Price paid: $ 120
Purchased from: Craigslist.org
Sound — 9
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 Bender's of the late 60'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 60's era sounding pedal, do it. You will not be disappointed, unless of course you hate fuzz and sustain.
Overall Impression — 9
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. 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 let's hear your comments UG, what do you guys think about the Fulltone SB-2? Enjoy your tone and happy pickin'.
Reliability & Durability — 9
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.
Ease of Use — 8
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.