Sola Sound Tone-Bender Fuzz Effect, c. 1975

Sola Sound  Tone-Bender Fuzz Effect,  c. 1975
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Item # 11240
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Sola Sound Tone-Bender Model Fuzz Effect, c. 1975, made in London, England, grey enamel with stenciling finish.

The Tone-Bender fuzz pedal was born at London music institution Macari's Music Exchange, the business of Joe and Larry Macari. It appeared in the mid 60's as part of a new exclusive collection of pedals for the shop that mirrored the popular effects used by hot guitarists of the day, most notably Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. The Tone-Bender was originally designed in 1965 by engineer Gary Hurst based on the Gibson-made Maestro FZ-1; Gary was a producer and had already been developing little custom fuzz boxes and clones for local upcoming artists. He was approached by Macari's to develop more of these boxes for their store under the Sola Sound name.

The Tone-Bender and its many early iterations throughout the 1960's was one of the top choice of players like Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix and obviously Page both in the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, and naturally early Tone-Benders still found a home here across the pond with fuzz lovers. Over the course of the 60's the pedal gained a knob with the MKIV and rode the wave of changing ownerships and endorsement allegiances, but a home was really found as a fuzz favorite especially among the young acolytes of Page, obviously among the greatest gear influencers of his time who formally endorsed Sola Sound and the pedal. Beyond the MKIV or MKIII, Sola Sound released this Tone-Bender "Fuzz" from 1970-1976 with the third knob and larger chassis that would remain standard through the 70's.

While the mid 70's British Radiom pots on this one don't feature a date code and this chassis was not stamped, we can surmise it to be a mid-70's example from the layout and circuit. The casing retains the original paint with a slightly darker orange "Batman" design and a continuous silver inside instead of some Tone-Benders which have a nearly white interior. However, this board most closely resembles the earlier simpler board than the more convoluted version that shows up in 1976 models. From about 1973 on, the Tone-Bender circuits began to stray from the original Sola Sounds circuits and more towards simplified versions of different Electro-Harmonix Big Muffs. Many changes in circuit board layout and components are echoed in the production of the Tone-Bender MKIII which continued being built by Sola Sound and supplied to Vox at the same time.
Height is 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm.), 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) width, and 2 in. (5.1 cm.) deep.

This Tone-Bender is in slightly worn but mostly original condition, featuring some cosmetic wear from years of being on the stage floor! The all original chassis, stomp, and components are intact inside. One knob, on the treble-bass control, appears to be slightly different from the other two, likely a repro or stock part from a few years later. Being exact in size an feel, it is almost a nearly exact replica, or a slightly different version of the same knob mixed in with the other knobs at the Sola Sound factory.

The original packaging is not included, nor has this example been modified to accept a more modern 9V power adapter. A 9V battery on a newer looking battery snap rests inside the pedal, nestled in some bubble wrap to prevent movement inside the chassis. No need to take off the knobs or unscrew the stomp, the back pops right off with a little jimmying from a sturdy guitar pick. It sounds great as one would expect, snarly and singingly sweet in equal measure. Overall Excellent - Condition.