Overall I am extremely impressed with this pedal. Mike Fuller really captured the essence of the late 60’s Germanium Fuzz, and more so the Tone Bender. It is a very easy pedal to use and very easy to get your sound out of it.
SoulBender SB-2Featured review by: UG Team, on june 15, 2012 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 120
Purchased from: Craigslist.org
Ease of Use: It is a very easy pedal to use and very easy to get your sound out of it. You have a Level, Drive, and Tone knob. The only thing that takes a whopping 10 seconds to get used to is that the Tone knob works in the opposite fashion. Generally when you turn knobs clockwise it gets more of a treble response and counter-clockwise you get a heavier bass response. Thus, when the knob is all the way CCW you get a very trebly, biting sound.
As pulled from Musicians Friend:
Equipped with 3 gain-matched germanium transistor for a FAT, searing lead tone, Michael Fuller also made the Tone control response and range more usable and much less shrill sounding... Full clockwise is SMOOTH sounding.
The Soul-Bender cleans up when you back-off on the guitar's volume control. This pedal has tons of tonal character and even harmonics and of course, true bypass w/ LED is included with everyone.
Other than that you have a footswitch and a place for the power supply. Be careful that you do not use a standard power supply. This runs on opposite of your Boss power supply (which 95% of pedals work on). This is a center pin positive, I recommend just using a 9v battery and change when needed. If you do use a 9v battery be sure to unplug the input when not in use to preserve battery life. Yes it is a little bit more difficult but it is definitely worth it. // 8
Sound: Fuzzzzzzz! I have just come from a Silicon Fuzz Face clone and this could not be any farther from that. This is based off of the old Sola Sound Tone Benderâ€™s of the late 60â€™s which is Germanium based. A couple artists you may have heard that used this pedal are Jimmy Page & Jeff Beck. This pedal is honestly just an absolute beast, I played about an hour ago but I am pretty sure the notes are still sustaining. This has a definite fuzz to it. This can completely change the sound of your guitar, anything from The Black Keys ("Thickfreakness") to Led Zeppelin ("I" & "II"). This has an extreme aggressive sound to it. It can be very hard to be tamed but it is so darn worth it. The volume roll on your guitar can greatly effect how responsive this pedal is. If you have the tone on the pedal set all the way to the left it will be very trebly, very sharp, when you turn it up, the bass comes in and it becomes a great, full distorted sound.
It can really be a shocking sound at first. Once you get used to what is going to happen you click on that footswitch then it is much less frightening. I hope it is coming through that I mean all of this in a good way. If you have a chance to play this late 60â€™s era sounding pedal, do it. You will not be disappointed, unless of course you hate fuzz and sustain. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I see no reason why this pedal will not stand the test of time. Mike Fuller produces extremely high quality products. I have owned several of his products including the OCD, the Fulldrive 2 Mosfet, and now this. None of the pedals I have owned have exhibited any damage and none have ever had any issues operating. These have an extremely strong casing and quality craftsmanship; you should have no problem with this for the next 60+ years. // 9
Impression: Overall I am extremely impressed with this pedal. Mike Fuller really captured the essence of the late 60â€™s Germanium Fuzz, and more so the Tone Bender. If you want to hear a professional playing the original Tone Bender, which the Soul Bender is modeled after check out "It Might Get Loud" and listen to when Jimmy Page talks about a pedal that he had a friend build for him. When he turns it on you will be hard pressed not to get that same tone at home. Check it out, and letâ€™s hear your comments UG, what do you guys think about the Fulltone SB-2?
Enjoy your tone and happy pickin'. // 9
- Jesse R. Kleinow aka thejester. *The author has no affiliation or endorsement with the company reviewed in this article. (c) 2013
Rnolfini, on february 22, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 219
Purchased from: Keymusic
Ease of Use: Alright, the Fulltone SoulBender. First, the obvious: very simple pedal though slightly different: "Volume", "dirt" and "tone". The Tone knob works the other way around (treble left, bass right like the sola sound tone benders of yesteryear on which it's based) the 9v power should also come from a reverse polarity adapter (positive center) so be careful. It's also painted white with blue lettering.
The manual is not really a manual so much as a praise to themselves for building, quite frankly, a fantastic pedal. As far as getting a sound out of it, as long as you have it turned on with a guitar going in and out to an amplifier and have the volume NOT set on zero you'll smoke all day long. No matter how you tweak the knobs or your amp this pedal will sing in apocalyptic, juicy Harmony all day long. // 8
Sound: Right now I run this pedal with either a Fender American Standard (2010) Strat or an American Special Tele through a slightly evil VoxAC15 and I must say the sound is quite amazing. Plugged it in with everything at noon and it effortlessly did the Spirit in the sky - Norman Greenbaum fuzz. Playing around with the tone knob soon led me into the realm of queens of the stone age where the slightest hint of a muffled upper octave can be heard with the pedal tone knob pointed loosely at the treble side. Switching it to the middle you'll get a nice mid fuzzy crunch that will cut through any mix and make proud. With the tone knob on the bassy side and with quite a bit of power-tube gain it will do stoner rock quite well (to my surprise with this being a 'vintage' style fuzz). But then again mostly any fuzz combined with enough raw tube volume will get you there.
Overall this pedal sounds like a Vintage fuzz should. It's not a big muff and no fuzz factory. It's much more delicate than that. Lead tones can be very aggressive given that you have enough gain with your starting sound to accompany the fuzz to the land of loudness and noise but they can also be pleasantly buttery in a 'lying-on-the-sofa-and-playing-guitar' sort of way with a clean sound to start from. You could play anything on this. It can be boomy and bassy, mid crunchingly delicious (think QOTSA) or even electric moon trebly (though not a velcro fuzz). It's great for rhythm as well though it requires a bit of playing with to make it not too muddy or sloppy sounding which is possible too.
I do have a complaint with this pedal though. It does not play nice with other pedals that are not true bypass like the soul bender. You could technically put it in between all your others pedals on your board but the fuzz wouldn't be quite as refined as having it on solo.
I tried pairing this up with a Dunlop Original Cry Baby Wah and the fuzz sounded a lot more shrill and undefined. (The butter was gone). Other than that, the pedal is real treat, it's also very quiet. I have no issues with hum or any unwanted noise (bearing in mind I play with single coils). // 8
Reliability & Durability: Built quality is superb: Sturdy, heavy, smooth and sturdy knobs. As you'd expect from a hand built pedal that costs about 4 times as much as a big muff. I wouldn't gig with it without a backup though. I never do but that has nothing to do with build quality or reliability.
As for reliability, I have not had any problems thus far. I was afraid it might be like an alfa romeo that would just stop working on the inside after any given time as these pedals are based on a Vintage tone bender. No horror stories yet though. (The thumb screws seem to be staying in place nicely too... for now). // 8
Impression: This pedal is great for any genre (leaving high gain metal and anything ending in -core out of the equation). If you like The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Cream, QOTSA, red fang or any good 'old' record with a fuzz on it than this will be fantastic. It is a really good 'vintage' sounding pedal. (for lack of a better word since this pedal is so versatile) It does Hendrix pretty well too and sounds very warm and fat. There's a lot of soul (hence the name) in this pedal.
The reverse polarity power input does seem like it would be annoying when I ever run out of batteries (but a polarity switch cable easily solves that problem). I also wish this pedal came with one of said polarity switch cables. I understand this protects the three germanium transistors inside and it says to look out for it above the input jack BUT that could've easily been included in the price. I've played anything from blues and rockabilly to stoner and doom in my humble 12 years of playing and this pedal has done everything I asked for. It's a great workhorse, like a 'vintage' (ugh) swiss army knife of fuzz.
Don't mistake this for another fuzz rip off though (except the sola sound tone bender of course which, to be honest, doesn't really quite sound like this). It's not a muff, not fuzz face or a fuzz factory. It's a refined fuzz that oozes Vintage class and warmth and should be considered by every serious player.