With a new series of effect pedals, Gibson revives the Maestro effect pedal name for 2022.
Maestro and the Dawn of Effect Pedals
The concept of the effect pedal wasn’t always as clear as it is today, and reliable, compact effect units were not always such a massive industry. Effect pedals as they are understood in their modern context are responsible for huge movements that have propelled the musical world forward countless times. The name Maestro stands among the pantheon of effect pedal greats and were there ever a point of inception for the modern effect pedal, it could be traced back to Maestro.
By the early 1960s, the Maestro name could be found on Gibson products such as accordions and the Echoplex Tape Delay. The name, unassuming and overlooked, would soon become famous and intertwined with a new market of product – the guitar pedal. Maestro’s FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone debuted in 1962 and went largely unnoticed until it stumbled its way into one of the most iconic recordings of the time and of all time since, the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Guitarist Keith Richards never intended the FZ-1's buzzing brassy sound to land on the final mix, rather using it as a signal for where an additional horn section would enter and exit the song during demo recordings. Nevertheless, “Satisfaction” released, the summer of 1965 came and went, and the proverbial flood gates opened – a new musical world had emerged from a small box of buzz.
The Maestro Original Collection
Today’s Maestro Original Collection series of pedals represents excellence in design and sound, no matter the era. The Maestro Original Collection bridges gaps with influences from the brand’s classic aesthetics and sounds with modern updates and appointments. Each pedal features an intuitive interface with three effect setting knobs and a toggle switch to access each pedal’s two modes. The design of the Original Collection harkens to a 1960s aesthetic, capturing the creative imagination of the decade while remaining exciting and new for players of today. Eye-catching chassis design, vibrant colors, and three bugle-shaped LED lights unify the look of these pedals as something retro, futuristic, but altogether unique. The design of these pedals is exciting enough, but under the footswitch, the real magic comes alive.
Today’s Maestro Fuzz-Tone comes in the form of the Fuzz-Tone FZ-M. With this pedal, the iconic blaring brass buzz shares space with fuzzes with more modern sensibilities. An all-analog creation, the FZ-M features two modes to tap into different worlds of fuzz. On one side of the toggle, Classic mode unlocks a wooly fuzz that is perfectly compatible with vintage blues licks. The FZ-M's Modern mode puts some more force behind the effect to fill out the signal for enveloping tones, reminiscent of contemporary fuzzes. Alongside these two modes, an Attack control ramps the amount of fuzz present up and down while a Tone knob brightens or darkens the character of the fuzz for biting leads or muffled undercurrents.
Inspired by the sounds of overdriven vintage tube amps, the Ranger Overdrive is an all-analog pedal created to span a spectrum of overdrive tones. From slightly warming up a signal to giving it a loving push over the broken-up edge, the Ranger is infinitely useful. A Hi and Lo toggle switch swaps the Ranger between a smooth and warm amp-like drive and a more responsive and touch-sensitive one. Exceptionally receptive to a clean signal, the Ranger works as an effective “always-on” effect to breathe life into pickups and amplifiers of any style or setting. Gain and Tone controls work intuitively for an effortlessly playable effect.
Those seeking a high-gain, cut to the chase distortion need look no further than the Invader. All-analog and ready at a moment’s notice, the distortion tones on tap for the pedal are aggressive yet responsive. The Invader’s quick setup and tonal palette introduce an easily accessible distortion experience as its high-gain character bites and crunches with easily sculpted form. Bright and articulate, the Invader keeps up with chopping palm mutes, chugging power chords, and searing leads. A noise gate function can be accessed through the Invader’s toggle switch to keep the tonal experience even tighter.
A sweet chorus effect lands in the Original Collection with the Comet. All-analog bucket brigade device technology creates a pedal that can carry players through different modulation hemispheres, with chorus, vibrato, and rotary speaker effects as standouts. The Comet’s first mode, Earth, introduces a shimmering chorus effect that can warp and waver smoothly or shine and glimmer like a glassy vibrato. When engaged to Orbit mode, the Comet adds some amplitude modulation to the mix the deepen the effect and deliver on a pseudo-rotary speaker sound. Mixing between subtle and steep modulation waves is endlessly exciting.
With the Original Collection, players can also delve into vintage-inspired delay tones with the Discoverer. Featuring all-analog bucket bridge technology to summon its spacey sounds, the Discoverer excels in crafting warm delays ranging in time from twenty to six hundred milliseconds. Quick controls including Delay and Sustain key into the parameters of the delay to set time and repeats. If one is looking to take the next step into deep-space territory, the Mod toggle switch is the ticket in. With Mod engaged, a modulation effect is added onto the delay to interact with the delay parameter settings. The Mod effect engaged can result in tape-like or pitch-shifted echo all in relation to the Delay, Sustain, and Mix settings.
Maestro Shapes Your Sound
Legends of effect pedals and the influence they spurred can be found in many instances across history, though few names are intrinsically tied to a moment like Maestro. Whatever serendipity brought the Stones and the Fuzz-Tone together is neither here nor there as “Satisfaction” speaks for itself – though here we are decades later still talking about it. From Pete Townshend to George Harrison, Eric Clapton to Peter Frampton, there is a reason players swear by Maestro’s effects and the music they made. Maestro’s influence on the development of effects is an important tale to tell when looking back on the progress made since the original “guitar effect pedal” and the indispensable music made along the way.
Maestro has returned to shape your sound, so take part in history decades in the making with the Maestro Original Collection.