horror has a face

The 1990 album A Gilded Eternity by Loop. Do you own a copy? If the answer is no, stop what you are doing and purchase said recording. If the answer is yes, please continue. In approx 2013 when Loop reformed, Robert Hampson, the black mastermind behind Loop, made contact with plans to replicate his original 1977 Sola Sound Tone Bender, the primary tool of sonic destruction on all Loop recordings. Three prototypes were made. A germanium unit, based on the early Tone Bender MKIV circuit, that we mistakenly assumed was inside the original unit until it was retrieved from storage. And two exact silicon reproductions once the ancient artefact was to hand. The first of the two being made only to capture the sonic blueprint, the second of the two silicon units was the Main Amphetlabs FUZZ. It was fully formed in both auditory capabilities and in its aesthetic approach.

In March 2014 x 5 units were produced, and then in 2017 a further 2 pieces were made. No further units have been made since that time. In February this year we, myself and Daniel Lee Tunstill, have made a total of 51 pieces. This is the culmination of the project goal. No further pieces will ever be made for public consumption. 40 units went to Joe of Joe's Pedals, 5 units to Robert himself, leaving a remainder of 6. 4 of which were sold via the D*A*M forum.


The D*A*M forum units and Roberts all have Zetex ZTX383 transistors, the exact same device as in the original 1977 unit. The bulk that went to Joe all have BC547B transistors, these are the same transistors as used in the original Main units and what Robert has used live and on recordings ever since. There really is little to no sonic difference between the two transistors types, the real magic is in the gain selection and biasing, the Zetex parts were used only for the very technical reason of, 'because it's cool.'

The Origin

Robert's original Tone Bender is a 1977 Batman flash unit that features the all silicon three transistor Jumbo Tone Bender circuit. As mentioned above, the transistors are Zetex ZTX383 devices, which are amongst the rarer types seen in this circuit type. The pedal also has a few other slight anomalies that make its performance a little more brutal than other vintage Jumbo circuit Tone Benders.

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