Jetter Gain Stage GOLD first impressions!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Fusionshred, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Fusionshred

    Fusionshred Supporting Member

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    I must be one of the first lucky hounds to get the GOLD - since I've not seen any posted reviews here yet :)

    I'll preface by saying that I have the Blue and Red. Got the Blue specifically for the EJ violin tones. I've already experienced the difficulties in dialing it in and the rewards that come when it hits the sweet spot (you need the right amp for this). The Red came a while later. By contrast, the Red is like a "pedal for dummies" in that there really are no "bad" settings - more gain, less gain; tone high, tone low... The Red obviously is going for the RF/LC tones. I find that my favorite settings are mild overdrive with the tone in the middle on the hard setting, which produces those LA studio tones, and full gain with the tone rolled down and the switch set to soft for some fusiony tones. However, I was one of the Red lovers who wanted more gain on tap. Brad had told me that the Gold would be a good fit.

    Now, I am no expert on tone. Never played some of the legendary amps. Not a technical guru by any means, But I do know good tones when I hear them...

    For reference, the pedals are all in front of a Valvetrain 535. The Valvetrain is a 2x6V6 tweed-based amp with Eminence speakers - one 12" and one 10". Simple layout with decent headroom and punchy tweed tones.

    When I unpacked the Gold, I immediately plugged it in next to my Red for the obvious comparison. The first thing I noticed is that there is some common ground here. They are like brothers, whereas the Blue is like their second cousin from Austin Texas. The gold is capable of more rock tones than the Red. The Red is the older brother, a little more sophisticated and mellow with age. The Gold is the younger, more mischievous brother. I have been lusting after the tones in some of the youtube clips of Guthrie Govan (which is Cornford all the way). Well, I believe the Gold gets me there. Where the Red has been described as "chewy," the Gold is "juicy." There is plenty of gain on tap, and the dynamics and articulation are there all the way up. Open the throttle and your picking dynamics still come through.

    The Gold is like a great tube amp. It reminds me of my old (unmodified) BOSS Super Overdrive, but much, much better. The toggle switch works in a similar way to the Red's. The overall tone of the Gold might be a little brighter than the Red (I have to spend more time to confirm this) but the Gold's tone is really useful and has a wide spectrum of useable settings. To me, the Red does sound good at bedroom levels. Better at gig levels. I haven't had the chance to test the Gold at anything other than bedroom levels, and it sounds amazing there. Anyone who only plays at home need not be concerned about not being able to crank it to gigging volume to get the good tones.

    The extra gain of the Gold lets my Strat rip, where the Strat wasn't powerful enough through the Red to produce higher gain levels.

    The Gain Stage Gold certainly lives up to the expectations established by the Blue and then the Red. The quality is readily apparent. This is a pro piece of equipment. The sensitivity and articulation we've come to expect from Brad's little wonder boxes makes the Gold a true contender in the boutique pedal arena. I was looking for something with the smoothness of my Red and the monstrous power and gain of the Blue, and the Gold fits in perfectly. I'm a jazz and fusion player, primarily, but no matter how old I get, I still like cranking it up and letting it rip. The Gold is a great vehicle for fast legato runs, tapping, all kinds of juvenile pyrotechnics (remember the '80s?) and, yet, back off a little and you've got a soulful, detailed, complex tone machine that is very responsive.

    Put it this way - I've never really been a "pedal distortion" guy. I've always been an "amp distortion" guy. The Jetter Gain Stage Gold breaks through that barrier and makes me think that all I may need from now on is my single channel clean amp.
     
  2. Todd Lynch

    Todd Lynch Member

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    Nice review; thanks.
     
  3. Fusionshred

    Fusionshred Supporting Member

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    Minor correction: Sorry - amp is 6L6-based.
     
  4. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    Here's my review:

    Gave my new GOLD a nice workout this weekend.

    I tell you, this is a great pedal. As advertised, works very well at bedroom levels as well as stage volume.

    It's definitely voiced like a GSR (a good thing), but to my ears has a bit more grind and as Brad advertises it, has more gain. The H/S switch makes it very versatile. I put it on soft and got a nice edge of breakup tone that stacked well with my amp's natural overdrive as well as by itself. I also used it as a main rhythm tone in hard mod with the gain increased. Very nice.

    My only complaint is that it's not as touch sensitive as I'd like. My BB preamp responds well to variations in picking aggressiveness, the Gold, not as much.

    This is a great pedal, probably my favorite of the blue, black, red and gold GSs.

    Check it out, I think you'll be able to find a place for it in your lineup.
     
  5. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    How much bottom end in the Gold? That's my main complaint about most OD pedals...they suck out a little (or alot) of the bottom end and some of the low mids...compared to a cranked amp, anyway.

    S.
    j
     
  6. Fusionshred

    Fusionshred Supporting Member

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    That's an interesting question although, honestly, I didn't focus on that in the very limited time I spent with it yesterday. I'll see if I can get a better impression of the low end of the pedal versus the bypassed sound.
     
  7. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Took mine to band practice last night. NO shortage of low end with this box. I found it a bit trickier to dial in compared to my Red. If the Red is turbocharged, the Gold is supercharged - very powerful stuff. Not that I got bad sounds anywhere, but to dial in just the right amount of gain, volume, bite, and eq took more knob twirling than with the Red, though I've had the Red for awhile and put lots of hours on it. But the results are pretty spectacular for the Gold. They're both keepers, for sure.

    jon
     
  8. mcuguitar

    mcuguitar Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't understand why all of these "brothers" can't reside under the same roof. Why each "brother" needs his very own enclosure to be happy. Wouldn't it be better if the "brothers" shared a common enclosure? So that "Dad" didn't have to work three jobs to support his ever growing "family"! :horse
     
  9. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm sure Brad can confirm, but I have no idea why everyone thinks there are only superficial changes to the pedals that can be altered with only a selector knob.

    Each gain stage is built from the ground up. It's insulting that people think that they are so interchangeable that he should offer them in combinations.
     
  10. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Great review, thanks - I'm looking forward to trying one out.

    BTW, when I first got my Red, I went with the soft setting, slightly elevated tone, volume around 12:30 and gain at 2:00 - perfect RF/LC tone.

    But I've since gone to the settings you are using with the hard setting engaged, first because it worked better with my Strat, but now I just like it for everything.

    Again, 'can't wait to try the new "gold standard".
     
  11. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    IMO, all the Jetter pedals I've tried do a superb job with bottom end.
     
  12. mcuguitar

    mcuguitar Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't think the gainstage "brothers" are interchangeable. But how about each different circuit board arranged like a bunk bed inside a wider and taller enclosure? That way, 2 or 4 "brothers" could share one room, Dad could buy a smaller house and save big bucks as he endures a mild recession! What an idea! Why is that not possible? And I'm not saying to give it away either. I understand people have to make a living. Charging $400.00 for let's say a red,white and blue pedal, would be far more affordable than $600 plus clams for all three, and one pedal would be easier to toss in a bag than 3 different ones. It's a win-win for the pro guitarist, and then you have the patriotic angle, which would be great for marketing. I love my GSB, but I can't afford a B, G, R, P, chartreuse, and whatever else comes next. Jon.
     
  13. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    +1 on under one roof! Please Jon do it...:BEER
     
  14. Fusionshred

    Fusionshred Supporting Member

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    I like not having to have all three connected at once. It makes my floor neater, saves on batteries, and keeps the pedals I'm not using at that moment safe and sound. Of course, a multi-channel pre-amp would be cool. On the other hand, I already bought all the pedals, so it won't do ME any good ;-)

    I think this thing is evolutionary though; I get the impression that Brad's original objective was singular in purpose - to create a pedal for himself that would nail the ALC tone. I doubt that his original intention was to "go into the pedal business," so, based on the fact that he has developed several additional products for the public, I'd say it's certainly possible that he will continue, including maybe offering a multi-channel pedal at some point.

    Let's not be resentful about the fact that he offers several *separate* great pedals, though! That makes no sense! One wouldn't have a problem collecting several separate boutique pedals from different manufacturers. Just because your four favorite overdrive pedals come from the same guy doesn't mean they should all be offered as one unit.

    Plus, they weren't all developed at the same time. Now, he's got 5 (so far) - putting these 5 separate pedals into one unit would be expensive (and heavy).

    If you really really want the red, and that's all you can afford, at least this way you can get the red. Maybe someday Brad will offer a Gain Stage Spectrum pedal (Brad, you can use that name if you want it - but you have to list me as an official endorser on your website :cool:) that will offer all the tones at a reasonable price.
     
  15. js54

    js54 Member

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    All the Gain Stages are unique circuits with different ICs, components and board layouts - I know this to be a fact. They are not just simple variations on the same theme with a simple capacitor change here and there.

    The name 'Gain Stage' might and be confusing in that some people might get the idea that they are all the same basic circuit - they are not. It was just a choice of name to define a line of pedals. Its no different than most other boo-teek manufacturers that have many dirt boxes with different names. The same thing applies for the Jetter pedals.

    I know this to be true because I've talked to Brad at length about this. The website will be updated to help clarify things more.

    Brad would have to verify, but I seriously doubt that a 3-in-1 box would be much cheaper to purchase than 3 separate boxes.
     
  16. Joses

    Joses Member

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    Nice reviews tomsalvojazz & Guitar Josh, I have a Red & a Black - love them both dearly.

    The Gold sure looks good - is it safe to say the Gold is voiced more towards the Red's (Dumble) influence, rather than say a Black's (Marshall Plexi) tone? Also, would you say that you could achieve a Gold's tone (not exactly but maybe ballpark) if you goosed up a Red with another OD or boost of some sorts?
     
  17. dbrdiver

    dbrdiver Member

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    I just borrowed a Gain Stage from a friend of mine, and I think that it sounds great through my Polytone. What do you guys think?
     
  18. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Oh, yea, Killer Dood.

    What happened - Is trolling over at Harmony Central just not any fun any more?
     
  19. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Yo Dave T ,, just watched your smooth playing on the video..
    Very nice ...

    Now tell me... are you one of those guys who can actually bend notes with his pinky? (OMG)
     
  20. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    LOL! Naah. I just fake it by holding the pinky in front of the fret, then bending the next fret down with my third finger, twice as hard! I'm a Magician! I do Maging!

    Ever wonder what a wizard does?
     

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