Tone Bender Style Fuzz Pedals

Tone Bender Style Fuzz Pedals

First produced in 1965, the Tone Bender is one of the First pedals ever invented and has a very storied history. It's no exaggeration to say that the tone Bender changed the face of Rock history. Just one year earlier, the Beatles famously appeared on the Ed Sullivan show playing jangly Rickenbackers through clean Vox amps, then suddenly in '65 practically every studio in London had a Tone Bender and the gnarly, aggressive sound was scattered over almost every record.


The most famous user of the Tone Bender is undoubtedly Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page who used the Tone Bender extensively throughout his entire career with the band. At various points in time he has favoured the MKI, the MKII, and the MKIV. In it's first 3 years, the Tone Bender went through several different iterations, each with their own unique characteristics:


MKI - The MKI Tone Bender, distinctive for its cheese wedge shape and gold finish. The MKI is perhaps the most aggressive sounding variant of the tone bender, with an incredibly edgy breakup, extreme harmonic distortion and noticeable bass cut, keeping it tight sounding even on Humbucker guitars


MKI.5 - The timelines on Tone Benders are very hazy, and development of different versions were often overlapping, hence the MKI.5. Unlike the other versions which all feature 3 transistors, the MKI.5 uses a 2 transistor circuit, giving it a different tone and feel. The tone has more bass, providing a thicker and spittier sound, well suited to either Humbuckers or Single Coils. The MKI.5's 2 transistor circuit was the inspiration for the equally famous Fuzz Face circuit. Characteristically it sits somewhere between a "classic" Tone Bender sound and a Fuzz Face. Much like a Fuzz Face, it is very responsive to the volume of your guitar, and will clean up when you roll the volume down.


MKII - The MKII (which Jimmy Page favoured the majority of the time) sits tonally between the MKI and MKI.5, with less "broken speaker-like" aggression than the MKI and more bass, but less bass than the MKI.5. This is perhaps the most balanced or at least most "classic" version of the Tone Bender sound. It is the sound heard on iconic tracks like "Whole Lotta Love".


MKIII & MKIV - These versions retain the essence of the MKII but with the introduction of a powerful treble control to take the sound from a creamy smooth fuzz (Woman tone-esque) to a wafer thin aggression that cuts through even the densest of mixes.