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Tone Bender Mk 1: recorded examples?

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,333
I know "Spiders from Mars" yeah, but dude always used a cocked wah along with his Tone Bender.

Any known, for sure, recorded examples of the Mk 1 that I can listen to? Not clones, original units please.

I have been playing with that circuit for like 6 months on and off and have solved its bias issues and changed the attack control to operate a different parameter in order to get much better range and usability, no gating, no oscillation, quiet enough. But how fuzzy should it get? How twangy should it be?

For me, this fuzz is one of those things where it sounds fuzzy and twangy at the same time on the bridge pickup, like really aggressive, almost like an amp on the verge of meltdown rather than a fuzz, and can do a nice woman tone fuzz on the neck pickup.

But what should it sound like, really? I want to know if I should bother comparing my version to the real thing (it's significantly different electronically with the change to the attack control and the superior transistor biasing) or if I should just pursue making it sound good as its own thing.

Like one sound that's always inspired me with regard to the development of this thing is the intro riff to "What is Life" by George Harrison. But I don't know if that's a Mk 1. I don't know. And lots of vintage-style fuzz tones from Bad Finger kind of strike me as TB Mk1.

So help a brotha out: songs clips descriptions etc...
 

krz4fx

When too many really is TOO many...
Gold Supporting Member
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2,100
Don't know if this is what your looking for, but here it is:



 

newguru

Member
Messages
297
Here's a few:

Paul McCartney playing guitar on "Think for Yourself" on the Beatles Rubber Soul.

Jeff Beck playing guitar on "Heart Full of Soul" with the Yardbirds.
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,333
Right on. Thank you guys!

So yeah, no. Mine will not have that particular nature. Different transistors, and I'm setting the bias so there's not going to be that magic skrinchiness, that ragged upper harmonic rasp attached to the notes. When I eliminate gating and oscillation, I don't end up with that overtone. I don't think I can get that with the transistors I'm using, so I'm just gonna go ahead and see if a more conventional high-gain kinda tone will be worth finishing or if it should just leave it on the back burner indefinitely.

Thanks again!
 

cookieshoes

Member
Messages
660
Like one sound that's always inspired me with regard to the development of this thing is the intro riff to "What is Life" by George Harrison. But I don't know if that's a Mk 1. I don't know.
I recently heard the below demo for "What Is Life", and I now think that Harrison may have used a Maestro FZ-1 on the song instead, and that the Tonebender-ish qualities that I used to hear on the album version were a result of the double-tracking and resulting dissonance between the two parts.

Demo (presumably using the same fuzz as on the album)


Clips of an original FZ-1
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,333
Sweet. Love that song. Yeah that's definitely an old Maestro Fuzztone.

I'm at the conclusion now that the old Tone Benders are magic precisely because those old transistors somehow allow you to power through even when they are horribly mis-biased. So they get that nasty huge rasp but still manage to be relatively articulate and not sluggishly gated. So I doubt I'll ever actually cop that vintage sound, as I'm in no position to source vintage germaniums (I use some that I believe are in current manufacture). Will have to be content with a more conventional fuzzy overdrive sound with more body and less flappy rasp and upper octave, 'cause I can't manage that degree of nastiness without suffering from a crappy, gated attack. Well, never say never. But personally, I am not a fan of mis-biasing.
 
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Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,333
Cool! I'll play some more and see if I can make it nasty like that but without sluggishness and gating. I imagine those originals were hella gated, too, but it seemed they had a nice fast attack nevertheless. Maybe I'm wrong. I guess a control to dial that extra nastiness and rasp and gating wouldn't be a bad thing.

Lotsa folks 'round here are already making some fine mk1 clones, though, yeah?

Oh well, I just get something like this on the breadboard, and I have no choice but to play around with it even if I'm wasting time.
 

2tone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
583
so much variation among originals and the many modern clones. Narrow windows of sweet spots. Some give up having the gated thang( I like just a little) but overdoing the gain etc makes them more mk2 than mk1. Originals weren't super loud on the volume control. Many modern clones have way too much volume and gain to get the old magic areas..But everyone has his own preferences as what to focus on and what to lose.
 

vanguard

Member
Messages
2,515
Cool! I'll play some more and see if I can make it nasty like that but without sluggishness and gating. I imagine those originals were hella gated, too, but it seemed they had a nice fast attack nevertheless. Maybe I'm wrong. I guess a control to dial that extra nastiness and rasp and gating wouldn't be a bad thing.

Lotsa folks 'round here are already making some fine mk1 clones, though, yeah?

Oh well, I just get something like this on the breadboard, and I have no choice but to play around with it even if I'm wasting time.
Actually, really solid MKI's are pretty much impossible to get. Most of the well-known UK builders have stopped making them. For a real, vintage-correct MKI, Acid Fuzz here in the U.S. is about all I can find.
 

Cado

Member
Messages
615
All of Jeff Beck's fuzz tones in the Yardbirds were a MKI. Shapes Of Things, You're A Better Man Than I, Over Under Sideways Down etc.
 

roquero

Bold Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,468
I love that tone too, and the closest I've come to nailing it is with a Basic Audio Gnarly Fuzz.

As a matter of fact, John Lyons mentions on the BA page that the Gnarly has tones in the ballpark of the Maestro FZ-1 and Tonebender MK I:

"A cross between the Maestro Fz-1 and elements of the Shin Ei Fy-2. Basically sounds like a silicon Tone Bender MK1 with the ability to pan between a lower grainy type fuzz and a big, cutting Tone Bender type fuzz. There are in-between sounds as well. The fuzz knob is a blend between one and two transistor circuits in series."

I don't mean to hijack the thread to promote another builder's pedal.

I am sure Skreddy will nail a design that captures the flavor of the "What is Life" riff. I'll be very interested in that pedal when it comes out!
 
Messages
673
so much variation among originals and the many modern clones. Narrow windows of sweet spots. Some give up having the gated thang( I like just a little) but overdoing the gain etc makes them more mk2 than mk1. Originals weren't super loud on the volume control. Many modern clones have way too much volume and gain to get the old magic areas..But everyone has his own preferences as what to focus on and what to lose.

Not all vintage units have such a narrow sweet spot on the attack control. Stu Castledine told me his has a wide range of useable tones.
And some of the originals were really loud.

Cado said:
All of Jeff Beck's fuzz tones in the Yardbirds were a MKI. Shapes Of Things, You're A Better Man Than I, Over Under Sideways Down etc.
He had a MK1.5 as well. Shortly before he left he started using some kind of Supa Fuzz. Not sure if it was of the MKI Supa or MKII Tone Bender variety.
 

sarumawashii

Member
Messages
99
You've already got a lot of the good examples already listed. When I think of a Tonebender MKI I think of that gated fuzz on Heart full of soul.

FYI ask this question on the DAM forum. Those guys will give you more examples with more obscure bands. Those guys know their fuzz man. :aok
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,333
Yeah, I know I could go crazy making something exact and vintage correct. I'll leave that to the experts (D*A*M, Acid Fuzz, et al). I'm just looking to maybe cop something that's a reasonable alternative with easy-to-source parts. I'm liking the sounds of John Lyon's version! Sounds like he's got it already nailed. http://www.basicaudio.net/effect-pedals-new.php#Gnarly Fuzz Still that Heart Full of Soul riff, it's got a real scooped out feel to it. Really a lot of things in those old fuzzes are things we builders just reflexively get rid of! Meyeah! Thin! Buzzy! Gated! Nope; those are features, not bugs, in this case.

Part of how the original Mk1 sounded so buzzy and low-fi was due to its design of sending the full, un-divided output through a 2 megaohm resistor and then not one but two different resistors to ground (one on each side of the output capacitor) and then inexplicably a 500k volume pot (which all those resistors to ground basically turned into something akin to a 47k or lower value). Again, not something a typical modern builder would do on purpose. The Fuzz Face, on the other hand, takes the opposite approach and uses a voltage divider at the output to send just a trickle of volume into the 500k pot.
 
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Cado

Member
Messages
615
Not all vintage units have such a narrow sweet spot on the attack control. Stu Castledine told me his has a wide range of useable tones.
And some of the originals were really loud.



He had a MK1.5 as well. Shortly before he left he started using some kind of Supa Fuzz. Not sure if it was of the MKI Supa or MKII Tone Bender variety.
Yeah, the solo on Happenings Ten Years Time Ago doesn't really have the MKI tone, I bet that's a 1.5. I can't think of anything else off the top of my head that would be a 1.5.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,914
Right on. Thank you guys!

So yeah, no. Mine will not have that particular nature. Different transistors, and I'm setting the bias so there's not going to be that magic skrinchiness, that ragged upper harmonic rasp attached to the notes. When I eliminate gating and oscillation, I don't end up with that overtone. I don't think I can get that with the transistors I'm using, so I'm just gonna go ahead and see if a more conventional high-gain kinda tone will be worth finishing or if it should just leave it on the back burner indefinitely.

Thanks again!

Was gonna say- that upper harmonic rasp is what we want!


-or at least I do!
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,333
Okay I went back (I'm wasting time today, as you can tell; I should be out in the garage) and put everything back to their original values except for the attack control and the biasing and the output section, which are all my own changes that I feel are necessary to do a successful job at this. Then I un-did the biasing completely, then I just added the bare minimum of biasing needed to make it run acceptably (assuming that the vintage transistors leakiness gives them a lot of forgiveness and self-biasing). Sounds a lot closer now to the originals. A lot more polite, but I'm hearing some Zeppelin-y stuff, Heart Full of Soul, and What is Love. What's more, though, is it's finally got that bit of infectious musicality that makes you want to play it. Like I'm playing The Wanton Song. Really close to that tone, like maybe a cranked amp away (I'm playing clean at low volume right now).

I should make a cell phone video of what my breadboard setup sounds like now for y'all to thank you for your help.
 
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