The following links are listed in roughly chronological order. Please note that most of these fuzz boxes were in production for several years, and that the year that has been listed on this page is merely the earliest date that we can ascertain that the model was available.
The years that each model is listed under are strictly just estimates, and these estimates are based off a combination of date codes on parts in surviving pedals; details or advertisements in the press; and/or witness testimonies. These dates are all subject to change as and when further information about original fuzz boxes emerges. Please refer to the individual pages for more details about dating original fuzz boxes, or contact me with any queries.
Gibson released the first commercial fuzz box in 1962. The guitar company’s Maestro ‘Fuzz-Tone’ FZ-1 was predominantly sold in the United States, but it was also imported to the United Kingdom by Selmer, and was used by some of Britain’s eminent session guitarists before fuzz boxes became widely available.
Gary Hurst Tone Bender ‘MKI’
Gary Hurst began developing the Tone Bender in 1964, and by the following year, the Tone Bender ‘MKI’ became available to purchase from Macari’s Musical Exchange in London. Early examples were housed in wood, while later versions came in folded steel enclosures.
G. P. Electronics Harmonic Generator
G. P. Electronics, in Bovey Tracey (Devon), designed one of the earliest British fuzz boxes in around 1964.
Sola Sound Tone Bender ‘MK1.5’
The earliest known ‘MK1.5’ Tone Benders date to 1965. Strong anecdotal evidence confirms that the ‘MK1.5’ was in the shops by early 1966, but it’s still possible that the model was already being built alongside the ‘MKI’, in 1965.
WEM Rush Pep Box
The Pep Box was an early British fuzz box, invented by Pepe Rush, and later marketed by WEM. It’s unknown when Rush first came up with the design, but WEM was already involved with its promotion and distribution by 1965.
Vox Distortion Booster
The red Vox Distortion Boosters were manufactured in the United Kingdom, and were first demonstrated at the Russell Hotel for a trade show in August 1965.
Arbiter Fuzz Face
Arbiter’s Fuzz Face was first demonstrated at a trade fair in August 1966. The Fuzz Face was a copy of the Tone Bender ‘MK1.5’, and would continue to be manufactured in the United Kingdom until the mid-1970s.
Based in Nottingham, and well known in England for their range of amplifiers, the Carlsbro company also offered a short-lived fuzz box in 1966. The ‘Fuzz-Tone’ was a three-transistor unit, and was advertised in the press in May 1966.
John Hornby Skewes Zonk Machine
The Zonk Machine was a copy of the Tone Bender ‘MKI’, and was first mentioned in the press in early 1966. The Zonk Machine was in production at least until 1968.
The Buzzaround was a copy of the G. P. Harmonic Generator. This fuzz box appeared on a Burns price list dated April 1966, and was manufactured in reasonable quantities at least until 1969.
Selmer Buzz Tone
Selmer was an early supplier of fuzz boxes in London, being import agents for Gibson’s Maestro Fuzz-Tone. By August 1966, Selmer developed their own fuzz box, based off the American design, and this was branded as the ‘Buzz Tone’.
Rotosound Fuzz Box
The famous British strings manufacturer, Rotosound, sold fuzz boxes from 1966 until approximately the early 1970s. These Fuzz Boxes were built and supplied by Sola Sound, and featured various different versions of the Tone Bender.
Sola Sound Tone Bender Professional MKII
The successor to the Tone Bender ‘MK1.5’ was announced in the press in late 1966. The Tone Bender MKII was a modified version of Sola Sound’s earlier two-transistor fuzz box.
‘Rangemaster’ was name given to a variety of products by J. E. Dallas & Sons (including the famous Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster). The Rangemaster Fuzzbug was a short-lived fuzz box that was supplied to Dallas by Sola Sound.
The SupaFuzz first appeared in 1966, and was supplied to Marshall by Sola Sound. These early versions of the SupaFuzz can be recognised by their angular enclosures. Marshall, themselves, took over production of the SupaFuzz in 1968.
Sperrin Fuzz Box
Developed in Southport, by David Sperrin, this fuzz box was advertised numerous times in the press during 1966. Details of this model are particularly scarce, given that there are no surviving examples known to have been discovered yet.
Kelly Amplification Fuzz Box
The Kelly Amplification Fuzz Box was advertised in the press, in May 1966, but there is almost no information about this early fuzz unit owing to the fact that none are known to survive.
Vox Tone Bender Professional MKII
The Vox Tone Bender Professional MKII was manufactured by Sola Sound during 1967 and 1968. This pedal featured the same three-transistor Tone Bender MKII circuit that Sola Sound were also supplying other brands with at the time.
John Hornby Skewes Zonk II
A more affordable JHS fuzz box was available by 1967. The Zonk II was initially built in cast aluminium enclosures, and was supplied to Hornby Skewes by Sola Sound. By 1969, production of the Zonk II was taken over by Wilsic Sound.
Vox Tone Bender MKIII
The successor to the Tone Bender Professional MKII was released in 1968, and the MKIII would continue to be manufactured (by Sola Sound) through the 1970s.
Tom Jennings formed Jennings Electronic Developments (later Industries) after parting ways with JMI. Joined by Dick Denney, his new company offered a range of distinctive fuzz boxes.
WEM Project V
This sophisticated fuzz box by WEM first appeared in product catalogues in 1969.
John Hornby Skewes Shatterbox
The Shatterbox was a combination of Hornby Skewes’ Zonk II & Treble Booster effects units. It was first unveiled at a trade show in Frankfurt, in Spring 1969.
Barnes & Mullins offered the Shatterbox fuzz box as part of their ‘Exel’ range of effects units. Production lasted from around 1969 until the early 1970s.
Park Fuzz Sound
Park was another company for whom Sola Sound branded their fuzz boxes. Early Fuzz Sounds, featuring a Tone Bender MKIII circuit, date to 1969. It remains possible that even earlier versions of the Fuzz Sound are yet to be discovered.
Sola Sound Tone Bender MKIV
Sola Sound’s Tone Bender MKIV featured the same circuit as the MKIII, but it was housed in a slightly different enclosure. Tone Benders in both the MKIII and the MKIV enclosures were being sold simultaneously during the 1970s.
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