Juansolo Pedals

martinwmartinw Frets: 1571
edited October 2016 in FX Reviews

I've had these pedals long enough now that I thought I ought to get round to reviewing them.

Like most of us, I spent a good number of years buying and selling loads of pedals to find a set that worked for me. I'm mainly interested in live sounds, so I eventually settled on a set of drive pedals and modulations that sounded good in that environment, as opposed to those which sound great at lower volumes. As John and Cleggy are friends (and customers of MJW), I eventually ended up with their versions of my favourite pedals in their custom decorated enclosures.

At some point it was discussed that these discrete effects could be put into mulit-pedal boxes to cut down on space, weight and external interconnections, the results being what you see below.

We all know what the original pedals sound like, so this is not so much a review of that (except where there are improvements or the effects are not clones), but more a review of what you can expect with a Juansolo pedal. In short, superb build quality, amazing value for money, reliability, some unique features, and a custom build service that really ought to cost a heck of a lot more. Perhaps if they used Dymo tape and had a famous customer they could charge  a more sensible price? :)


The first pedal shown here is the drive multi, which has a Timmy, a BB Preamp and a Guvnor in it. (I'm currently having it reworked to have 2 Timmys instead of the BB, and John is lending me a Timmy and Guvnor while he's doing it. How's that for service?). The sounds are well proven and respected, but it's worth pointing out that the Guvnor is much quieter than the original when built well. Also, the multi uses momentary switches so each effect can be selected individually as I don't stack them. This is a cool feature that John and Cleggy developed themselves. It has proven to be 100% reliable in heavy use, unlike even the best 3PDT footswitches.

The Modulation Multi comprises Fuzz, Delay, Reverb and Phaser. The delay is a simplified Zero Point Delay, and the reverb is a 1776 which uses the Belton brick, These are not clones. The Fuzz is a Colorsound Jumbo Tonebender and the Phaser is a Script Phase 90. The switching on these uses John and Cleggy's optical system, again doing away with the weak point on most pedals, yet still remaining true bypass.

I usually leave the reverb on at a lowish level, so I didn't require a footswitch for that, so it's operated by the mini toggle switch, which is the advantage of custom design and enabled my to have 4 effects in a very compact box.

 



The last one to mention gets the most use. It's a simple SHO clone that gets stood on 50-100 times per gig/rehearsal at a guess. I use it as a clean volume lift for solos and quieter guitar sounds and it's an invaluable part of what I do. I've killed every other boost pedal I've had for this, but again this one has very clever switching making it true bypass but 100% reliable.

There's more details on each pedal and the Juansolo operation here http://juansolo.co.uk/index.html

Why everyone hasn't got a board full of these I don't know, but they should have! get in there before John decides to get a proper job  :) John and Cleggy are mates and customers, so this review has to be taken in that context, however I don't think anyone who knows either me or them would have any trouble considering the above to be fair praise, if not conservative.  :)




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Comments

  • juansolojuansolo Frets: 1669
    Many thanks Martin!
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  • Great review. 

    The Hypnotoad pedal might be the coolest looking pedal I have come across (my user name is a Futurama reference)

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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 4490

    I'll add a short review of the pedal I bought recently from @juansolo. Mine's a dual one, his version of Amptweaker's Tight Metal on one side and Tight Rock on the other. The amount of gain on the Tight Metal side is immense...I can barely get it beyond 9 o'clock on the gain knob without stunning our dog into a coma. It has all the features of the original, so there's a noise gate if you're into djent-style metal. The Tight Rock side is more plexi style, but still with ridiculous amounts of gain on tap if that tickles your fancy. Again I'm using it on lower gain settings and into a clean amp it sounds close to the sound of a Dirty Little Secret, but has more clarity and bite. (It also works better...the 3PDT switch in the DLS is slowly giving up the ghost and will need replacing soon )

    The build quality is excellent, the graphics and finish are truly first class and the pedal works faultlessly. It was also rather a steal. I'll echo Martin's review though, these are great pedals at any price.

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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 394
    Since there's a trend developing here...

    I recently picked up one of Juan/John and Cleggy's Hawkwind themed Muff/delay/phase/reverb multis. I'd fancied one of these ever since the first build thread for them got published, partly because it looked like a very useful/usable one box combination, partly because it just looked so damned cool so when a choice of two turned up at a frankly ridiculously low price just after I got a tax rebate it as clearly Meant To Be.

    The Muff is the biggest, nastiest (in a good way), most downright evil example of the breed I've ever come across but, with a bit of care and self-restraint can be dialled back to something much more civilized.

    The phaser is again big, bold, and super swooshy but again can be dialled back to something much more subtle.

    The delay has just the right amount of treble roll-off on the repeats to let you use lots of it and still have it sit nicely in the mix behind what you're actually playing - this might make it sound quite restrained compared with the fuzz and the phaser but turn the feedback up towards the top of the range and yes, you guessed it, it's crazed noisecore time!

    The reverb is genuinely subtle. Yes you can have quite a lot of it if you want but it's just a nice, smooth, quite dark sounding reverb which does exactly what it says on the tin.

    So that's four quality effects in one compact, beautiful, one-of-a-kind box. Well, no, actually it's more than that because they all work together to create interesting textures which can be as subtle or wild as you could want. Top quality individual circuits, thoughtfully combined in an attractive, distinctive, unique, yet practical package. Doesn't half turn heads at the local jam night too.... :-)
    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • juansolojuansolo Frets: 1669
    Cheers guys!
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  • @juansolo hawkwind inspired pedal. That sounds cool. How much would one of these cost

    Instagram is Rocknrollismyescape -

    FOR SALE - Catalinbread Echorec, Sonic Blue classic player strat and a Digitech bad monkey

     

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  • juansolojuansolo Frets: 1669
    edited January 2017
    @Cookiemonster Still got the original for sale (£150) http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/88420/fs-3-singles-1-multi

    To make one from scratch would add £100 to that.
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