The Drunk Beaver Taras Bulba V2 is a tweakable Germanium fuzz with two modes voiced after the Tone Bender’s Mk 1.5 and MkII, accessible via the Mode toggle.
While the Attack and Bias control reflect the functions found on the original (setting gain and fuzz response), an added Hi-Cut knob shapes the high end while the new in V2 Velcro potentiometer lets you dial the transistor stages’ feedback for gated fuzz tones.
On top of that, the Impedance knob allows for extra tone sculpting, while the peculiarly named Pick Up simulator switch turns off the buffer and Impedance knob for a more touch-sensitive tone – this circuit was improved in this new version for better response with a variety of different pickups and impedances.
The Volume knob is another addition of V2, a full-frequency boost that allows this pedal to better interact with any amp.
We added the Drunk Beaver Taras Bulba V2 to our article about the best Tone Bender clones and variants.
Drunk Beaver Taras Bulba V2, Builder’s Notes
The Drunk Beaver Taras Bulba V2 takes the first version of the Taras Bulba – based on a vintage germanium Tone Bender MK II – and completely revises the circuit design and adds even more features.
The Mk II Tone Bender is renowned for its smooth sustain thanks to its 3-transistor design, while the Mk 1.5 (an unofficial name given to the transitional 2-transistor circuit) was an inspiration for the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.
Some of rock’s greatest names have used a Tone Bender, including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Mick Ronson`.
Taras Bulba V2 retains the two modes of the V1 – switchable between “Mk 1.5” and “Mk II” Tone Bender sounds – and the extremely useful extras such as the external Bias control and Pickup Sim section, but it also adds an extra control labelled “Velcro”, which enables you to dial the transistor stages’ feedback to achieve that perfect gated, or velcro, sound.
Vitalii has also improved the pickup simulator circuit for better response with a variety of different pickups and impedances.
There’s also a new full-frequency boost on the output, which gives your signal an extra kick and ensures that it cuts through any mix, in the studio or on the stage. This is a great addition, as many vintage units – and even some modern fuzzes – suffer from low output. Not here!
Attack Adjusts gain
Bias Varies the second-stage transistor biasing. Biasing is tuned separately for each mode. Use this control to alter the fatness and response of the fuzz.
Hi-Cut A low-pass filter reduces high frequencies to suit your band or recording situation.
Volume Adjusts output level
Impedance Controls the signal impedance when the pickup simulator is enabled, allowing you to adjust the interaction between your guitar and the pedal and fine-tune your sound. Acts a bit like an extra guitar volume pot.
Velcro Adjusts the amount of feedback between transistor stages, enabling you to achieve a gated, velcro-like sound.
Mode Toggle Switches between Mk II and Mk 1.5 Tone Bender circuits. The Mk 1.5 topology is very closely related to the Fuzz Face, while the Mk II has more gain and saturation, and a more aggressive character.
PU Sim Toggle Adds/removes pickup simulator buffer from the circuit. When the PU Sim toggle is off, the buffer and impedance pot are also bypassed, giving you the vintage response that’s sensitive to your input signal and any other pedals in your chain.