This is an incredibly rare vintage 1967 Astro Amp Astrotone fuzz effects pedal by the Universal Amplifier Corp. More commonly recognized as the red, less sculpted, Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx, this early version was produced concurrently with the ever illustrious Sola Sound MKII ToneBender, and is equally as impressive, attractive and collectible. Having owned thousands of vintage fuzz pedals, I have only owned three Astrotones, and this is the cleanest I have ever seen. Finding another one may take a lifetime of searching, and finding a better, cleaner example will not be possible.
Though the original CTS potentiometers within display a late-1966 production date code (1376647), the pedal is stamped “March 24, 1967″ by the on/off stomp switch, which is associated with the date of completion. This example is in extremely fine 100% all original condition, and it even retains the original hard wired gray output cable.
Perhaps most unique is the sound of this pedal. While mid-60’s germanium transistor fuzz pedals are splattery, mean, uncontrollable and awesome, the Astrotone is most likely the first to use a schematic that really enhances a focused and naturally gated fuzz with a refined sensibility that sounds ridiculous for chords and really quite refreshing for single note solos. With a super linear sustain quality, playing through the pedal, and into a clean amp is really a fantastic sonic experience. The pedal is simply superior to others in this sense, and it’s different enough from a ToneBender to really offer a naturally desired alternative. Similarly, this pedal is really great with the volume on the guitar turned back a bit, and it really cleans up with more presence, creating the illusion of a total different style pedal.