Fuzz comes in a lot of flavors. From spitty or choked-off splat to gritty gated sounds, from classic ’60s to ’90s grunge and beyond, Ramble FX’s take on the classic Sola Tone Bender attempts to cover a lot of that ground.
Using new old stock (NOS) germanium transistors and a few handy controls, the Ramble FX offers the Tone Bender MKII Pro and the MKI.V in a single enclosure. Level and Attack knobs work in tandem with a three-way tone toggle labeled Fat, Stock, Mids, and an external Bias control. A mini knob dials down impedance to be used after a wah. The Twin Bender also offers relay-based true-bypass switching and powers with a nine-volt adapter.
Inside, the MKII Pro mode has an extra transistor that produces saturated gain, while the MKI.V mode has a vintage tone that cleans up nicely for smooth rhythm work. It allows the user to go deep and craft smooth or high-gain guitar tones. It’ll nasty-up a Deluxe Reverb or turn a dull head into a lethal weapon. In short, it’s a versatile, rich-sounding fuzz, perfect for guitarists who ride their guitar’s Volume control. For Marshall plexi lovers, it’s worth noting that Ramble FX also offers the Marvel 3 Drive, which uses JFET transistors to simulate two gain stages that can be blended. Using these two pedals in concert creates thick guitar textures.
The Twin Bender is a wonderfully gristly tool, tailor-made for those who grew up on fuzz pedals with few adjustment options. Its sonic reach encompasses the past and present, from the complexities of “Whole Lotta Love” Hendrix, Clapton, and Beck to fuzz-heavy sounds of the grunge era and beyond.
This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.