What are the odds that two guitar-pedal manufacturers would release overdrive pedals with identical names on the same day? Pretty slim, wouldn’t you think?
On November 17, Electro-Harmonix and JHS Pedals each introduced their latest overdrive pedal offerings. As it happens, both are named the Crayon.
Color us confused.
It’s a stunning example of synchronicity, especially when you consider the unlikelihood of anyone naming an overdrive pedal—or any pedal?—the Crayon, let alone releasing it on the same day as another pedal bearing the name.
However, given their circuits and controls—the Electro-Harmonix has four, the JHS has three and a toggle switch—it’s safe to say these pedals are several tonal shades apart.
The full name of the Electro-Harmonix pedal is the Crayon Full-Range Overdrive. It features independent bass and treble controls as well as controls for volume and gain. Unlike most overdrives, which have a mid-focused frequency range, the EHX Crayon has an open range that the company says “produces an articulate and musically pleasing result.”
EHX founder and president Mike Matthews describes the Crayon as, “lush and rich, with a warm tone,” and the pedal is equally adept when used by itself or when driving another overdrive pedal. The Crayon is true-bypass and runs on a nine-volt battery or optional AC adapter. It has a list price of $83.63.
The British-voiced JHS Crayon is a very different beast. The company designed it as the “little brother” to the JHS Colour Box, a pedal designed to reproduce the sound of a guitar plugged directly into a studio console (think the Beatles’ “Revolution” or Radiohead’s “Bodysnatchers”). The Crayon allows players to get the Colour Box’s direct-console clean/overdrive/fuzz tones in a pedal with a smaller footprint, about half as many knobs (master, pre-volume and EQ, and a high-pass toggle switch) and a lower price of $199.