Variations on a theme. Indeed. Enough of a theme to make a variation of it. The Tone Bender MKII - SCB - Small (or short) Circuit Board. You could use about a million other post name tags for it but we dig the three letter trip. Kinda rolls of the tongue, ay. SCB! Gibbersish aside. What the hell is this?
Its a Tone Bender MKII based on the earliest known version of the circuit. If differs in a few ways. It doesn't have the pull-down capacitor on the input, its built on (obviously given the name) a smaller circuit board and the tone, in keeping with the units of this type I have seen, is a little more choppy or heavy in artifacts. Its generally brighter and dare I say a little more crunchy and a little more teeth & claws at full Attack. The Tone Bender Professional MKII I make for Sola Sound is pretty tall in its shit. Kinda stout, almost like the mids are reinforced, not heavy or saggy like a Fuzz Face but solid. Bam! It stamps it foot down under heavy fuzz. This version is like a step back on the meat, trimmed a little leaner with a touch of spice on top.
These pedals also differ from the other Tone Benders in the Sola Sound gang as we opted to use the good ole OC75's here. Black glass and for the most part unbranded. There is the odd Mullard stamped device in our stash but I ain't picking these at random so they have magic words inside. The chips fall where they may. Gain selection and tone quality always comes first.
I mainly used this as my reference point ^ though with smattering more gain. This is Anthony Macari's own Tone Bender. T'is a fine specimen. Pretty low on gain but smoother and pretty well balanced from crustiness to clarity. Not too decayed that it farts out but just enough to make for an interesting and musical experience. The gain on this olde is only just pushing past that of our OC84 loaded MKI.5 so a hair extra snarl at full bore in our funky blue creation made more than good sense.
Blue? Yes, that's right. Blue. Why? Why not? Blue hammertone is sexy is it not. Makes for a modern twist while having some vintage roots. With the colour being so striking it made sense to keep the graphics clean and simple. Its a Tone Bender, does what it says on the tin.
A brief round up of the sonics. It is the brightest of the D*A*M made Sola Sound Tone Benders with the most aggression at full Attack. It has the most grungy artifacts as the guitar volume is dialed back, not gated but choppy. If you dig the MKII vibe but you want more bite, prefer the frayed edges as apposed to maximum smoothness and want to have a sex-tastic blue box at your feet, this would the one for you.
Where do I get one?
If you are interested in this project please contact the fine upstanding gents at Macari's in London.
Contact Macaris here.
Please do not contact D*A*M about purchasing this product. We are purely the builders and cannot supply this product to you
Legal Disclaimer: 'Tone Bender' is a registered trade mark and owned by the Macari's (AKA Sola Sound Ltd) of London. It is a legal infringement of this right to use the term Tone Bender in any unauthorised manner.
Beware of bootlegs and cheap imitations. Only true Tone Bender's are made by and for Sola Sound Ltd, London.