Glenn Snoddy, inventor of the fuzz pedal, has died. The legendary engineer passed away this past Monday evening in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at the age of 96.
Glenn Snoddy, inventor of the fuzz pedal, has passed away in his Murfreesboro, Tennessee home at the age of 96.
Snoddy started his career as a radio engineer in the 1940s after learning the ropes of sound engineering in the army. He quickly blossomed, and during his formative years, he worked on some iconic records in Tennessee studios, including works by Johnny Cash, Hank Willians and Marty Robbins.
During a session with the latter, Snoddy noticed that bassist Grady Martin’s amp was making a fuzzy, distorted sound. Upon investigation he discovered this was due to a blown transformer and, enamoured by the sound, he quickly set out to replicate it.
The circuit he designed was picked up by Gibson and marketed as the Maestro Fuzz-Tone – the very first mass-produced fuzz pedal, which was famously used by Keith Richards on (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
“It was such a wild and unrestrained sound that was created by this quiet, gentle and scholarly fellow,” Peter Cooper, Senior Writer and Editor at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, told the Musfreesboro Daily News Journal.
“He was by nature a problem solver, but he did more than solve problems. He created solutions that nobody ever thought of or considered. In addition to being somebody of great importance and accomplishment, Glenn Snoddy was just a nice and thoughtful person,” Cooper continued. “It was a joy to get to know him.”
In 1967, Snoddy opened Woodland Studios, built within an old movie complex. The studio became a favourite recording space for Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and many others. Rest in peace, Glenn.