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Best Tone Bender Fuzz Pedals

Updated on May 17, 2023

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Click here for a Brief History of the Tone Bender

In the coveted niche of fuzz pedals, the Tone Bender is nothing short of royalty, being one of the most cloned fuzz circuits in history, together with a few other influential designs like the Muff and the Fuzz Face.

How Does A Tone Bender Fuzz Sound?

The signature sound of the Tone Bender is hairy, spitting, and aggressive. It doesn’t have problems cutting through a live mix like scooped Muff-style fuzzes, and while it doesn’t clean up as elegantly as a Fuzz Face, it has a unique compression and bloom when responding to pick attack. Players such as Mark Ronson, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Ernie Isley, Syd Barrett, Kevin Shields and of course Jimmy Page have all used the Tone Bender to create iconic recorded and live guitar tones.

Best Tone Bender Clones

The Tone Bender has birthed clones that have become almost as famous as the original, such as the Zonk machine and Buzzaround fuzz. Today you can find countless variations on the Tone Bender, some hand-wired using rare NOS parts, and some made affordable for the masses.

Without further ado then, here are some of the best Tone Bender pedals you can buy, aggregated from best sellers on Reverb and reputable Best Of lists on the internet.

1. Boss TB-2W


Click title for video. Check for availability: Sweetwater | Thomann | Amazon | eBay | Reverb.

In collaboration with Sola Sound, the originators of the Tone Bender, Boss has created a faithful replica of a vintage Mark II model (serial number 500) as part of their Waza craft series. Boss brings the Bender into the modern era with switchable buffered / true bypass, and a voltage switch that allow you to select 7v for starved gated fuzz, the standard 9v, or 12v for more headroom.

2. EarthQuaker Devices Park Fuzz Sound


Click title for video. buy it on ZzoundsSweetwater | Thomann | Amazon.

The branding of the Park Fuzz sound has a complicated history involving clones of clones, but at its core, it is quite simply a Mark III Tone Bender. Using NOS-matched Germanium transistors and a Fuzz knob with twice the gain range as the original, the EQD Park Fuzz Sound is an elegant modern way to get vintage British fuzz on your board.

3. Sola Sound / Colorsound / D.A.M. Tone Bender

Sola Sound Colorsound D.A.M. Tone Bender

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Macari’s has tapped UK fuzz veterans D.A.M. to create their Tone Bender reissues. These go on sale in very limited runs every so often, hand-wired using NOS parts. They aren’t cheap but this is as close to the original as you’re going to get. For the nerdiest completionists among us, they also do unique limited runs of hard-to-find Tone Bender variations.

4. Seeker Electric Effects MkII Tone Bender

Seeker Electric Effects Mark ii Tone Bender

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These may be sold out by the time this article is published! Mike Thompson of Seeker Electric effects makes beautiful one-of-a-kind pedals by hand using rare parts. These Mark II’s were made for Mass Street Music store and use NOS AC125 Germanium transistors. If they’re all gone, look for more Seeker pedals on reverb or get in touch with Mike on his Instagram page to custom order a pedal.

5. Warm Audio Warm Bender

warm 1

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A rather affordable Tone Bender recreation with a SAG switch for “dying battery” tones and three modes inspired by different vintage versions of the pedal. The NOS 76 setting provides early Bender tones with cutting highs, clear presence, and a versatile drive; the NOS 75 setting recreates the sounds of the legendary Mark II P Bender with enhanced bass response; the Silicon setting produces a Bender sound with a tighter low and top end response, resembling a smooth distortion-like tone.

5. JHS Bender

JHS Bender

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This entry in JHS’s legends of fuzz series is based on a 1973 Mark III Tone Bender (which added a tone control) from Josh Scott’s personal collection. The Bender keeps it simple with the three-knob layout in a classic wedge enclosure, but also includes a “JHS Mode” switch that adds a gain and mid-frequency boost for solos.

6. PigDog JUJU


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Another vintage-accurate boutique option, PigDog has a reputation for building dead-on Tone Bender replicas. The JUJU is a Mark III Tone Bender, nothing more, nothing less. It uses NOS OC82 transistors from builder Steve William’s personal stock and is not cheap but is pretty much perfect in its construction.

7. DanDrive Secret Machine

DanDrive Secret Machine

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At the highest end of the market, we have German builder Dan Querner, who sources premium components to hand-build his beautiful fuzz pedals. The germanium transistor Secret Machine is his take on the Zonk Machine, a circuit inspired by the Mark I tone bender with even more bite and the ability to produce an upper octave on lower gain settings. Comes with a bias knob and midrange toggle.

8. Expresso FX MkI Fuzz Bender

Expresso FX Mark I Fuzz Bender

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A made-to-order tone bender with top-quality NOS parts. You can handpick the enclosure, knobs, and additional quality-of-life mods such as an external bias knob. You can even specify modifications to the circuit, such as if you want your bender to be more gated or have more sustain. See also the MkII and iii versions.

9. R2R Electric Supa MKII


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A circuit inspired by the Sola Sound Tone Bender MKII and the Marshall Supa Fuzz, which were essentially the same pedal made by the same people under two different companies (although the circuit of the later Supa Fuzz slightly evolved with time). This pedal combines the two circuits, producing more volume and a wider sonic palette. Available also in a regular Hammond 1590p1 enclosure with only 2 controls (and fixed bias), the Supa MKII is a high-quality, hand-wired fuzz made almost exclusively with vintage components. There’s also an R2R MKI version of the Tone Bender.

10. Monsterpiece MkI Fuzz

Monsterpiece Mark I Fuzz

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Monsterpiece makes vintage accurate fuzzes at a reasonable price point. Their Mark I Tone Bender is the same as the original, except with a bias knob on the front for a wide range of possible fuzz tones. See also the Mk 1.5 and Mk II models!

Best Tone Bender Fuzz Pedal Evolutions

(List of Authentic Tone Bender Replicas Here)

Just like top-notch chefs try to improve (or give their own spin) to even the most delicious and established recipes, so do pedal builders when confronted with redesigning a classic vintage circuit. Here’s a list of the best Tone Bender-inspired fuzzes that use the original’s character as a starting point but expand on it in different directions.

1. Keeley Fuzz Bender

Keeley Electronics Fuzz Bender Front 1000x10001 e1555596690811

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Not necessarily made to be a Tone Bender clone, Robert Keeley’s Fuzz Bender instead adds an active EQ after the three-transistor fuzz circuit for extreme versatility. With 20dB of gain at 100hz or 10khz, plus a voltage bias control, the Fuzz Bender allows you to create your own perfect hairy fuzz tone for any situation, from bass-heavy stoner metal to octave-like Hendrix-style effects.

2. Benson Stonk Box Fuzz


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A Tone Bender MkI variant offering the signature hairy, spitty, and aggressive sound, and featuring the Portland company’s proprietary temperature technology that allows the Germanium diodes at the core of the circuit to respond more consistently to temperature variations, solving a problem that has afflicted many pedal builders dedicated to the development of pedals with Germanium components. The LED will change color when the system is warming up the diodes and green when it reaches the correct temperature.
Benson added Tone and Trim knobs to the original’s Filter and Volume to expand the unit’s sound palette.

3. ThorpyFX The Boneyard


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The result of many years spent playing, testing, and tweaking all of the various Tone Bender vintage pedals and clones in order to create a stompbox that could replicate a wide range of bender-style tones. It’s based on a three (rare) Germanium transistor design, although the Mode toggle allows you to just use two of them, just like in the early MkI and MKI.V originals. While Level, Attack and Toneknobs deliver predictable results, the Feed knob is the little secret weapon here, affecting the voltage of the pedal and therefore the quality of the fuzz’s character.

4. Catalinbread Katzenkönig

Catalinbread Katzenkonig

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Born from the desire to create a fuzz that is versatile enough for all guitars and all amps, Catalinbread has cleverly combined a Mark II Tone Bender with a ProCo RAT style circuit. Knobs for input sensitivity and a RAT-style hi-pass filter make this distortion/fuzz highly tweakable and useful in the studio and on stage.

5. BAE Royaltone

BAE Royaltone

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Known for their recreations of legendary studio gear designed by the late great Rupert Neve, BAE has started building its own British-style fuzz pedals. The Royaltone has that classic spitty Bender sound, but adds a separate switchable tone stack circuit for more versatility, with treble, mids, and bass controls. This is useful for adding a mid-push or scoop to your fuzz tone.

6. Union Tube and Transistor Sone Bender


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The Canadian boutique builders Union Tube and Transistor wanted to make a Tone Bender that cleans up like a Fuzz Face, so they did just that! Sitting tonally between those two titans of fuzz, the Sone Bender also was designed to work before or after buffered pedals, which fixes a classic issue with vintage-style fuzzes. See also the Tour Bender, a silicon version of the same pedal.

7. Ramble FX Twin Bender

ramble fx twin bender fuzz 11

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This modern Bender solves all of the issues with vintage fuzzes and adds unique features. You get two Bender circuits in one: the Mark II and Mark 1.5, which has one less transistor engaged. The impedance control allows the pedal to be placed anywhere in your chain and the bias knob can starve the voltage or just be tweaked to adjust for temperature. Plus, you get a three-way EQ toggle for a fat boost or mid boost.

8. Blackout Effectors FUBAR

Blackout Effectors FUBAR

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An amazingly creative take on the Bender circuit, the FUBAR stays true to its name with 6 knobs to royally screw up your fuzz tone. With three different voltage controls and expression pedal capabilities, the FUBAR can go from classic British fuzz to self-oscillating, pitch-shifting madness.

9. SolidGoldFx Rosie

SolidGold FX Rosie

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A Mark II Tone Bender for modern players, the Rosie has a combination JFET and silicon transistor circuit, which nullifies any temperature issues and allows you to place the pedal anywhere in your chain with no problem. The tone switch cuts accentuates the low end that can come from humbucker guitars.

10. KMA Machines Minos


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This hand-built pedal is based on a Mark II Tone Bender, but offers a bevy of tone-shaping options. The input knob adjusts the pre-gain, allowing for overdrive tones on low settings up to thick fuzz at higher settings. A three-way bass switch contours the low-end response and a hi-cut switch prevents the fuzz from getting too harsh on the ears.

11. Cunningham Amps Dual Range Fuzz


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A high-end, hand-wired Tone Bender-inspired circuit made in New Zealand. The circuit is based on the MK 1.6 of the venerable vintage fuzz, but the clipping transistor diode is customizable with Germanium, Hybrid (one germanium and one silicon), Medium Gain Silicon, and Higher Gain Silicon, all delivering slightly different sonic flavors. It also features a boost controlled by a separate footswitch and two knobs, for gain and volume, which, added to the classic Attack and Level controls of the Tone Bender, can conjure up a wide range of tones.

Other Notable Tone Bender Clones and Evolutions


That Pedal Show Modern Tone Bender-Style Fuzz Pedals

Tone Bender Special – That Pedal Show & JHS Josh