Hands-On Review:Lok'd And Loaded

With their tough metal cases and
retracting controls, these
sonically brutal Ibanez Tone-Lok
pedals can take as much
punishment as they deliver.
by Dominic Hilton

by Dominic Hilton


Ibanez Tone-Lok SM7 Smash Box
Think of it as a distortion box you can maim with. Unlike many "fizzy" distortion units, the SM7 Smash Box has thick muscular tone and loads of controls with which to tailor the grind. In addition to Drive and Level controls, the SM7 has a powerful two-band eq and an Edge switch with Smooth and— for razor-like high-end—Sharp settings. The Void control toggles between moderate and heavy gating, the latter of which works extremely well with monster gain settings, quashing any and all hiss between those start-stop power chords.


Ibanez Tone-Lok SH7 7th Heaven
The 7th Heaven pedal delivers all of the SM7’s brutality in a unit designed for seven-string guitars. Low B strings maintain their definition with no loss in gain or articulation, and the unit’s punchy low-end response sounds great on detuned six-strings as well. The SH7 has the same controls as the Smash Box, and includes a Mode switch that offers "humped" or "scooped" tonal characteristics.


Ibanez Tone-Lok FZ7
Fuzz The FZ7 is an altogether different distortion box that takes vintage fuzz tone into freaky new territories. Controls for Drive, Tone and Level offer a range of searing, vintage germanium-transistor tones, from mellow Hendrix to sludgy Sabbath to the metallic rasps favored by alt rockers. Cooler still, the Damage switch provides three levels of signal degradation, from gnarly retro fuzz effects to sick "broken radio" lead tones.


Ibanez Tone-Lok TS7 Tubescreamer
Yet another incarnation of the beloved Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer, the TS7 delivers a smooth overdrive that works magic on cranked-up amps. The Drive, Tone and Level controls allow for a wide range of warm sizzle, and the Mode switch allows the TS7 to operate via traditional TS9 circuitry and in "Hot" mode, which adds a pinch more pepper to this hallowed recipe.


Ibanez Tone-Lok DS7 Distortion
Fat, heavy distortion served straight up. With just three controls—Drive, Tone and Level—the DS7 proves to be a versatile dirt generator for everything from tight crunches to pig-squealin’ leads. The Tone control lets you get as nasty as you dare.


Ibanez Tone-Lok PH7 Phaser
The modern, the vintage and the strange in one cool pedal. The PH7 phaser has Speed, Depth, Feedback and Level controls that allow everything from subtle textures to thick aquatic modulations. Hit the Mode switch and instantly flip between vintage four-stage phasing and deeper six-stage phasing.


Ibanez Tone-Lok DE7 Delay/Echo
Lo-fi analog echo effects and crisp digital delays come together in the DE7. The unit has preset delay ranges spanning from 30 milliseconds to 2.6 seconds, as well as controls for Delay Time, Repeat and Delay Level. The Mode switch lets you choose between analog (Echo) and digital (Delay) settings, and the DE7’s stereo outputs allow for a wide dispersion of sound.


Ibanez Tone-Lok CF7 Chorus/Flanger
Combining two effects in one pedal, the CF7 lets you choose between traditional and contemporary modulation effects via its Krazy switch. With the switch in Normal mode, the CF7 delivers shimmering chorus and swooshing flange. Shift into Wack’d mode, and the unit unleashes a sanitarium’s worth of dementia, with all the burbles and ring modulation tones necessary to emulate Korn-style psychoguitar. Controls for Speed, Depth, Delay Time and Regen let you dial in a rack’s worth of sounds, while the Mode switch provides unlimited control over each effect’s intensity.