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Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by drob, May 25, 2017.
@drob Note that in Canada this is called the COLBY FUZZ SOUND. But it is friggin excellent.
The JHS Firefly is a great and flexible mkIII. The late/lamented Prescription Electronics Yardbox is another solid Tonebender.
Not the most dead nuts on vintage copy, but easily the most tweakable Tone Bender I've ever played is the Wilson Effects Fuzz. I had a EQD Hoof Reaper, only used the Tone Reaper side, sold it for a cheaper, smaller Tone Bender and the search was on. I chose the Wilson. 6 knobs, most of which are interconnected. You can easily cop ANY Tone Bender sound, thru most any amp, at most any volume. But there's lots of other fuzz tones in there as well.
I know i must sound like a cheer leader for Wilson Effects. They're just too good to be so far under the radar. People know his wahs. His other stuff is just as good
General Guitar Gadgets has a kit for a 3 knob germanium tonebender. It's a monster!
I've got a BYOC MK II Tonebender clone (an earlier version before the current "ESV 2-Knob Bender"), it's quality. I rigged a switch to take the third transistor out of the circuit for the "MK 1.5" sound which is cool, but I really don't use it much. I don't remember exactly how I did it, but IIRC there was an extra resistor involved so the bias didn't go so far out of whack when you switched out the transistor. You still need to tweak the bias though, so I put the bias pot onto the front panel. What's the point of a simple 2-knob fuzz when you can add all kind of switches and knobs and crap to it?
I have built my own MKII. It's really a great sound when the builder knows how to dial it in. Now when people ask me about it I can suggest one of these.
I've got a Colorsound Tone Bender - not sure what model number it is but it was "new old stock" (it's silver-grey metallic with orange writing). It has 3 dials - one for bass / treble, one for volume and the other controls the "amount" of fuzz (and a separate on/off footswitch). I got it from the guy who builds them.
He showed me the book of orders going back to the 60s - which included all the big name bands - including the likes of Hawkwind, Bowie, T-Rex, etc. Apparently, there's a possibility of a book on the subject somewhere down the line....
I borrowed a friends EQD Hoof Reaper and really dug the TR side. Although stacking it into the hoof side was really a lot of fun! Recently bought a used Epigaze Audio Singularity. The first one, not the blue one. Although I've been so impressed with it I would love to try the newer blue one.
As a side note, not at all a bender clone, but when you need to dial up some garagey sounds for pretty cheap, the EHX Germanium OD is interesting. I love it as a creamy germanium boost, but playing with the voltage and bias knobs can get you into nice broken sound territory.
Hudson effects - Stroll On.
Are two that I've kept in my quiver.
I've moved these on, but honourable mentions go to the Fulltone - Soul Bender & Monsterpiece Mk2
Tru-Fi pedals (musictoyz) has some cool fuzzes to definitely check out.
I got my soul bender the other day and it is RAD, totally awesome pedal, cleans up pretty nicely using your guitars volume and you can get some mad lead and rhythm tones from it. This is my vote for sure!
I have one of these as well, bought it in the 70's. Haven't used it for years...........What would it be worth?
To be honest, I haven't a clue. I looked on eBay to see if there were any on there - not that I'm considering getting rid of mine - and there is one (Mk III - same exterior as mine) in the USA in well-used condition that is up for $609 (£460). The vendor reckons it's got some original, "unmarked" germanium transistors in it (??) so I'm assuming that's what's driving the price.
Not sure if the valuation is realistic but mine was about £200 when I got it a couple of years ago. If yours has the same trannies in it as the eBay vendor (i.e. not the later Vox branded ones), it might be worth a few bob.
If you're in / near London, why not take it round to Macari's on Charing Cross Rd (speak to Anthony) and see if he's got any thoughts as he makes them?
I know Macari's on Charing Cross Road, used to go up there a lot in the 60's.
Mine is all original, I've never opened it.
I live in North West London so it's no problem getting there, but as I'm 74 I don't have the enthusiasm for it much now!
Well, watch out for the book that Anthony's putting together. He has a ring-binder file full of orders from the legendary artists who used the ColorSound pedals that he's turning into a book.
I'm 56 and pretty new to learning the guitar, so a lot of the tech stuff is very new to me - but the bands Macari's supplied are some of the ones I got into as a lad and the pedals were part of what gave them their signature sound.
I'll keep a look out for that book, sounds interesting.
We often used to go to Charing Cross Road and Tin Pan Alley to Selmers etc. to look at all the guitars and amps in the early 60's.
We also used to go to Hanwell West London where Jim Marshall (of Amplifier fame) opened his first shop selling Drum Kits (he was a drummer and taught drums) and chat with him most every Saturdays. They were really 'happy days'.
I saw a documentary about Marshall a few weeks ago - very entertaining. I've only lived down here since 1999 and have only recently started learning guitar so, as much as I have a broad musical taste, I have little to no history with the music shops, etc.
Macaris is a bit of an exception as I got to know Anthony a bit and he, very generously, let me see some of the history that they've created both as a musical instrument retailer and as the creators of ColorSound pedals. Fascinating stuff...
That is a great point - it's not going to be very useful to have a period correct fuzz pedal replication, only to use other gear that's starkly different from the old garage stuff. Along with more mids in the 60's amps, the low-powered alnico speakers that were more the norm will give a very different characteristic and 'resolution' than your average modern higher powered ceramic speaker w/bigger voice coil and reinforced cone (and different spider, etc...).
While you could possibly get there by hook or by crook, you could probably also do it w/a non-Tonebender design.
I don't care for the vast majority of faithful replication old school fuzzes (e.g. pre-'68 or so) thru 'higher resolution' amps and gear (lots of practical/affordable tube amps will also feature SS rectification and global negative feedback). IMO, they're more dependent on a specific recipe for the entire rig.
JMO, but again - GREAT point. That kind of thing gets missed in these discussions all the time...
I started the post quite awhile ago, it's great to see it live on. Just to comment on your comment, he is trying to move toward period correct gear as well. He's using a tele through a DR with an alnico speaker in it. Not to mention anything else he can get his hands on from the 60's. Just added a Farfiza combo that smells and needs work, but pretty cool.
And so far the only pedal that's a definite winner on his board is a 72 degrees. Thank you again!
I can't remember which aftermarket versions of Tonebenders and Rangemasters that I have, but with a good Tele or Strat (and I'm not much of a Strat person) there are a couple that sound fantastic through my original '62 AC30. One of the clones is about the only pedal that really makes me want to get the Strat out on occasion and it loves the X1 bridge pup through the AC30. I think I'm going to have to pop some reissue Blues into the 'ole AC because I'm afraid of taking out the originals even at home now that I mess around with the Tonebender clone. Its a one man shop pedal that was still only about $95 shipped from the UK.
That being said, the MHP 72 Degree is an awesome 'do all' pedal. I can't believe that there aren't more of them out there and there aren't more people singing their praises. Keith also did a one off for me and built me an 80 Degree when I asked if he could make the same basic pedal that started a little later on the dial, and could take the "end" of the 72 Degree a few notches beyond. I told him that instead of using a pair of the 72s, it would be great if he could shift it all up a notch or two so that it could still be something I could use as a single drive pedal for grab and go, yet also being the equivalent of a Princeton Reverb and a Deluxe Reverb when the PR would be borderline (best analogy I can think of).
If I can remember to get the Tonebender box of pedals out I'll make sure to post the name of the one I've found most useful.