An unheralded hero of the music world passed away on May 21st, Glenn Snoddy, inventor of the fuzztone.
Invented is slightly misleading, as the now familiar scuzzy guitar sound was actually an accident produced by the Nashville studio engineer way back in 1961 on a track which shares little with the rock titans who now regularly wheel out the effect. Whilst recording a single, Don’t Worry, by country star, Marty Robbins, Snoddy’s console suffered a malfunction, creating a rumbling, jagged tone from the session musicians bass guitar. Though the bassist expected to have to perform another rendition, Snoddy and the track’s producer, Don Law, decided they loved it and left the sound intact.
Finding he was able to easily manufacture a device which replicated the sound on demand, the fuzztone became rife in rock music, from The Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction to Jimi Hendrix catalogue to Mudhoney and beyond. Farewell Mr Snoddy, we hardly knew ye.