Every great artist has a side project. That place to go to be themselves, be different, create, or even innovate. Gear designers are no different. Though we all know and love Jim Marshall’s amp designs, he was also well ahead of the curve on the pedal trend. This is the story of the Park Sound Fuzz.
If you want to know more about the man behind the brand, check out our past issue of the Sunday Papers where we did a little digging on Jim Marshall’s bio. One thing we didn’t tell you then, however, was that he was clever enough to not let himself get clamped down to a restrictive business deal.
As the amplifier business of his namesake was gaining steam by the early 1960s, Jim established a distribution deal that would bring his amps to studios and stages the world over. However, after reading the fine print, Jim happily signed off since the terms specified only that he couldn’t release amps outside the distribution channel that carried the Marshall imprint. The tonal recipe within, though proprietary, wasn’t part of the agreement. Clever.
So Jim started a side gig. In 1965, Park Amplification was born. Their amplifiers were slightly modified circuits of the made in Britain circuits that defined Marshall amps, yet released in subtler and smaller batches.
In the years that followed, the cultist of cult classics in the lineup, however, wasn’t an amp. Since Park was a design sandbox to play in, Jim released a now historic fuzz pedal. The Park Fuzz Sound. The Park pedal was a knockoff of the Tone Bender, which is arguably the granddaddy of UK fuzz sounds.
A few years after its release, the Park Fuzz sound entered its afterlife as a relic as the umbrella company was dissolved in 1982. Like any legacy brand, however, the opportunity was ripe for resurrection. In 2013, amp designer Mitch Colby obtained the rights for the Park Amplification brand and merged it with his own signature line of Colby Amps.
Though specializing in recreations and renditions of British rock amps of yesteryear, Colby recently collaborated with EarthQuaker Devices to bring back the Park Fuzz Sound in a modern compact pedal form.
The Jim Marshall side project and clone live on.