5 things we learned from the JHS Pedals live YouTube Q&A

JHS Pedals supremo Josh Scott and his right-hand man Nick Loux held a live YouTube Q&A on Wednesday, 2 December, where they shared effects pedal wisdom, recommended kits for players looking to build their own, and discussed their favourite hamburgers.

As subscribers to the JHS Show can attest, Scott is a font of useful information when it comes to all things effects, and this Q&A was a chance to take questions from an internet audience and to talk more broadly about the pedal market right now and what that means for JHS.. 

It has been a big year for JHS. Reverb's overall sales figures places the Kansas City-based company at number five in its top-sellers of 2020. Reverb surmised that the JHS 3 Series could have been its best-selling series had it been released earlier in the year.

Scott and Loux discusses JHS designs past and present. You can watch the Q&A above, but here are our five takeaways from the session.

1. There are 6 more Legends of Fuzz pedals coming in early 2021

Launched in May, the Legends Of Fuzz series saw JHS pack vintage Tonebender, Fuzz Face, Univox and Soviet-era Big Muff circuits into newly designed enclosures, with subtle proprietary features such as a JHS Mode that would boost gain, volume, fuzz, octave effect and mids – depending on which pedal it was deployed on.

Well, there are more in the works, with Scott confirming that they had designed six already, and were waiting on the appropriate time to release them.

“They’re done. We have six more completely finished,“ said Scott. “Everything with us is time, especially with Covid. They are really exciting. I’ll say this, they are a little more odd. The first batch was more known. The second batch is more peculiar.“

2. There are two JHS flangers in the works

“We have two flangers finished,“ said Scott. “I don’t know when that will happen.” There are no more details but that is welcome news nonetheless. 

3. An honour system operates among effects pedal designers

Asked about the ethics and copyright issues surrounding clones of other effects, of which JHS has several – such as the aforementioned Legends Of Fuzz series, the  Bonsai TS-clone and Muffuletta – and Scott said you couldn't copyright a circuit. 

Trade dress, such as enclosure design and colour, names and logos were another matter. Scott said that an honour system stopped pedal companies from ripping off their contemporary's design, with older out of production units fair game for rediscovery.

“That honour system is a real thing,“ he said. “I make the Bender [Tone Bender clone], for instance; I know Anthony Macari of Sola Sound, and he doesn’t care. I’ve remade the Fuzz Face as the Smiley. I’m good friends with George Tripps, currently at Dunlop.“

“I love the opportunity to teach people about the old circuits and get people collecting vintage units, and bring some of that stuff back to life. So I have another motive, education. Historically, if you look at a Tube Screamer – 1978, ’79 – that’s 50 years ago. There’s almost a common use element.“

4. The Boss x Sola Sound collaboration was a long time coming

Scott started JHS Pedals after repairing a Boss Blues Driver in 2007, collaborating with Boss on the Angry Driver. Released in 2017, the Angry Driver houses a JHS Angry Charlie circuit alongside a Blues Driver within the same Boss enclosure. These collaborations can be hard to put together.

When asked about the recent announcement of Boss and Sola Sound's Waza Craft Tone Bender TB-2W, Scott said that the idea behind that particular project was some 10 years in the making, long before JHS and Boss worked on the Angry Charlie.

"There are all kinds of reasons as to how hard these collaborations are,“ said Scott, who described this as an important release, and for a limited edition fuzz, it shouldn't be too badly affected by scalpers.

5. JHS Pedals has doubled in size in 2020

“We built twice as many pedals as last year,“ said Scott. “Our company has doubled – literally – in employees, in capacity, in sales. But people are buying so many pedals. We’ve built twice as many as normal and there is a shortage, apparently, and there is nothing I can do about that. Unless I hired robots.“

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.