JHS Pedals harvests super-rare transistors for limited run Germanium Boost pedal and it sells out within an hour

Having put together a stash of rare germanium transistors, “sourced from a private stash in England”, JHS Pedals has designed a limited edition pedal inspired by the Dallas Rangemaster, and designed to push your guitar amp into overdrive just as the original amp-top box units used to.

The Germanium Boost is nigh-on as simple a guitar effects pedals as you’ll find. It has a footswitch, a single dial controlling gain, and a toggle switch that selects between a classic voicing, similar to the treble boosting heat you would have heard on records from Rory Gallagher, Black Sabbath and Queen, and a more contemporary mode, that is thicker across the frequency spectrum.

The bad news is it is a pedal you will do very well to find – having been launched at 5PM UK time, it sold out within the hour. Some pranksters have already listed fake listings of the Germanium Boost on Reverb for crazy four-figure prices... They joke, but how long before we see scalpers doing something similar for real?

The run is strictly limited to 700 units all in, because NOS OC71 germanium transistors do not grow on trees. And JHS promises those lucky enough to bag one of them will be able to play “blistering, sustaining guitar in the same vein as We Will Rock You.”

JHS Pedals Germanium Boost

(Image credit: JHS Pedals)

The Germanium Boost’s metal enclosure is finished in a similar shade of grey-green as found on many of the original Rangemasters. 

The Rangemaster was one of the outboard units that guitarists used to drive their amps harder and get more crunch; it was integral to the evolution of rock music, with Rory Gallagher using one to hot-rod his blues-rock tone, turning Queen’s Brian May onto its tone-shaping capabilities. Marc Bolan had one. Eric Clapton used one on John Mayall and the Bluesbreaker’s ‘Beano’ album. Tony Iommi was a fan, too, with his Rangemaster reportedly modded

The Dallas Rangemaster has inspired a slew of modern pedals. The British Pedal Company released an unit that, like the original, was designed to sit on top of your amplifier – and also a more pedalboard friendly version with a single-knob pedal. 

Other brands have built upon the idea and added to it. Catalinbread combined a Rangemaster-style boost with a Laney Supergroup preamp-inspired circuit for its Sabbra Cadabra Sabbath-in-a-box pedal, and did something similar for Brian May and his Vox AC30 tone with the Galileo. 

The simplicity of the Germanium Boost, however, pares the Rangemaster down to its essence. At $249, it is not cheap, but as JHS Pedals supremo Josh Scott says, these transistors are rare and sorting through them to make each pedal is labour-intensive. 

“These are decades old. I purchased a few thousand of them, I dunno, two, three years ago,” he says. “You have to sort through them. It is excruciatingly mind-numbing, and we only found around 750 that fit the specs to make this sound like I wanted it to sound.”

For more details, head over to JHS Pedals.

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.