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1976/1977 Maestro MFZ-1 fuzz (Moog designed!)

Discussion in 'For Sale: Effects and Pedals' started by JimmyThunder, Apr 4, 2014.


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  1. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    (New thread because I was unable to edit the last one to drop the price)

    Here's a pretty rare bird for ya, if you do a search here you'll find some threads on MFZ1 clones but I don't think anyone's ever sold an original here on TalkBass. I got this awhile back just to play the Jack Bruce part on Zappa's "Apostrophe" but have determined I need the money for car repairs more than I need a funky vintage pedal for just one song.

    Here's come copy-paste from people who know more about this stuff than I do:
    The original Maestro MFZ-1 went on sale in 1976 as part of the TFC (Total Foot Control) series that included the equally legendary Parametric Filter, Stage Phaser and Fuzztain. With design duties ceded to Moog Music, innovation was always going to be high on the agenda; from the novel enclosure design with foot-operated control knobs and the whole pedal exterior acting as bypass switch (imagine a giant Mac mouse!), to the use of then space-age IC op-amps in the distortion circuit. It must have looked very much like the future back in the mid-70s - in a way it was, for the op-amps + clipping diodes in feedback design went on to power countless classic overdrives. Maybe it was a touch too far ahead of its time, because the MFZ-1 was discontinued in 1978 just two years after it was introduced, making originals relatively scarce and attendantly expensive.
    You may well be reading this because you've read that the MFZ-1 is an key weapon in Black Keys man Dan Auerbach's considerable fuzzy arsenal; well, if you like that brand of raw garage-bred blues-rock, step this way... [this pedal] is a fuzz with a distinctly overdrive-y character, which means it handles chords (even fairly complex ones) extremely well and has a top-end sparkle and transparency on the treble strings that's good news for slide playing and quite unlike your typical 60s fuzz. Head on down to the lower registers and you'll find a truly beastly low-end response that'll handle a bass or baritone guitar especially well. Its unusually high (for a vintage design) input impedance means that it works well in front or beind a wah (where most vintage units will oscillate, eat your wah sweep or both). I've heard the MXR Distortion+ (another even earlier op-amp design) described as "a pissed off overdrive", well [this pedal] is a Distortion+ that badly wants to kick something in. Yow.


    As you can see from the photos it's in good shape for a 35-year-old pedal, with all the labels intact (thank the factory for installing the bottom one crooked). Paint has flaked off the bottom-right side but seems to have stabilized, none more has come off since I've owned it. The knobs can be a LITTLE scratchy when adjusting (with your foot! On the fly!) but some contract cleaner would likely help. The battery connector shorted so I replaced it with a new one, I think I know where I put the shorted one and will include it if I can find it. Battery door is missing, as seems to always be the case on these TFC-series pedals, I reckon they fell off easily. These Maestros are BIG pedals...I put that Digitech in the shot so you can get a size comparison, it is of course not included in the sale.

    Looking to get $175 shipped (CONUS only) Someone just got $285 for one on the 'bay!

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  2. tmoney61092

    tmoney61092

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
  3. OEW3

    OEW3 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    My guitar players neighbor found one of these in a box in his garage or attic, and just gave it to him. It is F'ing nasty! I beg him for it all the time. He will never give it up, ever. You can make changes with your foot so easily! I wish my Big Muff could do that. GLWTS
  4. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    make-an-offer-so-I-can-ship-this-weekend bump


    and, thanks OEW3, it's true those foot-knobs are a great feature.
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  6. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    sunday bump
    just listed on reverb.com for much higher...
  7. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
  8. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    sold, thanks Janek

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