New to the pedal game, Ryan Kirkland''s been garnering attention for his Tone Bender clones and stunning artwork.

From semi-professional musician to television repairman to tattoo artist, Ryan Kirkland of Skinpimp Hand Crafted has certainly traversed the occupational landscape in search of his life’s calling. A few years ago, however, Kirkland began dabbling with building his own effects pedals “just to stay involved with music,” he said. This past January, he answered a post on The Gear Page from a guy that wanted to trade some gear for “something interesting.”

Custom MKII

Custom Buzzaround

“Basically, I contacted this guy and told him I could build anything he wanted,” Kirkland said. “I ended up building him an MKIII, and once he got it he posted some information on The Gear Page about it, and it just took off.”

That’s a serious understatement. For 10 months now, Kirkland has been so busy building pedals that everything else on his plate is now on hold. So, why all the fuss? Kirkland’s pedals are out-of-this-world clones of a few vintage Tone Bender models from the ’60s and ’70s. Here’s what he’s got:

MKI – A copy of the original Gary Hurst Tone Bender, á la Mick Ronson
MKII – A copy of the Mark II Tone Bender, á la Jimmy Page
MKIII – A copy of Vox Tone Bender Mark III
The Buzzaround – A copy of the original Baldwin-Burns Buzzaround pedal
The Fuzzface – Copy of the original Fuzz Face pedal produced by the Dallas Arbiter company in the ’60s, á la Hendrix and Eric Johnson

Custom Buzzaround

Custom MKII

His expertise with a tattoo needle [hence the name, SkinPIMP] helps too; he offers custom graphic designs on any model. If you can bear the wait, it might be worth it.

For more information, email (coming soon!)

Multiple modulation modes and malleable voices cement a venerable pedal’s classic status.

Huge range of mellow to immersive modulation sounds. Easy to use. Stereo output. Useful input gain control.

Can sound thin compared to many analog chorus and flange classics.


TC Electronic SCF Gold


When you consider stompboxes that have achieved ubiquity and longevity, images of Tube Screamers, Big Muffs, or Boss’ DD series delays probably flash before your eyes. It’s less likely that TC Electronic’s Stereo Chorus Flanger comes to mind. But when you consider that its fundamental architecture has remained essentially unchanged since 1976 and that it has consistently satisfied persnickety tone hounds like Eric Johnson, it’s hard to not be dazzled by its staying power—or wonder what makes it such an indispensable staple for so many players.

Read More Show less

While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

Read More Show less