Ahhhhhh holy shit, another ToneBender. Why another ToneBender? Because they fucking rule like some knees on some bees. And because the customer requested it when given the lineup of “uhhh…do you wanna go more Hendrix, Page, or Gilmour with this?”. Page was picked and so here is a vintage-modern MKII tonebender.
Its largely built as a vintage late-60’s ToneBender would be, but with some modern touches like AC-power, negative ground polarity and an LED to make it a bit more useful in today’s world. Transistors are WOS (weird-old-stock) germanium Soviet ГТ311Бs selected to appropriate gain specs and biased to taste. The thing sounds gritty like a fuzz face but more smooth and fat. I dont know how else to describe it but the thing is kinda *thick* sounding. Super tight. Ive also recently fallen in love with these knobs, so they got put to use, and may on future builds as well!
Okay its not a turd. But for something thats designed to annihilate your guitar’s sound like the Incredible Hulk on a coke bender, I sure chose a classy way to package it up. This finish looks like fine English leather and the insides sound like a constipated tauntaun. Ahh…it must be a Noise Swash.
The Noise Swash circuit, at its heart, doesnt look too much different then a standard distortion pedal. Its not far off from something like a ProCo RAT, but imagine that you took one and added way too many controls. Instead of a normal, healthy distortion unit, this one lets you starve the whole thing of power, shunt various parts in and out of the circuit, and tweak all sorts of little instabilities which in total amounts to weird, glitchy sounds, and sometimes just making sound on its own. ZANY.
Controls are: (upper row) Power starve, Noisegate, Swash, Tone, Volume, (lower row) pre-gain, post-gain, pre clipping on/off, post clipping on/off, oscillator on/off, oscillator frequency
HOLEEE CRAP, its been a while. Was out of town there for a bit and I just havent gotten much built in a while, or at least not completed. Here’s one I made prior to my travels for the legendary crambler, Mr. John Adams. John was looking for a number of things but one thing he was after was some sort of gain box to be used with keys! Keys arent really my specialty but I started thinking about gain boxes, and preamps of the vintage nature, and came to this dude.
What is it? Its a clone of the old Echoplex preamp! What most people dont realize is that in addition to delay, the old Echoplex units were used by countless players simply as preamps/boosters. This includes Page, Van Halen, etc. So this is just that….the Echoplex with all the fancy stuff removed, and shoved into pedal form. Err…..not actually pedal form, though. By request this guy was made to be an effect box to sit on top of the keyboard, and thus has a toggle for hand operation. Cramble on.
Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring…….. This is yet another in the long list of Big Muffs that I will build in my life. I’ve already raved about the glory of the Big Muff on here, but FUCK are they ever glorious! Good for that stoner metal fuzz-chunk, and good for those Gilmour/Fripp sustain-city leads. I dont even know why I bother making them with a sustain knob any more because it needs to be cranked always. In fact, maybe I should do that….
Anyway, this one is built to the Russian “civil war” unit specs, so named for the blue/grey color scheme the originals came in. I chose to go with banana-yellow, which is not very civil war at all. Deal with it.
p.s. yes that was a Raffi joke at the beginning