JHS Firefly review

Flexible fuzz with hand-matched transistors

  • £159
  • $199
JHS has added a Bias knob to a Tone Bender-style design to fine-tune the power to the transistors

MusicRadar Verdict

Fine fuzz at your disposal in a variety of tasty flavours.

Pros

  • +

    Great build quality. Extremely wide range of fuzz tones.

Cons

  • -

    Not much.

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The Firefly, from US effects firm JHS Pedals, is a souped-up Tone Bender. More specifically, JHS says that it's a tribute to the three-knob MKIII from the late 60s and is based around a trio of hand-matched germanium AC128 transistors.

Where the original had controls for Fuzz, volume and EQ, JHS has added a Bias knob to fine-tune the power to the transistors.

"By juxtaposing the knobs, you get an extremely wide range of fuzz tones"

All the knobs are interactive - tweaking one influences another - but it's the Fuzz and Bias knobs that are the real tone shapers.

With the Fuzz knob fully clockwise, it's all smoothness and fatness, but wind it back and you'll lose the low and midrange body for a real trebly, sharp-edged ripping fuzz.

The Bias knob lets you focus further, and turned clockwise, delivers a more edgy rasp. By juxtaposing the knobs, you get an extremely wide range of fuzz tones.

If you're looking for a fuzz box but are worried about being stuck with one sound, the versatility here may solve your dilemma.

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.