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Moody Blues/justin haywards guitar effect


steve wrote at 2010-03-26 06:26:12

Hi tracey,

thought you might be interested in my multitrack version of Land of make believe.



Jeff M. wrote at 2010-05-18 07:11:23
Just to add on -

The Fuzz unit was called a Marshall Supafuzz.  I know Justin used a VOX AC30 amp for a lot of songs in the early 70s (like "Blue Guitar"), but a lot of the sound/tone shaping is done in the studio, so it would be quite difficult to replicate.  One thing I know he does/did frequently is play his solos in two octaves, stacked on top of each other.

Hope this helps.

rob v wrote at 2010-08-09 10:16:22
A few years ago I ran much the same question past someone who knows their electronic componentry to such a detailed degree as to be able to determine things just by hearing a sound circuit at work.

From my best memory the surmise was that the vacuum tubes being used at a particular stage in the sound processing stage wasn't quite what you would call faulty, but "off-spec" if you like. I can't re-describe the particular characteristic he was hearing and to what part of the tube was doing the deed, but it seems JH may have acquired a small handful that he found sweetened his sound a certain way.

It is quite possible that he himself wasn't fully aware of their uniqueness at the time, and ascribing the other controls on his equipment as to the reason. Unless we broach him on the subject we'll never know.  

In any event tubes do need replacing and it may well have co-incided with a desire to explore new horizons that the personal supply of these tubes ran out. Again i've not attended a live concert during those years so I don't know whether they got used and used and used, or it was reserved for a studio amp only, so we don't really know how many such he had without asking.

Which brings up an interesting point.

The unique shimmer he obtained also had a paper-thin dynamic range, which from my audio experience suggests that the sound was largely helped by mic techniques in the studio. I can get a similar characteristic from placing any old cheap amp into a timber box like a plywood tea crate, but poking it corner wise and then micing it with the back cover removed and adding damping here and there.

I'm aware the early sessions saw them building various things in the studio, like a big resonant imber box to record the acoustic guitars in, so it's not unreasonable to consider Derek    Varnals also adding some trade secrets to the mix. Perhaps we should ask ther also.

In closing, I would dearly love one of then audio manufacturers to include the effect in their amp modeling offerings, but then, equally, I hope they don't and leave it as something unique to Justin for that particular time.  

Jim wrote at 2011-08-18 04:09:09

I've since found out that Justin only used one fuzz unit during the albums in question and that was a Marshall 2021 combination fuzz and Hammond reverb. That and his 335 and an AC30. I guess that the combination of his 335, the reverb and fuzz gave his sound that unique quality. I would love to find a 2021 to try it out.


B. H. wrote at 2012-02-20 05:35:33
I am fairly sure that sound was a combination of a cranked up Vox AC30, the Marshall Fuzz / Reverb unit..#2021? and the Gibson 335, recorded with a good compressor and possibly something like automatic double tracking , and multitracked, probably several times, and treated with reverb plate, and possibly effected again in the mix total on the recording. I think the fuzz unit has a similar circuit to the germanium Supafuzz. I cannot be sure though. I have heard it suggested and there is strong similarity of tone and blooming compression traits.Possibly the tone was a little rolled off, or both pickups were on, or both. Just my guess. Thanks.

Doug wrote at 2013-01-13 02:37:03
Justin also plays a Stratocaster.  He is currently using a Squier Strat, but has used them for many years.  Maybe he was playing the Strat on Land of Make Believe.

Brian wrote at 2014-08-31 16:45:11
It is the Marshall 2021 fuzz reverb unit..which is really a Marshall Supa Fuzz circuit mounted inside a mini amp head with a reverb driver circuit and a spring reverb unit on the back. Don't think he used the reverb part. A Supa Fuzz is almost identical in design to a MKII Tonebender, just different Mullard germanium transistors, and larger input capacitors, and a few resistor changes at the input. The "Fuzz Unit", being mains powered, may be running at a slightly different voltage than a battery fuzz.

Ron wrote at 2014-10-31 18:57:50
Justin also used a rare blonde 1959 Gibson ES-345 with the Varitone circuit, which, I believe, contributed to the singing violin lead tones on the "Seventh Sojourn" and Justin Hayward/John Lodge "Blue Jays" albums, along with his "Songwriter" lp. Photos of the time show him using the ES-345 almost exclusively during the 1972-1977 time period.

Ironically, for the filming of "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)" video, Justin used "Big Red" (the name some roadies used for it), the 1963 ES-335; but the photos in the "Seventh Sojourn", "Blue Jays" and "Songwriter" lp's show Justin with the ES-345.  

Justin is a very under-rated guitarist/composer, at least in the public eye, but he and the Moody Blues have won numerous trade-related awards.

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Tracy Zimmermann


I’m pretty confident that I can answer just about any question about the band or their music you may have. I’ve been a fan since 1972 and have followed their careers (collectively and as solo artists,) closely ever since. In addition, I've amassed a vast database on all things Moody - from "completest" discographies for the band and all of their solo projects, to extensive bibliographies, videographies, posterfiles, etc. I have an extensive collection of memorabilia; both group and related solo projects. My collection includes vinyl, CDs, tapes (cassette, 8-track, and reel,) posters, shirts, sheet music and songbooks, back stage passes, magazines, books and other publications, equipment, and video. If I don’t know it, I know where to find it. All you have to do is ask!


I’ve been a fan of the band since 1972. I was a contributing editor to "Higher and Higher", the Moody Blues Magazine 1994, to the magazine’s untimely demise in 2007, writing the Videography Department.

As noted previously, much of my writing has appeared in “Higher and Higher” since 1994, but I also wrote a piece that appeared in issue #1 of Mike Pinder’s newsletter “Have You Heard”.

Though I haven’t yet finished, my educational focus is on a Journalism degree.

Awards and Honors
I've also had the good fortune to have traveled to England to catch the end of the Band's Spring 2000 concert tour; a trip I've always wanted to take. I’ve supplied research information on the band to a number of sources, including the July 5, 2004 English Quiz Show “Mastermind” which featured a contestant whose expertise was also the Moody Blues. I also participated in the UK Channel 4 presentation of the “Top Ten” program's episode on Progressive Rock, that featured the Moody Blues at #3 on their list. That program aired on March 3, 2001.

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