Kay / Univox Effector Guitar

There’s something charming about looking back to a point in history when we thought we were onto something new and then, very quickly, realised we weren’t.

There’s little glimpses of these moments in time sprinkled all over the history of modern guitars and amps. Zero frets being one of them and these Kay / Univox Effector guitars, being another.

They were manufactured in the 60’s and, unbelievably, right through to the 80’s. They were sold via the Sears catalogue as an affordable home guitar with an added extra. Built in effects. It even has a headphone socket, so there’s no need for an amp. I imagine this guitar was a good choice for parents who wanted to encourage their children to learn to play but didn’t want to hear them play loudly through an amplifier.

They’re powered by a 9V battery and the volume knob actually acts as an on / off switch.

I’ve heard the built in effects described as “tone suckers”, and I understand why. The echo effect (it’s not an echo, it’s a tremolo), is very useable, however. It has an old school dub reggae vibe to it. It’s nice for playing more paired back, stripped down tracks and you can get an ambient feel from it.

The other effects are pretty much not worth even mentioning. They create harsh tones and doesn’t really provide anything useful, although the Whirl-wind effect can be fun for an auto wah style sound.

The truly useable effect, though, is the fuzz. It really sounds great for lo-fi punk rock riffs and high energy thrashing chords. But equally as great for noodling solos.

The Kay / Univox Effector is an interesting and rare piece of guitar history but it’s not difficult to understand why the built in effect technology didn’t take off in a big way.

It’s been nice to work on I’m pleased I had the opportunity to fix this one up as best as I could.

Hear the effects here and if you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel:

Travis Bean TB2000 Bass Guitar

So, I’ve been a Bob Weston fan since forever.. Like so many, I’ve pined after his killer bass tone for years.. I bought my first Kramer XKB-20 to see if I could get somewhere close to it.. And I did. But it wasn’t enough. The day after my wedding, I drove an 8 hour round trip to pick up a vintage Traynor TS-50B with matching 2×15.. Got even closer to the tone. But it still wasn’t quite there. I finally caved in and spent a dick ton of cash on a vintage Travis Bean TB2000 bass.. Et voila! There’s the famous tone. The grunt. The bark. The bite. All at my finger tips, whenever I choose to piss off my neighbours and crank up the Traynor in my two bedroom flat!


This thing is an absolute beast. Weighing in at a huge 12lbs, it sounds like thunder and plays like butter.


It’s mid 70’s – I’m not sure of the exact year. Serial #517. Apparently Travis Beans can be difficult to date. All original aside from the fretboard, which was removed and replaced with a new one by Kevin Burkett, who now owns Travis Bean.


It has a few small pick scrapes to the body but, for me, that only adds to the character. This bass has clearly been used and loved over the years. Well loved. In fact, it’s previous owners include Dominic from the post rock band, Mogwai, and Aluminium Axes¬†Facebook¬†page owner, Iain Quimby, who I purchased it from.



The neck design on Travis Bean guitars, is brilliant. It goes right the way through the body, increasing sustain and ensuring minimal neck dive. The quality of these things is mind blowing. It feels super well made, like it would withstand a nuclear blast.


The pickup resting right on the neck produces such a killer tone.



I think I can safely say that this is my “forever bass”.. At least until I get too old and decrepit to strap the beast round my neck and play it!

Here’s a scrappy Shellac bass cover I did using the TB2000 and my Traynor TS-50B: