The People Vs. JHS Pedals (UPDATED)

ppl vs jhs

UPDATE (6-8-17): I wrote this article three years ago. Since then it has become the most read thing I’ve ever written, no other post on this site comes even close. Hopefully people who’ve found this article have read other posts here that deal with far more pleasant and hopefully helpful subjects. I have updated this post to reflect the recent charges about JHS and it’s links to the church group known as The International House of Prayer (IHOP) and it’s treatment of the LGBTQ community. Beyond that, nothing has changed and my position remains the same.-Adam, Real World Worship.

Warning: This is a long post. It’s not about worship, or even electric guitar playing. It’s about a company called JHS pedals, that many worship musicians buy gear from. It’s about accusations that have been made on guitar & gear forums and blogs all across the internet, and my personal journey trying understanding the sometimes shady world that is the guitar industry.

Disclaimer: If you read this post (and you may not want to… ignorance is bliss after all) , I ask that you read the whole thing before making any judgements. I’m using the courtroom motif on purpose and I’m trying to build an entire case, so if you read only one part you won’t get the full picture. I ask that you understand that I’m trying my best to be impartial. I also ask that you understand that these are just my opinions and observations, although I have tried to provide some level of documentation.

Author’s Note: I feel confident in saying that no one else has done the research I have on this topic. I certainly have not seen evidence of it anywhere else. For this blog post I spoke to many of the parties involved, although I’m choosing to keep all of those conversations off the record. I also talked to friends (or friends of friends) who work in the guitar/effects industry at many different levels to hear their take.  None of those conversations have made it directly into this post. I’ve keep them all off the record for the purpose of fact checking, logic checking and thought process vetting, and to get a feel for how the industry works. I read, and reread forum posts. I tracked down articles and forum threads dating back several years. I joined forums that I wouldn’t have otherwise because I wanted to read and see evidence on threads that were linked to by bloggers and posters, but were behind membership walls.

This post took weeks to write, months to research, and is probably the hardest thing I’ve done on this blog. In many ways I wish I hadn’t started. There were several times I thought I’d scrap it, even up to a few days before posting. In the end I decided it was what it was and I posted it. So here is the result of my journey:

THE PEOPLE VS JHS PEDALS:

THE DEFENDANT

Josh Scott, founder and owner of JHS pedals.

THE PLAINTIFF

Anonymous posters on Internet forums such as The Gear Page, DiYstompboxes, FreeStompBoxes, TDPRI, and others.

(NOTE: I regularly read and post on TDPRI under the user name SnowWizard… long story on the name )

THE CHARGES

The Charges are that Josh Scott and JHS Pedals stole designs from other builders and charge more for their stolen work then the original products cost, thus ripping off both consumer and builder. That JHS makes substandard, poor quality gear that (once again) they charge more money for than they should. That Josh Scott maligned and slandered pedal maker Devi Ever to retailers, causing her to loose business. That JHS claims to be a “Christian” company but acts otherwise.

Updated charges: that JHS is linked to a “hateful cult” known as the International House of Prayer, and money from the purchase of JHS pedals goes towards an anti-LGBTQ agenda.

MY HISTORY

I came across JHS through ProGuitarShop.com. I was bored one day and looking through PGS’s “stand out stomp box” section (which is really cool BTW) and I noticed the JHS Morning Glory. I loved the sound but I wasn’t in the market for a new OD so I didn’t think much else of it. Later when I heard about the Superbolt I started researching the pedal on forums for peoples opinions on it’s sound, build quality, etc. What I found was rant after rant reciting the charges above. On face value I tended to believe them, but I was troubled by the continued references to Josh’s faith. As a worship leader, pastor and Christian, it was very concerning to me if a business like JHS were guilty of the accusations and running a bad business with the “christian” label attached to them.

If the accusations were true, then I wanted JHS to own up and distance itself from the faith as a business. But if they weren’t true, I wanted to know why there was all this smoke if there was no fire? As I began to dive into this mess more and more I found out that things weren’t always what they seemed and that the truth wasn’t as clean cut as the accusers would make it out to be.

I’ve divided this report into two sections. The first is for the three specific complaints most often leveled at JHS Pedals, the second section is for general complaints that are also leveled at the company, but usually in conjunction with the three main complaints.

Here’s what I found:

SPECIFIC COMPLAINTS

DEVI EVER

This the one that started it all. There is no bigger grievence against JHS than the charge that he stole Devi’s Hyperion Fuzz Circuit for his Bunrunner and Astro Mess pedals, claimed the design as his own, and then trashed her reputation in a letter to JHS vendors and retailers (some of whom also carried Devi’s Pedals.)

The first question to ask is: Did Josh steal the design of another builder? Because if he didn’t none of the other questions matter.

The charge first appeared because of a gear run-through that appeared on YouTube featuring Switchfoot guitarist Drew Shirley (see that HERE). As you may know, when a band is the studio they may use all kinds of amps, effects, studio tricks, etc that can’t all be taken on the road, so Josh was working with Drew to recreate a lot of his studio sounds in a touring rig. So they created the Bunrunner, a 2 in 1 fuzz pedal. One side is a heavily modified Tone Bender fuzz circuit, then Drew dropped the bomb, saying the other side was a Devi Ever fuzz. Devi Ever then went on an internet rampage, using her own forum plus many others to make the charge that JHS has stolen her design. (See Circuit Comparison HERE) Drew Shirley contacted her to apologize for any misunderstanding and to say that quite a few of her pedals had been used in recording the Hello Hurricane record, and that Josh hadn’t done anything illegal or stolen a design. Now, if you’ve read my article on cloning pedals, you know that he could have taken her design and it wouldn’t have been illegal.  So Drew Shirley didn’t really prove anything or help clear up the matter.  (See Drew’s Email HERE).

I found a response from Josh himself HERE, this is one of the only times I’ve ever seen JHS address this specifically, which is part of what adds fuel to the fire. They seem to have taken a stance as a company to not discuss it all together. But what Josh claims is that the Astro Mess is a “Devi Ever Style” Fuzz, not a direct Devi Ever clone.

So did Josh steal her design? My take is this: I don’t know for sure. There is a lot of murky water on this one but I’m gonna use some logic and common sense to come to my conclusion.

My first thought is that it wasn’t nessesary. JHS is known for their rehousing work (See examples HERE), where they take old pedals, who’s circuits are still good but their cases have fallen into disrepair, or who weren’t well designed to begin with and put them into new casings with high quality switches and in/out conncections.  So to make a clone was unneeded.  He could’ve just rehoused a Devi Ever pedal for Switchfoot to use.

My second thought is that it even if it was a clone it’s not a direct copy. Even Devi Ever admits (kinda) that there are diferences. I’m fully going to admit that this is the where things get the murkiest for JHS. If you look at the circuits, they are really similar. I talked to a guy who’s pretty savy with this stuff (and who doesn’t have a horse in this race) and he confirmed as much to me. If you take Josh at his word that he was building a modern, silicon “Devi Ever style” pedal then you’d think that their circuits would look similar. Besides, Drew Shirley made it clear, he wasn’t looking for a Hyperion clone, but a fuzz that would get an over view of the sounds from the many different Devi Every pedals used on Switchfoot recordings. But, if you just compare circuits, they’re pretty close. So you decide.

The 2nd question is “did Josh trash Devi Ever’s reputation in an email to retailers?”:

The text of the email he sent out can be found HERE. It took me a long time (months) to even find the the text of that email. It’s hyped and cited on blogs and forums as absolute proof of the evils of JHS but good luck finding it. When I finally read it all I could say was “THAT’S IT?!?!? THAT’S ALL HE SAID?!?!?!” Even if all the accusations against JHS are true and he’s lying through his teeth, it’s a pretty mild email. How Devi could have lost retailers over that email makes no sense to me. It’s interesting that if you find forum threads dated before the JHS/Astro Mess hoopla, you’ll find a lot of guys who had less than great opinions about Devi. Posters who questioned her design/build quality. Posters who referred to her in connection to a lot of drama, and other less than flattering opinions. Is it possible that if Devi lost business it had more to do with these issues than a mild email send out by Josh Scott?

My take: Whether he intended to or not, is sure looks like Josh created a modded clone of the Hyperion pedal and that there is enough of a difference between the two for him to feel comfortable claiming it’s now an original or unique design. Nothing about that is outside of the normal realm of workings of this industry. For example, go to ZVex’s website and you’ll find they use words like “unique” and “original” for the Fuzz Factory pedal which started life as a Dunlop Fuzz Face circuit, or Fulltone which calls the Fulldrive 2 an original design even though it’s a TS style circuit. Whether you agree with that or not, in the context of the industry, that’s normal. Devi Ever herself has claimed at points that all of her designs are original, but one of her pedals was a modded clone of the EHX Big Muff (IC version), so she’s done the same things she’s accused others of doing.

THE SUPERBOLT

The charge here is that Josh stole a design from Run Off Groove, a DiY website that provides circuit designs for you to build on your own. Specifically, it’s alleged that JHS took the design fro the SuperDeux circuit, which emulates old Supro amps for their Superbolt pedal, which does the same.

Again, here’s where my ignorance of circuits beyond the most rudimentary level hurts me so I have to rely on the reporting of others. I own Superbolt #1397, I opened it up and spent some time comparing it to the ROG posted circuit. Are they the same? Beats me; the PCB version looked different, but what do I know? Some guys swear up and down that it’s an exact copy. Other says it’s not.

I know this: VFE makes a version of the ROG Superdeux that ROG has licensed and it doesn’t have the same features or (to my ears) sound the same. Similar yes, but not the same.  I listened to every sound clip on the ROG site and many on youtube, and it doesn’t sound the same as the JHS Superbolt to me.

My take: If JHS took the ROG design they modified it. If they took ROG’s design, they took a pedal that is not currently produced by ROG. If you believe that the ROG design is in fact in production by VFE, then what about the cloned circuits that VFE makes of Ibanez, Boss and MXR pedals, or the Tube Screamer circuits that exist on the ROG site? Do you see how this thing gets really murky really quick? But it’s all an “IF“. ROG has refused to state that they think JHS took their design, instead they’ve made vague assertions on a few forums, and left it to others to make accusations.

To be honest, researching the Superbolt is what alerted me to Devi Ever and the whole internet mess surrounding JHS. I started my journey thinking that the Devi Ever story was the real issue. But after everything, if there was one accusation that really held any water it’s this one. But, as I said above, any water this accusation holds is incredibly murky, and that’s the thing that the anti-JHS crowd on guitar forums won’t admit to. It’s not nearly as clean cut as they would make it out to be.

THE KLON KLONE

This is a charge you don’t see much on threads these days because the JHS Klone is out of production. But it was a big topic on threads a few years ago. It’s also the easiest to deal with.

JHS produced a high quality clone of the legendary Klon Centaur. They never hid what it was or what they were doing. They were making a reproduction of an out of production pedal. Bill Finnegan who designed the Klon made a stink about it, and JHS said that if the Klon went back into production that they would stop making them.

If you read forums dated around the time when the Klon KTR (a mass produced version of the Centaur) was announced, people said “JHS won’t hold up their promise because they are untrustworthy” or whatever reason they felt would hinder JHS from keeping their word. But they did keep their word. They ceased production. They stopped making them. Even when the KTR went out of production, they didn’t bring them back, and they won’t do custom shop orders of it either. That’s a whole lot of money in lost sales for a company that supposedly operates under shady business practices.

My take: This charge showed people’s bias. JHS could be making a lot of money with it’s Klone pedal, and they aren’t. But no one will acknowledge this. No one started a new thread admitting they were wrong. They assumed the worst, and when the worst didn’t happen, the retreated into the shadows of their blogs and forums. Whether you agree with JHS or any company cloning pedals or not, the Klon Klone shows that JHS produces high quality pedals (or they wouldn’t sell on ebay for as much as they do) and they have principles as a company, because that’s a lot of money to loose out on by not producing that pedal.

JHS AND IHOP

A new charge has arisen recently that JHS, via it’s connection with the International  House of Prayer church of Kansas City (IHOP or IHOPKC) supported an anti-LGTBQ agenda, specifically in supported legislation in Uganda that would execute people for homosexual activity. Additionally, it is charged that IHOPKC loaned Josh money to start JHS and so JHS is owned or partially owned by IHOPKC, which some consider to be a “cult” and a “hate group”.

There are multiple posts on forums and gear groups that say that Josh Scott’s dad is a pastor with IHOPKC and he loaned Josh the start up money for JHS. Josh’s dad doesn’t even live in Kansas City and has never been an IHOPKC employee. But, even IF Josh’s dad was employed by IHOPKC, what would that prove? If his dad was employed by the state of Missouri would that make the state a part owner of JHS? If his dad was employed by “Kansas City Plumbing”, would that company be a partial owner of JHS. I believe the answer is obviously: NO. To be clear, neither IHOPKC nor any employee of IHOPKC loaned JHS money or at any point owned a part of the company.

Josh Scott was a part of IHOPKC and was a volunteer there for a number of years, but that doesn’t mean that the church owns JHS. It also doesn’t mean that he knew or agreed with every single thing done by some staff member or the leadership of his church. IHOPKC is massive in size and scope. The church has around 1,000 full or part time employees. My last church had 5 employees and I often didn’t know about something going on until long after it had happened, I can’t imagine what a church with 1,000 staff members is like. Beyond that, Josh hasn’t been a part of IHOPKC for many years, so can you really hold the actions of a church he used to attend against him? If you were part of some group years ago, whether a church or a little league team, would it be right to hold their actions against you now?

My take: I looked into the IHOPKC connection to the Uganda Anti-Gay legislation. It’s legislation that I wouldn’t support. It’s legislation I know for a fact that Josh Scott and the employees of JHS do not support. It’s legislation that IHOPKC has clearly said it doesn’t support.

Now, as near as I can tell, IHOPKC has supported certain mission groups in Africa and specifically Uganda. One of those groups supported a specific politician who supported this legislation. Worst case scenario on this is that one IHOPKC staff member (who I was told was later fired) was supporting parts of what was going on, but it was a rogue action and not the work of IHOPKC. It’s also possible that the truth of this story, and how much the staff member actually supported the Ugandan politician or his legislation is more complex; how much did that staff member understand fully what was going on? Speaking as a pastor who’s worked with missions groups, if you’re in an office in America, you’re only gonna know what you’re told from the people on the ground.

To be clear: JHS has since issued a very blunt and direct statement in support of human rights.

At some point, you have to ask the question, can a christian run a company? Not are they capable, but can they?  Tolerance is a two-way street. I have LGBTQ friends, family, and co-workers who know that I don’t hate them, but they also know where I stand. I try to treat them with respect, and I’m grateful for the respect they show me. Labeling a person or a company as a “hater” because of their beliefs or the church they attend isn’t something to be done lightly, and I think its fair to call out those who do, just as it’s fair to call out any christian individual, church or group that doesn’t treat people with basic dignity as “image bearers” of God.

GENERAL COMPLAINTS

POOR QUALITY CONTROL

I’ve heard this a lot on guitar forums. I own Superbolt #1347 and Morning Glory #2813. There are a couple of thousand other players who have the same pedal. Somewhere, someone has one that went bad. My take is that early on, as they were expanding they may have had some issues, but all the complaints about build quality seem to be from the past. There’s a lot of people on forums who rip on JHS, but everyone who owns on seems to love it. I follow a lot of gear feeds on twitter and instagram. There’s a lot of JHS on those boards, and a lot of love for JHS pedals.

BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE

Did someone, somewhere have a bad experience? I’m sure they did. I was in retail management for a number years to support me and my family in ministry. I can tell you that every business is going to have an unsatisfied customer. No matter how hard you try someone will end up unhappy. I’ve quite literally won customer service awards only to have complaints and phone calls about my “poor service” sent to my boss the next day. You just can’t win. I’ve purchased directly from JHS on their Black Friday Sale and had no problems. I talked to a few guys at local guitar shops, and there’s a positive vibe with them that doesn’t exist for every builder out there. The majority of JHS customers, both in the general public and on the retail side seem to be happy.

HE’S JUST A CLONER

This one would makes me laugh, except that people come off as so mean spirited and self-righteous about it.

JHS started out making vintage clones (the Pulp ‘n Peel), and Modified Clones (the Morning Glory). See my post on Cloning Pedals HERE. They are seem to make a point to be honest about which pedals are based off a classic circuit and what that circuit is. In fact, they are more upfront about it than comparable companies are in many cases.

To my mind, the most comparable company to JHS is Analogman, and no one gives him a 10th of the hard time they give to JHS over building vintage circuits, which is 90% of what Analogman does (and does it well).

I just read a forum where a guy said “no one is hating on JHS for cloning”. But he hadn’t read the whole thread where several posters did just that. If you don’t like cloned pedals, then just stick with Boss pedals, and dislike every builder, not just JHS.

HE DOESN’T MAKE ANYTHING ORIGINAL

This charge comes from the fact, as stated above, that JHS started out making modified clones of vintage, out of production pedals. But it’s not true of every pedal JHS has put out there. The Panther Cub, and the Colour Box are all forgotten in those conversations.

JHS has come up with some very interesting takes on vintage designs and and some very original ideas with the Colour Box and Panther Cub. All the critics seem to ignore JHS’s original ideas as much as they ignore the lack of originality from other brands and pedal builders that they champion.

OVERPRICED PRODUCTS

This one annoys me because its just factually incorrect. People who make this complaint fall into one of three groups:

1. They’re cheap: I’m a fan of many Boss pedals, but these guys think cheap Boss pedals are overpriced. While they complain about JHS’s prices, they don’t seem to complain about other company’s pedals of similar price being outrageous… unless they do :). The truth is that those who complain about the price of JHS pedals tend to complain about the price of every high quality pedal.

2. They’re uninformed: I think some of these guys just haven’t looked at comparable brand’s pricing. Sure, JHS sits on the high side of their “quality level’s” price range, but not outside of it. Mad Professor, Walrus Audio, Catlinbread, Wampler and others all sit in the same price range for many of their effects.

3. They just don’t know how much pedals cost to make. See my post on the subject HERE.

CHRISTIANS SHOULD ACT BETTER

Nowhere on JHS’s website is there a mention of Josh’s faith or the faith of anyone else. JHS does not self describe itself as a christian company, unlike some other builders and gear makers who feel lead to do so. Josh’s faith is public only because of a profile done in Worship Leader magazine about the company*, and in part because of the artists he’s worked with and who he’s endorsed.

My take: There are some people who are just looking for a reason to hate JHS and they’ll pile Josh’s faith on to the list. There are others who hate our Lord, hate his church, and hate us as the people of God, even though they’d never say that. The way people like Drew Shirley are referred to as “the christian guy” on Devi Ever’s forum is telling to me, even if the forum posters are too blind to see it. I no longer worry about JHS being labeled a Christian company since they didn’t ask for the label, and in my mind haven’t done anything to tarnish the faith, except to people who already hated us.

*Side note: Since worship players play live and do so more often than many gigging musicians, shouldn’t more builders and gear makers want to be interviewed and profiled by magazines like Worship Leader? We buy and use a lot of their gear after all.

THE VERDICT

If this were a jury in a court of law, I would have to vote Not Guilty.

Some of the accusers like Devi Ever lack credibility. Some, like ROG aren’t pressing charges. Some, like the anonymous posters on many internet forums choose to recite hearsay and can’t back up their statements except to link to another forum thread where they either produce more hearsay or link to yet another forum thread in an endless cycle. That’s not to mention that at no point is a law actually broken.

Here’s some takeaways that I’m walking away from this process with:

-Beware internet forums. What’s presented as gospel truth and holy writ may not be the whole story, and may not be truth at all.

-The People who hate JHS pedals seem to have an standard operating procedure. If you remove one of their criticisms, they just grab for the next one. If you remove that next one they just grab for another one. It’s a circular way of thinking, and it shows that their agenda has become more important than the facts. Conversations tend to go something like: “What about Devi Ever? (take that away). Run Off Groove (remove that). Bad Service (that he’s disproven), and back to have you hear about what he did to Devi Ever?” The cycle continues and people who are reading forums to try to find out about a pedal they want to buy just assume that these bloggers know what they are talking about, taking on face value the evidence without examining it for themselves.

-In my mind, there is no denying the connection that JHS founder Josh Scott’s Christian faith has to level of vitriol directed at him and his company. While I don’t believe it’s true for everyone who dislikes JHS, it’s certainly a factor for many. Nobody brings up the faith or beliefs of other builders who have done or who’ve been accused of doing the same things that JHS is accused of. JHS is “that Christian company”. It’s an unfair, and telling double standard.

-To expand on my last point, I’ve seen forums that rip on JHS but in the next thread defend ZVex (or other builders) for the same thing. “It’s immoral how much JHS overcharges for their pedals,” while on the next page you see “ZVex is only charging what the market will pay.” Lovepedal is another company that has been accused of many of the same things as JHS but you don’t see even half of the threads devoted to it as with JHS. People will go on and on about how great the Keeley comp is (Ross Clone) but then go off about what a ripoff the Pulp ‘n Peel is (JHS’ squeezer clone) at a slightly cheaper price. Its seems like there is something deeper in the distain for Josh and his company.

-The greatest example of the hypocrisy of internet posters on this subject is in regards to Devi Ever. Devi stole $20k in Kickstarter funds from her backers and tried to write it off as a “loss of passion for pedals” and a “mismanagement” when she used it for personal spending. (Read about that HERE.) But no one is up in arms about it. No one is posting thread after thread like they do with JHS. There isn’t even half the same level of vitriol and outrage. The builder who has actually financially hurt and defrauded her customers is put up as a victim, and her credibility, which would have been destroyed in a real courtroom, is still held in high regard in the Kangaroo courts held across the internet.

MY FINAL VERDICT?

Who knows. There is a shady underbelly to the effects industry. My personal opinion is that it’s all about context. An outsider would hear someone call something “an original design” and say that’s not true, but in the context and jargon of the industry its very accurate. Those builders who claim JHS stole their designs have stolen the designs of others (Devi used an EHX circuit in one or her pedals and ROG has a few Ibanez TS clones), so if we were to put JHS on trial, we would have to try Devi Ever and Run Off Groove as well. In the end, there are two charges against JHS that may hold water. But, in our system of justice, they wouldn’t hold up in court so we must declare JHS innocent.

Personally, I have no problem owning my JHS Pedals (The Moonshine, Superbolt, Morning Glory, and two Little Black Buffers, plus a Pollinator Fuzz that I’ve since sold). They are well made, high quality pedals that all sound great. I’ve had no issues with JHS customer service and I recommend them to others (see my review of the Moonshine HERE). They are great pedals that work well in a lot of musical settings, including Church bands. But I admit that I didn’t buy these pedals until I had gone through the journey and investigation I had described above, so I can’t blame anyone who would be hesitant, only encourage them to do their own homework.

I wish I could say case closed, sadly this issue will keep popping up on various forums and blogs. If you walk away with a different opinion then that it totally valid, and I won’t give you are hard time about it. We can agree to disagree.

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99 thoughts on “The People Vs. JHS Pedals (UPDATED)

    1. Hey SC

      Thanks for commenting! The only comments I don’t allow are when someone says something inappropriate.

      Those conversations on TDPRI were defiantly part of the journey. But I would say that they were maybe 50% or less of my research. I’ve been working on this thing for long before that thread, although I’m very grateful for it as it help refine a few positions for me and provided the “Devi ever letter” that I had been unable to locate up to that point.

      You’re absolutely right, this is my interpretation of the facts. Someone else would read them and come to a different conclusion. But it’s my blog so it’s gonna be my conclusions 🙂 but I freely admit that someone else could come to a different conclusion and it could be very valid.

      Thanks for commenting!

      1. SC

        Well, for once, gotta hold my hands up and give credit to you, didn’t think you’d allow those links to be posted

        Cheers

      2. Hey SC,

        No worries. I believe in letting people see all points of view and coming to their own conclusions.

        Feel free to comment any time on any post i put up on here

  1. Jeff dean

    To compare RoG to JHS is unfair and misleading. Run off Groove is an information site for hobbyists. The only products they sell, to offset the cost of maintaining the website, are hats, t-shirts and mugs.
    It should also be noted that there are two “Supro” style pedals developed and published by RoG; the Supreaux and the Supreaux Deux. The VFE pedal is a licensed version of the Supreaux. The JHS Superbolt is a copy of the Supreaux Deux. The JHS Superbolt is a copy of the Supreaux Deux. You can quibble with my using the word copy, but it is true. The “only difference between the two circuits is that the Supreaux Deux takes an 18v power supply while the Superbolt is 9v, with a built in charge pump so that it too can operate at 18v.
    You are correct that circuits cannot be protected as intellectual property and that cloning and adaptation are rampant in the pedal industry. For better or worse it is tolerated and in some cases embraced, when manufacturers are honest about it (or at least silent about it). JHS isn’t. To go on at length about his lone time love of Supro amplifiers and years of painstaking research to capture that sound in a pedal, all the while selling a design that is not his own and that predates his entry into the pedal market, is beyond the pale.

    1. Hey Jeff,

      If ROG isn’t willing to go on the record then you can’t press charges (using the court room motif) and why should I feel sympathy for them since they and VFE have taken circuit designs from other pedal makers themselves?

      If you are against cloning in general then that’s totally fair. Like I said at the end of the post, if you come to a different conclusion than I did it’s totally cool and valid.

      Fwiw, the Superbolt also has a gain switch the super duex doesn’t have and every demo I’ve heard of the VFE pedals sound similar but different. So even if he took the design as a starting point,which I’m open to but I believe I’m innocent until proven and I think there’s evidence but still reasonable doubt (Again, totally fair if you disagree). But even if he took it as a starting point, then it’s been tweaked and modded to where by industry standards it’s now his pedal. Just IMHO but that’s all you get on a personal blog like this 🙂

      1. Jeff dean

        Of course the VFE sounds different. It is the Supreaux, not the Supreaux Deux, two different circuits developed over the course of several years of research.

        I am not opposed to cloning per se. I don’t like buying clones of pedals when they are still available from the original maker, but given the price differences I can’t fault anyone for being tempted by some of them. I am opposed to buying products from a company that consistently misrepresents the source of their products and, in at least one instance lied to their dealers about a pedal and implicitly denigrated the credibility of a competitor.

        Regarding your notion of Christian persecution being the source of the anti-JHS sentiment, I haven’t seen it. My wife is an ordained minister, Chaplin, and worship leader and my children attend a parochial school and identify themselves as Christians, so I have some sensitivity to the issue in the general media and interpersonal communication. Any references I’ve seen to Josh’s faith have been used to point out a perceived hypocrisy, not an attack on him BECAUSE of his religion. I do find it interesting that guitar players I’ve talked to online and in person who would like to lift up a joyful (fuzzy) noise unto The Lord won’t use a pedal from a transgender builder, but are willing to use the same circuit once it has been sanctified by JHS.

      2. Hey Jeff,

        very valid questions and points.

        I didn’t bring Devi’s sexuality into it because I didn’t think it was applicable to the conversation any more than mine or yours is.

        Re: clones. That’s my point. Both VFE and ROG offer clones of in production pedals. So did Devi Ever. Not only did they offer in production circuit clones, but they (except ROG) claimed them as original work. RoG is honest about the circuits it co-opts.

        re: persecution. I’m not one those christians who sees persecution around every corner. They certainly exist, and make it harder to see when there really is an agenda going on. The fact that JHS nowhere claims to be a christian company, yet the owner’s faith is constantly brought up is telling. The way that believers are referred to in some of the links I posted is, i think, telling. just as I don’t think Devi’s sexuality is relevant, neither do I think Josh’s faith should be, but people make it an issue.

        just my take

      3. Jeff dean

        You’ve come to your conclusions on JHS. I may not agree, but I appreciate your willingness to consider the issues.

        The only thing I know about VFE is that they manufacture at least one pedal that is licensed from Run Off Groove. If they do produce clones i am unlikely to purchase them, but that doesnt in any way change the relevent facts about JHS. As for the assertion that RoG and Devi Ever both make clones of current pedals, you are mistaken. RoG doesn’t “make” pedals at all. They publish information about their proprietary audio circuits. The three projects that you may be referring to: 22/7, Tube Reamer, and UBE Screamer, are all original works even if they are designed to sound similar to or function like more famous mass market pedals. So far as I can tell, the only clone Devi Ever has put out is the IC Muff, a pedal that hasn’t been manufactured by EHX for over 30 years. Many of her designs may have been influenced by (but not clones of) the work of Tim Escabedo, and for several years she hosted an archive of Escabedo’s published circuits on the Effector13 website. But in her case, as well as RoG, full attribution to the originals was given. Again, none of this is actually relevant to a discussion of JHS’ business practices. I do, however think it is important to clarify, especially in regard to RoG. They are a rather unique entity in the pedal/audio world.

  2. Thank you Adam. I personally had no idea about any of this as I don’t frequent forums anymore and very few blogs. It almost sounds like the mob mentality has taken over on some of these forums. People seem to be running more on emotion than on fact. If nothing else, I’m a bit more educated on some of the business dealings in the effects pedal world. It obviously took you a long time to research this and I thought you presented it in a fair and logical fashion.

    1. SC

      I’m afraid if you read this, and believed it, you’re significantly less educated about the pedal world than you were before. There’s no mob mentality, just a group of people who, through watching JHS case after JHS case have realised the guys up to no good, and they inform other of that when others ask about JHS.. This idea of haters etc is ad hominem and red herring, it’s what the people who dare to speak against JHS are tagged with.

      How do you think JHS got to this position. Do you think a whole bunch of people one day decided “hey this new pedal dude, Lets hate him for no good reason”, or do you think he has earned the bad reputation he has amongst many people on his own?

      1. Sc, it’s honestly a question I’ve asked myself more than once. My take is (and I tried to make it clear on the OP) that at some point along the way, JHS did something they probably shouldn’t have. That as they were growing as a company they must have had some early on build quality issues, etc.

        But when I first read all the anti JHS stuff, I believed it and repeated it. Then I talked to some folks and did some more research and I found out that what’s on a lot of blogs and forums isn’t the whole story. I also started to see references to Josh’s faith (which I shared) that seemed to be driving some of the disdain (at least to me).

        Also, I compared it to a builder like Fulltone. He takes the designs of others, tweaked them, and then called it his own original work. I can talk about his pedals on a gear forum and people will talk about it on its merits, and why not, every full tone pedal I’ve owned has been well built and sounded great. If I started a Devi ever thread to talk about the merits of her pedals, would it get hijacked by people up in arms about her stealing $20k from kick start backers? It probably should, but it doesn’t.

        So why is there so much JHS hate? I feel like at some point he did something to make someone mad, and I feel like some of it has absolutely been driven by people’s view of our Christian faith. Some of it has been driven by mob or group thinks, which weakens the arguments of those who, like you, see the facts and take a different but still valid opinion of them then I do. That’s my take anyway, hope it makes sense

  3. nonbelieverinanythingyousell

    if you can believe in a sky wizard and all the silliness and killing that that has resulted in, you can probably believe the absolute nonsense ‘case’ you created here. This would be embarrassing except, I don’t think you are really capable of being embarrassed.

    1. At my high school senior retreat I was fully “pants’d” In front of most of the girls in my year… I know what embarrassment is… That and I’m a Mariners fan… Nothing but embarrassment there )

      As for my faith. Every Friday and Saturday people from my church feed the homeless. We have for drug dealers and drug users who now live in community with the cops who arrested them. I’m taking high school kids on their spring break to work with a Mexican orphanage. And personally, I was someone who though that if they were “good enough’ and did enough “good work” that it would be enough, and then Jesus freed me from that bondage and covered my sin and shame that no mountain of good deeds could and made my duty into a joy. That’s my story and I’ll take that kind of silliness all day long 🙂

      Thanks for commenting though. Better to dialogue than not to

      -Adam

      1. nonbelieverinanythingyousell

        Based on scripture… do you think that Jesus Christ would run JHS the way that Josh does? Would he simply invoke the ‘what is rome’s is rome’s’ concept or would he practice his business different than does JHS?

      2. I think we are all pictures of grace and stories of redemption. So if we did something sketch or in a way we could have done better, then the story isn’t our failures but Jesus’ work in bringing us from failure and moving us forward. That’s the spiritual answer, which I think is absolutely true. I don’t stand before God for you, JHS or anyone else, only for my own actions. I’m so glad that when I stand before God, I don’t stand on what I’ve done or not done, but what Jesus has done for me.

        As for how he runs the business. I’m not convinced that he did anything wrong. I see the evidence. I see it as a possibility on certain points. But I don’t consider cloning unethical. It’s a grey area and a moving target and if you come to a different conclusion then you would hold a very valid point of view.

  4. nonbelieverinanythingyousell

    you didn’t answer a very direct question. which is fine, but it could lead one to see you as less than forthright. It is a delicate dance to live in this world and believe. The problem is that that dance becomes silly and pathetic when one is not doing it.

    Would Christ clone pedals? Would he engage in the delicate dance of legalities and half truths that are rife in the controversy? I kind of have a hard time believing that he would. If he is indeed he who should be emulated… there is no room for all of this… not for anyone who is a believer or a follower of the principles of Christ.

    To defend it… well, that is some territory best left to dancers who don’t mind looking silly.

    1. I apologize if you thought I wasn’t being straight with you. Either you think cloning is wrong or its not. I believe it isn’t. Others might disagree. That’s what we call a grey area. I hold firm to things that are absolutely clear, and on things that are less clear I hold loosely.

      Would Jesus build a clone? I don’t know. That’s a very interesting question. would Jesus run JHS the way Josh does? I’m not convinced that Josh runs JHS in a way that he shouldn’t. Retailers I talked to, who are, in a very real way, JHS’s biggest customers, are happy with him (that’s not the case for every builder). He doesn’t have any disgruntled employees writing tell all blogs like some companies do. And if JHS has done something in the past that they shouldn’t have done, then I think Jesus would cover that in his mercy. I’m not good or better because I follow Jesus. Jesus covers me with his goodness when I place my faith in him.

      As for looking silly. Jesus was beaten, disposed, betrayed, rejected, tortured, and murdered for my sake. May I be willing to look silly for him all day long 🙂

    2. Paul

      Jesus would NOT be a pedal maker….. he would be The Shepard, Physician, Teacher, SAVIOUR….

      Your questions are unfairly worded, and noncontextual to the purpose of what GOD intended….

      Just as Devi felt an unction to live as a different gender and have technology as a profession, Jesus had a commission to do something miraculous for you and me….

      It’s not difficult to see…..

      And it’s a pretty obvious conclusion that every manufacturer of every product imaginable copies or clones from some other source….

      Now on particle physics theory, does John Dalton OWE any credit to Democritus ? Silly me just joking…..

  5. The Devi Ever Kickstarter failure is just icing on the cake here. Cries of “unfair/injustice” from Devi are mired by her own screw up. Lost the passion? More like, “Oh poopie, I’m in deep now!”

    Hard to feel sorry for those that steal in their own way too eh? Time to heat up my soldering iron and finish my own clone of a Fuce face :).

  6. schlitt

    Though I am not thoroughly convinced by your arguments and may not agree with your conclusion, your handling of reader comments and your honest, thoughtful, and kind dialogue with those who vehemently disagree with you is remarkable. Thank you for your patient and thoughtful responses. It’s refreshing to see folks who can articulate their faith without sounding pompous and overbearing. That’s a lesson I’ll try to learn and emulate.

    For the record, I still won’t be buying any JHS pedals, but only because $200 for an overdrive be STRAIGHT crazy! I think us “worship” (whatever made-up genre THAT is) players spend too much on the gear and too little on the purpose behind the music. No one is more guilty of that than me.

    1. Hi Schlitt,

      Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t expect anyone to fully agree with anything I say, but especially on this issue. There’s way too much ambiguity and grey area for full agreement. I probably change my opinion on aspects of this issue every other month, but I feel like this article was a generally fair conclusion for my thoughts. whether anyone disagrees is another thing. 🙂

      Regarding the price of pedals, that’s totally fair. I’ve probably become numb to how much these things cost. I blame Strymon for that 🙂 But I’ve never felt like I was being over charged for any of the JHS pedals I’ve owned.

      Thanks for commenting and reading. feel free to do so again!

  7. Travis

    What a well written article. And as others have said, your responses to the various replies is something to be respected & inspired by all together. I had no idea about any of these issues you made mention of until reading this article. I can only go by my own dealings with JHS Pedals, and my experience has been positive. But, if we were all honest about the situation, every other pedal manufacturer (or any other company in general) faces the exact same situations all the time. Some are, and will never be, made public. Thanks for taking the time to write this. It’s quite thought provoking.

  8. Karl

    Even here in Denmark I’ve heard that JHS is bad quality and rip off designs. Based on this review I will think its not correct. However, Josh does not seem to be the kind of guy people immediately fall in love with. He can seem to be a little arrogant. I base that on youtube appearances only, and it might be total unfair. But if many other people feel the same, then it could have started something… maybe! Peace to JHS!

    1. Hey Karl,

      thanks for posting! I’ve never met Josh, although I did talk to him once for about 20 minutes last year. He’s been very cool to me and his customer service guys (not knowing about this blog) have helped me out a lot on a few of their pedals I’ve owned.

      In writing this post I talked to a lot of guys in the gear industry and while there was disagreement over what had happened in the past on the technical details, but no one had anything but good things to say about Josh personally. Which is why I’ve tended to assume that Josh’s faith has had more to do with things than the critics would like to admit.

      Thanks again for commenting!

      1. Matt

        I really think that assuming it is about faith does a disservice to people of faith. I think it’s about stolen designs. There are plenty of Christians in the musical instrument business who aren’t accused of anything.

  9. levinjapan

    I bought a pedal involved in the DEVI EVER x JHS(The pedals don´t even sound the same), which is the Astro Mess Fuzz and must confess I was a little worried about all the fuss in the forums but, on the other hand, I didn´t see any plausible proof that Josh was doing something shady or ripping off someone.It seems most likely that the company is being attacked for being christian and I do agree that the pedals aren´t cheap but I haven´t regret for one minute that I got my Astro Mess, which is a great pedal and was built awesomely. Also, every time I got in touch with JHS I received a warm and personal message from Josh, which inspired to get other pedals from them so I can both praise God and support a christian company.If Josh is reading this I got a message for ya: Keep on making awesome pedals and blessing the christian community!! Definitely I´m getting another pedal from you!! God bless

  10. Matt

    I think he’s a crook, and that false equivalences are drawn between shameless cloners like JHS who do *not* cite their sources and the myriad companies out there that are open about modding a classic older circuit.

    And I’m Christian, so I’m not attacking him for that. One would hope we Christians would actually expect high level, open, honest, non-“murky” dealings from someone who lays claim to our faith and ethics.

    His actions are unethical, and he absolutely knows it. Sending warm fuzzy emails not only is not an excuse for shady “original” designs, but it is exactly what you might expect from someone who hopes to sustain such a fiction.

    1. Hi Matt,

      Thanks for commenting. It’s probably not a surprise that I disagree with you but I think it’s pretty clear that I’ve allowed for open debate on the comments here.

      Your comment has three points: he’s a crook, it’s not because he’s a Christian, and he’s unethical.

      If you think he’s a crook for “stealing”circuits and claiming that they’re his own, do you say the same for Zvex, Fulltone and Wampler who’ve all been documented to have done the same?
      I agree that you aren’t judging him for his faith. But I think that hasn’t been the case for many of JHS’s critics.

      As for ethics, I’m not really sure what email you’re referring to.

      Thanks again for commenting!

    2. levinjapan

      Hey Matt!!
      I wonder if you aren´t being too harsh on JHS if the world of effects is fraught with cloning, despite not everyone attack all companies that clone. I wonder why it has to be so tough on JHS?
      ¨shady “original” designs¨
      Actually JHS says on which pedals their designs are based such as the Bluesbreaker for the Morning Glory, the TS 808 on one side of the sweet tea, a tone bender on the right channel of the Bun runner,etc etc.
      I just remembered that one of the most sought-after overdrive pedals is the King of Tone, which is based on the bluesbreaker but I don´t remember seeing people attacking analogman…By the way, I´m on the waiting list and don´t mind that the pedal is based upon something else because both pedals are different and sound different…

  11. zedthewizard

    For an open forum, i don’t see my original comment. It seems odd that you care so much of whether or not he is a christian business. Maybe, it isn’t up to you for how his business is characterized. Let’s face it, we would expect that if you got down to it, his critics aren’t muslim or buddhist or wiccans or hindus, but christians. HERE’s the thing, I never really saw a criticism involving his faith . . . maybe, there are a few, but you are making the issue of his faith for whatever purpose. You state that Josh feels comfortable enough with his changes that it’s not a ‘copy’ or whatever. So, you have defendant decide the case. Wow. Your analogy of the ZVEX Fuzz Factory starting off as a Fuzz Face shows your bias in that there are many, many changes between these two pedals. Concerning the Supro Bolt . . . hearing demos on you tube or the internet is not the same thing as having the pedals in front of you so, you are clearly ill informed as to whether they sound the same or not. So, you are the prosecutor, defendant’s attorney, judge, and jury . . . . just smacks of self serving narcissism. You say Josh’s silence is fanning the flames; but you don’t know how the alternative would’ve worked out because if he spent all his time rebutting critics on forums; he would eventually have to stop so, why start. Apparently, Josh or his counsel is smarter than you. Sometimes, the best thing is to leave someone else’s business to their own devices . . . unless, you are a raging narcissist who places himself above everyone to render their decision with dubious devices. My advice: take this down and mind your own business.

    1. Hi Zed…

      … or should I say Ron (since that’s the name you posted under before). It took my a little looking to figure out why you’re first post hadn’t been put up (mostly because you’re posting under a new name). Yours was the only one I haven’t allowed on here in the 9 months since I posted this blog. Your earlier comment was one that you copied and pasted on various forums across the internet (one or two of which I participate in) that seemed be linked to boosting an ebay auction you had going at the time, and i had nor have any interest in having my blog used for that purpose.

      As for JHS being a “christian business” i don’t care, nor do I consider them one. They don’t identify that way. there are plenty of quality gear builders who do like Matthews Effects, Living Tone or Agape amps, but JHS doesn’t. The only reason the link is made is that critics make it. As I said in the OP, my reason for looking into this to start with was that I felt that if my faith was being misrepresented by JHS I wanted to know and I wanted to say something about it, which lead to my investigation and the final result being this blog post. If you want to see criticisms of Josh’s faith (I doubt every JHS employee is a christian) you only need to look at forums like TDPRI or TGP.

      I’m not really sure why my “narcissim” bothers you so much. Google search “JHS controversy” or “JHS Devi Ever” and you’ll find that my opinion is the decided minority expressed (although I think I might (might) be in the majority overall). I’m not judge and jury. you are. If you decide to buy or not to buy a JHS pedal then you’ve made your verdict, not me. 🙂

      As for the Fuzz Factory. I acknowledge that it’s a heavily modified clone, and not a direct 1:1 of the Fuzz Face. However, on their site, ZVex claims it as original. The same way Brian Wampler claims the Ego Comp as original even thought it’s a modified OTA COMP (MXR/Ross) and that Fulltone claims the OCD is original even though it’s a modified Rat. I’m not criticizing those builders (I’ve owned a liked their stuff). I’m criticizing the inconstancy of JHS critics who seem to hold a double standard. JHS bad, these other builders OK. That doesn’t work for me.

      1. zedthewizard

        i sometimes use a nickname, and i sometimes use my real name . . . i couldn’t find the post to be consistent due to your censorship on your supposedly open forum. i don’t have an ebay account! you claim i wanted to make money on a pedal that i gave away for free to a friend!!! you know, like a christian might. i don’t have my comments; but an open forum is an open forum. copying and pasting information shouldn’t exclude someone’s comments – the may provide context. i mean you are referring to documents with links to them. i don’t understand how your faith is being misrepresented by JHS pedals or anyone; it is your faith. you even state that you don’t consider them a christian business . . . . . so, they are a business. so, how is your own faith being misrepresented. for me to google, i couldn’t use any information because you don’t allow me to copy and paste.

        you make claims against zvex that may or may not be true, but you don’t cite your friend who explained to you the similarities between jhs and devi ever. you just throw whatever out and hope it might stick. apparently, i did purchase one JHS pedal, as you well know. my problem with your narcissism is that you jump from it being about your own christian faith and conclude it is about the inconsistency in others’ statements. my point is, is your narcissism is preventing you from focusing on yourself and your own issues; and instead acting like a defense attorney, a prosecutor, a judge, a jury, a witness, etc. . .. . you try and turn this on me; but, you started this out like a legal case. there is none as you say, but you use the guise of that format to allow your narcissism to cloud the actual discussion and as a pretense for your superiority.

        i am just suggesting you get help and leave JHS pedals alone instead of inflaming an issue; which, you concluded erroneously Josh was doing by not commenting. that would initiate and ever flowing conversation; like you are trying to do here.

  12. Karl

    I’m also Christian, and even married to a Pastor. It’s USA, you are all hardcore Christians over there, or most of you, at least compared to us in North Europe 😉 …..being christian can definitely not be why people are claiming an American company for stealing designs and make bad quality. Don’t go there, its a far-fetched theory! 🙂

    Pedal companies, guitar companies and amp companies copy each other. Just trying not to break any real patents, but it seems like there aren’t many for the old circuits. Maybe someone felt that JHS copied a little too much, and then the avalanche, so to say, started. And maybe JHS was then again slow to sweep the rumours aside so they continued and became stronger. Maybe someone just started it because they envy their success. We can guess from now on and until…… but saying its because they are christians… ….in USA …..come on! 🙂

    1. Hey Karl.

      Glad you commented. As evidenced by your commenting, the internet is international and so are it’s guitar forums. I also lived in Europe (well, the UK) so i get where you’re coming from 🙂

      Why is it that one (or many companies) do something and it’s no big deal, and another company does something and everyone gets the torches and pitchforks out and, oh yeah, “have you heard that JHS is a christian company? how dare he!” That’s not me, that’s commenter after commenter on forum after forum. I’m merely pointing out the discrepancy.

      1. Karl

        The whole thing about making a Christian company is weird. And I rarely see it in Europe (North Europe such as UK, Scandinavia, Holland and Germany). What does it mean that they are a Christian company? …that they do not cheat people? What does it add to their products that they are a Christian company? I have a company and I’m Christian, but I do not have a Christian company. What is the difference between my company and a Christian company? I can fully understand why people question their “Christian company” thing… because what does it mean? Do they only hire christians? That would be illegal here to discriminate 😉

        Anyway… I’m sure its not because they are Christians that some claim they steal designs….

      2. Hey Karl.

        What does it mean to be a christian company? who knows. some companies identify that way for whatever reason, JHS doesn’t, which proves my point. JHS doesn’t claim to be a christian company… yet the tag is applied by their critics and you hear “a christian company shouldn’t act that way” while companies owned by non-christians get a free pass. that’s my point: the double standard.

    2. zedthewizard

      who is saying it and perpetuating it but you folks. my concern is how you folks here are representing my christian faith.

      1. zedthewizard

        turn the other cheek and don’t worry about the forums . . . it isn’t ancient rome and there are no lions!

  13. levinjapan

    ¨ Ego Comp as original even thought it’s a modified OTA COMP (MXR/Ross)¨.
    Wow, I´ve been deceived then…I wonder what´s under my Leviathan Fuzz, which Wampler also claims to be original. Even so, that won´t matter because Wampler is not a CHRISTIAN COMPANY…
    Come on guys, if you don´t like JHS there´s a lot of companies to buy from but I can´t be sure if they don`t copy…
    By the way, I´m waiting for my ¨copy ¨of a bluesbreaker, namely a KOT next year. And I had my TS9-DX modified by Keeley. What´s the deal if modified pedals can be better than the originals?

    1. Levinjapan,

      near as I can tell the Leviathan is as original as you can get with a fuzz (fuzz pedals in general are pretty simple so it’s next to impossible to be really original.)

      The ego comp is very heavily modified, and had some features that (although they’ve become common now) weren’t a few years ago. So i wouldn’t worry too much about it.

      My point isn’t to rip on Brian Wampler (or Fulltone) I like both companies and love some of their pedals. My point is that there is a high inconsistency in the way they are treated vs. the way JHS is treated by many of their critics.

      1. Júlio Pereira

        adamdolhanyk,
        Thanks for your reply. I´m glad to know I didn´t make a mistake buying the Ego compressor and the Leviathan. After reading so much this posting and checking on TS-based pedals(I gave up buying the BB preamp) I decided to sell my Cusack screamer and my love pedal plexi 800 (I also have a love pedal plexi 2009) to get a superbolt. I do hope it will stack well with the Astro Mess Fuzz, which I LOVE.
        I do understand JHS has been treated unfairly because of the supposed faith of the owner. As for Wampler, I have 3 of their pedals, namely SLOstortion, Ego compressor e Leviathan. Back to the anti-TS thingy I got a tweed twin from lovepedal and have enjoyed so far!!!

        Cheers!!

      1. Hey Brian,

        I can’t speak for Levi, but i think his point was that you don’t brand yourself as a “christian company” as say, Rick Matthew’s does with his.

        Thanks for commenting though 🙂

      2. Paul

        And a great builder and a patient guy !!!!

        I have your stuff, and it’s sonically incredible !!!! Thanks Brian…. Ethereal is next…..

  14. Pingback: Fall Q&A. Effects Pedals. Acoustic Worship, and Three Headed Delays. | Real World Worship Leading

  15. levinjapan

    I re-read this posting after buying my Superbolt and am super satisfied with the pedal and the service at JHS. I´m even considering having my crybaby and OCD modified by them. Too bad people just criticize the company without probably never have played their pedals.

  16. Matt

    My faith is why I find JHS’ behavior to be so distasteful. Don’t presume that everyone who is mad at Josh is mad because they are *not* Christians. They very well might have, you know, high standards for people who are public examples of their faith.

    1. Matt

      Mind you, I would find lying to be distasteful regardless of the faith of the liar, but my point is this: I don’t hate him because he is a Christian. I don’t *hate* him at all. But I find his long record of dishonesty to be most disappointing in a fellow Christian, and I am not going to let him off the hook because I want to be defensive and perceive that people only dislike him because of his faith.

      1. Matt, you’re welcomed to your opinion 🙂

        But there’s no denying that Josh’s faith is a big part of a lot of the criticisms out there, in a way that it’s not for other companies.

        You’re welcomed to your opinion, it’s just not one I share 🙂

        As for a long record of dishonesty, for (literally) years (two years in fact) i heard that JHS had written this horrible email about Devi Ever, and when i finally got a copy to read (linked to up above) it was totally different to what had been represented (basically to the point of being a lie in some cases).

        Here’s what I know, every builder I’ve talked to says that Josh is one of the nicest guys in the industry, and all my drive pedals are JHS not because I’m a fan boy, but because they are all really, really good.

      2. Bobby Smirza

        Im trying to decide whether JHS and Josh are good people. Adam has layed out his case and evidence backing his opinion. When the comments against JHS consistently give generalities like a “long record of dishonesty” it makes it hard to agree with the hate against JHS when I’ve just been presented with specifics that refute that “long record of dishonesty”.

        All the accusations of the hate being fueled by the fact that Josh said he is a Christian aside, according to Adam’s post you can’t deny that he isn’t doing anything MORE WRONG or LESS WRONG then what so many other companies are doing out there today. So how are so many people putting blame on him and not putting the blame on these other damn pedal companies? You people accusing Josh of being dishonest are so inconsistent and it makes you sound wrong whether you truly are or are not.

        At the end of the day, these pedals are given high praise, they sound good, and obviously the most important factor: they look good. Therefore yaboy is buyin em.

      3. Hey Bobby,

        you’ve pretty much summed up how I feel. If you like their stuff, and it fits what you need, then go for it. But it’s also possible that someone else’s pedal will work better for you.

        Thanks for commenting!

  17. I think the internet needs to chill the heck out and stop getting so worked up. Have your own experience and form your own opinion. If you have a problem with JHS allegedly stealing pedal designs then cancel your Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg allegedly stole that too. If you scrutinize every product you’ve ever owned then you’d end up wasting a lot of time and probably throwing most of them away because of your feelings. Stop watching football because they condone violence on women and children. Don’t eat vegetables because farmers poison them with pesticides. And don’t drink water because the added fluoride will give you dimensia.

    I’m about to send 3 of my pedals in to JHS and I might ask for Josh to personally mod each one for me. Might ask for an autograph too. People kill me with their hot headed opinions when they don’t know all the facts and aren’t directly affected by whatever it is their mad about.

  18. Pat

    Let me first say, that was a well thought out and researched commentary.

    I have been a Worship Leader/Pastor for 10 years now. As a guitar player for more than 43 years, having toured throughout the 80’s and 90’s in secular music I’ve played through ALOT of stomp boxes.

    Every pedal out there today is a clone or dirivetive of another pedal, that’s not to say that there aren’t some good well designed originals out there but lets face it, most guys/gals get into building pedals because they think that there design is better than one that inspired them.

    I just recieved my first JHS pedal about a month ago, an Angry Charlie, I have owned dozens of overdrive fuzz and distortion pedals. Until recently i had 5 diferent overdrive/distortion pedals on my board. I now have two, the Fulltone OCD and the JHS Angry Charlie. I have been looking for a high gain pedal for years and found it in the Angry Charlie and wether its a clone or not, to my ears (and lets be honest sound is subjective) it is in my opinion the best sounding drive pedal I have owned to date.

    To close, let me say this. Non believers will ALWAYS look for ways to persecute believers (Christians) when they do wrong. The truth of the matter is we are not perfect and will always fall short of the Glory of God, God is perfect and the only standard that we shall base our lives upon.

    1. JHS

      Loads of crap here…
      The case where false Christians sinners defends schematics of the distorted sound of the devil in a box…
      Set the Gain on 10 Mr. Stryper if you wanna be on the support band of the Apocalipse.
      So funny mate! Keep on writing, come on!

      1. I’m just going to let this one stand or fall (most likely fall) on it’s own merits.

        But I do hope this proves that I haven’t censored this post for opposing view points, and perhaps its some insight into what I find humorous.

  19. Justforjeff

    Jeff dean, then you better not buy any big company name pedals ever again, since all their pedals are “clones” of older companies pedals, and clones of each others pedals, ad nauseum.

    Rip out the flip flop circuits for turning the effects on or off in any pedals that do similar jobs, and then compare the remaining circuits.

    They’re all ripping each other off, and seem perfectly fine with it. I find it surprising how poor people complain about ethics and originality while rich people don’t. I think it might be something to do with ‘easier to be a complainer than a doer”. Something too hard? Make up stories about how its all unethical anyway.

  20. Hey Brother in Christ 🙂 Fantastic article. I have a good friend that has done a few demo videos using JHS pedals, especially the Klon-Clone version. I like a Moron waited too late to get mine before he stopped making them, as he stated he would do 🙂 I do own a Little Black Buffer AB&Y pedal that’s great. Good quality products. I usually buy 95% of my gear thru a “Friend” in the retail buss. that gives me good discounts 🙂 But I didn’t even bother to even ask for a discount when Brian Wampler made a special run of Black Velvet Fuzz units in PINK for Breast Cancer. I have also waited 9 Mo. for my Analogman KOT pedal, love it & would never ever think of selling it. I do think it’s a shame when I see people on CraigsList selling some of these pedals for more than they cost brand new, that’s like scalping concert tickets. Again, great article!
    Have a very Blessed Easter.

    God Bless,
    Big Lou

  21. Pingback: Pedal Acquisition Syndrome PAS group - Page 933 - MyLesPaul.com

  22. Buck

    I had refused to purchase any JHS products prior to a week ago due to the lack of knowledge about the accusations stealing of other designs. I began to research the Morning Glory, and I read many threads with negative comments which mentioned his faith. After reading your article, I’m glad it now has a place on my board. It was on the entire set this past Sunday. There was a lot of JHS hate mentioned in several threads.

    1. Hey Buck, sorry i’m so late in responding to this.

      I think a lot of the JHS hate is going away, and in reality it only lives with a very, very small but vocal minority on certain internet forums and blogs. Most of the really vitriolic stuff about JHS is pretty old and out of date, but since it’s the interwebs it’s preserved.

      Enjoy your pedal!

  23. Steven

    Ran across this yesterday when doing a little more research on JHS after talking with the other guitar player on our worship team. I told him I had just purchased a Morning Glory and he told me he had seen a lot of people with quality control issues with their pedals. I had no idea all of this other drama had existed. I will say after reading your blog as well as posts from several other forums I have come to the conclusion that you have and that is to say Josh has not done anything unethical in the realm of pedal building anymore than the vast majority of other pedal companies. When it comes right down to it faith has nothing to do with guitar pedals or their builders except some chose to bring faith into it (not you because clearly you are only pointing this out to make your case.) having said that, if anyone feels JHS is a bad company, there’s a lot of other companies to do business with and satisfy your cravings for tone with. Just be honest with yourself most importantly and hold any those companies to the same standards you are holding JHS to. As for me, I should be velcroing a brand new Morning Glory pedal (that was admitted to being based on blues breaker) to my pedal board and I am doing so with no shame or regrets at this point. From what I’ve heard and read from the vast majority of Morning Glory owners, I will love the tones it provides me and it will likely be a useful tool as I help lead others into the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To those who find this offensive….I’m praying for you!! And as for our friend who is so surprised at Christians seeing persecution in the USA, things are rapidly changing here. It is a ever darker growing world. Let us continue as individuals to be the “city on a hill” and shine brighter than ever the love of our Lord! God bless you all.

  24. sixty cycle sven

    I really want a Muffaletta, but…

    I will never buy a pedal from JHS simply because I abhor Mr Scott’s religious beliefs. No, not his alleged Christianity, but rather his open association with the International House of Prayer cult.

    I believe that one’s faith (or lack of) is one’s own business (I certainly did not seek out this information) but once something is learned it cannot be unlearned — there’s no way to put the genie back in the bottle.

    Are there any Muffaletta clones worth buying? — cloning is OK because everybody does it.

    1. Sven,

      thanks for reading and commenting!!!

      I disagree with your opinion but not the right to have it. I wouldn’t buy certain pedals because of their sexual branding or Satan amps for what I think are obvious reasons.

      But Josh is a good guy. Although i don’t consider it a cult, I wouldn’t go to his church either, but that doesn’t mean anything about his pedals or the business he runs.

      As far as Muffuletta clones? there is nothing like it on the market. you’ll have to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to buy EHX or cloned versions of the same muff pedals to get what you get in what great pedal. I actually own the Bubble font muff that JHS used to help shape the tone knob on the Muffuletta and i’m very happy with that pedal.

  25. Pingback: I’m sorry Brian Wampler – Real World Worship

  26. paul

    Nobody hates real Christians, and your attempt to play the victim is telling. What people don’t like is religious posers who use their faith as a weapon. Bullying the LGBT community and then claiming your religious liberty is being violated because you don’t get to discriminate isn’t original – plenty of people supported segregation based on the Bible – and it certainly isn’t a Christian idea. It’s just hate masquerading as religion.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for commenting. The issue you’re referring to wasn’t an issue when I wrote the article originally. Since then my take has been this: I’ve said before that I wouldn’t go to Josh’s church for a number of reasons, but it’s been unclear to me whether or not some of the things they’ve been accused of are real or not. I’ve experienced times dealing with ministries & individuals in other countries where its been unclear to me exactly what’s going on because of language, geographic and cultural differences. Additionally, I think guilt by association on all sides is often unfair.

      As far as you personally, if you’ve been hurt by the church or individual christians please drop me a line (https://realworldworship.org/contact/), as a pastor, a christian and a human being i would love to hear your story and understand where you are coming from.

      -Adam

      1. JR

        Adam,

        I think the point he may be getting at is that a large portion of your argument seems to boil down to “JHS has done nothing that other pedal makers don’t do, and he’s being persecuted for being a Christian.” The second part of that statement is going set some people off in the current political climate. I’m from Indiana, and imagined Christian persecution was Bosma and Pence’s justification for trying to write into law permission to discriminate against the LGBT community. It and similar actions have left some people feeling somewhat aggrieved. You need go no further than this comment section to see several people cry Christian persecution in regards to Josh Scott. 83% of Americans self identify as Christians…that’s not a group being persecuted, not in the US. After all, Pence got rewarded with a vice presidential nomination. It makes Christian persecution claims fall a bit flat, especially to the LGBT community.

        I agree, some individuals, especially on the internet, may be loud and hostile to Christianity, nor is it necessarily fair to paint all Christians with the same brush.

        Meanwhile, people still get KILLED in this country for being gay.

        Apples and oranges, man. Perspective is everything.

        -JR

  27. A bit annoyed, I'll admit.

    http://www.freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13677&hilit=jhs+astro+mess

    Respectfully, you’re way off on the Hyperion/Astro Mess AND the ROG pedal. There ARE a couple small differences between the fuzzes, but one of the small differences is pretty much a dead giveaway that JHS did reverse a Hyperion. On Devi’s, between the two gain stages in the fuzz, there are two .1uF capacitors in series, a unnecessary thing that stems from her not being exactly an analog electronics genius. On the JHS version, that’s been changed to 1 .047uF cap. Basically, they took the two caps in series that they saw in Devi’s pedal, and changed it so there was 1 cap in the equivalent value. If they had just came up with something on their own to emulate that kind of sound, that’s not a natural point to tweak. Changing between those two values in that spot in the circuit would be inaudible. It is, however, natural if you saw the original pedal, chuckled for a second, and cut out the extra cap. The other change is JHS switches the parallel transistor around the second gain stage with another transistor positioned in the opposite direction, incidentally, implementing a trick Devi used on several of her fuzzes in a slightly different way. No, it’s not a dead on copy, but it is pretty clear they lifted 99% of the circuit.

    I posted the FSB thread where this all came up originally because Josh hopped on the thread and made the situation worse by denying everything and lying about it unnecessarily. Yes, I know Devi isn’t exactly trustworthy, and she can be somewhat hyperbolic, but I don’t think her memory is faulty, especially right after the phone calls.

    Re: ROG. Saying that well, since ROG didn’t “press charges”, none of us have a right to complain. Ripping someone off is ripping someone off, regardless of whether or not the people being ripped off want to expend the energy to complain about something they can’t stop anyway. ROG would have gladly licensed the design to Josh, and he’d have garnered quite a bit of good will for doing the right thing there. It would have been a small price to pay for a whole lot of goodwill.

    When it comes to cloning, very little of it is illegal. You might have a copyright claim if they copy your board art whole, but other than that, there’s not much anyone can do. However there’s a difference that most people in the pedal community see between cloning a pedal from 1975 that’s no longer made, and cloning a pedal another small builder is still making (or at least was). Look at the whole Vemuram/Paul C thing. Vemuram clones the Timmy. Is it illegal? No. Is it kind of scummy to clone a pedal that another small builder came up with and is currently trying to support themselves on? Totally. Is it scummy to rip a design off a DIY website where the site specifically lays out that the designs are not for commercial use without permission? Yes. Is it illegal? No.

    Is JHS evil? No. Do they make bad stuff? No…I’m a EE (hence the crappy writing), and I’ve been in a few of their pedals, they’re reasonably well done. I wouldn’t even mind if you said, well, this is all OLD news, this doesn’t reflect JHS today. I might even agree.

    Just don’t claim they DIDN’T rip some people off.

  28. Robert Smith

    I just read your post on JHS. I think, having followed the controversy since the very beginning, that you may have missed a few nuances:

    First off, I’m a moderately knowledgeable hack that plays in church as one of my outlets. I’ve built my own pedals, I can read a schematic and I’ve followed effects building since the early 90s. When JHS first arrived on the scene there was quite a bit of controversy since his first 10 products or so were pretty direct rips of other people’s work (http://www.freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18293&hilit=jhs). At that time he was concealing his sources and claiming de novo production of the circuits. I suspect that his open-ness about some new products (like the Kilt being an Expandora clone) is based on the reaction that he got to this early on.

    The claim that JHS somehow gets a worse ride than other folks involved in pedal building is not, in my experience, true. Others whose early work is primarily cloning and concealing sources have also been ridden pretty hard (check out freestompboxes postings on Lovepedal, as an example, or BJF, or Zvex). Analogman is different in that he’s always been honest and up-front about what he’s doing. Same with Peter at VFE. Also, both of them are obviously very knowledgeable about what they’e doing when they design a pedal.

    Which brings me to the workmanship thing. From his early postings on FSB, and the build quality of the early pedals, it seems clear that Josh is not an EE. That he’s a hobbyist that “went pro”. Wrapping his advertising in verbiage emphasizing R&D and new designs resulted in some contempt from the DIY community. Where things get interesting is that suddenly, about 3 or 4 years ago, things changed at JHS. They were designing really complicated (Panther, Panther cub) or really innovative (Colour Box, Kilt, Mufaletta) products! My attitude to Josh changed somewhere in there. I doubt that he got an EE degree, but he’s found a partner who, while silent, is a kick butt designer and all props to him. The current PCBs are well done, commercial SMD and thru hole-good work!

    It’s in the hand and custom work that we get back to JHS sloppy roots. Please see: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/think-through-before-you-send-your-pedals-to-jhs-for-a-mod-recase-rehouse.1772434/. The work was ill-advised, badly done, and the person who commissioned it was blown off with a wholly inadequate response. In the end Josh did the right thing, but it’s the whiff of snake oil in the “we’re a great company that can do anything” and then turn out product that shows so much ignorance of basic electronic principles as the pedal that the OP got back, and then start by stone-walling him. JHS will no longer do rehouses, that’s a good result and will insulate them from criticism because they DO have their act together in getting good designs of mostly innovative products manufactured in a competent way. I can respect the JHS company, I just feel uncomfortable with Josh!

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks so much for commenting.

      When it comes to early JHS (let’s call it 2008-2010 or 2011) I don’t have any comments. Almost all the guys I know of who are builders were hobbyists who started a business. Near as I can tell, in the early days there were some build quality issues and some “shadiness” on the origin of the circuits. I don’t argue that. My point has always been is that there are a HUGE number of other builders with the same story. You mentioned BJF or Zvex, and that’s what I was getting at: I can post a thread on TGP or TDPRI etc about a ZVex SHO or BJF Honey Bee and I’ll get normal comments. If i post about JHS, the thread gets shut down by those with an ax to grind against JHS, and many of the charges that are brought up are the ones I debunk here.

      Regarding build quality… JHS from 2012 (and earlier) has been rock solid on build quality. Whether Josh is an EE or not doesn’t matter. I messaged another builder I know and he told me that its not a big deal, especially with analog pedals, and that only a handful of guys are EE’s. If he has an employee who’s an EE now, that’s no different than companies like Keeley and Wampler, where neither of their namesakes are DSP engineers but that tech has become core to their product line.

      Regarding this specific rehouse on the Gear Page… One the customers side, that’s a questionable rehouse to begin with. Additionally, JHS did take the pedal back and do repair work. After it didn’t work again, its unclear to me why they didn’t replace the pedals in addition to his mod cost which some commenters said was part of the terms of service… but he only took a refund and then waited half a year. He also only gave us a very limited sample of the full communication. (if it was published between pages 8-19 i apologize). So what I’m saying is that what I don’t defend everything JHS has ever done (far from it)… this one possible screw up isn’t evidence of a larger issue.

      But we can agree to disagree 🙂

  29. Skeptic.

    “-The People who hate JHS pedals seem to have an standard operating procedure. If you remove one of their criticisms, they just grab for the next one. If you remove that next one they just grab for another one. It’s a circular way of thinking, and it shows that their agenda has become more important than the facts. ”

    You mean like when arguing about faith with a believer?

    You didn’t even actually compare the bolt pedal in person, you checked on youtube?

    Nice. I’m sure different amps/cabinets/guitars/mics didn’t impact the sound.

    1. There’s two options with the Superbolt. Either JHS has an original circuit, or one so heavily modified as to be called original. Or they took the circuit that was out in public and not in production and called it their own. Is that wrong? Sketchy? Sure. But illegal? Does it hurt the consumer who gets the quality pedal they want? I don’t think so, and I’ve yet to be 100% convinced that they did anything wrong in this instance, and i don’t get the righteous anger that exists on many of these forums. My personal opinion is that they took a public design and modded it to the point of being comfortable with calling it original. this happens enough that I would call it a norm for the industry at the time.

  30. GOD

    I have a few simple questions.
    When you point your finger at someone and state “They’re not a Christian”! Isn’t that making YOU not a Christian, not living Christian values, not loving thy neighbour? It’s no different than what happened at the Salem witch trials.
    Also, how did all of these pedal builders and DIYers get “cloned” circuits if no one copied the original one from the amp in the first place? I can guarantee even the “original circuit” is a copy from somewhere. I am a trained tech in thru-hole and surface mount technology. There’s only one way to build any kind of circuit. It’s the numeric value of the parts that you lay in that circuit that give it the certain desired character… or tone shaping. You should dig into the history of anything related to the music industry and you will find over and over the so-and-so “copied” someone else. One simple reason for this… it’s an art form and inspires others.
    When it comes down to running and thriving a business from the ground up it’s dog eat dog out there. I know that JHS hasn’t even come close to approaching an illegal line in the sand. Another thing you should research are the all of the guitar lawsuits in the 1970’s against Ibanez and other overseas guitar manufacturers if you want a real example of a cut and dry product copy.
    As far as the author of this article goes here’s my direct response to you. You need to be very well informed about all aspects of an accusation like this. You fell way short of convincing anyone of your viewpoint. This has tarnished your reputation with me and I will not trust anything else that you post on your blogs.

    1. Hi,

      I allowed your comment because I’ve taken the policy of allowing all points of view on this thread. I’ve allowed people to say their piece, and your comment is no different.

      While I always welcome and encourage comments, I disagree with almost everything you have written. You are of course entitled to your opinion but your three main criticisms seem to have nothing to do with what I wrote several years ago.

      Where did I say people weren’t christians? What do 70’s lawsuit guitars have to do with this? Your second point about copied circuits is actually a point I made, so I don’t understand the criticism.

      Thanks for commenting but I feel like you missed something when you read this post.

  31. Brad W

    I have a few pedals, some bass and some guitar from several different builders. I would say that the JHS ones would be in the better than those ones pile. They have a clean, neat professional look too them that some other pedals don’t. I wouldn’t say that they are poorly made. The price is on the upper end of the scale, but I am happy with the sounds I can get. At the moment the exchange rate is .75….so if you choose a 2 in 1 for $280…. its 280 x .75 = $373.33. I would love a fender bassman 100t. On a forum classified its $750 used .. buy one new here its $3.300 on sale. All gear is expensive, but I think you get what you pay for with JHS. As for copying I can’t say . I’d love a bad cat amp and its based on fender circuitry I think. Both times at the online check out my card wouldn’t work. I thought it was over the daily limit so JHS organised a paypal invoice. They do pretty good customer service. This may get lost in translation, I would call it bible bashing tall poppy syndrome, which means some people don’t like to see others succeed and need to cut the tall poppies down. The JHS pedals I have are the ones I like the best, you may too.

  32. Mark Keneson

    People complaining about the prices JHS Pedals charges for their pedals do not understand economics. JHS Pedals, like all businesses, sells their products for whatever the market will bear. If everyone refused to purchase JHS Pedals’ products at the price they offered, then JHS Pedals would have to lower their prices or go out of business. At the same time, JHS Pedals has to make some profit, so there is a minimum to which they can drop the price and remain in business.

    1. agreed. I got to go to Primeier Builders Guild before it shut down. They told me how many tubes they went thru to find a matched set of 6v6’s for all the lower wattage boutique amps they made.

      The same is true for JHS. They said on the chasing tone podcast that they have to throw away a lot of bulbs for the Unicorn and their other univibe (can’t remember the name) all those parts add up. So when you see some guy saying “I could build that for X amount of dollars” as you say, they aren’t factoring in many things, including parts that don’t get used.

  33. Robert Laing

    You literally could not be more off-base. Try being in the effects industry and the [censored] you’ll see him do is [censored] mind-blowing. He recently RE-released a Deluxe Memory Man as his own without any attribution (implying it’s an original circuit) and charging a shitload for it. Not to mention his Pink Panther delay which uses a digital chip and he calls the thing analog and on top of THAT it’s a $10 pcb from a DIY site and he had the gall to charge $500 on top of everything. The Devi Ever thing is even worse than you know. Nevermind his church, and thus his beliefs, are vulgar and disgusting in their views towards homosexuals and transgendered people.

    He is a sociopath who does not care who he hurts and his ultimate goal is nothing short than endless wealth at the expense of anyone he can con.

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for commenting and being part of the discussion.

      First, I want to point out that I allowed your comment. I’ve seen people be kicked out of certain forums and Facebook groups because they offered even the slightest defense of JHS and I want this place to be as open to all as it can be. I did however edit your comment because that kind of language is neither necessary nor helpful to the conversation.

      Your comment seems out of date. You say he “recently” released a DMM clone. By context I’m guessing you are talking about the old Panther Delay (which was been discontinued for a while.) You are essentially talking about stuff that’s 7 years ago.

      I’m going to ask you to back up your claim that “the Devi Ever thing is even worse than (I) know”. At this point, I feel that if you were gonna get a roundtable of “experts” to talk about this subject, I’d be a pretty decent candidate for such a group. I’m the only site that provides all the documentation in an easy and concise manner. I admit that it’s possible that more people were hurt or cheated by her embezzlement of the Console funds, or some other way she ran her business poorly, but beyond that, the burden of proof is in your court.

      You say “trying being in the effect industry”. Maybe you are, but Robert Keeley and Jon Cusack have both collaborated multiple times with JHS. Behind the scenes, several builders and industry guys, even ones who might agree on some level with certain accusations thrown at JHS, all speak well of the Josh, his employees and their product.

      If you’re gonna complain about clones of pedals, then complain about all the other companies who do the same thing. Then I can respect your position even if i disagree with it.

      1. Joe (I think I was "Annoyed" above)

        “Robert Keeley and Jon Cusack have both collaborated multiple times with JHS.”

        All that means is Josh’s checks clear, it’s not some great measure of legitimacy. Rob and Jon do contract engineering on top of their other biz.

      2. “all that means is Josh’s checks cleared”… and that Robert Keeley did a video with Josh and put his brand name next to JHS for the Steak ‘N Eggs.

        Robert charged that “if i was inside the industry” I would know how bad JHS is. I’m not in the industry but because of this blog, and this article in particular, I’ve talked to a lot of builders, and I’m saying that not everyone likes JHS, a couple would agree with a lot of the criticism, but most don’t or think it’s overblown.

        Remember, we are talking about noise boxes, let’s not make it more than it is 🙂

  34. Martin

    Wow! The strange world of worshippers, be it of gods or products. People who join cults of soundbox fanboys that fight perceived evil soundbox builders and their gay-hating followers, while others fight their inner demons: “can I buy this box of sound and still be a good Christian?” and blogs about it.

    For the most part, this thread is a convincing argument for the fact that – if there was a god and he was a running candidate for Christianity – he would probably not let his son be reborn as guitar FX pedal builder.

    Anyways: The truth might be out there or it might not, but this was certainly an interesting read and source for insight into the existence of insecure people externalizing their fear of not belonging to the righteous ones.

    I really don´t want to belong in a cultish movement that obsess over perceived fraudness in the field of music gear. The music industry is all about copying, re-telling stories, retailing old dreams, sampling, reflecting, being inspired, etc. is the NORM. Heck, 90% of people with a guitar tries to copy something, the sound of plexi, the sound of blackface, the sound of vintage, the sound of Hendrix, the sound of pre-CBS, the sound of a script phaser – literally all my gear is copies of someones original design. My early Japanese guitars, my re-released pedals, everything..

    I don´t care what pedal the JHS Angry Charly V3 is a copy of – 99% of pedals are copies of someones unprotected design.

  35. Pete

    I believe the big knock on JHS is they will clone new pedals, not just classics, and especially small builders’ efforts (like Devi Ever and the MI Crunch Box) he will bring their designs to a wider market, which can be a HUGE hit on the original creators’ bottom line (which in his defense he is able to do because circuit design has almost zero enforceable IP law). This is NOT something Analogman does, they’re classics and their own designs only, it’s pretty much just Vertex and JHS doing this. It’s 100% legal but pretty ethically scummy.

    1. Hi Pete. thanks for taking the time to comment!

      One of the major conclusions that I came to in this article was that JHS is unfairly singled out compared to other companies.

      You believe (as do others) that a big know on JHS is that “they will clone new pedals, not just classics”. Recently, Keeley released the D&M drive that is a clone of the Tube Screamer and KOT/OCD. Pretty much all of Keeley’s drives are clones. Name a brand and I’ll probably be able to tell you which circuit they are ripping off. Even Analog.man; he designed the East River Drive for EHX which is just a TS-9 knock off.

      You mentioned Devi Ever, who ripped off an EHX circuit and defrauded customers (JHS doesn’t even make the Astro Fuzz and hasn’t for years) and Mi Audio, who have a slew of clones for sale.

      Vertex is a very, very different thing. It’s one things to take an SD-9, modify it can call it your own thing in the Dynamic Drive because that’s pretty common across the board. It’s another thing to take BBE wah’s and rehouse them, call it a new thing and mark it up like crazy.

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