Pedals

Do Reissues Suck?

2

the style of switching from pedal to pedal used here makes it tricky to get a complete idea of the similarities/differences of the pedals, especially when he hits one chord on the phaser and immediately switches to the other so you never actually hear either for a full phrase. i've seen tricks like this in gear videos for years, and you have to read through them and compare to other demos. i also don't care much for his insistence that e.g. the Tube Screamers sound EXACTLY THE SAME when even with the quick switching i can hear a difference on my cell phone. we must remember that JHS makes their crust by "re-issuing" other people's designs and expect folks to argue in their own interests.

that said, the greater point is valid. i don't really care about commercial overdrives with chips in them, but anybody with courage and a soldering iron can, upon finding the correct components, build a Fuzz Face or Tone Bender that's functionally identical to a vintage unit. it's finding the components that can be a challenge. and there's literally an entire industry built upon people doing tweaks on classic designs which range from boring to brilliant. can reissue guitars be as good as vintage, or do reissues suck? in what specific instance?

3

Haven’t watched this one yet, but I do watch these every week. I can guess where he’ll land based on past videos.

Josh has been a controversial character in the industry, but controversies aside: - I’ve liked the JHS pedals I’ve played

  • His videos give coverage to a lot of builders and he’s pretty much positive about everything (he seems to emphasize what a given pedal can do rather than evaluating its ability to do what it claims to do)
  • He’s obsessive about vintage gear and highlights minutiae of the stuff he’s passionate about
  • He’s also not a total slob and sings the virtues of many budget pedals.
4

Cool video, thanks for sharing it! I guess they still "make them like that" anymore!

5

Another fan of Josh. I actually own a couple of his pedals now. I came late,very late to the pedal scene as I always just used a tube amp with a little reverb. Mainly because back in the day those "vintage pedals" had a tendency to suck the tone out of your instrument. I'll take either the true bypass or buffered modern ones any day, or a modded vintage. His knowledge of pedals is pretty extensive,far more than my own, and he doesn't take himself to serious. Learned a lot from his channel.

6

For all the reasons Josh enumerated, reissues don’t suck.

They’re just not very interesting to me. We live in a golden age of pedal creativity and invention, and I love all the new stuff.

The classics became the classics by boldly going where no sound had gone before. I’m still on board with that intention, and not overly attached to the sonically worn-out husks of vehicles past.

7

Whatever works for you. Pedals got a little better and handier, which is nice. Smaller, quieter, etc...

two things though : dude's in the business of selling brand new pedals, and there's no univibe, EH memory man or Echoplex in his "shootout".

8

Notice he didn't show original ts 808 big difference or ad80 original or the mxr all of the. 1973 original very different.

9

Notice he didn't show original ts 808 big difference or ad80 original or the mxr all of the. 1973 original very different.

– Pedalhead

I am one of the few people here on the GDP who likes Tubescreamers generally. I've had quite a few over the years. So you are saying the difference between vintage and reissue 808 is big while with the TS9 Josh shows is not?

The vintages TSs I played mostly sounded great but varied a lot from each other. I never noticed that old equals better.

I love the older big box EH Deluxe Memory Man, though. It's the most organic and musical delay/echo I know and nothing else came close so far. The new versions sound good but different to me. I never played a TT1100 version, that has my interest but it's >300 €/$.

10

Like Sascha, I do enjoy a good TS. Personally, I believe my Maxon OD9 to be the best of its kind that I have come across. In this case, the circuitry is a slightly upgraded version of the orginal TS (which BTW was made for Ibanez by Maxon). This to me, is the perfect argument that while "older" is not necessarily better, the "original" circuitry that we all cut our teeth on, and that invariably continues to be used as basic templates for new pedals, tends to continue to define what our ears tell us is "best".

11

Doesn't ruffle my feathers, and I love vintage tones. Most praise or critiques of music I write is that it sounds like it came right out of the late sixties, early seventies, but I don't have one single vintage pedal on any of my pedal boards. The new ones sound fine to me. And most of them are quieter than the originals. And like Tim said, it's better looking for pedals that break new ground. I crack up at the prices of vintage pedals, every time I see one for sale at a ridiculous price, the PT Barnum phrase, there's a sucker born every minute, dances around in my brain.

The main pedals on my work board which I use daily are... Tapestry Bloomery Volume, Wazacraft TU3 tuner, Grace Alix Preamp, and a Keeley Delay Workstation.

On my other boards I use Fulldrive III and Tapestry Fab Suisse Overdrives, Empress Para EQ, Dr Scientist Reverberator and JHS Springtank reverbs, and Boss RE20 and DOD Rubberneck Delays, and a MXR Studio Bass compressor. So as you can see, not a vintage pedal in the lot.

12

Especially where pedals are concerned, for me "vintage" just means old. I can't think of an old pedal which was made with anything other than relatively inexpensive parts.

It's fun I guess to have an old pedal exactly like the one your hero used, but apart from that they're just old, and that often means that worn or dried out parts, noisy switches and buzzing from poor filtering.

I also can't think of an old pedal I want which I can't make myself. And I'm no expert, just someone who has built a few pedals now. It's not very hard.

13

I'm with you, Jimmy R, and I also suspect that many of the old pedals used the least expensive components that allowed them to function.

The quality and consistency of electronic components have increased dramatically over the years, so I think that re-issues are probably much better than the originals, providing the circuits are built the same way.

I've cloned several pedals for my own use, it's not particularly difficult if you can read a schematic and can get the parts. Circuit boards are very easy to etch yourself these days, they make rub off etch proof runs and pads, and copper clad fiberglass boards and etch are readily available at most electronics supply outlets.

Not only do I not have a problem with re-issues, I prefer them. I don't have any nostalgic need for old gear (pedals or any other gear), and I like the brand new look to 'relics'. I do however prefer point to point wiring in tube amps over PCB's. I repair all my own equipment, and PCB's add not only an element of unreliability, but an increased difficulty of repairability. An old hand wired tube amp can be kept in service indefinitely, providing you can still get parts. Even if you can't get the exact part needed, it is fairly easy to engineer/modify something that is reasonably close to the original part and make it work.

14

I have pedals up the proverbial kazoo, but the only "vintage" one is a 1978 MXR Distortion+ which is the first pedal i ever bought. i love that thing. IMO it would be silly to buy, say, a vintage Arbiter Fuzz Face for elephant dollars rather than just getting one from Analogman like a sensible human. parts is parts.

15

I've been through three reissues of my first lovingly remembered Memory Man, which I finally sold in the late 90s because the white noise and hiss finally bothered me badly enough. The latest one - in the new smaller XO form factor - is what I've kept, though I imagine it doesn't sound the same as the long-ago original.

Who knows if that's actually true? Aural memory is horribly fragile even over the very short term, like seconds - which is why we need instant switching loop pedals to reliably ascertain any difference between two ostensibly close candidates. When aural memory operates over years or decades, I suspect we're remembering more a general impression of a sound, combined with a much more powerful memory of how a sound affected us at the time.

No doubt my first Memory Man blew me away because it's the first time I'd heard that combination of muddy, slightly driven repeats combined with controllable chorus or vibrato. (Echoplex notwithstanding - as the wow, flutter, and degradation weren't available under a knob - and for under 100.00. I got my first Memory Man for 80.00, used.)

Succeeding Memory Mens can't possibly have that psychological effect, because I've been there before. Now when I neederwant that particular combination of analog delay, slight preamp smearing, and vibrato or chorus, I can get it from at least a dozen other devices, modelers, or software plugins - with, I suppose, varying degrees of fidelity to the actual "magical" sound of the original, but far more range of tweakability, in stereo ... and even, if necessay, modeled noise. (Though I rarely feel like I need the poor signal-to-noise ratio.)

Nother words, the new emulations (from EHX and everyone else) probably deliver the kind of behavior the DMM's designer wished had been technologically available to him when he made the original.

And when I do have a hanker for memory mannishness, I pretty much always get it from one of those other devices, and not the now 10-year-old DMM XO which is lovingly boxed in my overflow effects cabinet. Why do I even keep it? I suppose from some vestigial fetish for the original which it may (or may not) faithfully reproduce, some hitherto unexamined emotional conviction that only a true EHX Deluxe Memory Man is a real DMM - even if it's a smaller, much later reissue of the original. I really should sell it.

I suspect part of the fetish for "vintage" pedals, which survives even when modern reproductions and extensions of the original do the same job better (in any objective consideration), while adding other functionality, is that we have some underlying anxiety that our adventures with the newer-better product lead us astray from that one essential thing the original did, in the way it did it. Another way of approaching that point is to recognize that the designers of the original pedals made a lot of decisions for us - not only in combining particular components in a particular way, but in thus spec'ing out exactly what EQ curve, what response to incoming voltage, what range of adjustability was provided under each knob. And when we play with a newer, more flexible pedal with more range, we wonder if we ever quite hone in on the behavior of the original.

I really really appreciate Josh of JHS's commitment to collecting and exploring stompbox history, and his dedication - passion, really - in collecting the best (and multiple!) examples of literally everything he finds. (His pedal collection is somewhere over 2,300 at this point.) I like his enthusiasm about all of them, and his wide-ranging voracious appetite for finding the good in pedals from across the world, across all price strata, and from every maker from Boss down to Guy in His Basement. He more often promotes competitors' products than his own.

But I don't have the urge to collect pedals for the sake of collecting, vintage or otherwise. If I have a lot of a particular maker's stuff, it's because I like it (at least at the moment). As I've said, I'm more enamored of the newest, the latest and greatest, in those domains of the expanding pedal universe where new space is being created. Even newer, more expansive and configurable interpretations of all the usual effect categories.

And for the most part, I don't keep pedals for sentimental reasons, or because they were once the edge of the breaking wave.

There are a few exceptions. My very first pedal was a Lafayette Fuzz Sound, circa 1967-70. I have wonderful memories of it. My original is long gone, and I nostalgically replaced it a couple of years ago with an identical doppelganger. (There are, for obvious reasons, no reissues.) It sounds like absolute garbage, but stands in a place of honor on a shelf in the studioffice. Various other pedals passed under my feet from 1970 to 1979, usually unloaded to finance something newer-better (or simply failed). I have no desire to replace (with originals or reissues), for instance, my Small Stone, Phase 90, EHX Q-something, etc.

So the oldest pedals I now have - and will always keep, largely from sentiment and nostalgia - are a DeArmond 602 volume pedal I picked up well-used in the early 70s, and which is now non-functional due to failed volume pot (apparently made of unobtainium) and a block-logo 1978 MXR DynaComp, circa 1978. It's offensively noisy and entirely unsubtle in operation, and it will never go back under my foot - but I do keep it, in its box, in the pedal cabinet. It's the oldest pedal I still have which I've owned from new.

Not much younger is my 80s EHX Graphic Fuzz which was part of "my sound" (the other components being the compressor and the DMM) through the 80s. I've held onto it because its combination of graphic EQ with fuzz (more like distortion) and its internal-compressor-like "envelope" function are still unique in my experience. It's too big and its A/C power is often unhandy. I brought it out of the cabinet some months ago to compare to ohsomany other fuzzdirters, found it still unique, and was going to put it on a current board. But it was too big to get everything else on with it. So I ordered the smaller-boxed XO-format reissue. And it doesn't sound the same as the original. The basic character of the dirt and the envelope are the same - and it's quieter - but no matter what I do, the old original has more girth in the tone.

So here's one case where I don't find the reissue as good as or better than the original. (And it can be argued that because the purpose of fuzz is to be noisy, the extra noise in the original is morless irrelevant in actual use.) But the reissue is still on the board because: 1) I don't know if the sonic difference between them actually matters in context, and too) I thought one of the EQ sliders on the original had failed. (EHX didn't want anything to do with it, so I sent it to Josh JBGretschGuy, who has repaired and returned it - so much for the supposed unrepairability of old EHX pedals.) Now that it's back, I'll probably put it on the board and demote something else.

Another pedal from the past I felt compelled to replace with a reissue was the old original Fender Blender, a fuzz like none other. I got the very faithful reissue 10-12 years ago, and it lives up to my aural memory. But I found it bigger than I could justify board space for, so I sought a clone. Neither of the clones (one is an inspired-by extension of the FB) sounds exactly like the reissue. Are they closer to the original my ears have forgotten? Who knows? In any case, I've kept one of the clone/versions - which is different enough that I have both on my board. Hopeless.

I have a black Russian Muff from the 90s, bought in the last decade, mostly because it was made in Russia and, as a child of the Cold War, that still seems terminally exotic to me - not to mention Mike Matthews' gloriously colorful role in partnering with ex-Soviet military men in putting idle factories to work again. I'll keep it for that history - but it's not on any of my boards. It's too big for what it does (containing more air than components), and its sound is more than covered by any number of muffins I have spread around.

At present, the great majority of my pedal population (over200mumblemumble) comprises current/recent new-issue pedals. I don't know which of them I'll keep "forever" - if any - but I have a hard time imagining how and when many of them would be eclipsed by newer devices. It seems to me many of my favorite builders have reached peaks of near-enough-to-perfection. I think I'm in for lifelong relationships (given my age!) with many of them. And there's a handful which seem such unique and singular statements that I spect I'll hold onto them.

Whether or not it's on a board, frinstance, I don't imagine I'll ever part with my polished aluminum/chrome-lookin' Nocturne Atomic Brain even though I have a new more compact candy red on order. Same for the BS-301, with the effects loop I insisted on between preamp and delay.

Likewise the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube tube preamp/drive which has been on every one of my boards for 15 years or so - a pedal which has prevailed over every prospective replacement for it (and bleeb me I've tried - and keep trying). It's bigger than I'd like, heavier than I'd like, and has weird power requirements, but I like it so well I have a spare. Even ifwhen it moves off the board, I'll keep at least one. It's earned that respect.

So yeah. No general nostalgia here for pedals past. But vintage, reissue, or current cutting edge matter less to me than functionality - a complicated calculus of sound quality, inspirational value, versatility/tweakability, uniqueness, and logistical factors.

16

The only somewhat vintage pedals I own are two white face Rats that I use for bumping the front end of a 1950 Chicago Webster 166 amplifier. It's my rock and roll slide tone of choice. The rest of my pedals are all mostly newer types. I don't own a real crazy amount of pedals considering I collect guitars and amps like a demon.

In 45 years of playing with the last 20 being full-time here is my pedal collection of 45 pedals (I may own some others that I've forgotten about), and as you can see none are really vintage but the Rat, but none of them are reissues of anything...

Preamps: Grace Felix, Grace Alix, Origin Effects Revival Drive, Archangel X6

Cab Sim: GFI Systems Cab Zuess

Overdrive Dirt pedals: Catalinbread Silverkiss Version 2, Mythical Overdrive, Fulldrive II Mosfet, Fulldrive III, Tapestry Fab Suisse, (2) Rats, Java Boost, Sex Drive

EQs: WMD Utility Parametric EQ, Empress Para EQ

Compressors: MXR studio comp

Phasers: One Control Tiger Lilly

Tremolos: Voodoo Labs Analog Trem, Boss TR-2, (2) Custom Tremolos built by Hawthorn Electric Arts (my close friend and occasional duet partner) one has an overdrive built in!

Fuzz Pedals: I own three fuzz pedals all built by Hawthorn Electric Arts, one is based on a Big Muff, one is a generic silicone Fuzz, and one is Fuzz Face combined with a Dallas Rangemaster.

Reverbs: Vanamps Solemate, Dr Scientist Reverberator, Keeley Vibe O' Verb, Hermida Audio Silver Spring, JHS Spring Tank

Delays: Boss RE20, DOD Rubberneck, Keeley Delay Worksation, Love Pedal DL-1, Dan Electro Reel Echo

Volume Pedals (3) Tapestry Bloomery, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr, DOD Mini Volume

I own 4 MultiFX pedals which I NEVER use: Digitech RP360XP, Yamaha Magicstomp, Zoom G3X, Zoom A2 Acoustic

17

Proteus said:

I've been through three reissues of my first lovingly remembered Memory Man, which I finally sold in the late 90s because the white noise and hiss finally bothered me badly enough. The latest one - in the new smaller XO form factor - is what I've kept, though I imagine it doesn't sound the same as the long-ago original.

Who knows if that's actually true? Aural memory is horribly fragile even over the very short term, like seconds - which is why we need instant switching loop pedals to reliably ascertain any difference between two ostensibly close candidates. When aural memory operates over years or decades, I suspect we're remembering more a general impression of a sound, combined with a much more powerful memory of how a sound affected us at the time.

No doubt my first Memory Man blew me away because it's the first time I'd heard that combination of muddy, slightly driven repeats combined with controllable chorus or vibrato. (Echoplex notwithstanding - as the wow, flutter, and degradation weren't available under a knob - and for under 100.00. I got my first Memory Man for 80.00, used.)

Succeeding Memory Mens can't possibly have that psychological effect, because I've been there before. Now when I neederwant that particular combination of analog delay, slight preamp smearing, and vibrato or chorus, I can get it from at least a dozen other devices, modelers, or software plugins - with, I suppose, varying degrees of fidelity to the actual "magical" sound of the original, but far more range of tweakability, in stereo ... and even, if necessay, modeled noise. (Though I rarely feel like I need the poor signal-to-noise ratio.)

Nother words, the new emulations (from EHX and everyone else) probably deliver the kind of behavior the DMM's designer wished had been technologically available to him when he made the original.

And when I do have a hanker for memory mannishness, I pretty much always get it from one of those other devices, and not the now 10-year-old DMM XO which is lovingly boxed in my overflow effects cabinet. Why do I even keep it? I suppose from some vestigial fetish for the original which it may (or may not) faithfully reproduce, some hitherto unexamined emotional conviction that only a true EHX Deluxe Memory Man is a real DMM - even if it's a smaller, much later reissue of the original. I really should sell it.

The EHX Memory Man is special. There have been many different versions over the decades until today. The delay chip set changed some time. And those units need to be calibrated. Especially earlier specimen even differ within a production period for that reason. All that makes it hard to come to an agreement on how a DMM exactly sounds, how noisy it is etc. But the classic sound has a sonic quality I never found in anything else. I have a 90s/early 00s RI with the external power supply. It's hard to describe but the attack of the notes when they go into the echoes seems to bloom and sits right in the overall playing. A DMM mostly sounds just right to me.

It's bulky, maybe a little noisy (compared to modern digital units) and colours your tone slightly in bypass mode but I can't find a reason not to keep and use it for certain applications - although it's not on my board. Especially since no other device I know of can do what it does. And no simulation or other analog device I have tried or heard could prove the opposite. I was hoping to find it in the Way Huge Supa Puss which is a fantastic delay. But obviously the sound of a Memory Man is more than just simple tone degrading repeats with added optional modulation. But what is it? The overall circuit? The Panasonic 3005 chip? The preamp? Psychoacoustics?

18

the potentiometer values? as David Lindley said, the dust under the pickguard?

19

I have a 90s/early 00s RI with the external power supply.

That RI was the first one I bought to replace my original. EHX marketed it splashily when it came out, and - if I remember aright - even packed it in a classy (for EHX) wood box. Maybe they opted not to use their usual cardboard because they were afraid buyers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between plugging into the pedal and just plugging into the box.

The unit-to-unit inconsistency must have plagued the model into that reissue, because mine was miles from the gooey liquid voodoo of my original.

It's hard to describe but the attack of the notes when they go into the echoes seems to bloom and sits right in the overall playing.

And I think that's down to the preamp residing under the Level control, which to my ear has a kind of spongy, blooming character.

I do agree an originall DMM is special, and even that there's still a rationale for using one, despite the noise. Likewise, that replicants and clones don't quite nail it. But it would be awfully hard to tell the difference unless A-B-ing the pedals in a solo context.


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