First ever review that wasn’t put on trustpilot.
Modelled after the MKIII tonebender. Let’s start by admitting I’ve never played a tone bender and so won’t be comparing it at all other than other people say it’s decent and JHS apparently used same circuitry apart from its a bit more reliable!
There’s 3 knobs at the back of the unit that look quirky and give the pedal a cool and clean look whilst sacrificing any kind of usability in a live setting as you can’t see where they’re pointing.
Volume - literally does what it says
Tone - A good sweeping range from murky watery depths to crystal clear top notes
Attack - Original pedals had attack written as name of the knob so this one does too but this is basically the amount of Fuzz.
My set up for trying it out consisted of an Xotic XSC2 - Bender - Victory V40 duchess.
The pedal has a wide range of very usable settings depending what you want. It can run subtle with great response from guitar volume pot or you can drive this baby enough to shake next doors pants off. Setting the Attack to full gives absolutely blistering fuzz sounds and adjusting the tone as necessary you can create a really wild but warm tone with little fizziness.
There is a JHS button on the side which drives the pedal through their own mod, basically it boosts the gain and mids for even more wild sounds... but at the expense of sounding fizzy and I personally am not a fan.
Weirdly after 20 years of playing I’ve never used a fuzz - using this I wonder to myself “WHY?!” It’s so much fun. Despite not really being part of a band (Funk cover band) that would ... no... should make use of such sounds, I will definitely be fuzzing up my solos and riffs for some of our tracks.
This is a very versatile fuzz with huge expressive capabilities and dynamic range when picking lightly to really smashing those strings.
As for pedalboard placement I found that placing it early on but after my Xotic wah was ideal. You get some strange tones when stacking with other drives too which could be made useable but I certainly won’t be doing that.
If you’re after that old school fuzz vibe I would definitely recommend trying it out - you’re getting that old school sound for a fraction of what those pedals would cost. It takes up a fair amount of space on the board but it definitely looks great! (Apart from now my board has, in big letters, “Bender” written on it... amusing ! )