The mighty Tone Bender MK II.

Jazzmaster72

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A few days ago I've written about this already, but in the wrong forum.
So I start once more, but want to thank the people, who have already bothered to give answers!

My rabbit hole is the Tone Bender Mk II. at the moment. Why do I ask here?
I'm aiming at Ronson, Beck and Page sounds, with a combination of Telecaster/ Burny Les Paul custom and Marshall 6100 and Vox AC 15 Head.

If I had started to dick this summer I would have tried to find a Ramble FX Twin Bender and most likely been happy. Unfortunenatley the man behind Ramble FX has passed away and the prices asked now for the Twin Bender are behind my limit.

One could ask if you're looking for Ronson, why rule out MK I. ? In the interviews Mr. Ronson gave about his "Ziggy" Sound he states it was a small amp (very loud) and a cocked Wah pedal. The Ronson Sound lore tells us, that the MK I. Pedal he used before (live) was broken dring the recording session.
My main reason is: the MK I. is simply to wild for my tastes. The clones I have heard (with one exception) have nothing to do with the sounds on the records I admire so much. That's why I'm looking for MK II..

Of all the youtube reviews I have seen and heard the Twin Bender, Lovepedal Bonebender and surprisingly The Park Fuzz, which is a MK III. version, I liked the most.

Keeley Fuzzbender as a compromise I have ruled out, because I always felt it sounded more modern/ artificial; if you can follow me.

Besides the Communication Breakdown an Formula B Minibender are here other MK II. clones combining MK II and I,5?

Thanks for reading!
Lutz
 

hotcoffeenochill

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I've had luck with Blammo Effects and Big Knob Pedals versions of the MK II. The best Tone Bender I ever owned (still not sure why I traded it) was the Union Tube & Transistor Tour Bender, but I'm not sure what version Bender that one was based on.
 

Jazzmaster72

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Thank you hotcoffeenochill!

As I'm situated in Germany these american brands (?) are not easy to come by. Except via reverb. But I will keep my eyes open!
 

backporchmusic

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I just ordered a tone bender from Germany! The JDM Eletkrika, but it is a MK I / Zonk style one. Maybe they make a MK II?
Also, several pedal makers have multi-version blenders available, including Red Noise Stone Blender and Tampco All Blender. Both offer great versatility.
5 tone blenders
 

Jazzmaster72

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Hello Blackporchmusic!
JDM is right here in Berlin where I live. One thing I have found out in this rabbit hole:
I'm really bad at listening to youtube reviews, because I'm easily distracted by wrong choice of Guitar, Amp or music played (why haven't people taken the lesson from the Reverb videos: play songs and don't noodle around).
The Video for the Elektrika is to me quite discouraging. I have seen a lot of praise for his work, but didn't like the sounds I've listened to in the videos for his MK I. and MK II (humdinger) interpretations.

Tampcos Allblender is fascinating. One Pedal where you can switch from MK I up to MK III. In theory a good way to get to know the different styles of the Tone Bender. I've watched a review in which all MK s where compared to a Formula B Pedal of the MK chosen.
To me the MK I and I,5 of the Allblender sounded not convincing.

I will have to check on the Red Noise.

Thanks for you thoughts!
 

kaludjerko

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Hi from Berlin, Jazzmaster.
Not sure if it helps, but...
regarding shops, quick google search for shopping for Mk2, gives usual supects Thomann, Musik Produktiv...
There is a shop in B, that might be interesting:

Loopersparadise has huge selection of boutique pedals, also fuzz ones.


Good luck with your search and do let us know how it goes.
 

Jazzmaster72

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Once again thanks kalujerko for your links and recommendations.

I have to admit, I'm non the wiser having now tested some tonebender style pedals.

There is the sinple fact, that every pedal will sound differently with other guitars and amp/ cabinet combinations. For example only this week I stumpled over the fact, that using my Catlinbread Naga Viper with my Vox AC 15 I get that sound for the beatles please please me, when Harrison is playing the single notes before entering the chorus (dadadada come on come ...).
I had been looking for that sound for at least four years and now litterary stumpled over it.

This discourages me to go on a systematic search. Most sounds I really like, I have found by accident. Tonebender seems to be the most subjective kind of pedals; Like looking for a shoe, that really fits. With a Big Muff or Fuzz Face it was/ is/ seems to be so much more easy.

Maybe I build a MK I and II myself, to get a better Idea what I like, before spending 200 Euros and more.
 

BFcaster

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Yes, the Tonebender Mk II is mighty.
I must admit to stopping my rabbit-hole journey early, with only 1 try. The pedal in question does the Beck and Page late 60s perfectly, IMHO. I play through a Fender DeVille 2x12 tube, a Monoprice Stage Right tube (you may know it as a Harley-Benton or Laney 15w), and a Peavey Backstage Plus (solid state). Through the tube amps, at a slightly loud enough volume to get my neighbors scorn/appreciation, I think this pedal shines. No slouch on the Peavey either, really.
Proper germanium, proper 2-knob for a Mk II but with a pre-gain interrupt switch and a high/low switch for humbuckers/single coils.
Cleans up perfectly as it should, riding the volume knob. Gimme a Telecaster and this pedal and I got Beck from Truth and Beck-Ola, and Page from Led Zeppelin 1, and both from the Yardbirds.
I use it mainly as my overdrive too, set very clean and guitar volume on 8 or so- covers many sounds of the 60s and 70s.
Okay, what is it?


stonebender.jpg

ThroBak sToneBender.
I think any quality-made (using authentic Germanium and other components) Mk II will get you there, actually. This just happens to be the one my own research, at that time about 12-14 years ago and for what I was looking for, revealed as the keeper. JHS's Bender would be very tempting if I was re-starting the journey- it seems to cover many more fuzz tones.
 

BFcaster

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It is my own opinion, but is recommended by many Tonebender builders, that since the originals were based on using a battery to power it that a battery should be used, and a non-alkaline battery at that. I happen to subscribe to that. I've used it with a plugged in power supply, and the Tonebender works, but I think -again my opinion- the thing is just more alive using a non-alkaline cheapo battery.
And I feel once the battery has maybe 1/4 of its charge left, that there is some magic that happens. Referred to as the 'dying battery sound'. There's even pedals that simulate a dying battery for fuzzes.
And also, just like your tube amp, these things sound better after you've been playing them for more than 20 minutes. Things warm up, the electrons are flowing, and the creative sounds start getting born.

Yes, the Tonebender Mk II is mighty.
 

ahiddentableau

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Maybe I build a MK I and II myself, to get a better Idea what I like, before spending 200 Euros and more.



This! If you can do this, do it. Make one of each variant using the transistor recommendations from the DIY community. The help files for Aion's PCB boards generally have this info in a convenient format. They also sell boards for the MKI/II and III variants. Not that you need to use a board, but it does make it easier. Then you'll finally have a great basis for comparison and won't have to rely upon youtube videos. Ge fuzzes tend to be so finicky and interactive that they're going to be different for everybody. All the little differences between playing styles, guitars, amps, pickups and other pedals/signal chain tend to matter more. I think getting them in your chain with your gear is super important. Especially if you're going for vintage tones from the players you mentioned, because the pedal is usually only reasonably small part of the overall tonal package there.

IIRC, the MKI was basically a Zonk. The MK1.5 was a fuzz face. So IMO if you've got those you don't need to build them. MKII is kind of its own thing. But the MKIII adds fur and compression in a pretty major way. Especially at higher settings it's almost more of a modern distortion pedal sound than what I associate with vintage Ge fuzzes.

And if you build, post in the DIY pedal section. Because everybody loves to see fuzz pedal builds.
 

Jazzmaster72

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Thqnk you BFcaster!
I will certainly give the Stonebender a try, when I canget my hands on one!

The idea of the "dying battery sound" is what won me as one reason for the rample fx Twinbender, but I wont spent 300 - 400 Euros on a pedal. That's not me.
{I try to stick to a modest living style, inspired by Marc Aurel and my purse.}
 

Jazzmaster72

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Thanks for the answer hiddentableau!

I have seen adverts for Musikding diy fuzz pedals for 35 Euros, but looking into it, in the end you spent 60 Euros for the kid with no name transistors. Did not convince me.

I'm very nuch tempted to twell into diy territory at the moment. Fuzz pedals would be a good start and somewhere in the future I would really like to build a tweed (most probably) Deluxe style amp.

Having picked up Rory Gallaghers Bad Penny yesterday, before going to work, has otherwise convinced me, I've been thinking too much about equipment lately and should use my time more wisely for playing.
Meaning working on my weaker technical spots. So I will but the pedal searching aside for the moment, until I'm happy with my practise routine again.

After all it's about enjoying music and being happy doing so.
 

gitold

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It is my own opinion, but is recommended by many Tonebender builders, that since the originals were based on using a battery to power it that a battery should be used, and a non-alkaline battery at that. I happen to subscribe to that. I've used it with a plugged in power supply, and the Tonebender works, but I think -again my opinion- the thing is just more alive using a non-alkaline cheapo battery.
And I feel once the battery has maybe 1/4 of its charge left, that there is some magic that happens. Referred to as the 'dying battery sound'. There's even pedals that simulate a dying battery for fuzzes.
And also, just like your tube amp, these things sound better after you've been playing them for more than 20 minutes. Things warm up, the electrons are flowing, and the creative sounds start getting born.

Yes, the Tonebender Mk II is mighty.
Yeah everyone laughs about Eric Johnson and his battery awareness but I have a large supply of Rayovacs for my old fuzz’s and treble boosters. Really makes a difference.
 




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