SOMEBODY once said that if you remember the ‘60s you weren’t really there, and this is clearly a problem if you have an interest in effects pedal history.

pep-siliconThe WEM-Rush Pepbox was, until recently, one of the great mysteries of UK fuzz, an area which is notoriously, um, fuzzy in its formative years. This photograph of John Lennon at Abbey Road in August 1966 ensures the place of the Pepbox in rock’n’roll history. Lennon stands with his back to the camera, his left hand lingering on a pedal, sitting on top of a Vox amp. You can’t see it clearly, but eventually it was identified as an early fuzz box, the WEMRush Pepbox.

Pep is short for Pepe (Rush), the designer and builder of the pedal, and also has an association with so-called ‘pep pills’ such as Benzedrine, Dexedrine, etc… – amphetamines – it was the ‘60s after all! Everything else was forgotten until a few years ago.  – Read the full story, by Simon Murphy, on Gearphoria.

There are two versions of this effect, the first using germanium transistors (top picture) and the later using silicon (side picture), here’s a page circuit geeks will find interesting.

And here’s a list of reissues and emulations of the WEM-Rush Pepbox: