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Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby SecretSam » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:23 pm

I have found a handful of germanium transistors for about fifteen quid.

Assuming I can get a suitable set of three of them out of the handful, can anyone recommend a book or website that will provide a painting-by-numbers guide to turning them into a Tone Bender, using only a Vero board, a bunch of capacitors and resistors, two potentiometers, a. 3pdt switch and a small metal box?

Thanks to the lockdown I have some time on my hands, and thanks to Boss pricing their clone at 350 dollars, I have an incentive as well.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:06 pm

Hi Sam!

I'd be inclined to take the easy route, and buy a kit such as this one:

https://shop.pedalparts.co.uk/Tone_Bend ... 36753.aspx

You can buy it without transistors for only around £20.

You can even buy a suitable metal case from them at the same time if you're REALLY lazy ;)


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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:25 pm

You could easily use the circuit diagram in that kit build's instructions and the associated parts list to make your own on Veroboard if you want. Laying out the Veroboard will give you something to do!
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:27 pm

My very first pedal was a Supa Tone Bender. I really didn't like it.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:52 am

Wonks wrote:My very first pedal was a Supa Tone Bender. I really didn't like it.

My first pedal was a Tone Bender. About £10 in c1977 (Dawsons sale), I wouldn't pay that for one today but some people are asking around £500. The world's gone mad

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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Wonks » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:13 am

I think I got mine the same year, but from Andertons. I’d have liked the MXR Distortion+ a friend had, but that was far more expensive and the pocket money couldn’t stretch that far.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:19 am

Of course £10 back then would be the equivalent to about £75 today, so it was a significant purchase for a 14 year old.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Wonks » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:36 am

16 in my case.

More like £56 equivalent, but still a reasonable sum.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Folderol » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:55 am

@Sam
Do they say which transistors are in the packet? Geranium ones are getting pretty thin on the ground these days, and will likely have been in storage for some time. Metal can types like AF117 (RF types) will likely have gone S/C to the case - still usable in some situations though.

However, you can get good results with a bit of care. They are more delicate than modern silicon ones, so watch out for wiring errors and initially run them off a part used battery, in case you've got something wrong and they try to draw too much current (a lot of current limited bench PSUs don't respond quickly enough).

You should be able to find a decent range schematics on 'tWeb to play about with.

If you're using veroboard, I recommend really spreading the components out on the board - it's much more 'development' friendly. Also keep the transistor legs at full length so they don't get too much heat stress when soldering.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby The Elf » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:43 pm

I used to use a Tonebender with my Mellotron, but it was always a flakey device that hated being fed from a PSU.

So I'd quite fancy building one for that kind of modest outlay. The lack of transistors seems to be the catch here, so what would I be looking for?
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Albatross » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:44 pm

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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby FrankF » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:05 pm

SecretSam wrote:I have found a handful of germanium transistors for about fifteen quid.

Assuming I can get a suitable set of three of them out of the handful, can anyone recommend a book or website that will provide a painting-by-numbers guide to turning them into a Tone Bender, using only a Vero board, a bunch of capacitors and resistors, two potentiometers, a. 3pdt switch and a small metal box?

Just think: with only a few hundred more parts, you could probably build an Interocitor! Fun for all the family!
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:47 pm

The Elf wrote:I used to use a Tonebender with my Mellotron, but it was always a flakey device that hated being fed from a PSU.

So I'd quite fancy building one for that kind of modest outlay. The lack of transistors seems to be the catch here, so what would I be looking for?

The kit I linked to can be bought complete with three AC125/128 germanium transistors (or 2N404 as an option, but these are currently out of stock).


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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby The Elf » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:03 pm

Thanks Martin. I may just give this a go.
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Re: Tone Bender building for dummies?

Postby SecretSam » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:17 pm

Thanks very much for all the replies, Gents.

The transistors are OC75s.

Anything imported is presently taking three months or more to get here (most of which is spent in SA Customs), so I am trying to avoid shipping.

The appeal of a vero board is that I can solder clumsily and still have a chance of making it work.

Power supply? We used batteries in a cardboard box in t'middle o' t'road. But we 'ad it tough.


... And I am only interested in an interocitor if it comes with a volterator.
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