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Silktone launches a gnarly Tone Bender Mk1.5-style stompbox with an Active Bias Monitor to help you find the sweet spot

Silktone Fuzz
(Image credit: Silktone)

There are no shortage of fuzz pedals on the market that replicate the classic sounds of a 1966 Tone Bender but Silktone’s puts a neat spin on the age-old Mk1.5 germanium recipe and offers a degree of control over its sound that makes it a worthy contender for the 21st-century pedalboard.

The Silktone Fuzz has a pair of germanium transistors – so far, so very traditional – but it not only offers a bias control to adjust the character of the fuzz from spluttery, glitchy gated madness to full and sticky, it has a digital meter on the front of the enclosure to let you know what the bias reading is.

Think of it as a fuzz-o-meter. Simply adjust the bias knob and when the fuzz-o-meter reads ~8.00, you are in for sticky fuzz. Fat fuzz is on tap at ~6.50, with the “Sweet Spot” around 4.50. Vintage sounds are found at ~2.00 while gated fuzz is on the menu when the meter reads ~1.10. Silktone has a name for this fuzz-o-meter; it is officially called the Active Bias Monitor and there is a patent pending on it. 

Silktone Fuzz

(Image credit: Silktone)

Besides the bias control, there is a Classic/Raw toggle switch that controls the bias ratio and bass filtering, with the Raw mode offering a more corpulent fuzz tone, and there are dials for Volume, Fuzz and Clean-up. 

The Volume dial controls output volume, rolling off some highs if you back it off, while the Fuzz adjusts transistor gain. Silktone advises diming this and rolling back your electric guitar’s volume knob to clean things up.

And speaking of which, Clean-up controls input gain, much like your guitar’s volume knob, only this can be set-and-forgot for cleaner overdrive sounds or for fine-tuning when the pedal comes late in the signal path. Indeed, the Silktone Fuzz is designed to be placed anywhere on the signal chain. It is true bypass and takes a 9V DC power supply. 

The Silktone Fuzz’s first batch is sold out but an email waiting list is open for the second, which should be ready mid-March. You can sign up at Silktone (opens in new tab).

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.