BJF: Flavor of the Month/Build Quality?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Jumblefingers, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Jumblefingers

    Jumblefingers Supporting Member

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    I see a LOT of posts about BJF. I don't own any and I am wondering about the longevity of the love for their products as I see them for sale and trade as well more recently.

    I'd also like to know about the internal build quality (anyone wish to share a photo or two of the guts in one of their pedals?). IMO the look/feel seems kind of "rough" to me. I can go for some handmade mojo but they seem a bit over to the left in that area...especially for the $$$. My 2 cents fwiw... :rolleyes:
     
  2. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

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    Well, I have had an EGDM and a Blue boy. Both excellent pedals that I would still own, but I am cutting my board down. Build qualitly seems to be top notch..... uh wait a minute, there is so much goop and covering in there you cant even see the build quality LOL!!! More goop and covering than I have ever seen in fact. Rest assured Bjorn would help you with any problems (if any). The BBOD I had was beat all to hell and still played like a champ. I have NEVER seen a honey bee up for sale FWIW. Speaking of mojo. There are little paintings on the inside of some boxes and artwork on the box (I wonder if he could do a vexter like version without the artwork on the box and in the pedal and hell no paint on the outside of the pedal....as it seems fairly easy to chip anyways) Then you would have an awesome cheaper pedal that everyone would say.. "hey what pedal is THAT!" :AOK
     
  3. JKoeth

    JKoeth Supporting Member

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    The paint easily chips. Otherwise, they are built like tanks. Best pedals I've ever owned.
     
  4. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    I was wondering what "IMO the look/feel seems kind of rough" means...look probably refers to the paint job but if you've never played one how can you comment on the feel...??

    if you held one in you're hand you'd know that they weigh a ton and the internals are gooped to hide the secrets that lie below but I've never had one break...I know first hand that the quality is second to none and on par with the best of the best if not more so...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  5. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

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    +1000 on the weight! Man those things could be used as weapons at a show gone bad. They weigh more than my rat IIRC.
     
  6. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Well, I just got my SBEQ today, and it is love at first strum! I can't imagine why or when I'd ever want to turn it off! Makes everything sound bigger and richer, but all tones remain vibrant. When I tweek the EQ, it has the desired effect, but amazing transparency remains. Matter of fact, now that it's on, everything sounds less transparent without it, if that makes sense. Similar pedals I've tried to this seemed to do their job, but always with a trade-off. It's the opposite with this one. If this is the price I have to pay for such remarkable performance, so be it. An amazing pedal. AC
     
  7. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    Where is the SBEQ placed in relationship to your other pedals? I have a SBEQ and a Pink Purple, both are stellar.
     
  8. EXP

    EXP Supporting Member

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    i just got my Pink Purple Fuzz today(thanks Dean!) and its a killer fuzz. i think its absolutely worth the scratch. ive been through 20 or so germanium and silicon fuzzes, and it wouldve been cheaper to just get the PPF to begin with.
     
  9. Jumblefingers

    Jumblefingers Supporting Member

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    "look & feel" = cosmetics only. Have no idea of sound...yet.
    The one that I am "looking" at is the Pale Green Compressor. Had a 4 knob Keeley and found it a bit noisy and "dull" if that makes sense though many people like them. Also considering a Analog Man Min Bi-Comp at the same $$$ $249...which imo is not chump change for a pedal when you can get a Captain Coconut 2 for $399 (used for comparison purposes only).

    When a Zendrive only costs $150, Timmy $100 which are hand made and have some decent "packaging" I had to wonder about the BJF stuff. Again, only seen the pictures, not tried or heard yet as they ain't easy to find/try even in the NYC area.

    Another thing that I don't understand is why make a phaser and only make like three of them? If one is going to go to the trouble of laying out a circuit board, testing, listening, etc why not make the product? I see one for sale for $300 right now...just wondering if it is any good. Also thinking about the post by Bill from KLON that puts a bug in my mind in terms of the cost for some of the pedals out there and the longevity etc. My demons...:Devil
     
  10. harrikka

    harrikka Member

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    I know Bjorn Juhl (Mr. BJF) very well and I've seen him work and he can come up with a new pedal during "lunch hour", he has the circuits in his head so new pedals don't need testing and listening any more than making a production model.

    All the production models have circuit board that he lays out by hand (no printed boards at all), he tests every unit and listen them and finetunes after that as the component values are not 100% accurant.

    I also own a lot of custom BJF pedals and he has made them for other customers looking for a certain tone.

    He used to custom build pedals for customers who were looking for exsample mid 80´s ZZ Top tone and next day the pedal was done.

    Wish he would still have time for that....

    There are tremolo's , envelope filters, emphasers, treble booster, many custom fuzz pedals, different boosters, analog delays, wahs .... build by BJF, many one offs and custom made.

    So the point is that this Phaser is just one of his many pedals outside the BJF production line, he simply don't have time to make that many different models.

    One funny thing, I was with Bjorn at Gothenburg Guitar Show few years ago and there was this huge pedal collection for display and there was one strange Japanese pedal with original box and schematics that Bjorn had never seen , while Bjorn was looking at the schematics the pedal owner asked if Bjorn would like to plug in the pedal and listen how it sounds. Bjorn rised his eyes from the schematics and said: "no thank you, I already know how it sounds".

    And I believe he could, he is the Mad Professor, reading schematics like deaf Beethoven could hear the music looking at notes.

    Keep On Rockin'!!

    Harri
     
  11. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't know. The price is definitely steep, but so far, no other pedal I've tried can touch them. They just sound good. I've had a Honey Bee, Dyna Red, and EGDM. I sold them because I'm funding a new amp. Once I have that amp, I plan on buying all of the BJF pedals related to overdrive, boost, and distortion. The build is fine. Yeah the paint chips, but it's what happens. I think you see them for sale because people are trying to trim the herd and frankly you get the most for a BJF pedal because they're so good. People will disagree but my opinion on the BJF pedals is that they are second to none. I have not played a Landgraff or a Cornish, so I can't speak to those, but to me, you could buy a new tube amp for about as much as you pay for a Cornish.
     
  12. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    The only one I've had so far (have two on order) was the BBOD. Other than the paint being chipped, the pedal exuded a feeling of quality, very heavy, the pots feel very precise and smooth, and the sound was unique. The BBOD wasn't quite my thing (it's on ebay at the moment) but I'm really looking forward to the EGDM and the Honey Bee, the Sea Blue EQ, I'm still saving up for that one. They are very expensive -- for the price of six BFJ pedals you could a buy a really nice amp.

    Of course you are seeing them turn up used... sometimes people buy this kind of expensive stuff, only to find out it doesn't really make them play any better. ;)
     
  13. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Got my EGDM a week ago and I'm totally loving it. Made me a BJF believer, no doubt. I was also pretty sceptic about this boutique thing and high prices as well in the beginning.. But I think that the BJF stuff is really unique and useable and well worth the money. No, I wouldnt mind paying less, but this seems to be the price that Mr Juhl puts on his time and that's totally alright with me. He's got the goods and if you want to be part of it, you have to pay for it..

    The EGDM has it's distinct own flavour, distinct enough to make me feel in a split second that BJF really has it place in the pedal universe. The pedal may look a little rough on the outside, but I actually like it.. It's a nice change for the slick look of many pedals.

    The build quality seems good, nothing raises suspicion, but as stated earlier it's hard to check it out 'cause it's all very covered and gooped. Anyway, it really feels like a class act, no worries.
     
  14. BJF

    BJF Member

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    Hi

    My pedal line is distributed worldwide and have been so since October 2000. Worldwide distribution has its costs but without it my pedals would be an just as isolated incident as they have been since my first pedals back in 1982..If, you'd like to compare handmade pedals on price, perhaps you'd consider doing so on equal terms?
    Distribution is costly, but it saves me a lot of time from packing orders and besides you would not even know I made pedals without distribution and frankly I would not even consider making pedals.........

    It might seem I popped out of the blue, with only 5 years of representation outside Sweden
    Actually, I didn't think it worthwhile to make pedals, in volumes bigger than a custom thing here and there, as I thought there would be so many alternatives ( little did I know how vast that really was), but my wife pursuaded me to give it a try as Harri Koski of Custom-Sounds Inc. had asked if I'd consider selling and manufacturing pedals from what I only used as display to bring interest to my amp service shop.
    Hey, I was a service guy, mending things-not so much these days though
    I thought the only chance I'd had would be to make what noone else would consider and I actually had this circuit to begin with that was made only to catch a specific transfer function as a bet wether I could realize it in electronics....yes well it took 10 years, and even as the first 14 units were made parts were no longer available, though thourough investigation made it possible to find parts first for 250 units and the finally sufficient for 500 units. For standard industrial made pedals you'd put a break even at 100 units and then only start production if thousands and thousands can be made.

    I've maitained and serviced both amps and pedals and have seen what breaks down, and lessons learned I've tried to put in my pedals- they do have a warranty and if I just wanted to make money I'd have no warranty and assemble in cheapest possible way.

    For safety measures pots are RK 09 style that has a flange ( word?) that prevents the shaft of the pot to protrude into the pot casing in case of sudden impact or musician adjusting pot with his foot- I've serviced one pedal that had a severe impact , sideways, to one of the pots- the pot still worked, though the pot shaft was bent and knob shattered.
    These pots are sealed and can take humidity such as in tropical environments or worse( see below)
    All pots and jacks have locking washers which also makes the input and output jacks stay flush.
    Internal wiring is done with slack to all wiring so there shall be no stress and wires to pots are glued to the back of the pot to make any strain, that would hurt the pot terminals when e.g. taking the circuit appart .
    To prevent damage to batteryclip when exchanging battery there's a bundle that keeps the pressure to the wires instead of the weakest point( just above soldering at DC jack).

    Circuitboard is dubble isolated both in 'goop', that absorbs any vibration to the components on the pcb (aswell as protect the circuit from the eyes too curious people), and then the pcb rests in neoprane, which is a shock absorbant rubber material used elsewhere in diver suits. This packaging protects the pcb from most possible harm it can be presented to as in pedal being dropped of a building, or being flooded by water-a customer of mine had his whole set up flooded from a firehost, about 400 liters of water, accidentily and his 3BOD was the only piece of gear that survived.

    Components on the pcb's are selected to take temperatures down to -40 degrees Celsius, which have made the pedals work in the alps of Austria.

    Circuits on the pcb's are also protected against false polarity, excess input voltage or reverse input voltage to the output and voltage range for each pedal is defined to take at least 50% over voltage at power input.

    All models have selected and measured semiconductors, down to diode functions- this takes a long time but results in unusual performance.

    ---------
     
  15. BJF

    BJF Member

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    and continuing.....


    So would a collegue student be able to put a BJF pedal together?
    No, I've had summer help from engineers in electronics, that would question the amount of effort I put in to make mechanical stability and long lasting performance and the selecting methods I use for my transistors, and why I'd search for hidden qualities in these, and I don't go by brand name on components but the function, and they'd go " Can't you just make something with standard components that you could just slam together?"
    My answer to that is that that has allready been done so there's no charm in it.


    Visual appearence:
    I believe in a relation between colours and sound, and this makes it also easier to find shades with a few pedals on a board. I use knobs that are made of bakelite, so OK they can break, but they are visual.
    Paint may not be one of my virtues, but I have worked 5 years on finally developing a technique first shown to me by engineer Mårtensson.
    The first BJF pedals were painted in nitro, mostly because it was handy at the shop and also because I really liked the look of it and yes it's not really durable, but it wears like a pair of jeans- oh well the paint factory blow up in big flames, just as the last of the jar of Baby Blue paint in nitro, that btw was mixed in sunlight to match a 1962 strat.
    I used oil for a few years and that is a paint that is known to last for more than 100 years.
    I have seen some top dollar OD's, that were used on pedal boards and that looked as worn as any of mine, and those OD's even came with a cloth to brush the paint.
    On the other hand two customers of mine:
    one plays mainly studio, TV-shows and big arenas and his BJF's look like new, while his friend plays the nightshift at clubs and his BJF's look like they've been washed in stone- and yes sometimes the audience would spill a beer on his board, while stage diving, which makes the sad demise of anything digital-oops!
    His BBOD has been working since 2001, though, with no other service than tightening the nuts and the rinsing of beer and hair and the dust and the mud......

    As of 2005 most models have recieved a new paint that is more durable, also shines more and yes that is fun to make, but at the end of the day Vergolderung vergets, Schwienlederung besteths ( excuse my poor german, just not sure how to put that in english)

    Yes, I do everything on the pedals myself except the artwork, that is done by my wife.

    OK, so have this thing- on all footswitches there's a metal washer. It costs a little less than 1 USD, but I just don't like nylon washers.


    I have a vision with the whole pedal line to make unusual feel in typical sounds and that's maybe foolish as it turns out you can make simple clones of things and be much better off.

    Why make one offs?
    Well, it helps to tap into the minds of musicians and catch their vision and models like SBEQ, HB, 3BOD, LGW, CAF,EGD all started out like that.
    Why only make three and then stop?
    Well because in the case of PPP it was made only after heavy pursuation and it proved to be a major pain to make this model totally by hand also including hours on end listening a tuning to get just that, that was not otherwise available. Believe me I know, what I was looking for as I have owned over 30 units of phasers, mainly because they were cheap, but never found use for any of them- if and when the pcb can be premade et.c. the PPP could be a part of line.

    Actually I begun making pedals for my own use many years ago because the functions I was looking for could not be found in commercial pedals, no matter price range. I do my homework and stay away from
    popular circuits.
    Yes, OK I make the LGW, but then I think anyone who has tried it can verify that this is not sounding like anythingelse, but then there was a request for my take on it so be it

    I was also a poor musician with an ever changing perference of textures needed-actually still am. I'd just call it a day and make a new model or buy a new toy, which is something I have built my line of pedals on.

    Through the years I have seen, and that is also why I even entered the internet community, that with all things that can't be clearly seen, or cost more than a peanut, some people would like to know if it's worth it or if it's made in a good enough way and wether it can be copied and some even say they can copy anything and that they'd be spurred to do so from the mere fact that things are hidden almost like it triggered a devout emotion to conquer and defeat, engulf and devour.

    To those I ask of your decency to let my children unharmed.

    I have tried and owned a lot of pedals and I respect other people's work, though I like anybody like good sounds in whatever form it comes and frankly I don't care what circuits are used as long as it sounds good

    I build things for musicians to use in the way musicians use things, how these things are made should really be of little importance as long as it works and keeps on working. I have tried to be open and giving as things were also given to me once upon a time, though there was no internet then and most if not all of my mentors have their merits in other fields than analogue electronics with emphasis on amplifiers and the distortion of such amplifiers, therefore what I can't use I have given away freely, but if you ask me what's inside my pedals I'd say a drawing.



    So, if I die or loose interest will there be nowhere to turn? No, there's a plan- I know some people that are trustworthy that can perform service down the line, should that become necessary

    I hear many times the arguement that if a circuit is gooped then it cannot be repaired........however the parts mostly subject to breakdown, and this I know also from 20 years of experience of reparing, are mechanical parts and any of those in my pedals are very easily replaced by a trained tech, that does not have to know what's under the protective shroud to change or clean the footswitch or even a pot or tightening the nuts.

    Once I got in service an amplifier that had been subjected to 600V AC as a hippie soundman had used it as a voltmeter to check if there was juice in the socket ........ and so it was brought to a tech that found this gooped thing, a Folkesson modification, inside the preamp and so the tech decided that what he couldn't see must be the problem and then as a consquent all wirings to this 'thing' was hopelessy destroyed but the amp was not working. Therefore it was brought to me and I replaced the parts
    of this amp that would take harm from this excess voltage, but I could not save the 'thing' that the curious first tech had destroyed, so the whole preamp had to be rebuilt.

    Moral:
    Beware of lazy, curious people that think they know what they are doing

    Thank you for your interest and time gentlemen and all the good words

    I am humbled and at your service
    BJ
     
  16. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    Hi Bj how are you!

    Got to give a big thumbs up to BJ, his pedals are great and so is the build quality!
     
  17. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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  18. rhmcfarland

    rhmcfarland Member

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    fwiw...
    I love the Honey Bee.
    I am very impressed with the tone and build quality.
    There's nothing else like it anywhere.
    I also dig the hand painted aesthetics.... nice personal touch.
    Highly recommended.

    Randy
     
  19. morgan

    morgan Guest

    Yeah, my BJF's are like tanks. The honey bee has been pretty much abused and there's hardly a chip, but it has the shinier, newer process. My older, used PPF was more chippy. But man, the tones! Everyday i worship at the delicious jar of tone that is the honey bee. (ok, that was really lame, but you get the point).
     
  20. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    A fine inquiry indeed. Answer; it isn't, yet...as I just got it, I've only had a chance to go between guitar and amp. But geez, it still adds so much! As I experiment, I'll post with results. I started a thread a few days ago entitled 'Sea Blue incoming', asking your exact question, and got some excellent answers. AC
     

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