The 1967 John Hornby Skewes Zonk Machine II is an extremely rare, and vintage pedal enthusiasts have long coveted both the original Zonk and its successor, the Zonk II. The Zonk II was the result of a re-engineered Zonk Machine I, which was based upon the Sola Sound MK I Tone Bender circuit. Featuring (2) PNP M2N 4403 Silicon transistors, instead of the earlier (3) Germanium transistor based Zonk Machine I, the Zonk Machine II is more stable, smoother, and less dark sounding. Effectively designed to be a complete and practical unit, the Zonk II’s predecessor was intended to be used in conjunction with the JHS Treble Booster unit (essentially like a Rangemaster) as to enhance the articulation and clarity of the otherwise muddy Zonk. Interestingly, John Hornby Skewes did offer both units within one box, and it was re-branded as the famous Shatterbox.
The rolled steel casing with a blue Hammerite finish is very reminiscent in design to the gold MK I Tone Bender: with two basic controls on top, and the input and output next to one another on the back, the straight-forward aesthetic is a reflection of the absolute perfect simplicity of the circuit within. It is loud, robust, full-range, and complementary with most any rig. It is sweet, subtle, and sings with sustain. Completely inspirational to play through, the Zonk II offers endless enjoyment, and tone otherwise unavailable via a reissue, clone, or kit.
Layout 1: Original PNP
Layout 2: Original NPN