Whether or not you’re a fan, the Tone Bender Fuzz has written rock history. And if you like the sound, you will love the SolidGoldFX Communication Breakdown, because it’s an attempt to deliver the sound of not one but two Tone Bender variants, the MK 1.5 and MK2. That’s a whole lotta fuzz.
So why all the Led Zeppelin references? One of the most famous users of the original Tone Bender fuzz was a certain Mr J Page, who used it on a lot of his Yarbirds and early Led Zep work. Sonically, the Tone Bender is something special; it spits and splutters and, depending on the version, can also generate some thick, warm sound, too.
That sound is the inspiration for the Communication Breakdown. And not content with giving one version of it, SolidGoldFX’s pedal chases the tone of two different versions here.
Fuzz A on the right side houses a circuit inspired by the Tonebender MK1.5 circuit, but the silicon transistors are run hotter and therefore have more saturation and distortion. Fuzz B on the left is based on the Tonebender MKII and is significantly warmer than its former colleague, but basically sounds very similar.
You can pretty much draw a line in the middle of the pedal to denote the two separate circuits. Each side has Volume, Bias and Fuzz controls and three-stage toggle switches for Color and Input. The input is used to help the pedal play nicely with wah pedals, which older vintage units certainly won’t do!
The Bias setting varies the voltage sent to the circuits; turning it clock-wise offers bolder dirt tones with girth. Counter-clockwise delivers what they describe as ‘a more lean, choppy and gated fuzz tone.’
SolidGoldFX has added its own JFET pre-amp into the mix, it says is used “to breathe more stability and tonal clarity into this legendary circuit.”
It’s certainly an interesting take on some classic fuzz circuit tones. And the demo videos sound pretty decent, too. This could certainly be one pedal to go check out at Winter NAMM if you like classic rock tones.
RRP – GBP 239 /EUR 232.86