And inside the JH-F1, things also look pretty much identical to a vintage Fuzz Face. The circuit, based around a pair of BC-108 silicon transistors, is handwired on a brown board with flying leads connecting the pots, jacks, and footswitch. The caps are the old-style mylar and electrolytic types, the pots are genuine Omeg, and the battery plug hangs freely as per vintage spec. There’s even—yes!— no battery hatch on the JH-1H. The pedal’s simple Volume and Fuzz controls get you right to the fat textures that this pedal is famous for. The grit comes on early as you turn up the Fuzz knob, producing fully engorged transistor distortion in the last quarter of rotation. The Volume knob can unleash a lot of signal as well, but needs to have the Fuzz turned up to do so. Not a problem, as with both controls near their maximum settings you amp is hit hard with a high-gain fuzz signal that’s rich and smooth, with just enough slice to cut though, but without sounding too thin or biting. The tones are also very dynamic. Turn down your guitar and the distortion fades back to produce a glistening, edgy rhythm sound that’s quite unlike anything you could get straight from an amp. If you want to grok Jimi’s fuzz sound, or simply want to own the closest thing to the actual Fuzz Face he used in the latter part of his brief career, this is the pedal to get.
Kudos Authentic vintage look. Excellent dynamic response. True bypass.
Contact Dunlop Manufacturing Inc., (800) 722-3434; jimdunlop.com
A special ops engineering team from Dunlop went to Experience Musc Project in Seattle to copy an actual Octavio (a.k.a Octavia) of the same type as the one Roger Mayer gave to Hendrix for his infamous Band of Gypsys shows at the Fillmore East. The JH-OC1 ($249 retail/$169 street) is based on the final evolution of the transformer-based circuit that Mayer used before he changed to a design that did away with the transformer entirely. The reissue unit features a faithful recreation of the circuit, which is laid out on a glass-epoxy PC board with handwired connections to the controls, jacks, and double-pole/ double-throw, true-bypass footswitch. While Dunlop took a few liberties to produce a viable version of a pedal that was never even put into production—including a plastic battery hatch on the bottom of the unit—the JH-OC1 is still a highly authentic replica. Witness its welded steel “cheese wedge” enclosure with hand sanded corners (the original was made the same way at a metal fabrication shop owned by Mayer’s father), gray Cliff jacks (custom made to replicate the ’60s British RS jacks), the stenciled “Octavio” logo, and the vintage-style chromed-plastic Level and Fuzz knobs. Dunlop went to an incredible amount of trouble to get the Octavio’s details right (even down to using slot head screws to hold the bottom plate) and the result is a unique pedal that’s suitable for collectors of Hendrix memorabilia and serious players alike.
What’s most cool about JH-OC1, however, is the way it sounds. The fuzzy effect with its octave shadow is present throughout most of the Fuzz control’s rotation, remaining relatively consistent until you reach the last quarter of rotation where the fuzz/octave intensity suddenly comes on strong. This where you most notice the compression envelope caused by transistor overload, where the attack of the note is followed immediately by a slight dip in volume. Unlike a Fuzz Face, the JH-OC1’s Level control—which also functions as an on/off switch as per original spec—can unleash a potent signal even when the Fuzz control is all the way down, and this is where some of sweetest tones exist. The Octavio is not particularly dynamic, so the sound doesn’t clean up when you turn down your guitar, and it doesn’t do chords, but it’s a real thing of beauty for those signature chiming fuzz tones that Hendrix made so famous.
Kudos Dead nuts look. Great octave-divider tone. True bypass.
Concerns Battery hatch/holder is light duty and easy to lose.
The introduction of the wah-wah pedal in 1967 coincided with the debut of Jimi Hendrix, and this magical combination of man and machine ushered in a lexicon of guitar tones that will probably forever inspire electric guitar players. The JH-1B ($199 retail/ $129 street) is a close replica of the Thomas Organ-designed wah that was produced by JEN in Italy. It features an aluminum enclosure finished in black crinkle paint with a white rubber “bumper” strip around the metal base plate. Jimi’s signature replaces the “Vox” sticker that would normally reside on the front of the enclosure, but in most other regards the JH-1C looks like an Italian made Vox wah from the ’60s. Inside, we find a Dunlop-style PC board circuit with a circular inductor and a plug-in socket that connects the wires from the battery, sealed potentiometer, and bypass switch. Battery access is via a plastic hatch on the bottom plate, and unlike the other two Hendrix pedals, this baby also has an external power jack. As per vintage spec, the JH-1B does not have any buffering circuitry.
The JH-1B goes a long way toward sounding like a vintage Vox wah. It has excellent vocal qualities and it doesn’t sound overly biting even when you press the rocker fully down. Dunlop has done a good job of voicing the circuit and adjusting the potentiometer’s range to produce wah textures that are well balanced with good low-end “puke factor,” which you can most readily hear as you just start to push the pedal from it fully rearward position. It delivers a nice vowely slice as you sweep the filter on syncopated rhythm parts. Used to embellish a solo, the JH-1B’s short rocker throw lets you texturize your lines with very subtle movements, making it easy to ride the sweet frequency spots or zero in on a killer sounding notched setting.
Kudos Sweet vintage appearance. Nice sound.
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