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Is ThorpyFX’s Boneyard Fuzz the ultimate take on the Tone Bender?

ThorpyFX Boneyard
(Image credit: ThorpyFX)

UK effects firm ThorpyFX has debuted the Boneyard Fuzz – an all-analog fuzz pedal that packs six classic Tone Bender variants into one stompbox.

At the core of the Boneyard’s premium build are three germanium transistors which – alongside a selection of tasty high-end components (more on those below) – allow it to create a variety of Tone Bender-style tones that recall the iconic fuzz’s MK1 to MKIV builds.

“To cut a long story short, this is my interpretation of what the ultimate Tone Bender would sound like,” says ThorpyFX’s Adrian Thorpe.

“I wanted one pedal to be able to cover off all the Bender variants in one small pedalboard friendly footprint. The Boneyard is designed to provide you with a supremely versatile foot switchable vintage germanium fuzz pedal that evokes the sounds of everything from 1960s forward… a true chameleon of a fuzz pedal.”

As detailed in Guitarist's history of the Sola Sound Tone Bender, the original Tone Bender was based on a modified Maestro Fuzz-Tone circuit and relatively low voltage, while the MKII added an additional gain stage. 

The Boneyard’s feed control varies the voltage supplied to the circuit and thus allows the player to move between MKI and MKIV territory while manipulating the dial.

Other controls include Attack, Level and Tone, plus a Mode Switch. Engaging the latter cuts that third germanium transistor, emulating the two-transistor Vox or MK1.5 builds. The tone control can be used to compensate for pickup types, while the extra footswitch on the left bypasses the tone stack for a wild and unfiltered fuzz sound.

Other components housed in the polished steel enclosure include premium one percent metalfilm resistors,  Wima and Panasonic capacitors, Neutrik jacks, gold plated PCB and dust sealed potentiometers.

With a £299 (approx. $398) price tag, we’re certainly in high-end territory, but Thorpe says the limiting factor here is really the availability of germanium transistors, which remain in short supply, so it makes sense to do them justice.

Given a quick glance at Reverb shows an original MKIII Tone Bender is currently listed for well north of $1,000, you could argue that ThorpyFX’s build represents good value.

For more information on the Boneyard, head to ThorpyFX’s official site (opens in new tab).

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.