Grady Martin, a rockabilly and county legend and A-list session musician, was the secret weapon behind Robbins’ “El Paso,” Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and other all-time great recordings.
On “Don’t Worry,” he played six-string bass. A relatively tame song sounds way different when Martin’s solo begins about the 1:25 mark. He’d run his instrument through a faulty mixing console. As a result, it sounded like he’d stirred up a nest of metallic hornets.
Apparently, Martin didn’t care for the effect. Producer Don Law disagreed, leaving the unusual wrinkle in the final cut. The decision didn’t hinder the song’s success. In addition to becoming Robbins’ seventh number one country hit, it ranked as high as third on the pop chart.
Whatever hesitations Martin may have had about guitar fuzz must not have lasted. He built a whole song around the effect, fittingly titled “The Fuzz,” and recorded it with his band the Slewfoot Five. It was released the same year as “Don’t Worry.”
Session engineer Glen Snoddy also took advantage of the situation. He hung onto the faulty mixing channel and made it available to other artists. By 1962, Snoddy helped sell the idea for a fuzz pedal to the Gibson Guitar Corporation.