Pioneer Bender is based on the first version of Sola Sound's legendary Tone Bender, referred to today as the MKI. Designed in 1965 to improve on the Maestro Fuzz-Tone, the MKI quickly landed in the hands of Mark Ronson, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Pete Townsend. Pioneer Bender's tone could be politely described as saxophone-like, or, more accurately, a semi-gated buzzsaw with a hint of an octave that decays in a sizzle.
At Pioneer Bender's core is the Tone Bender MKI circuit built with an outstanding set of NOS germanium transistors and other premium parts like Cornell Dubilier film capacitors. Pioneer Bender also includes exciting new features like a 'mod' switch that removes the gating, a treble control, and a true gain control (the 'ATTACK' is more of a bias control). Like the Twin Bender, Pioneer Bender has relay-based true bypass switching and a built-in voltage inverter.
Pioneer Bender uses NOS (new, old stock) transistors sourced from around the world. We have a large enough supply to be very selective. They are tested for several electrical specifications, noise, and tone before the best are matched for a Pioneer Bender.
Pioneer Bender's built-in voltage inverter solves the power supply compatibility issues that Tone Benders and many other vintage fuzzes require. This means there's no risk of a short circuit when sharing a supply and no need to power it by battery only.
The modified mode removes the gating effect of the Tone Bender MKI circuit. Gating is the sudden cutoff of audio as a signal decays.
TRUE GAIN CONTROL
The 'ATTACK' knob has some effect on gain, but it is really more of a bias control. Pioneer Bender's 'gain' control is a true gain control, giving it a more precise way of controlling the amount of fuzz generated. Fully clockwise is stock MKI.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Full treble is stock MKI.
RELAY BASED TRUE BYPASS
The ultimate in reliable and quiet true bypass switching. A PCB mounted relay provides the most direct signal routing. The delicate guitar signal is not routed through a clunky mechanical footswitch.
Twin Bender is PLAYED BY THESE ARTISTS
Journey, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Cars, The Empty Hearts, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Best selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time.
Lead guitarist for Paul McCartney, singer-songwriter
Variable with 'IMPEDE' mini-knob
9 volts DC adapter or battery
20mA ON, 13mA OFF
Length: 4.8, Width: 2.6, Height: 2.3 inches
Relay-based true bypass
NOS (new, old stock) PNP germanium transistors fully tested for electrical specifications, noise, and tone.
axial lead metallized polyester capacitors, low-noise metal film resistors, charge pump voltage inverter, Neutrik jacks, Alpha potentiometers.