Tonebenders - making sense of the madness

Deek

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I did search, but many threads are old. There are just so many darn Tonebenders out there. I have read so many reviews, but still feel lost. I live in a major metro area (Philly), but no stores seem to offer more than one or two fuzz pedals. What do I want? Well, I kind of will know it when I hear it, so that is the problem. At the least I suppose I would like to have a Jimmy Page sound, perhaps a little Jeff Beck, but which Jeff, early or late? I understand this points to a MKII, but that seems to narrow it down to about 50 pedals! How about this, I always wanted to get the perfect Rebel Rebel guitar tone. I have read this was possibly achieved with a tonebender, but which one? Or chuck all that and maybe tell me if there are some that either excel and are safe bets as I will almost certainly have to order this online. I do realize I may be going down a slippery slope to having 2 or 3 some day.
 

cooljuk

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I love benders! Tone Benders, B Benders, robots from the future, etc. They are all pretty great.

Most of us go through far more than 2-3 pedals in such a journey. You'll probably have to try out all you can locally. Ideally, with the your guitar/rig because these types of fuzz are so dependent and particular about what's in front of and after them.

Be prepared to buy/sell online, too. You'll loose a little on reselling but you'll gain knowledge for that cost. ...or just hoard them all and be a fuzz king!

FWIW - Though they both used them, I don't think fuzz is a big part of either Page or Beck's sounds. I think the rest of their rigs and techniques have much much bigger roles in that.

Enjoy getting bent!
 

Deek

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Makes sense! Well then what do you think about the Park fuzz to start with? FYI my main amp at home studio is a 78 Princeton Reverb.
 

Deek

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For what it’s worth I ordered a soulbender. Seemed like a good place to start.
 

cooljuk

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How's the SoulBender working out for you?

I came into a D.A.M. TB Pro II with OC75s (generally, the ones I like in a TB). It sounds great but I wish it had a bias pot like my SkunkWorksFX (now Ramble FX) version to dial in the cleanup.

Been really digging the entire line of fuzz/boost pedals by BMF recently, as well. Great stuff!
 

jlee

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The Soulbender is a great fuzz. That was my first boutique pedal. It is a MKIII and not a MkII though. It will get you in the ballpark of all the sounds you’re after.

Page, Beck and Ronson all used MKIs. Page and Beck also used MkIIs, but not as much as people or the internet would lead you to believe.
 

Duane_the_tub

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I got the D*A*M Pro MK-II after close to two years on the wait list. Same exact pedal Page used (I just saw his up close at the Met exhibit in NYC). Great-sounding fuzz, but very expensive and there are definitely more versatile options out there.
 
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cooljuk

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I got the D*A*M Pro MK-II after close to two years on the wait list. Same exact pedal Page used (I just saw his up close at the Met exhibit in NYC). Great-sounding fuzz, but very expensive and there are definitely more versatile options out there.
Mine does the wide open thick big huge sound better than any other ToneBender I've had (many, even with NOS parts, but no originals) and does it with great clarity and detail.

...but if that 8.2k resistor was replaced with a bias pot (or, in my case, at least a slightly higher value resistor) it would probably clean up so much better. I'm not about to mess with a pedal that expensive and desirable, though. I'll just wait for the carbon to drift high in a couple decades. lol!

I guess I could just put it in the refrigerator for a couple hours before I play, to cool that germanium down a bit. :hmm:
 

jlee

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My all time favorite is a Pigdog long board built into a 90s Sola Sound shell. Has a big bottom end and lots of hair and spit. It’s also dead silent. I have a ‘68 Marshall Supa Fuzz that was my #1, until the Pigdog. The Supa has a leaner low end and more upper midrange than most MKIIs, but it’s noisy and more temperamental.
I don’t look for versatility in a MKII, just huge fuzz!
 

cooljuk

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There's a D.A.M. MkII on Reverb right now (not mine / no affiliation)...

 

TrippyStormtrooper

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Well, Rebel Rebel was Bowie's first single not to feature Mark Ronson, so I can't say on that. But for all other Bowie / Ronson sounds, I wouId look for a MKI or MKI.V tonbender clone and go from there. MKII Is Page/Late Beck. It's also more refined and has less... gremlins than a MKI or I.V.

I own a number of Tonebender Fuzzes. Proanalog makes my favorite, the MKII. I have a Rx Effects Yardbox, which is a really good MKI.

If you have the money and want the real deal buy a used or new Macari's or Solasound. They make them new but they are the real thing. I'm on the waitlist for a MKII and MKI.

Union Tube & Transistor makes a great line of Tonebenders. Blackstrap Electric Co makes some superb ones as well.

Fulltone Soulbender is a good affordable one. Lovepedal Bonetender is good. Throbak Stonebender is another.

You really just gotta try them if you can and go from there. Do some research on which transistors you like and look that way too.

Sorry for not making it any easier. I'm a Tonebender nut and have spent a lot of time (and money) and I'm still chasing that sound.
 

jaycoyoyo

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I am not a connoisseur, but you might try an EQD Tone Reaper. It's quite versatile at all levels of the fuzz control. I have a Hoof Reaper, which has the Tone Reaper built into 1 side of it.

-Jay
 

moreles

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Choosing a fuzz, particularly out of a rang of similar fuzzes, based on words is OK but obviously nowhere close to auditioning them live. All the ones listed in this thread are responsive to guitar signal and output and to the rest of the signal chain and amp input. That's what's great about them, but it does mean that trial and error -- actual auditioning -- is the only way to make fine distinctions. Of course, it's not always necessary to be picky; some of us enjoy adapting to what a pedal can do rather then trying to preconceive what we want a pedal to do. I bought an early, then-unknown Klon for $400/list, not because I did a boost shootout, but because 2 people I trusted said "it's great." Well, it was. Not because it fit my concept, but because it just was, and I learned from it.
 

jlee

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The Prescription Electronics Yardbox is a MKIII copy. So is the Soulbender, despite what the literature says.

No gremlins or MKI like unpredictability in the MKI.5. It’s essentially the same as a Fuzz Face and it’s rumored that Arbiter based the Fuzz Face on the MKI.5 circuit, thanks to a rogue Sola Sound employee.

There’s been some evidence to point to a gold Tone Bender “MKII” in use by Page during The Yardbirds. A gold Sola Sound Tone Bender(sand cast MKII style enclosure) was on the market a couple years ago that had a MKI circuit. Some songs on Little Games certainly sound like a MKI, e.g. Smile On Me. Photos of The Yardbirds French TV sessions clearly display a gold “MKII” sat next to Page’s clearly grey Vox Wah.
 




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