Solasound Tone Bender MK1 re-issue.
In April 2016 I received an email from Anthony Macari of Colorsound/Solasound/Macari's asking if I would be interested in getting involved in a new official re-issue of the 1965 Solasound Tone Bender Mk1.
I had been making Tone Bender MK1s for a few years, the first one I ever made was for person in Birmingham who had won Noel Edmonds Deal or No Deal and had a bit of cash to spend! That being said, I probably charged him about £80 from what I remember.
I had made them predominantly on tagboard, however I had also done a few builds similar to the Gary Hurst 1965 originals, point to point on phenolic board.
I had also built a few in replica wedge cases made by a friend, and also the cases made by Brook from Pigeon FX, I think these were probably what Anthony was looking at when he got in touch.
It was all very hush hush, 3 other builders would also be involved and each would have a different case design and could do their own take on the circuit.
The other 3 builders were pretty much the cream of the UK Boutique pedal scene, David Main, Steve Williams, and Stu Castledine. Each would make 50 pedals.
I made 1 prototype for Anthony to try out, he liked it so I went ahead and built 50 for him, I did them in batches of 10 over the period of a year.
I had to finalise exactly what parts to use and in the end used Tocos Cosmos potientometers, Jupiter input capacitor, Sprague Atom Electrolytic, ICEL capacitors, Allen Bradley and Takman 1W resistors, however there were some variations due to parts scarcity over a period of a year.
I was told by Anthony to cut no corners, all the parts were to be the highest quality, most of the parts I bought from a specialist Hi Fi audio company.
All of them had CV7005, and 2 x CV7007 Germanium Transistors, which are Military Spec versions of the OC71 and OC77.
I bought the Transistors in bulk, tested and picked specific gain ranges that I find useful. The transistor sets were tested in circuit one set at a time before soldering them in.
In terms of sound I was going for as little background idling noise as possible, artifacts in the decay of the notes are there with the Attack on full but not over the top, useable sounds across the sweep of the Attack control but no sizzle or fizz!
Last I heard, all 200 had sold out!