I’ve had to keep this one under wraps for a while - sworn to secrecy and all that - and I was bemused with some of the weird guesses when the very recognisable grey flecked enclosure was revealed - signalling this to very obviously being a Fuzz variety in the tradition of the FZ line.
Yet this TB-2W is something different, and a little bit more special really and features some super-smart engineering which is not really that visible on the surface. The first obvious difference is the 3-way BATTERY switch which you can treat as a sort of voicing switch really as it tempers the input voltage from a standard 9V power-supply and changes the nature of the output.
Secondarily you have the BUF / THRU (True Bypass) switch on the rear of the pedal to give you some latitude in pedal arrangement - while I of course would only have a Germanium Fuzz in my #5 slot - at the front of the chain.
And Thirdly, and not visible here - there is some sort of really smart internal auto-biasing circuit which keeps those 3 Germanium Transistors in line as such.
Boss’s version is based on meticulously analysing and matching its new circuit’s output to a Masterpiece #500 serial number MKII from Sola Sound’s Archive. The Boss engineers have done their magic in matching exactly the output dynamics and profile to that of the original reference MKII.
I believe the serial number makes this likely a 1965 style Tone Bender MKII - as famously used by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page (Whole Lotta Love), Jeff Beck / Yardbirds (Shape of Things), Donovan Guitarist - Alan Parker (Hurdy Gurdy Man), and Spencer Davis (Keep On Running). Musical inspirations below!
The Boss TB-2W will be a limited run release - based not on some artificial limit but rather the availability of its rare components. Boss have literally turned every stone to get their hands on as many of those rare Transistors as they can.
There should however be enough numbers to cover the vast majority of interested parties - unlike some of the recent artificially limited edition incidents. Final numbers and pricing will be revealed sometime towards the end of the 1st quarter of 2021 - with actual pedals likely shipping around Easter. Boss still have a lot of Germanium Transistors to work through and select those that are up to the task.
Pricing is likely to be relatively steep - but closer to Pigdog / Vemuram levels rather than those fairly recent Macari’s MKI editions. Fuzz fans around the world should rejoice!
I am hoping to get one of the earliest copies in my hands for one of the first in-depth write-ups / reviews of the pedal. And I must say I’m rather looking forward to it!
Key points from the Boss references are :