari during the early days of Kelly Amplification. Early Kelly amplifiers were reportedly boxed up & branded by Macari’s Musical Exchange, and Kelly (Jr) believes that there may have been a similar arrangement with regards to the fuzz boxes.3 This raises the possibility that the Kelly Fuzz Box may have been designed & built by Kelly, and simply marketed by Macari’s, or the fuzz box could have also been a [Macari] Sola Sound design that was rebranded for Kelly.

A very limited advertisement was placed in the music press, in 1966, signifying that the Kelly Fuzz Box was reportedly priced at £10.4 It is unknown, however, how many were built & sold, and there isn’t a single known surviving exemplar.

I would be delighted to hear from anybody who might have any further information about this fuzz box, or perhaps even any photos of these units. Readers’ contributions & images can be submitted via the form below, and I also welcome any messages via the general contact page.

    Thanks to Jamie Kelly & John Kelly (Jr)

    3. Jamie Kelly (personal communication, 2nd April 2022)
    4. Melody Maker, 21st May 1966