After spending a number of years gathering enough germanium transistors to build a fuzz pedal that Adrian Thorpe describes as his idea of “the ultimate Tone Bender,” ThorpyFX has unveiled The Boneyard.
It arrives in classic ThorpyFX style, with a laser-etched illustration and logo on high-polished steel, and a typically astute build using premium one per cent metalfilm resistors, Wima and Panasonic capacitors, and Neutrik jacks as standard. All of which is to say it won't fail on you, and for a fuzz that can go feral, it'll cut down on unwanted hiss.
In an Instagram post, Thorpe said The Boneyard was part “vanity project” and obsession. “I made this for me… a self confessed TB fanatic,” he wrote.
The Boneyard has controls for Feed, Level, Attack and Tone, with a Mode switch that selects between the two-transistor topologies of very early units and the more commonly found three-transistor circuits that followed.
The Feed control acts as a master bias controlling the voltage to the pedal, allowing you to choke the fuzz and get it frothing at the mouth or have it open up. The Tone control, meanwhile, is a nod to the MkIII and IV Tone Bender, making The Boneyard play nice no matter what kind of electric guitar pickups you are using, and you can choose to bypass it completely via one of the footswitches.
The Boneyard's complement of controls should make for one tweakable fuzz that takes the scenic route through the Tone Bender's evolution in sound, and one that offers a very different feel depending on your settings.
There is something in the air right now when it comes to Tone Bender clones. In the past week, we have seen Silktone place an innovative Active Bias Monitor on the front of its design to compensate for the germanium transistors’ notorious flakiness with temperature changes, and French boutique builder Tampco release the All-Bender, which offered four silicon Bender-inspired circuits in one pedal.
But, as Thorpe notes on the site, a pedal such as The Boneyard can only be limited edition because the germanium transistors are thin on the ground. In short, grab one of these while they are still available. Priced £299, they're not cheap, but they might just be the only Tone Bender-style fuzz you could ever need. Head over to ThorpyFX for more.