Fuzz guitar at 50

The Atlantic, of all sources, is running an article about the birth of fuzz (it’s posted under the heading of “technology”—I’ll go with that). Author William Weir makes a distinction between the earlier overdriven sounds of Johnny Burnette, Link Wray and others and the glitchy buzz of fuzz which arrived later. So where does fuzz proper first appear? It wasn’t on a recording by a pioneering experimentalist or proto-punk rebel, but rather as a technical error on the bass line of the Marty Robbins song, “Don’t Worry”:

The band and producers debated whether to keep the weird sound or record another take. It stayed. In an otherwise sweet and mostly acoustic tune, those incongruous 19 seconds of buzzing presaged decades of distorted guitar to come.

Read more and hear samples right here.

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