JHS Pedals has its finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to effects pedal history and culture. With the whole Bad Monkey brouhaha, it's even setting the comedy agenda. Now, Josh Scott's company's latest design is a truly inspired concept; fun and a serious bargain. But even he had no idea what an irresistible combination NOTAKLÖN would be to guitarists.
The why goes far beyond the whole solderless do-it-yourself package. Scott and the team had initially readied 3,000 pedals for the launch. As of yesterday (22 November), they have sold 12,000 with every order over the initial run in a preorder status. The company's plan to meet ongoing demand will see them building 20,000 pedals in the shorter term.
Twenty thousand pedals. That kind of number this early in a lifecycle is astonishing in the effects pedal industry. But it's not just a testament to JHS's reputation, relationship with its customers and inspired marketing launch that saw literal children building NOTAKLÖNs on video to prove how simple it is. It's the lure of the finished article itself: a JHS klone pedal based on a recreation of the Klon Centaur boost/overdrive pedal with a mod mode for $99.
Contrary to the naysayers, the Klon itself isn't hype; it's everything that came after it. As Klon designer Bill Finnegan states on the case of his KTR model, "The ridiculous hype that offends so many is not of my making". The prices for original Centaurs are out of control, just as they are in the vintage Fender and Gibson markets. But while the quality of vintage guitars can be inconsistent, the Klon is uniformly great.
Whether an always-on enhancer, lead boost or for gain stacking with other drives, it's an incredibly versatile and useful pedal. That's why a whole part of the industry has grown around its influence. With Finnegan only making one-off models, demand for 'klones' has grown. And they hold up: pedals like the Wampler Tumnus (I pedal I own and don't think will ever leave my pedalboard), Mythos Mjolnir, RYRA Klone, J Rockett Archer, Warm Audio Centavo and Ceriatone Centura prove themselves because they are based on a wonderfully adaptable blueprint guitarists love. We can now add the NOTAKLÖN to that list.
Scott had his own klone that he stopped making by 2012, and created a 'Shamrock' mod to offer a boosts to mids, additional gain stage and more volume. That's now included on this $99 pedal – something Scott could have easily put out as a ready-made $250 pedal that he chose to make more accessible to more players, combining assembly cost-saving with… fun! It's now paid off – big time. And in the video above you can find out how JHS Pedals' team of 35 employees are going to meet the challenge "full steam ahead" when it comes to the huge demand for the NOTAKLÖN.