A few years ago I got myself a Hastings era Vox Tonebender MKIII, early 1970’s. It sounded like crap and not what I expected a MKIII to be. I sent David Main (D*A*M) some picture’s of it’s circuit board. He said,
“Its the backwards diode circuit”
Apparently a lot of these MKIII’s had the diode incorrectly installed so it wasn’t actually ‘in the circuit’ and therefore these units sounded a bit rubbish. It had to be running at full bore to sound any good, back off and it just seemed to die away, the gain was so loose and spluttery it had no musicality whatsoever.
It kinda makes sense, the Hastings Era for Vox Sound Limited was short lived after yet another ownership change and it’s possible not all the employees knew exactly what they were doing with the new printed circuit boards of the time. So it’s certainly a production mistake. Whoever did it had that ‘Friday afternoon’ feeling and messed up.
I sent the pedal to David for him to correct the diode and asked if he could recreate it into a new pedal but with the option of having the reverse diode switchable as a nod to the historical production mistake. He has done just that, we referred to it as the Friday Afternoon Project.
Similar in concept to the TYGR in terms of the technological limbo that British companies found themselves in between the late 70’s early 80’s. Wider enclosure with block style graphic’s.
At the core is a traditional MKIII fuzz powered by superior NKT devices. The Level control will greatly amplify past vintage standards. Just as you reach the word 'boost' you have unity with the vintage unit, beyond this point you are 'boosting' above unity and vintage output levels. It’s a good simple way of giving added flexibility and modern day fire power.
The Fuzz is wired in reverse, as with the traditional MKIII/MKIV, but as the control reaches maximum '+' the switch pot clicks over and the signal turns into a sonic slurry pit. Complete destruction of dynamics is assured, we are fully into the “Friday afternoon” mode, wishing it was knock off time and beer o’clock.
When this occurrence takes place the active status LED goes from red to green. Radical! Green for go, AKA - fuck this shit, I'm going home cos it's Friday afternoon! This also means you can pre-activate this setting, and have a visual reference for it before you engage the effect, should one care to use that abomination of a tone as their go-to setting.