JHS is the McDonalds of boutique pedal makers

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dumdums

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I like the videos, but I just don't like the pedals. Can't find one I really like the sound of and there's just something kitschy and cheap and tacky about them. It's as though a think-tank got together and said, "How do we make a 'boutique' brand and spread it far and wide?" I say this as someone who likes lots of pedals from bigger builders. I like EQD and Walrus stuff a lot. And no, I'm not being critical of JHS because of the controversy years ago. either. I'm criticizing the company for what I view as mediocre products and kitchy designs. I have a feeling I'm not alone in this perception of JHS. I think they've somehow managed to go mass-market whilst coasting on this "boutique" image. For sure I'm a pedal snob, but there's something just off-putting about JHS. Maybe I'm just being a jerk because I've had several cups of strong earl grey.
 

JCW308

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I feel just the opposite. I think JHS is a very valuable asset to the pedal community and I like that the owner (Josh) freely says when a competitor's pedal is great. It's like he's rooting for the community and not just his own company. Maybe I'm just naïve, I don't know. But right now I'm really liking the guy and his pedals.
 
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Benz2112

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You seem really hung up on the image of being boutique or that it is suppose to sound a certain way. Do you own any of their stuff? They make a ton of different stuff, they don't seem super committed to a particular aesthetic so I am not sure what you are getting at. He's just a dude trying to operate a business, and has a really dry sense of humor, people try to make it more complicated than that.
 

LesPaul70

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I have watched lots of JHS videos. While they are informative, I find I often disagree with his opinions on different pedals. I also find most of his pedals are obviously targeted at someone with a very different taste than me.

I also understand that it is somewhat popular to slag JHS online for various reasons.

That said...

I bought my first JHS pedal this year.
It is also the only pedal I've bought so far this year.

It is the Bonsai Overdrive.

At the moment, it doesn't seem I will be shopping for a new OD pedal - ever. Thanks to the Bonsai.
 

JesterR

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Their fuzzes line is really cool. I like an idea, I like a look , I like a sound.
Also, I wish to try Kilt pedal. But other ones feels a bit pricey and not that special for me.

But, nothing wrong with JHS. And especially with designs. Some of them are not great, but overall design is pretty stylish/minimalist, and definitely has it's own vibe, which I respect.

PS Nothing wrong with McDonalds either. But yeah, it's definitely not for self-aware snobs :)
 

KoskineN

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I love JHS pedals. I had several of them, and even if they have simple design, they never felt ou sounded cheap. The Morning Glory and the Angry Charlie are my favorites. The Firefly Fuzz was cool too. They did a great job with their Legends of Fuzz serie(the Bender is AWESOME), and also their Serie 3 also.
 

Bluedano1

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I like JHS Videos, but I feel like I have very little in common musically with Josh.
It's not him, it's me! I'm just a boring R&R/ blues player with minimal OD/effects needs.

He is more exploratory/ noisy than anything I do. But the videos and his attitude entertain me

I do like a recent demo of his new Fuzz clone line, where the JHS Fuzz Face type ( maybe 'Smiley'?) was played against the Dunlop FF Minis- and the JHS fuzz had a brighter tone I preferred.

I like McDonald's too!
 
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Most of the companies that intersect at "big" and "boutique" (which are still tiny compared to EHX, Im sure), make pretty anodyne products IMO. But you have to, or else you would never have the wide appeal they do.

JHS and Walrus are sort of the poster children for this IMO. That's not to say their products aren't good, they can be, they just may not appeal to someone looking for something really unique, ultra well-built, etc. If your idea of a great pedal is "reasonably well built, familiar and with a recognizable aesthetic" they could be your ticket.

I've owned a few JHS pedals in the past. I no longer do. That's not a statement about the company, I just don't find their products that compelling in a world where there are Death by Audios and Hologram Electronics and Origin Effects and ...
 

MilwMark

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I don’t own any. But I can’t make heads or tails of your point.

FWIW I was in my local shop (small) years ago (maybe 10?) when Josh walked in carrying a big wired up pedalboard of his pedals and asked if the owner would be willing to let him do a demo. They were driving around the Midwest apparently. He was nice, funny and clearly a gear nerd. And really tall.

*Edit - the shop started carrying the line and has since. They say JHS is a delight to work with.
 
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más_fuerte

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I'm a big fan of both the JHS show and their pedals. I think Josh has an obvious passion and appreciation for pedals and pedal history that I think is really cool. I much prefer JHS pedals to say EQD or Walrus, though I have nothing against those builders at all. I definitely can't fault a builder for wanting to expand their business "far and wide". Some of my favorite JHS pedals are the Morning Glory, Kilt, Lightning Bolt, and Panther. Would love to try a Colorbox and Cheese Ball someday.
 

DecoWaves

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An interesting discussion ... I will respectfully disagree with the OP's thoughts as shared. A contrary perspective, I would profer that we are watching, in real-time, a boutique pedal company having continued growth and success, maturing to be more mainstream/corporate in nature (for lack of better descriptions) -- congrats to Josh and his team!

As others have pointed out, I certainly appreciate the fact that Josh promotes and celebrates the greater pedal and music/gear community; 'a rising tide lifts all boats'. Thanks to the JHS videos, whether we agree with their opinions or not, one will most always walk away with a better understanding and appreciation for the these fantastically fun tools.

As for the pedals, while I only have the Clover on my board (a staple for the past many years), I still have the Emperor (Chorus) in my possession and ... have enjoyed time with the Unicorn and Charlie Brown OD. All have been of solid quality and build and, while some of these circuits can at times be rather fundamental, JHS has provided useful mods/enhancements to bring new functionality and value thereof.
 
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