Even though the fuzz box is among the oldest and the most reliable acoustic instruments, several musicians still view it as preserving “old-school” musical subgenres like psychedelic, punk, or rock music, in the vein of Jimi Hendrix or as a torturing tool for experimentalists and noisemakers.
The fact is that this absurdly dramatic influence is capable of a lot more than merely causing leads to freak out: Great musicians have employed Fuzz to create ground-breaking songs across almost every field, from Newark to Ghana.
Each and every style can benefit from the character that a decent fuzz box may add.
Only with a few touches you can go from delicate gritty sounds to fuzzy thickness, spitting fizz, or many tastes of complete chaos. And yes, acid-rock weirdness works well with it.
But as every musician from Jimi Hendrix through Jimmy Page, Dan Auerbach J Mascis, Billy Corgan, and Jack White has demonstrated, these comparatively simple stacks of transistors actually offer a truly enormous range of sounds.
One of the most popular fuzz devices of the 1960s is the Tone Bender, also known as the Sola Sound Tone Bender.
Its three-transistor Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone circuit-based design made it a favorite of musicians like Jeff Beck, Mick Ronson, and Jimmy Page, as well as others.
The Tone Bender had numerous iterations, with adjustments over time, such as the inclusion of germanium diodes and more gain levels.
Additionally, Sola Sound created Tone Bender models with distinctive labels for companies including Marshall, Vox, Park Amplification, and RotoSound, among others.
The Tone Bender was originally intended to be the British rival to the American-made Master Fuzz-Tone produced by a Gibson division, but it eventually carved out a distinct position in the historical past thanks to a series of muddled iterative developments over the decades.
Numerous great guitarists from the British field have used it on ground-breaking albums, guaranteeing its place in the sonic shrine in the skies.
Deciding on which one is better and why needs a bit more debate. We will be talking about every tiny detail that might help you decide which musical instrument suits you best.
Fuzz Face or Tonebender? A Little Direction on The Details Of The Two Devices
We read as much as we could about Fuzz Face tone in our study and found a lot of theorems, myths, and stories from veteran guitarists.
Most of these are especially related to batteries. Therefore in this section, we’ll be concentrating on those.
A few of the fuzz commandments we came across were:
- The Fuzz produces better sound when a battery is used instead of an AC adapter.
- A carbon zinc battery in a traditional style is way better than an alkaline type of this era.
- Whenever the battery is about to expire, a fuzz seems to sound the greatest.
- Every brand’s batteries produce a distinct sound.
The first guideline is well regarded. This is a fiesta since the Fuzz is usually the initial pedal in the loop, and even though we remove the guitar from the primary gear when placing the pedal board back, we keep all of the other pedals connected on the board.
Consequently, you won’t need to be concerned about the pedal’s batteries dying. Fuzz pedals endure a very long period of time and don’t tend to require a lot of battery life.
The fact that carbon zinc batteries are so inexpensive is a good perk. You can frequently purchase them at the dollar shop for $1 for two.
Although it is significantly less frequent compared to the others, commandment number three is still very much in circulation. In his fuzz pedals, Duane Allman reportedly preferred to use batteries that were “mostly dead.” He preferred them at roughly 6 volts.
The last one is somewhat old since many say Eric Johnson said he preferred Duracell batteries. Hence it is right to say that every brand battery produces different sounds based on its quality of it.
The early Tone Bender’s design is highly susceptible to voltage variations, with adjustments in amplitude, responsiveness, and audio characteristics as the battery progressively degraded. A 9-volt zinc-carbon battery was typical at the time.
The Waza Craft TB-2W incorporates a variable voltage design that enables you to mimic these adjustments more—at the flip of a button, continuing the legacy of expanding classic digital ideas with contemporary advances.
You may quickly alter the pedal’s responsiveness by using either an external power source or a contemporary alkaline battery with the three-way Battery option.
The standard Tone Bender responsiveness and the sounds of a brand-new battery are both provided by the 9V option.
The Tone Bender is known for its violent, screaming, and hairy tone. Unlike flattened Muff-style fuzzes, it does not have trouble breaking across a live sound, and although it doesn’t smooth up as nicely as a Fuzz Face, it has a distinctive compress and blossoms when in response to picking pressure.
Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Mark Ronson, Ernie Isley, Brian May, Kevin Shields, Syd Barrett, and many other musicians have also adopted the Tone Bender to produce recognizable guitar sounds for both studios and live music.
The Fuzz Face has a unique tone that is remarkably fuzzy, fresh, and effortless. It produces a really “creamy overdrive” phenomenon that almost always makes individuals think of Jimi Hendrix’s melody.
The Fuzz Face is an expensive option and would cost you some hundred thousand dollars. You would find the finest quality Fuzz Faces falling in the range of $13,000- $15,000.
On the other hand, Tone benders are somewhat at more reasonable pricing. You would easily find the best Tone bender anywhere at around $600-$800.
Is there a difference between the MKii Tone Bender and Fuzz Face?
Well before the renowned three transistor Tone Bender Professional MKII was introduced, only a few handfuls of the 2 transistors Tone Benders were manufactured. Three Mullard OC75 transistors are used in the MKII circuits.
However, the pedal also included three Mullard OC81D components intended to be used as sound amplifiers in radio gear.
Due to its scarcity, superior sound qualities, and ability to let the player adjust the level of Fuzz via their guitar’s audio system, the OC81D MKII has almost reached iconic rank.
The circuit just makes use of a battery and a few other parts. The transistors you choose will have the biggest impact on the tone. Leakage varies in quantity because germanium transistors are temperature sensitive.
As a result, the biased voltage will fluctuate upwards and down, changing how a germanium Fuzz Face sounds as the apparatus warms or cools.
The battery is also a component of the network. Variations in internal impedance and voltage can be observed.
The difference you might observe the most is in the sound of both devices. Fuzz Face has a much louder and sharp tone compared to MKii Tone bender, which has a low tone.
What are the best versions of the Fuzz Face and Tone bender?
The four best versions of Fuzz Face are as follows:
- Germanium: Newmarket NTK275 and high caliber Germanium Transistor alternatives. Includes Orpheum II Germanium Fuzz, King Tone MiniFuzz, SolidGoldFX If 6 Was 9 Copper, and DanDrive Aequitas Germanium.
- Soft Silicon: BC183L and similar. This includes BMF Sisyphuzz Silicon Fuzz, JDM Pedals Fuzz 292 Blue, and Chase Tone ’68 Red Velvet.
- Hard Silicon: BC108C and BC109/C and similar. Versions in this category include the Monsterpiece Scratchy Snatch, Tate FX Raise, Chase Tone Fuzz Fella, and Wren and Cuff Your Face.
- Hybrids and Derivations: Various Mixtures of Transistors and extended feature sets.
Among the best versions of Tone Bender are:
- EarthQuaker devises Park Fuzz Sound
- Ramble FX Twin Bender
- Seeker Electric Effects MkII
- Catalinbread Katzenkönig
- Expresso FX MkI
Is Tone Bender a version of Fuzz?
Thorpe has devoted his life to guitar amplifiers, and the Boneyard is the product of years dedicated to buying, using, and testing several Tone Bender iterations.
Tone Benders, among the earliest fuzz pedals to arrive in the mid-’60s electric guitar craze, have been produced by London’s Sola Sound business as of 1965.
Built on the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone, launched in 1962, the initial version of the Sola Sound Tone Bender, later known as the “MK I,” debuted in 1965.
Later in 1965, the so-called “MK 1.5” Tone Bender replaced this 3-transistor machine with its frequently jagged appearance and strong amplitude.
By 1966, the Tone Bender Expert MK II, the initial iteration of the fuzzbox named Sola Sound, had been launched.
This three-transistor device is renowned for its relationship with Jimmy Page and is noted for its smooth, sustained tone and strong midrange.
The MK III and MK IV Tone Benders were created in the late 1960s. As the industry for fuzz pedals grew, Sola Sound solidified their position as an OEM by providing Fuzz below a variety of many other names in addition to their own, such as Carlsboro, Park, and Vox, to Europe’s expanding hard music industry.
Who Are The Famous Musicians That Used Tone Bender Fuzz?
Its inclusion on landmark records by a profusion of famous guitarists from the British industry in the mid-to-late 1960s ensures its place in the auditory shrine in the skies.
The Tone Bender was used by a wide range of people, including Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, and Mick Ronson, to have a deadly auditory impact.
Does Tone Bender clean up?
The Tonebender can clean up. However, in our opinion, at moderate strike level, it’s still rather splatty, which is undoubtedly an established habit for some.
Both ways, the Tonebender circuit plays fantastic to us; however, if you aren’t a fan of splitting fuzzes, this one may not be suitable for you.
Once the temperature is mild, they usually clean up easily, but when it’s hot, they strain. However, it all relies on the transistor you choose.
Did Eric Clapton use a fuzz pedal?
Eric Clapton went to 4×12 cabinets with two complete sets of 100-watt Marshall units for Cream.
Additionally, he frequently utilized fuzz effect pedals and a Vox wah-wah pedal. On the tracks “White Room” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” he is renowned for using it.
Clapton was using a Vox V846 Wah-Wah Pedal at the moment. Eventually, in his life, he also employed this in addition to Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95 and Dunlop 535Q Crybaby Wah Pedals.
JHS Smiley Vs. Bender Fuzz
The fuzz box was among the earliest real solid-state guitar acoustic instruments, debuting in the early 1960s.
The fact that the influence has lasted for more than six decades with at least one important style of mainstream music (and occasionally several) says volumes about how descriptive it is.
The tone of a decent fuzz pedal hardly gets old, and musicians as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Jack White, Billy Corgan, and others have used it to great effect in the most recent wave of guitar-fueled frenzy.
JHS is a pedal manufacturer, and as part of its Legends of Fuzz collection, we examined the two most influential of the four gnarly megaphones in celebration of the multifaceted world of Fuzz.
JHS is recognized for its imaginative and somewhat challenging influence pedals.
However, ones from the Legends of Fuzz set, which were inspired by the examination of a number of vintage pedals in owner Josh Scott’s collection—signal what the business refers to as a “post-boutique” trend.
The Smiley, dubbed “1969 London,” reproduces the renowned Arbiter Fuzz Face’s late-’60s incarnation, whose circuits used silicon chips, providing it the sharper, crunchy sound Jimi Hendrix was rumored to like.
The only difference between Smiley and Bender is that Smiley has just two control dials, much like the classic, for Fuzz and loudness.
Another minor difference is that a heavily filtered high-gain fuzz effect is produced when the left-side push-button toggle is in the JHS mode.
Super Fuzz Vs. Fuzz Face
This Fuzz, developed in 1968 by the Japanese business Shin Ei, is not only among the most aggressive and thunderous Fuzz ever.
Pete Townshend used it throughout the Who’s live concerts, and numerous stoner rock bands revived it in the 1990s. Some of them, like Fu Manchu, played it nearly on every track.
The sound of this Fuzz is very thick and processed. Your sound is given a lower interval, which makes it louder, and an upper octave, which is softer compared to the Octavia and can be heard at the 12th fret. You may hear the catastrophic tone of this pedal by listening to any Fu Manchu song.
With its renowned round and red visage, THIS IS THE Fuzz, the most recognizable fuzz effect. Jimi Hendrix used it, and it quickly rose to fame.
Dallas Arbiter, an Englishman, came up with the idea in 1966. Initially, it employed germanium transistors but eventually switched to more reliable silicon transistors.
This Fuzz has a distinctive tone that is exceptionally fuzzy, sweet, and smooth. It produces a really “creamy overdrive” sensation that almost always makes people think of Jimi Hendrix’s music.
Additionally, it reacts positively to the guitar level lever, which can be turned down to return to a nearly clean tone.
Although less reliable, models with germanium transistors are the best for this. A Tonebender is more intense than this. This is a truly traditional fuzz, very user-friendly, and has a great sound.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some electro guitar musicians also employ The Fuzz Face, an effects pedal for acoustic guitar. It is intended to create “fuzz,” a corrupted sound that was first made accidentally by breaking speakers or electrical parts, for example.
The Fuzz Bender’s colossal fuzz sounds are produced using vintage Japanese semiconductors. You have command over the onset and fading of your sounds with the brand-new Bias Controller.
Choosing the Fuzz that best suits your requirements is all based on the experimentation you do. You might have to go through a long process to know and decide on your favorite sound pedal.
Nevertheless, the comprehensive information provided here can be a great start to your music journey. Select the option that you know fits your budget and will benefit you in the long run.