Jimmy Page’s Roger Mayer/Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone
Jimmy Page used FZ-1 fuzz in the years when he worked as a session musician, from 1964 to 1966. Apparently, his pedal was built by Roger Mayer and was only loosely based on the actual FZ-1 made by Gibson.
I suppose really it was Jimmy Page. He and Big Jim Sullivan in the early years. In fact, one of the fuzzboxes I designed and made in 1964 was on a number one hit record – the first recorded in England. Big Jim Sullivan played it on “Hold Me” by P.J. Proby.
The one I originally built for Page was loosely based on the Gibson Maestro (Fuzz-Tone).Roger Mayer – Straight-shooting Effects Builder to the Stars
In a different interview from 2012, when asked whether Jimmy gave his FZ-1 for modification, Mayer confirmed that he’d never ever seen a Maestro FZ-1 pedal at that point.
No, I never saw a Gibson Maestro first of all. I’ve never had one in my hands, in fact, to date; I’ve never had one in my hand [laughs]. We listened to the sound of it you see, on the early Ventures records. I think they had a record out called “The 2,000 Pound Bee” and it seemed like an interesting sound. The problem with the early Maestro fuzz tones were I guess quite percussive in nature; they didn’t have a lot of sustain.
So I built, when I was working with the Admiralty, a version of a germanium fuzz box loosely based on the Maestro. It gave more sustain and it had a richer sound. That became quite popular amongst the session players around LondonRoger Mayer – source needed
Roger’s story was also confirmed by Jimmy Page himself.
I remember playing this gig in the early sixties when Roger came up to me and said he worked at the British Admiralty in the experimental department, adding that he could probably build any electronic gadget that I wanted. I suggested that he should try to make something that would improve upon the distortion heard on “The 2000 Pound Bee” by the Ventures. He went away and came up with the first real good fuzz box. It was so great because it was the first thing that really generated this wonderful sustain.Jimmy Page – Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page
So, although a lot of the sources say that Jimmy used a Maestro fuzz in those days, it seems that that was not the case. The pedal that he used in those early years was one made by Roger Mayer.
Please note that the image of the pedal used here is not of the original pedal used by Jimmy in the 60s (we have no idea what that one looked like). This is the pedal that Roger released recently, as a replica of the original.
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