Grady Martin (1961)
The historical consensus is that Grady Martin himself accidentally invented “fuzz bass” during a 1960 recording session for Marty Robbins — Dave Hunter recounts the incident in Guitar Effects Pedals: The Practical Handbook:
The Fuzz-Tone connection hints that we need to look further back, and across the pond, for even earlier examples of recorded guitar distortion. Gibson, and hence their subsidiary brand, Maestro, was given the circuit that became the Fuzz-Tone by studio engineer, Glen Snoddy. Snoddy, in turn, had devised the transistorized fuzz-generating design to replicate a sound he’d heard while recording Marty Robbins‘ 1960 hit “Don’t Worry,” when a tube preamp in one of the mixer channels had started to fail and yield a distored tone on Grady Martin’s bass solo. Whoever decided to stick with the track, rather than re-record it through a properly functioning channel, was on to something: the result was Nashville’s first recorded fuzz guitar (a short-scale Danelectro bass, in fact). Courtesy of Maestro, Snoddy’s fuzz circuit soon made the trendy new sound available to the world.
Curiously, “The Fuzz” has only been available in its home country of release as a 7-inch cut, while listeners in Australia and New Zealand can enjoy this track on 1963 LP, That Good Grady.
“The Fuzz,” however, got another shot at life when included on 3-disc early ’60s compilation, I Got a Woman: Gems From the Decca Vaults USA 1960-1961 — a European release.