1975 Colorsound Supa Tone Bender

Model Description:

Following several versions of the classic Sola Sound Tone‑Bender, the Colorsound Supa Tone Bender fuzz was introduced in 1973. Like its predecessors, it was made in London, England. While it may carry a similar name to the slimmer box of the original Tone‑Bender designed by Gary Hurst, the architecture of the Colorsound‑branded Supa Tone Bender is quite different. The larger enclosure of the Supa Tone Bender hides the fact that its circuit design, with four silicon transistors and diode clipping, is a slightly modified version of the classic ‘Violet Ram’s Head’ Electro‑Harmonix Big Muff π from 1973. To call it an out‑and‑out clone may be a bit disingenuous, so let’s just say that it is ‘inspired by’ the legendary Big Muff and is therefore a benchmark worth imitating, as a sincere form of flattery. Pretty much the same circuit but with three transistors went on to be used in the renamed Colorsound Tone Bender Jumbo from 1976. While Sola Sound used large enclosures for their Colorsound‑branded fuzzes, the circuit board could easily fit into their earlier, narrow enclosures – perhaps the marketing department idea that bigger equals better in the minds of potential customers. Numerous variations of the Tone‑Bender were produced by Sola Sound for other brand names such as Marshall, Vox, Rotosound, CSL and Carlsbro. Much is made of the differences between the various designs, which is the prerogative of collectors with the clarity of hindsight. The reality is more likely that Sola Sound were churning out large numbers of pedals with whatever worked and they felt like using at the time. Regardless of its DNA, if the Supa Tone Bender sounds anywhere close to its peers and is judged purely on its own merits, it is still a classic silicon transistor fuzz pedal. Curiously, both the control layout and the order of in/out jacks is different from the standard Sola Sound Tone‑Bender. Colorsound effects had pretty much disappeared by 1979. Macari’s of London reissued the Tone Bender (with or without hyphen) in several guises since 1994, including a reissue Steve Hackett Limited Edition Supa Tone Bender. Original now‑vintage Supa Tone Benders are nowhere near as valuable as the slim box Tone‑Benders v.1‑4 but prices are escalating rapidly.

Pedal Description:

Wow, here’s a very handsome silver, pink and purple 1975 Colorsound Supa Tone Bender. What a great, classic fuzz pedal. Personally, I don’t buy into all the dismissive/exclusive rhetoric about what components were used, my interest is purely in what an effect sounds like when used with a great guitar and amp. Cards on the table, I’m a sucker for the gargantuan levels of frothy fuzziness on the cards. To me, the Electro‑Harmonix Big Muff is simply sublime so, if the Supa Tone Bender really is a knock‑off, that’s absolutely fine by me. As expected, the Supa Tone Bender delivers massive levels of usable über fizzy fuzz as needed. However, wind up the ‘Volume’ knob, turn down the guitar’s output and the pedal’s ‘Sustain’ control and you can get very usable rock‑oriented distortion. To my jaded senses, it doesn’t sound as thrillingly extreme as a top notch vintage Big Muff and that can be considered a good or bad thing depending on what you need from a fuzz pedal. This specimen is in truly fantastic all‑original condition for its age. Who would think that it is getting on for being half a century old? The large enclosure takes up quite a bit of floorboard real estate and it doesn’t have an external power supply input or status LED but, if you are enamoured by old school effects, it’s worth it. If you can’t remember what the original Supa Tone Bender sounds like, your memory may be a bit fuzzy (sic!). Why not forget the collector sophistry and check out one of these sumptuously sonic vintage pedals out for yourself? Tone Bender by name and by nature.


  • Made by Sola Sound in London, England, UK in December 1975
  • The ‘Sustain’ knob controls the amount of distortion/fuzz
  • The ‘Volume’ knob controls the output level
  • The ‘Tone’ knob controls the amount of treble or bass
  • Standard footswitch controls whether the effect is on or off
  • Standard ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • No LED status indicator
  • No DC input – 9V battery operation only
  • Dimensions: 120mm (w) x 220mm (d) x 42mm (h)
  • Weight: 650g
  • No box or instruction manual


  • Steve Hackett (Genesis)

Detail Gallery:

 ← Return to ‘effects’ page

Like it? Why not share it?