North Effects

The Voxyjen


The History

The 'Bender timeline can be a bit of a head scratcher to the uninitiated, especially where Vox enters the picture. Well, lets clear that up first...

The first Vox Tone Bender, the Mk II Professional, was in fact a re-badged version of the Gary Hurst pedal of the same name, produced for Vox by Sola Sounds. A year later, in 1967, possibly with an eye on the international market, Vox decided to go it alone. What they came up with was their own two-transistor design - the V-828. Production was outsourced to EKO (and later, JEN) in Italy, and it was made on a more industrial scale than Sola Sounds' pedals. Consequently it is likely the most abundant of all the vintage 'Benders, and probably because of the greater availability, the V-828 found itself at the feet of US artists (Neil Young and Lou Reed, for two).

Later on, JEN produced their own (slightly, but significantly tweaked) version of the V-828 and production continued until well into the 70s.

The Voxyjen

What we have here is a genetic splice of the JEN and Vox variants, combining the most pleasing traits of both strains - the Vox's nicely articulated fuzziness, and the Jen's awesome volume (all the better to thump into the front end of your amp). "Raspy" is often bandied about when talking about the V-828, and that's pretty much bang on. It also leans well into the treble side of the fuzz spectrum, which means it works especially well with darker sounding amps, and absolutely loves humbuckers. With germanium fuzzes, transistor selection is key - this one uses a thuggish AC125 (or 2N404, whichever is in stock) up front, and a Russian MP42b taking the beating, and like a good Ge Fuzz Face, they clean up beautifully with a roll back on the guitar's volume.

Elsewhere, you'll find shielded cable on the input and output paths, true bypass switching, a board stuffed with some fine quality components (Vishay films, BC electros and carbon comp resistors), and a pair of genuine Daka-Ware pointer knobs (accept no sustitute).

You want to hear it already, right? Here goes. All clips were recorded with the Volume and Attack controls on the pedal all the way up, and using the guitar's volume knob to clean up/fuzz up.