I've been making my Big Muds for some time now and I've been wanting to do this "version" for ages. I actually wanted to do the Tone Bender in this version from the start but the BM kinda took over my pedal life so I've decided it's time to go back and visit this one.
The 70's Vox and Color/Solasound SUPA and Jumbo Tonebender in this form was very similar to the BM circuit with a few minor value changes and the absence of the first set of diode clippers. There's no doubt the fine people making this pedal for Vox and Colorsound heavily "borrowed" the circuit and added their flavour. And hey, why not ? It's a GREAT circuit.
This is a pretty simple 4 transistor fuzz but the different value components and different clipping stage makes it very different in tone to any BM. This has a "cleaner" bottom end that can get huge with the right tone settings. It has less overall "saturated gain" than the BM but more than makes up for it bottom end and harmonics.
The tone stack is typical "mid scoop" high pass/low pass as in the BM but this has a less defined mid scoop and more bottoms.
I sat there for hours testing transistors for the best tone and gain and ended up choosing some old "tin can" silicon units, that, unfortunately I don't have many of. I can currently make about 5 of these but the search will begin for more transistors and/or testing for tone with more common variations. I'd like to offer this as a standard Tym effect but I'm a big believer in I must be able to replicate everything I make within small tolerances, unlike these (and BM's) back in the day.
The fact this has 4 gain stages but only 1 clipping stage really changes the dynamics of the fuzz and the touch sensitivity of the gain. I also use germanium clipping diodes in this which I don't use in ANY of my Big Muds. The originals used both Ge and Si over the years but I preferred the tone of the Ge.
This 3 knob Tonebender was released in a few different versions and the Jen Jumbo Fuzz came in this version and a version with an section to cut down noise. Both sound very similar and the added section doesn't seem to do much for noise or gain ?
This version of the circuit is very "British" with darker, creamier fuzz and nice harmonics. I'd probably use it more for lead playing as the bottom end gets a little messy with some amps, but then, that can be cool too. It doesn't have the "crackle" of a good BM circuit but is totally usable as a great seventies fat fuzz.
OK, I'm off to find some transistors .................