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Look what the cat dragged in

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I've never heard of this...wow. So here's the poop...this from Premier Guitar...



The name USS-1 conjures images of a sleek spaceship or a majestic aircraft carrier. In the flesh, Maestro"s Universal Synthesizer System USS-1 is hardly less imposing. This is a guitar pedal that could only have come out of "70s Americaâa land where everything was bigger, brighter, and bolder.

Designed by the great Tom Oberheim for Gibson"s Maestro brand, the USS-1 is really an analog multi-effects unit comprising fuzz (labeled waveform), filter with a sample and hold button, phaser, envelope shaping, and a subharmonic generator. While it appears to be a selection of classic Maestro pedals in a very big case, I"ve found it to be greater than the sum of its parts. The USS-1 makes great sounds with a guitar, but they"re not hugely synth-like. To me, this unit shines as a studio effectâespecially when used on old beat-box-style drum machines. The sub-octave generator takes a beat and adds bass notes. It"s highly addictive!


Like many of the devices in this article, the USS-1 proved too big and expensive, and few were produced before Maestro dropped it from the catalog. One thing to bear in mind if you"re considering buying one of these behemoths: The sliders are similar to those in old Arp synths. They have a long plastic shaft and a tendency to become sticky over time (especially if they"ve been sprayed with switch cleaner ⦠or worse), and they snap off easily. Most of the USS-1s we"ve seen have needed painstaking slider restoration to function well. And that"s after an investment of roughly $1,500 or more on the resale market.

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How did it sound?

Pretty heinous! I've got a little iPhone vid, but it wont attach (size 6MB).



I can imagine it could go from very musical to woah what could we play to take advantage of this sonic bliss/weirdness. Thank-you for posting this.

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