Tonebender MK2 without busting the bank

lonebender

Member
Messages
150
I checked out the Ramble FX Twin Bender and didn't like it at all! Too much high end, not honky mids. Seems more a sort of fuzzy overdrive, rather than a vintage germanium fuzz with biting mids.
When I talk about "tonebender mk2" I have in mind this:




Considering I don't want to spend $ 300-350, how about this little guy?

 

lonebender

Member
Messages
150
I totally hear you about the tone control and voicing - the thing with any of the more accurate Tonebender remakes/clones is that they'll just have an inherent voice that doesn't change.

For a long time I thought I wanted more tone control then that too. I tried some clones that had tone controls. The problem I ran into is that almost every time it made the Tonebender circuit sound almost scooped and killed the mids. It gave it a more hi-fi type of sound with big bass and crisp highs but no bump in the mids like originals.

To me, that Zeppelin sound, that classic Tonebender sound is pretty forward in the mids. So I went the other way. Back to the "purists" builds, and I've found that some of them (speaking about my Ghost Futura now! Even though it's a MK1, on lower settings you can get killer Zep 1/2 sounds) really nail that voice so well that there's no need for a tone control.

All depends what you want. My experience is that if you're looking for the Page / Zeppelin tone, probably 80% of the TB clones out there won't get close IMHO. BUT... if that's not what you're after and you just want a Tonebender inspired base tone that you can manipulate and sculpt into other things, than there's tone of those options out there.

I understand what you mean, and I have to agree with you.
In my case I'm looking for a tonebender MK2-style pedal with a decent palette of sounds, so I'd like a pedal with external bias control to switch from smooth/almost overdrive tones to raspy and crackly tones.

It is the reason why I don't get a BPC Professional MK2. It costs a lot, ok, but it also has just one sound and you cannot modify it. You should buy another pedal with different transistors to expand your palette.
 

Big Monk

Formerly EpiLP1985
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,109
If you have the wherewithal, DIY is really the way to go for Vintage dirt.

All the mystery and mojo has been removed in this year of our lord 2022 and the amount of information out there about what makes them tick is astounding.

For a setup cost of maybe $75, and that includes basic tools, breadboarding equipment and a good soldering station, you’d be hitting the ground running.

We live in a time where Tayda offers UV Printing Services and Custom Drilling services, there are a plethora of pre-made PCBs and designing your own with free software like DipTrace and manufacturing them through JLCPCB is dirt cheap.

It’s a great time to be a DIY’er because one can build something functionally awesome that looks as professional as anything out there available commercially.
 

Meriphew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,080
Pick up a used standard Spaceman Sputnik III.

sputnik-iii-silver-wk-s-o-spaceman_c875aaae-057a-46fb-92dc-6e171a835f3f_2000x.jpg
 

forgivenman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,990
wxlwZJa.jpg

This is a great option if you don’t need anything unobtainium. I think it’s a fantastic sounding unit (based on an mk3) at any price and holds its own next to my Analogman SunBender mkIV.
Yep- get this and be done. Have bought a ton of Tonebender circuits this one of amazing and not too expensive
 

JesterR

Member
Messages
2,823
wxlwZJa.jpg

This is a great option if you don’t need anything unobtainium. I think it’s a fantastic sounding unit (based on an mk3) at any price and holds its own next to my Analogman SunBender mkIV.

Got all 4 from this line. All sounds really good. One doubt is reliability/design quality.
 

Gary Ladd

pןɹoʍ ןnɟɹǝpuoʍ ɐ ʇɐɥʍ
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,091
I have had some Super Electric. I need more tone control than that (I’m not a purist!) unless someone happens to voice it exactly like I want (not likely).

If the tone bender isn't "voiced correctly" a tone control isn't going to help...

I have a Super Electric MKI & MKII (w/ext. bias tweak), both voiced to perfection that were my final choices after diving into the rabbit hole for a bit ~ They even laid waste to such much more expensive competitors ~ Unbelievably low noise floor with OC75s all around :YinYang

I also have a Bender Over Under & a Scarab Deluxe, both awesome takes on the circuit, which I kept because they are uniquely awesome!
 

pulse.

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,432
When it comes to fuzz, the risk of going crazy with prices is high, especially when you come up with names like "tone bender", or "fuzz face" or "big muff".
I've never had a tone bender, and after years of thinking about it, I think the time has come.
Tonebender clone under $ 150? Exists?
I had spotted this pedal, made in Bulgaria and it doesn't seem to sound bad. Alternatives?


Try to find a used Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation, great MkII plus many more. The MkI.5 is my favourite.
 

John Mark Painter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,006
If the tone bender isn't "voiced correctly" a tone control isn't going to help...

I have a Super Electric MKI & MKII (w/ext. bias tweak), both voiced to perfection that were my final choices after diving into the rabbit hole for a bit ~ They even laid waste to such much more expensive competitors ~ Unbelievably low noise floor with OC75s all around :YinYang

I also have a Bender Over Under & a Scarab Deluxe, both awesome takes on the circuit, which I kept because they are uniquely awesome!
“Correctly” according to who and for what pickups?
But yes, I understand that a tone control changes the circuit.

The JDM approach with a Fat switch and a high cut is pretty great.

I had a Super Electric MKI and didn’t keep it.
But I’m such a non trad sellout that I have been using the Keeley Fuzzbender ;)
 
Messages
7,214
CMC Effects over Reverb.
This. I bought a CMC mkiii to see if I even liked tone Benders and have been loving it. Also recently picked up a Park Fuzz Sound, which I also really like. Both are different in good ways. Neither are mkii, but the cool thing about CMC is you can make requests, such as I did for an external bias knob, which gives me more flexibility.

Edit: after seeing your comment about possibly wanting raspy or crackly tones, maybe even check out a mki, like the JDM Elektrika. Comes with a tone and gate control, which I think you might find really useful and flexible. I have no experience with it, but behave my eye on it.
 
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Gary Ladd

pןɹoʍ ןnɟɹǝpuoʍ ɐ ʇɐɥʍ
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,091
“Correctly” according to who and for what pickups?
But yes, I understand that a tone control changes the circuit.

The JDM approach with a Fat switch and a high cut is pretty great.

I had a Super Electric MKI and didn’t keep it.
But I’m such a non trad sellout that I have been using the Keeley Fuzzbender ;)

Yeah, Jimmy's MKI is a no go with humbuckers, but it's purrfecto! with singles, with almost -0- added noise, it's like magic! :hiP

Actually since getting the Super Electric MKI, my FF circuits have set on the shelf for single coil fuzz (too tame)...

The MKII also has a switch for MK1.5 + bias, it totally rocks for humbuckers (thick as a brick) + is still usable as a cool fuzzy OD for singles...

I also love non trad TB fuzzers, my favorites are:

Anything Basic Audio (Mutant, Gnarly, Spooky +)
AM AstroTone
D*A*M Drag N' Fly + Meathead
EQD Hoof
Jext Telez Dizzy Tone V5
Jordan Buzz Tone
Lovepedal Brown Dragon
NOC3 BC108 FF (killer versatility)
PE Experience
RJM Custom Line Shack
Skreddy Mayo

Almost forgot about the Thobak StoneBender! Super cool, tweakable MKII goodness!
 

John Mark Painter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,006
Yeah, Jimmy's MKI is a no go with humbuckers, but it's purrfecto! with singles, with almost -0- added noise, it's like magic! :hiP

Actually since getting the Super Electric MKI, my FF circuits have set on the shelf for single coil fuzz (too tame)...

The MKII also has a switch for MK1.5 + bias, it totally rocks for humbuckers (thick as a brick) + is still usable as a cool fuzzy OD for singles...

I also love non trad TB fuzzers, my favorites are:

Anything Basic Audio (Mutant, Gnarly, Spooky +)
AM AstroTone
D*A*M Drag N' Fly + Meathead
EQD Hoof
Jext Telez Dizzy Tone V5
Jordan Buzz Tone
Lovepedal Brown Dragon
NOC3 BC108 FF (killer versatility)
PE Experience
RJM Custom Line Shack
Skreddy Mayo

Almost forgot about the Thobak StoneBender! Super cool, tweakable MKII goodness!
I’ve been ignoring this one
 

Magnets And Melodies

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,316
“Correctly” according to who and for what pickups?
But yes, I understand that a tone control changes the circuit.

The JDM approach with a Fat switch and a high cut is pretty great.

I had a Super Electric MKI and didn’t keep it.
But I’m such a non trad sellout that I have been using the Keeley Fuzzbender ;)
MK1's are firebombs with humbeckers in general.

Get a great MKII built and voiced right and you'll have a ton of tonal variation on tap with humbuckers or single coils. Amazing cleanup.
 

StratmanSteve

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,243
Not ‘authentic’ but you should grab a Keeley Fuzz Bender.
The controls are extremely interactive (I have a thread about it) but it is a party and are easy to find and they are cheap. Love mine.
Just before I bought the Rover, I picked up the Keeley. It takes some work (I thought so, anyway) to get a real mkII sound and I thought I made a mistake by buying it. After spending more time with it (I had the Bias knob too high), I'm really beginning to love it. Spent hours with it yesterday! :D

H5XRGoxm.jpg
 




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