We’re back with another Vintage Pedal of the Week entry! Today’s entry focuses on the Ibanez Tone-Lok series! While Ibanez has made effects pedals throughout the years, the Tone-Lok series was Ibanez’s entry into the budget pedal market. The Ibanez Tone-Lok series was incredibly extensive with a large selection of effects to choose from. These pedals were marketed as affordable alternatives to BOSS and MXR pedals but unfortunately lived in the shadow of both companies . Initially released in 1999 and slowly but quietly discontinued in the 2000’s the Ibanez Tone-Lok series is finding new life in the used and second hand pedal market.
Photo credit: guitarworld.de
The Ibanez Tone-Lok series gets its name from the “locking” knobs present on every pedal. The locking knobs were developed as a means to counteract musicians stepping all over the pedal and accidentally turning the knobs. The traveling musician was also held in mind during development so the settings would not change in transit or on tour. The knobs don’t so much “lock” as they are built on a push/pull potentiometer. You push the knob in and it pops out, you dial in the setting and you pop it back in so it’s flush with the rest of the pedal.
The TS7 and the DS7 in their special edition colors
Each pedal was designated with a “7” model number with the Ibanez Tone-Lok series consisting of 17 pedals in total. 15 of the pedals were relatively standard compact sized effects pedals with two being a full sized “Weeping demon” wah pedal and a smaller “junior” sized wah. The pedals themselves are highly durable made of a solid mix of metal, aluminum and plastic, with each pedal carrying a fair amount of weight to them. The Ibanez Tone-Lok series spanned a wide range of effects consisting of: Analog Phaser, Autowah, Stereo Chorus/Flanger, Stereo Delay/Echo, Distortion, Fuzz, Lo-Fi, “Phat-Hed” Bass Overdrive, Phaser, Phase Modulator, Synthesizer Bass, Seven String distortion, Tri-Mode Chorus, and a Tone-Lok version of the classic Ibanez Tubescreamer. Each pedal is designated with a “7” model number.
Photo credit: soundbox.co.in
One of the features of some of these pedals are switches that engage the alternate function of the pedal. In the case of the DE-7 there’s a switch that alternates the pedal between delay and echo modes. The delay setting is a fairly standard digital delay while the echo happens to be one of the most underrated analog echo emulators out there. (Additionally, the late great Ikey Owens was a big fan of the DE-7.) In the case of the Lo-Fi pedal, there is a guitar, drum and mic setting that creates a “damaged speaker” sound that replicates the audible “cracking” that is present in worn out or un-maintained amplifier speakers and vintage turntables.
Photo credit: Reverb
While the Ibanez Tone-Lok series had a fair amount of standard effects and sounds, Ibanez really tried to differentiate themselves by getting adventurous with the alternate settings and modes on each pedal. Ibanez wanted to give consumers the reliability of having a pedal that does exactly what its intended to do, but also give the audio adventurous some room for unique sonic creativity. The Ibanez Tone-Lok series was fizzled out in the mid to late 2000’s, but luckily they are readily available on the second hand market. Incredibly underrated and durable the Ibanez Tone-Lok series might surprise you. For more information on the Ibanez Tone-Lok series be sure to check out the Tone-Lok entry at Effects Database.com.
Photo credit: musiciansfriend
If you think you’ve stumbled onto a one of a kind pedal that no ones heard of, or if there’s a vintage pedal you want to hear more about, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org The market is always changing, so that hidden gem or cheap pedal you found in a pawn shop might be worth more than you got it for. Regardless of price it’s all about how much a pedal is worth to you, new, old, cheap, vintage, reissue etc. You can check Reverb, eBay and Craigslist for Ibanez Tone-Lok pedals. Happy hunting!
Words by Max Kane