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A few months ago I picked up a new Ibanez™ Tube Screamer™ pedal to compare to some of my other TS style overdrive and distortion pedals. It was a fun experiment that I will now need to repeat because there's a new player and challenger, the JHS 3 Series "Screamer". How does it sound?
WHAT IS IT?
The Screamer is the latest release from JHS pedals in Kansas City, Missouri. The 3 Series is the $99/pedal collection from JHS. All the 3 Series have the same simple white paint job, same three knobs and a single tiny toggle switch to select between two options. A foot switch and single LED complete the user controls on a 3 Series pedal.
The Screamer walks the line between overdrive and full on distortion, depending on how you set the controls. The test amplifier for my first Screamer outing is the 20-watt Marshall Origin head driving a Marshall 4x12 filled with Celestions. This single channel amplifier provides a classic Marshall tone platform for evaluating pedals.
TAKE CONTROL - VOLUME, TONE, DRIVE
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The Screamer has a volume knob that adjusts the output level when engaged, you'll want to start with this turned down because there is a LOT of volume output available. The Tone knob makes it brighter if you turn it clockwise and darker when turned the other direction. The third knob is labeled "Drive" and this is where you select just how much distortion you want the Screamer to add when your guitar volume control is turned all-the-way-up.
The single mini toggle switch controls the clipping style of distortion the pedal utilizes.
UP = Asymmetrical (also known as Strong Mod clipping)
DOWN = Symmetrical (stock TS9, TS808).
The LED is lit when the pedal is active. The single foot switch controls whether the pedal is IN or OUT of your signal path.
IF YOU BE A LOVER OF DISTORTION YOU WILL BE WELL DISTORTED
At lower drive settings this pedal is a "clean boost" or if you set the DRIVE control louder it can add a healthy dose of crunchy distortion. The Screamer responds nicely to the volume setting on your guitar, turn your guitar down and the Screamer cleans up, spin your guitar volume wide open and things get distorted.
You can leave this pedal ON all the time, it's one of THOSE kind of Drive effects. Turn your guitar way down and you can voice clear guitar chords with the pedal still engaged. Raise the volume on your guitar and the distortion level climbs in a proportional and progressive way, it "feels" natural to the player using it.
The Screamer also adds a bit of unique clarity to your tone. My Marshall Origin can sound a bit dark when driven with my Les Paul Special (loaded with Seymour Duncan full size humbucking pickups) but with the Screamer in the signal path the front edge of each note had an improved clarity and attack.
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Great tone, features and function
Versatile pedal, plays nice with other pedals
Low residual noise
Low power consumption
Low purchase price
Made in USA
No internal battery option
As soon as I saw this pedal available I ordered it. I own all the JHS 3 Series pedals and they seem to get better with each new release. I love distortion and crunch so this pedal made me smile BIG.
If your guitar tone could use a good overdrive and your wallet could use a bargain price, give the JHS 3 Series "Screamer" a try. I have various TS clones from LA custom shop builders that don't match this one for features, full tone and excellent performance, not to mention they are double and triple the purchase price.
This one is a keeper and it's sure to see a lot of use in the near future here in the High on Technology studio.
Thanks for reading High on Technology, Good Music To You!
©April 2022 by Mark King, it's not ok to copy or quote without written permission.