Did you know that this Sola Sound Tone Bender “Zoe” played a significant role in inspiring the creation of the SHSL? Previously, my primary “amp” was the Strymon Iridium, which handled pedals well when used correctly. Recently, I repurchased it to set up a stereo rig. However, I encountered a challenge with fuzz pedals, particularly heavier ones like the Big Muff, due to the Iridium’s limited headroom.
When I acquired my Bassman amplifier, I faced a similar issue, especially when using the neck pickup, even with a single coil (not to mention humbuckers). Certain overdrive and fuzz pedals caused it to lose sonic nuances and choke. The Tone Bender was one such fuzz pedal that exacerbated the problem. Although placing an EQ in front of the fuzz pedal offered some improvement, it didn’t fully resolve the issue.
Consequently, the need arose for a more powerful solution in the form of a high-pass filter. This filter effectively eliminated excessive low-end frequencies, allowing the intricacies of the sound to shine through.
As you can observe, the SHSL was initially developed as a targeted problem-solving tool but has since proven to be versatile and impressive in various other applications. It seamlessly enhances the overdriven sound, infusing it with more depth, detail, and a sense of spaciousness. In the attached clip, I played my Ibanez Bob Weir neck pickup, which is a relatively high-output humbucker, and the SHSL is positioned in front of the Tone Bender, executing its role flawlessly.