Zonk Machine History

Zonk machineAfter the initial launch of the Tone Bender, the thriving music scene in the UK demanded more fuzz boxes. John Hornby Skewes of Leeds wanted in on this growing market and decided to develop his own fuzz box to meet demand.

In 1965, Skewes approached Charlie Ramskirr of Wilsic Electronics, Doncaster to build his new fuzz box. By the end of the year, the Hornby Skewes Zonk Machine was launched with a retail price of £14 which made it quite a costly purchase.

Similar to the MKI Tone Bender, the pedal was housed in a simple steel box with two controls, fuzz, and swell. Fuzz controlling the volume and the switched Swell controlling the amount of Fuzz.

In the national press, the Zonk was described as featuring a “highly developed circuit, using expensive American transistors” which was aimed at setting it apart from its Tone Bender rival.

Very few of these original units were produced between 1965 and 1968 with the product being discontinued after Ramskirr’s death (1968) making them highly sought-after by collectors and fuzz enthusiasts.

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Famous Zonk Machine Users

Doyle Bramhall II

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