Just how do we make all those wonderful Junkyard Sons signature sounds?
Every guitarist loves their effects, and the Junkyard Sons are no different. Check out some of the small boxes that make the big boxes sound very different! Check back for regular updates, demos, reviews and links to where to get your hands on the same effects that make the unique Junkyard Sons sound!
Robert Keeley Modded TS9
The Ibanez Tube Screamer is an iconic pedal and the TS808 is a guitarist Holy Grail. A mild overdrive/distortion pedal compared to many originally the Tube Screamer was intended to drive a tube amp to make it overdrive more but it soon became a staple ingredient for guitar legends like SRV, The Edge, John Mayer the list would run and run...
The first Tube Screamer was the TS-808 overdrive pro in the late 1970's and today can fetch many hundreds of pounds - over the years Ibanez have produced a wide variety of Tube Screamers and introduced the 9 series around 1982. This is where things changed and the infamous Texas Instruments JRC4558 chip (there were many variations of these) in the early years but in 1982 they changed and so did the sound becoming brighter and less smooth. From this point onwards many guitarists started to 'mod' the pedals to reintroduce the old JRC4558 chip. If you want to know more about the different Tube Screamer versions check out analogman.com.
As the mistique built around this pedal so did the price with original models fetching hundreds of pounds so what do you do when you want a TS-808, only a lot better, and don't have hundreds to spare?
How about a brand new Ibanez TS9 modified back to the original Texas Instruments RC4558P chip, but with a whole range of new Keeley sound enhancements to beef up the bass, improve the response and clean up the noise? YES PLEASE!
A few years ago Rod recieved a Robert Keeley TS9/808 mod for his 21st birthday and has had it ever since. Continuing the long established Rock band tradition it was lent to Roger and continues to this day on his pedal board for Junkyard Sons.
As well as the change to the chip the feedback loop capacitor has been converted to metalised film, and critical resistors are changed to carbon composition type for much smoother tone. The drive control is modified to widen the available range to allow both more and less distortion at the extremes and it now has a blue LED immediately tells you it's a Keeley!
Designed to bring a little more ooommph where needed this bad boy just pushes those tubes that little bit more and is a must for the SRV sound. With the way Roger uses this through his BlackStar Studio 20 it looks like Rod is not going to get it back any time soon... So its a good job J Rockett have brought out their Archer pedal to make up for a missing Keeley TS9 808 Mod!
Marshall Guv'nor Mk1 & Mk2
Between the band members we have 2 versions of this Marshall pedal stalwart. There a Mk 1 sitting in Rod's collection and there is a Mk 2 permanently on Cy's pedal board.
Marshall had never produced a pedal before but released the Guv'nor in the Autumn of 1988 - it didnt really gain much interest until the following year when, in March 1989 it was received a great review from a particularly tough reviewer from Guitarist Magazine, it made a lot of guitarist players take note as they started to fly out of shops. Why? Marshall had managed to do what no-one else could - capture the sound of a classic valve Marshall stack, replicate it with solid state circuitry and squeeze it into a stomp box.
In an age long before amp modelling you were now able to click between a classic American Fender Tweed sound and the rich, warm blanket of all Britishness Marshall grunt - there was no alternative, you HAD to get a Guv'nor (and it has to be a UK version - not the Far Eastern one!).
Even British Blues royalty, Gary Moore, had one
with it featuring on the cover of his Still Got the
Blues album released in 1990 showing that even
with a classic Bluesbreaker combo the Guv'nor
When Marshall announced the Guv'nor was to
be discontinued in late 1991 no fewer than
20,000 advance orders were made for its
replacement - the Drivemaster - even before the units had been advertised.
But what does it actually do? One dual op-amp is used to boost the signal with the Gain control looking after both sections. The circuit the relies on hard clipping to ground after the op-amp, as used in early OD pedals like the MXR Distortion+, but relies on red LEDS instead of diodes, allowing for a stronger signal than the MXR. This boosted, clipped signal then goes through the passive tone controls, and then to one of the most unique features - a stereo 1/4" effects loop just before the pedal's output. Stomping the switch on The Guv'nor engages any pedal in the loop. From the manual: "LOOP JACK - The FX loop output allows linking to other pedals using an optional "Y" cable, with the Guv'nor acting as the master switch for the whole effects chain."
The next generation of Marshall pedals carried the baton admirably and were successful in their own right but the Drivemaster, Blues Breaker and Shredmaster never caught the imagination of the original.
So what happened next? Marshall continued to build pedals, then facelifted and relaunched them, including the original Guv'nor - still built like tanks but with every aspect tweeked. Cy runs a Fender amp but when he wants a little more... well anything he steps on his Guv'nor and out comes the sound of a Marshall stack.
The expanded Gain structure allows you to steer your guitar tone through many different styles. From natural sounding vintage valve amp break-up, ideal for singing blues to chunky JCM800 classic rock tones, right through to modern day super-saturation for liquid sustain and grinding chords. In addition, you will also find a Deep control which adds a resonant bass boost, giving you a similar feel and response to the resonant thump of a Marshall 4 x 12″ cabinet.
Let us know if you want to hear Cy run an AB test of the two pedals so you can hear the difference and judge for yourself whether you want to try and track down an original 80's version like Rod's or you think newer is better!
J Rockett THE DUDE (Dumblesque tone in a box)
You want the classic Dumble sound but not shell out thousands of pounds then you need to hear about this pedal that has quietly slipped onto a big stage whilst its bigger brother gets all the glory!
The Dude is J Rockett's take on the legendary Dumble Overdrive Special. Not many have access to a real Dumble amp (check out this great review of what is so special about Dumble amps here), and fewer have the knowledge to reverse engineer the amp, capture the unique sound and package it up into a convienient box, but J Rockett Audio designs have access, the knowledge and are riding the crest of a wave of success with their boutique pedals.
The Dude can go from clean boost to classic Dumble sounds to high gain all in one small box. The Dude takes your current amps tone and injects it with the sound of a Dumble preamp. The controls may not match but they are intuitive - a Ratio dial takes you from boost on eone side to pure gain on the other, when the knob is at 12 then ther is a 50:50 mix of boost and amp-like gain.
The level control controls a clean boost independant of the ration knob, when turning this and the Ratio right up you have 2 boosts running independantly for massive amp pushing.
Treble and Deep work together to customise the tone, the Deep control is a mid range contour, turn it down to scoop the mids and boosting the treble and bass and turn it up to bring in lower mids.
This takes you from mild blues to screaming leads all in a few dials - perfect for Roger - so much so it has kicked the Keeley TS from the pedal board and taken it's spot, (if you wanted to know the time it takes for your lead guitarist to spot a good pedal is 10 mins in to a practice, if that practice is 2 hours after taking delivery of a parcel containing your new THE DUDE pedal that is your lookout!)
Roger was last seen twiddling dials and playing riffs and leads whilst we were writing new material so expect a full review here soon!
J Rockett Archer (Klon clone)