Over the last month I have been happily losing my mind digging through old photos (that go way back to 2002) of all the weird, unique, and super rare pedals I have come across on the net. This past week I made an interesting discovery when I realized that the rare D&M Co. Distorto clearly has a sister pedal, made by a company with a similar name, in the same town, and roughly at the same time; the D-B Industries Supertone!
When the Distorto came up for auction back in 2015, while I'm still pretty bummed I missed out on it, I was very pleased that it wound up in the hands of fellow pedal collector, Simon Murphy of Good Fuzzy Sounds. Which means we got some insight to it's character; he described it as, "a lot like the FZ-1... louder and slightly bassier". It's circuit is thought to be based on the Maestro FZ-1, it was probably built around 1966, and Simon even found a potential connection to the best Steppenwolf song:
Here's the text from a web chat in 2006 with guitarist Michael Monarch:
"Hey Michael, What type of fuzz box did you use on the song called "The Pusher" from the first album?"
"Hello Robert... I had an old prototype distortion box called "Distorto" which I may have used. It was a silver homemade looking box with a big red footswitch button and the word Distorto on it. I don't know where I got it or what happened to it."
So that's super cool, and almost certainly is referencing the same "Distorto" we are discussing here. But what about the mysterious "D-B Industries Supertone", which I can't find any information on at all. anywhere. in the entirety of the internet. And the only real evidence that it even existed are these four photos I've had since the early 2000s...
The minute you start comparing these two you begin to notice the obvious similarities; the enclosure for both is a classic folded metal project box, the circuits may have different components but otherwise look pretty damn close, and the biggest similarity has to be those manufacturer stamps on the bottom plates (which while they are different fonts, follow the same pattern of company name-city-model name-serial number, all within a rectangle), oh and both were manufactured in Santa Ana, CA!
So have a look and see what you think. And please leave a comment if anything jumps out at you that could possibly tie these two together (or completely destroy my theory) even more!
And a big thanks goes out to Simon for the all the details and the video demo of the Distorto (go check out Good Fuzzy Sounds now!), and thank you for reading.