Long before the US car industry started badge engineering (five different brands using the same platform, just putting their badge on the radiator grill) Shin-ei and other Japanese manufacturers of music gear invented this marketing approach. Accordingly this Aria Diamond Wah-Fuzz sports just another badge on the front, but in fact it is exactly the same as any Ibanez Standard Wau-Fuzz, ELK Wau Fuzz, Mica Wau Wau Fuzz & Co.
As stated above, this ELK Wau-Fuzz is just another "badge engineered" Wah-Fuzz made by Shin-ei or another OEM manufacturer of the 70s. Actually the Ibanez versions puts it straight by calling this thing "Standard Wau Fuzz", because this wah-fuzz combination became pretty much standard in the low cost segment throughout the western hemisphere.
Again, this is just another mutant of the Japanese Wah-Fuzz deluge. But don't think too short: Though they all look the same, there are at least two completely different boards to be found inside - and even two with the same board hardly share the same components with exactly the same values. So it is no surprise that they can sound pretty different from one another.
Simply the coolest name I can imagine for a wah-fuzz pedal, though highly exaggerated since it may be your first but surely not your only pedal. In fact it does what all the other mutants like the Ibanez Standard Wau-Fuzz, Aria Diamond Wah-Fuzz, Mica Wau Wau Fuzz do as well - pairing an average wah wah with an unbelievably thick fuzz. But while the latter are equipped with a black coated housing, the PAX sports a shiny chrome plated enclosure. How cool is that...
This rare Luxor Wah-Fuzz is a completely different beast as the above mentioned - different board, more control knobs. It is most likely from the mid to late 1970s and according to some characteristics it seems to be a Shin-ei product. Similar units were available under the Aria Diamond brand. Luxor itself was a pure marketing brand, selling stuff from different manufacturers to European music traders (I do own a nice little 2x10" amp combo by the name of Luxor Junior 200). The Wah-Fuzz is not bad at all: A decent wah and a tranparent but nonetheless aggressive Fuzz.
I suspect this was a Maxon OEM product for Sears Roebuck & Co, an American department store chain and home order company. The Dirt Box doesn't bear any brand name (only Maxon on the pcb) but a cryptic No. 15451 on the flanks what may indicate a Sears catalog order number - but I might as well be wrong.
There are two different graphic versions: v1 reads "Amplifer" on the left side of the enclosrue, v2 has the corrected term "Amplifier". The early version reads only "Made in Japan" on the bottom cover while v2 has "Pat. Pend." additionally. But the main difference is two completely different circuits. One is the well known Maxon D&S aka Ibanez OD-850 (pcb MP-D0501), a silicon trannies fuzz which is actually a Big Muff knock-off, the other is a Maxon D&SII aka Ibanez OD-855 (pcb MP-D0701), an op-amp powered distortion pedal. Interesting side note: My Dirt Box with op-ap circuit preceeds any Ibanez OD-855 I ever came across. What does that mean? I don't know... this pedal is a mystery.
This Hillwood Fullroter dates most likely from the mid 70s. Among keyboarders this thing is said to be the best analog Leslie simulation available. Well, I don't know, but the good thing is: It works likewise with your axe. And it's fun to check out the loads of different swirls and sound mills in this tiny companion.
02/25/2017: ToneHome is looking for an Ibanez CS-505 narrow box first issue with flying fingers side graphic. Any hint is highly appreciated. Other than that we're looking for boxed effects or just boxes for Ibanez narrow box GE-601, AD-80, CP-835, OD-850. Please submit your offers or leads here: e-mail