Glenn Snoddy, the man behind the legendary ‘Nashville sound’ and the groundbreaking fuzz pedal, has died at the age of 96.
Ask any fan of music, and they would argue that one of the biggest moments for the modern rock genre was the creation of the fuzz pedal. This little device allowed guitarists to turn their instruments into something much more aggressive sounding, giving their brand of music that extra ounce of grunt, and allowing the genre of rock music to well and truly take off, as opposed to the softer, less fuzzy genres that preceded it.
As the Musfreesboro Daily News Journal reports, the man behind this invention, Glenn Snoddy, passed away at his home in the American state of Tennessee on Monday, aged 96.
Kicking off his career by working in radio, Snoddy quickly became one of the most in-demand country music engineers, working with the likes of Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, and being involved in such classic tracks such as Cash’s cover of ‘Ring Of Fire’. However, it was working with Robbins that turned his impact on the world of music into something far greater than it already was.
As Pitchfork notes, the story goes that when Snoddy was overseeing the recording sessions for Robbins’ ‘Don’t Worry’, the guitar of bassist Grady Martin began to make a distorted sound, owing to a blown transformer in the amplifier, thus marking the first recorded instance of the fuzz sound which would change the face of music.
Inspired by this sound, Snoddy set to work creating a guitar pedal which would replicate this sound. After being noticed by Gibson, they bought the rights to manufacture the device, and after marketing it as the Maestro Fuzz-Tone, it would soon become a crucial ingredient in the new brand of country music that would soon become known as ‘The Nashville sound’.
This fuzz tone would later be utilised by the likes of The Rolling Stones on tracks such as ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, helping the sound enter the mainstream and serving as a building block in the creation of the rock sound that would later take over the world.
“It was such a wild and unrestrained sound that was created by this quiet, gentle and scholarly fellow,” explained Peter Cooper, Senior Writer and Editor at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, to 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.”
Snoddy is survived by his son, two daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.