COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

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COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

Postby Graham » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:58 am

EDIT - SAT 25 JUNE 2011

CLEARLY SOME OF MY OPINIONS WRITTEN IN THE OPENING POSTS HERE WILL NEED TO BE REVISED IN LIGHT OF MY MOST RECENT POSTS AND INFORMATION GAINED FROM ADDING MORE VARIANTS TO MY COLLECTION.

PLEASE BEAR THIS IN MIND WHEN READING THE NEXT FEW BITS THAT I WROTE SEVERAL YEARS AGO - SOME OF THE OTHER STUFF I POSTED INBETWEEN CONCERNING THESE WIDE BODIED FUZZES SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN LOST IN RECENT YEARS BUT WHAT I AM PLANNING ON ADDING WITH THE RECENT PICTURES WILL EFFECTIVELY REVISE/CORRECT WHAT IS HERE AND ALSO REPLACE SOME OF THE MISSING STUFF - G
:mrgreen:


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OK so I already started off a Jumbo thread - these are similar to all other seventies Tonebender fuzzes just basically the preceding model to the Jumbo (albeit they were built pretty much at the same time by the same people in the same place with mainly the same components - the most notable point being that they had one extra transistor than earlier tonebenders meaning they sounded "full er bodied" and thence similar to the (perhaps more) Muff like Jumbos maybe tuned just that bit less full boded (more in keeping perhaps with the 3 transistor mk3 Tonebender designs - well the Silicon transistor fuelled versions anyway and as such had a bit more in common with the other earlier versions of three transistor Sola made fuzz designs and also they discontinued making these some time before they stopped making the Supas. OK I know that the edges were more blurred than that and that Sola continued making third party sold fuzzes for other customers and maybe even for themselves under differentcompany names (for instance the ownership of the Eurotec brand has always intrigued me - maybe we can get to the bottom of things here!!).

These Supas - in both the straightforward Tonebender Fuzz version and also in their various combination versions - I.e wah fuzz -- wah - fuzz - swell --- fuzz-phasers and one or two other rarities - they were (in my humble opinion) bloody marvellous fuzzes - A true blue british fuzztone with its roots all the way back to the venerable Sola Sounds Mk1 as birthed by Gary Hurst!! and not yet quite as whole hearted an attempt at cashing in on the american EH success (which is what happened in my opinion - and effectively saw them off for the following decade - another possibly very contentious story!!!!!!!



:headpop: :tu: BRITISH FUZZTONE ARISTOCRACY!! :tu: :headpop:

In chronological order - as usual from ink stamps or labels with manufactured dates or else component codes - in this case they all have dates as you ought to be able to tell from the pictures!Image
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Last edited by Graham on Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: COLORSOUND SUPA TONEBENDERS REFERENCE SHOTS

Postby Graham » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:29 am

In the same order as the previous pictures

16 MAY 1973
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27 OCT 1976
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26 JULY 1978
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So as you can see they were being made over a fairly lengthy period - the earliest one the Orange bodied one is considered a great rarity - only having been made for a relatively short while - a matter of months only. The Chrome one - as with all Chrome CS pedals - was a special order - with a fairly hefty premium in price and it is possible that although the Jumbo would have been firmly established as the principle Colorsound Tonebender model by '78, this was made as a part of a special batch of chrome versions - maybe even a one off - Much though I would love to see any old papers - unfortunately I now live a long way from London and hate travelling up there so I cannot go begging at the Macaris door - Just imagine having a chance to examine the order books or for that matter even to know if the appropriate records still survive - if it were possible to examine any early records or find some workshop notes - whatever - just imagine the questions that could finally be resolved!!!.

I hope this will have whetted your appetites - they are a hell of a nice pedal and I am in the lucky position of being able to share them in this way with you - And I count myself fortunate indeed to have the chance - it's not meant as a show off (though we all love to put on the flash a bit!) I am just soglad to be able to contribute towards getting a proper comprehensive history of these wonderful fuzzy artifacts down in some useful and readily acessible way - I have spent years tracking down snippets of information - a bit here - a bit there -often contradictory or downright wrong - well as said I plan on doing a decent book one day - there are several friends here who sharethat vision so look on these and future pots as the first stumbling steps on what I sincerely hope will become something useful and accurate of lasting use..!

Graham the Insomniac!!
:headpop: :headpop: :headpop: :headpop:
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Re: COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

Postby Graham » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:39 am

OK SO I WAS DOING SOME WORK ON MY WIDE BODIED CS FUZZES - HERE ARE SOME NEW PICTURES THAT DEMONSTRATE OTHER VARIANTS OF THE PEDALS

Tomorrow - or in the coming days I shall load up some details regarding each one shown.

Remember that the Supas were basically a 4 silicon transistor Fuzz - some have claimed it a straight cop from the then also available EH Muff fuzzes - the whole issue of who copied who is not as cut and dried as many have written or claimed - I am not naive enough to dispute it's happening but it was broader than just two companies and from what I have managed to glean - was most definitely something that was commonplace on both sides of the atlantic

An example: Earlier today (or was it the day before?) anyway I was discussing some of the more ephemeral modulation circuits that CS were producing towards the mid-late 70's with Robin at EMS down in Cornwall (I just treated myself to a Synthi hifli and had phoned about that and how it's "growl" function operated....... Anyway we got to CHATTING - I love meeting knowledgeable folks who can add solid data to the record.. He was talking about Cockerell and how he ended up working for Mike Matthewa at EH - Robin brought up one or two of their more esoteric pedals - mainly the Dipthoniser (which I always understood CS had cribbed directly from a similar EH design - it had always made sense particularly with the Cockerell link - Anyway Robin insisted that the Dipthoniser (and I assume the stripped down treadle pedal version the Vocaliser) - was NOT copied from EH but that it was a design which the senior Macaris had commissioned EMS to work on for them - so the link with Cockerell was good but it was the other way round!!!

I don't plan on bringing in too many modulation pedals to my work BUT this serves as a salient reminder to take a lot of the "they cribbed this one from that guys design...." with a big pinch of salt -- No doubt the competent pedal builders of the 70's - always being pushed by their bosses to develop innovative and exciting new designs would have kept themselves adequately informed of anything interesting that their competitors were producing...

So anyway back to FUZZ BOXES - basically after 7 - 10 years of 2 & 3 transistor (or 2 or 3 gain stage) designs - someone simply bolted another stage on and then added sufficient extra circuitry to minimize any unwanted noise!! Whether that involved industrial espionage or simply some head high on thai sticks messin about in their lab with a box of new trannies who knows ?? Unless I get it from the "horses mouth" I will always err to caution!!

So back to the fledgling Colorsound brand --- As we have seen in the Mk III & Mk IV threads - Sola were continuing to pump out narrow bodies fuzzes of the (by then) traditional design in Germanium and by the mid seventies also Silicon versions AND using their Sola name or selling as own brand for firms like Vox etc

BUT CS had been going since the end of the 60's with their Boosters - Power Boosts and Overdrivers as well as wahs and maybe a few wah variants.. But what about straightforward fuzzes.....?

So the brought in the Supa at first with the extra gain stage - around '73 - (I'll date the coming pics tomorrow when I describe individual changes) but my earliest - the Orange wide bodied Supa is from '73 - Clearly all the straight CS fuzzes were all in the "new" wide bodies (as the Overdriver and others (sustain - phaser - flanger and wah- variants also moved into....

Within a year or two some bright spark came up with the idea of knocking out a three silicon tranny version - confusingly calling it the JUMBO!!! And to muddy the waters even further the powers that be at Macaris decided to sell them at the same time (ALSO selling both at the same time as their silver "batman logo" and regular MkIV,s sold with Sola on them!!!

AND I DIDNT EVEN MENTION THIRD PARTY 'BENDERS OR THOSE PESKY ITALIANS,,,,,,, the cautious man might have sensed the market was getting oversaturated BUT THAT TOO IS ANOTHER STORY!!

Anyway a few pics to whet appetites

Firstly all my versions -- not aware of others but always happy to discover or be offered different cosmetic or circuit versions - even if not for sale please add anything new here or PM me .....

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In date order left to right (earliest on left) but Supas on top Jumbos below:

THEN all of them again kept in Supa and Jumbo "groupings" but still date ordered (sorry it widens laptop screens!

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And finally with Supa and Jumbos mixed up although in the correct chronological order (Notice both chrome Supa & Jumbos circa '77/'78) - this shot will serve to demonstrate how they sold them at the same time - roughly speaking the Orange Supa at far left is ca. spring 1973 while the last black "sticker" one dates towards mid 1980!!! One day for laughs I'll so a complete with Sola sold pedals interspersed (though probably best one under each other as that would be twenty plus pedals wide!!!

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Hope that livens things up a bit - some info on each in next day or two - gut shots as well eventually - the changes were not just a matter of cosmetics or switch position or ext power socket but components too!!

Later - Graham
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Postby edkoppel » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:50 am

Hey Graham, great post as always!
I also have one of those 1980 Black Jumbos, and its quickly becoming one of my favorite fuzzes.
Its so huge sounding! :crackjam:

I have yet to play an earlier one.
I know you are probably going to go into great detail about the differences between each model,
but in your opinion, how does the 1980 version stack up against its big brothers?
Oh, DB? That's just slang for Dandy Big muff collector.
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Postby Gary » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:34 pm

Excellent post and fantastic work Graham

The orange Supa and the Jumbo that's sandwiched between the two Black & Golds. Oh my... :thud:

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Re: COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

Postby The Captain » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:46 pm

Great post G! :party:

So when did those early silver and blue Jumbo's come on the scene? Before the orange Supa's?!!?
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Postby Philip » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:57 pm

Those all black Jumbo's look so cool!

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Re: COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

Postby Laundromat » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:07 am

Graham wrote:So anyway back to FUZZ BOXES - basically after 7 - 10 years of 2 & 3 transistor (or 2 or 3 gain stage) designs - someone simply bolted another stage on and then added sufficient extra circuitry to minimize any unwanted noise!!

Isn't this statement simplifying things a bit too much? :hmm:
Condolences, the bums lost!
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Re: COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

Postby Graham » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:10 am

THANKS:

AND MAYBE I HAVE SIMPLIFIED THINGS :) YOU ARE WELCOME DO BETTER BY ALL MEANS - nowhere did I ever claim skills with a soldering iron and I have certainly always done my best to point out my lack of skills in electronics (why I stay away from the tinkerers pages) - but for those who may appreciate the extra info here is a bunch more:

INCIDENTALLY - in case my earlier posts are also criticised perhaps critiqued is kinder - please note it's a work in progress - it takes an awful lot more time to put these together than a one line comment AND those first pieces I wrote a good few years ago now - I also just added an EDIT at the beginning of the thread explaining this .. Anyone who can fill in any gaps constructively is ALWAYS welcome -- As I mentioned in my opening "EDIT" I began posting here very heavily years ago on the first forum when there were far fewer members (and almost NO solid information - accurate or otherwise - in any one place online or in print on some of these early british pedals) - and for whatever reasons an awfully large chunk of my data is no longer here so all the discussions - friendly and otherwise concerning plagiarism or my theories about pot codes etc which once were contained in threads many pages long on the old forum are now lost - much of that stuff only has the opening page left to read and some of them ran to over ten pages.... such a shame because quite a few of the contributing members are no longer here.

I might not be able to get a lot more info on these up for a while as I'm off island for a bit from tomorrow and have prepared some other stuff I can load up while away if I have the time
But heres a bit anyway:

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OK so those are in date order - to the best of my understanding that is - there are 9 pedals and below are outline details on each from left to right - Earliest to Latest (that I own)..

NB - the pedals with date stamps make an interesting demonstration when looking at pot codes of my view that GENERALLY you can say that the pot build date and pedal build date are normallly within 4 months or so.

1/ Orange Supa - Date stamp in ink - 16 MAY 1973 Pots D_2 (last qtr '72) one a later replacement from '93 -- 4 x 349B transistors - Battery hatch present. Low switch position

2/ Silver Supa with "unfilled" pink logo Date Stamp 13 AUG 1975 - pot codes 6_5 (Jun 75) - 4 BC109C trannies "M" lettered on case Low switch position

3/ Silver Jumbo Blue & White logo - no date stamp but all pots N_5 (late '75) SO LATE 75/BEGINNING 76 build - 3 ZTX 109C trannies - changed switch - high position

4/ Silver Jumbo Turquoise & White logo - Date stamp 27 SEPT 1976 - pot codes 7_6 (Jul 76) - 3 unmarked black trannies - unusual green acrylic "block" caps - high position switch

5/ Silver Supa with "filled" pink logo Date stamp 27 OCT 1976 - pot codes all 8_6 (Aug 76) - 4 BC184C trannies - replaced switch - low position - "M" lettered

6/ Chrome Jumbo (new "sticker" shape) No date stamp - 2 pots coded 1_7 (Jan '77) 1 pot D_6 (last qtr '76) I would say pedal built Spring '77 - 3 ZTX 383C trannies - SOLA stamp on base - Batt Hatch present. switch in higher position

7/ Chrome Supa (sticker type) Pink on white logo now at 90 degrees no longer curved - switch in higher position - Date Stamp 26 JUL 1978 - all pot codes 1_8 (Jan '78 so slightly unusual in being a 6 month gap) - 4 BC 184C trannies - Battery hatch present

8/ Silver Jumbo (sticker type) Orange & white logo on brown background - N.O.S condition (had box papers and even the small cardboard tube in plave over switch to prevent it punching through box!!) YUMMY!!!! :badlove: amongst my cleanest 3 Brit pedals! I paid TOO much for this one !! :shocked2: No date stamp in case but pot codes 2 x N_8 & 1 x 1_8 HARD TO DATE AS POTS UNUSUALLY SPACED AGE WISE (assuming N_8 is late 78 and knowing that 1_8 is Jan 78) Attribute to Late '78 / early '79 build - switch in higher position with black plastic dust cap still present (NOT always used but when they are, caps are often missing on these later CS or Sola built 3rd party peds) - 3 BC 184 C trannies - Battery Hatch - external 9v supply socket.

9/ Black Jumbo (sticker type) Black & Gold logo on black body - EX DAVE MAIN - no date code but pots all 5_0 so May 1980 (cannot be 1970!!! so this is the latest example of any wide CS fuzz I have or have seen) Allowing 2-4 month date code "gap" would put pedal build at around Summer/early Autumn 1980. 3 x BC184C trannies - Battery hatch present - external 9v socket present.

I am sorry if the info is a bit cramped but its now almost 2 am - Glasto is on the box (paused at BB King) and I have to fly tomorrow lunchtime :)

I will take a set of gut shots and add better textual descriptions when I can get round to it. BUT HOPEFULLY it does give an indication of how the Supa and Jumbo were interspersed - and as I have already said you need to keep in mind that the Macari boys were also marketing (apparently very successfully from the numbers still surviving) their silver Sola branded Orange flash (known as "Batman Logo" amongst us afficianados :) mkIV's for a long period -- I have six - the earliest ones obviously germanium - my ge examples are from Jul '71 through to 18 Jul 1973 with Silicon versions from summer 76 to 21 JAN 1977 and as I had pointed out to me recently on the silver mkIV thread Sola were building the silvers in all the intervening years though I am uncertain when the earliest known silicon version appeared (sure someone will tell me :)

Graham
:mrgreen:
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Re: COLORSOUND SUPA & JUMBO WIDE BODIED TONE BENDERS

Postby Laundromat » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:23 am

I was just trying to point out that drawing a bridge between this and the earlier versions is very much a stretch. Where it actually came from, I have no idea. :tu:
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