Vox Tone Bender

KellyCaster71

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I got this from a friend about 15 years ago. He had it for quite a few years. Still works fine. What can you guys tell me about it?
 

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KellyCaster71

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I've done a little more homework and now I'm trying to figure out which model it is. It has no model number on the bottom like some of the others. The serial number is pretty low. A picture of the inside may help in identifying the kind of transistors that were used.
 

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dog fart

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The silver cans that look like Licoln's hat are the transistors. The numbers are printed on the side. They should read OCC-???. My first reaction was sweet pedal, wish it was mine. Good luck with your search
 

Crg2

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This is essentially the pedal Lou Reed used on the solo to "I Heard Her Call My Name"

It's also the one that Jeff Beck used on "Heart Full of Soul"

This is the s$%t:D!! You are one lucky guitarist.
 

KellyCaster71

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I got to spend some time experimenting with this pedal today. Really like hoe it sounds. Rolling the volume can clean it up. Only issue I found is that it sucks volume. When I bypass it, my clean volume is much higher.

I'm taking it straight into a Blues Deluxe. Sounded good through my Tele, Strat and Ibanez. By modern comparisons gave a great Keith Richards, Rich Robinson and J. Mascis sound.

I don't use a lot of effects but think this VOX, my Tube Screamer and adding a decent delay should have me covered. I feel guilty for letting in rot in my closet all these years.

I also have a Sony (1/2 rack) guitar processor that I need to fix the internal battery on.
 

lz_69

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It's a 68 or 69 Vox Tonebender basically it's a two transistor germanium fuzz quite similar to a fuzz face with a few minor changes that make it's a fair bit brighter. Think Buffalo Springfield in term of sound.

As for the Yardbirds comment Jeff used a MK. I Tonebender which is a different model then the Vox; the MK. I is a 3 transistor pedal with more gain and is also more primitive sounding with a real raspy gating quality. The Vox can kind of cop the vibe but it's not really bang on.
 

KellyCaster71

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I'm gonna guess it's a '68 based on the low serial number (42654) and the fact that it doesn't have a model number on the bottom like the photos I haven't seen from the '69's. Makes sense about the lower gain because of the volume drop, almost like compression.

Would it be better to leave in front or behind the delay? I'm guessing in front but I don't have one to test with.
 

KellyCaster71

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Just an update. After spending some more time with this pedal, I can see why people like them. Tweaking the level controlls solved my volume issues. Plus it's built like a tank. I do get some buzz when I turn the attack all the way up.
 

tele salivas

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Aw man, that is too cool. I haven't seen one of those in a long time. A studio I was at about 20 years ago had one that I guy left and never came back for. It was noisy, too..but great for recording.
 

KellyCaster71

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I know this is a 10 year old thread. But, I still have the pedal and love it. I came close to selling it about 8 years ago for some other gear but luckily held onto it. I know there has been a ton more research on Tone Benders in the last few years. Still trying to pinpoint mine (see the first couple of posts for the specifics on it). After watching the Tonebender special on That Pedal Show it still didn't answer my question on which version it is. Can anyone here give me some more info on it?
 

KellyCaster71

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Since The Pedal Show traced the beginnings the Vox Tone Bender to Macaris in London, I went ahead and emailed them. To my astonishment they responded almost immediately. It is indeed a 1968 and was made after the MK1s. They said the enclosure gave it away. They also said:

"Hi there - thats an Italian Tone Bender c '68

Interesting circuit based on a 1.5 but usually not too much care taken on the transistor selection .

The result was some terrible sounding pedals and a few astonishingly amazing sounding ones - ha !

Our 'El Diablo' Tone Bender is based on this version"

Luckily I got an amazing sounding one. They confirmed that the transistors I had should be good.
 

Si G X

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Since The Pedal Show traced the beginnings the Vox Tone Bender to Macaris in London, I went ahead and emailed them. To my astonishment they responded almost immediately. It is indeed a 1968 and was made after the MK1s. They said the enclosure gave it away. They also said:

"Hi there - thats an Italian Tone Bender c '68

Interesting circuit based on a 1.5 but usually not too much care taken on the transistor selection .

The result was some terrible sounding pedals and a few astonishingly amazing sounding ones - ha !

Our 'El Diablo' Tone Bender is based on this version"

Luckily I got an amazing sounding one. They confirmed that the transistors I had should be good.

That's great... I was reading down this thread and was going to suggest contacting Macaris!

Don't sell it unless you really have to one day. These original 60's pedals are getting harder to find all the time in good and working condition.
 

nathan5782

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I tried one about a month ago in a music store listed for $999. It was a gray housing which I think might be a little older but not sure. It sounded so good we were using a Les Paul and I think a Pro Reverb.
 

KellyCaster71

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I tried one about a month ago in a music store listed for $999. It was a gray housing which I think might be a little older but not sure. It sounded so good we were using a Les Paul and I think a Pro Reverb.
Yeah, they really shine with Humbuckers. But also give a great sound with single coils. What's nice is that you can really clean it up quick with the volume knob on your guitar.
 

nathan5782

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I really like that creamy sound and since I've tried it I've been looking around for something like a Tonebender clone or possibly build my own. There is another Tonebender thread on here I've been looking at where different clone or similar fuzz pedals have been suggested. I have an Electro Harmonix Satisfaction fuzz and lately I can't get no satisfaction from it, it's a lot more treble by comparison and I had to roll back the treble on my amps which are a 71 Super reverb and a JTM45 clone. If I use an overdrive or my MXR distortion Plus with the EHX fuzz I can get a sound that I like but not what that Tonebender did straight to the amp.
 

Tim S

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Check out the twin bender from ramblefx

a 1.5 switchable to a II I got one recently and sounds right to me in both modes
Mine just came in the mail today. I’m not normally a fuzz guy, but after seeing some demos of its versatility and the descriptions here, I had to dip my toe in. What a blast! The Bias & Impede knobs really change the feel of the pedal. I think there’s a lot of tones there waiting to be discovered.
 




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