John Hornby Skewes Zonk II in a cast aluminium enclosure
John Hornby Skewes Zonk II in a cast aluminium enclosure.
John Hornby Skewes Zonk II in a cast aluminium enclosure

The Zonk II was a fuzz box that Hornby Skewes would offer alongside the ZZ.1 ‘Zonk Machine’ during the period of approximately 1967 through to the early 1970s. An early advertisement for the Zonk II describes the unit as a ‘good quality Fuzz Box at a reasonable price’, and indeed, the Zonk II was priced considerably lower than the Zonk Machine.

Text advertisement for the Zonk II from Hornby Skewes catalogue

Early versions of the Zonk II were built & supplied to Hornby Skewes by Sola Sound, as the OEM,1 and these units featured a variety of different fuzz circuits during the course of this period. Early Zonk II pedals can be distinguished by the fact that the units are housed in heavy duty, cast aluminium enclosures, similar to the Marshall SupaFuzz (which was also being built by Sola Sound at the time).

1970s-era Hornby Skewes Zonk II

The Zonk II fuzz boxes, housed in the folded aluminium casings, were most likely supplied to Hornby Skewes by Charlie Ramskir. Under the ‘Wilsic Sound’ company, Ramskir was already supplying Hornby Skewes with [Miles Platting] amplifiers during the 1970s, and Skewes recalled in a 2015 interview that Ramskir was involved with the production of Hornby Skewes fuzz boxes too.2 Wilsic Sound offered a fuzz box under its own brand as well, which was visually very similar to the 1970s-era Zonk II. (Photo credit: C. Nelson)

The two-transistor circuit of the Zonk II would also feature in the more sophisticated Hornby Skewes ‘Shatterbox’ pedal, that was also being sold during the late-1960s through to the early-1970s.

Circuit board inside a Sola Sound-built Hornby Skewes Zonk II
The electronic circuit inside a cast aluminium Zonk II reveals it to have been built by Sola Sound, c. 1966-67. (Photo credit: J. Light)
Circuit board of a Tone Bender MKII, housed in a Zonk II enclosure, supplied to Hornby Skewes
Sola Sound were still supplying Zonk II pedals to Hornby Skewes by 1968, because this image shows a Zonk II fitted with a particularly late example of the Tone Bender Professional MKII circuit. By the early-1970s, however, the Zonk II was being built with a two-transistor silicon fuzz circuit, and housed in a folded aluminium enclosure, similar to the various other guitar effects units sold by Hornby Skewes. (Photo credit: ebay.com)
  1. https://stompboxes.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=121032#p121032
  2. VintageGuitar.com, Hornby Skewes Zonk Machines, 2015 [https://www.vintageguitar.com/23068/hornby-skewes-zonk-machines]

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*). Your email address will be kept strictly private.