If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good fuzz pedal.
There have been countless great fuzz pedals that have graced the shelves of guitar stores over the years, however I’ve always been left wanting when using most of them on bass. In my opinion, a good bass fuzz pedal should sound big, dirty, gritty and synthy—while still retaining solid bottom end. The kind of fuzz bass that Jack Lawrence (Dead Weather, Raconteurs) has become well known for is what I’m talking about.
I’ll never forget seeing the Dead Weather live at the Forum in Melbourne and experiencing the chest rumbling dirt that man ripped out on the bass. My quest for this kind of bass fuzz led me to a pedal that’s been out of production for sometime now, and which fetches ridiculously high prices on eBay. I’m talking about the Maestro Brassmaster.
Maestro was a company that made some now legendary effects in the early 70s. Not only did their pedals sound incredible, but they all looked like they came straight from the control panel of the spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Brassmaster was made for only a few short years in the early 70s, and is capable of mixing your instruments clean signal with an octave fuzz signal. I had heard that they sounded amazing, but didn’t really have a spare $800 to compete with the boutique tone-dogs buying these pedals on eBay. Fortunately for me, I stumbled across a man in the USA who makes handmade replicas of early Maestro pedals. We conversed over a few e-mails and he showed me some pictures of a Brassmaster clone that he once made for a customer. I was sold.
Several weeks later, a package arrived in the mail containing an extremely well constructed, hand-painted Brassmaster clone—which has since ended my quest for a truly great fuzz bass. I present the Brassmaster by Smitty Pedals.