Comparison of Jetter Gain Stage Red and Gain Stage Blue

Okay, here are several pedals with a ton of MOJO associated: the Gain Stage Red and Gain Stage Blue. I have heard a ton of good things about Jetter gear and some not so good things about Jetter. People are RAVING about them…. and then the surrounding controversy! There is a particular scathing post that really slammed the Jetter GSR. I’m not going to focus on that so much, just know that it stated the Jetter GSR was a clone of the Zendrive, and has shoddy workmanship.

The infamous review: HERE

But I wanted to know for myself. In fact, reading the reviews, these pedals sounded like everything I wanted! The GSR nails the “dumble” tone and the GSB is this crazy, cranked-plexi cross-bred with a fuzz for soloing mayhem. And its Blue. Anything Blue is Better…. remember that!

What I wanted to do was just see how these pedals performed and I played them together. Not quite a shootout, but I wanted to see if these were anything that would bump a drive off my already-near perfect board, or if they were cool/weird enough that I would keep them as a “to be used item” or just because I wanted to keep one of them.

The Pedals:

Jetter GSR: Dumble tone, amp like.
Jetter GSB: Made for a singing-violin tone. Also “amp like”

Possible Personal Bias: I like the Zendrive. A LOT. Anything that could be a clone doesn’t fly well with me, and anything that does “that” amp sound does not get me hyped up.
I want to like the GSBlue. I really do. It just sounds cool and violin-amp tone? Really? I want to like it.

The Testing: Both pedals are stated as saying that they do not function well as bedroom levels as they were designed to be gigged and performed. Now I agree that playing things louder, through a cranked amp, and pushing that cranked amp… well, ANYTHING sounds better. In honesty, I played these pedals some through about 3 hours worth of “gigging” before I recorded anything. They sound pretty much the way they do in my recordings.

Disclaimer: I kinda forgot the camera was on! What you see is me screwing around, pushing the pedal, trying to hear harmonics come, go, fade, the depth of the overdrive and whether or not it ‘farts’ at low volumes. That said, I listened to my vids and laughed at my playing as at a few points you can tell I was focused on listening and not playing. Oh well, honesty abounds and so does humility!

Vids:

The Results:

Some expected and some not so expected!

Both pedals did seem to prefer the humbuckers! I did like the tone circuits in these pedals

GSR: very “chewy” and thick. I was a little surprised at the thickness of this pedal. Thick, but not boomy and the bass end doesn’t overwhelm. I also thought it was fairly easy to get that “Dumble” pick attack  and note bloom. That secret was all in the tone knob. This pedal handled chords well and did some nice fusion leads. It did seem to prefer the lower registers- 9th fret and below- as it kinda lacked a bit of sustain (to me) when playing above the 12th fret. I really liked that tone in the lower registers. All in all nice… I liked how it played well with single coils.

GSB: More gain, and more compression. After about 2 o’clock on the gain dial, the fuzz quality kicks in. I loved the sound all up and down the neck. I did not like chords with this thing. The compression affected the ‘feel’ of this pedal too much for me. I wish it reacted the way the GSR did, it would make this pedal a great pedal. That said, it sounds pretty fantastic, and great for fusion. It seems darker than the GSR, and the GSR is a bit fatter. With a little delay, this pedal is great for those epic solos.
As for violin tone… ah, I think my Muff does it better🙂
This pedal could be described as a GSR bred with a Muff. I really want to like this pedal, but I really don’t think I’ll use it as I already can gain its sounds from pedals currently in my rig and they have more than just this sound.

As for reliability/build… wow, call it the luck of recording, but the GSR just randomly did NOT turn on when I clicked it on. It had not done that before, nor has it since…. but that was weird.

And when I opened up the pedals:

Whoops. Is it supposed to do that?

The soldering looks fine, but the circuit boards are glued to the box with this huge lump of epoxy/hot glue. In the GSB, the board had come loose and was shaking some. This did not affect the performance or the tone, but made me wonder if there weren’t better ways to fix the circuit board in?

Now, a good number of pedals have their boards glued in place, but they are pretty neatly done. This one just seemed weird to me.

That’s the 2 Jetter pedals. I hope to compare the Red to the Zendrive in coming posts.

7 Responses

  1. it was a controversy alright … never mind the crappy quality/workmanship, but they do sound good🙂

  2. Tone sounds great, bro!😀

  3. Thanks guys… i’m learning that when the camera is on, its hard to not make mistakes lol. Its like I haven’t learned to relax. But yeah, the tone on these things was pretty good. I just didn’t like the “feel” of the GSB, even though it sounded great.

  4. That doesn’t sound bad at all. Can’t wait for the Zendrive comparison.

  5. Random question. Have you heard of or tried the JTK Alchemy? It’s suppose to be another Zendrive, Dumble style pedal. My friend Q just got one out of no where and really likes it.

  6. Jed: I have heard of it, but haven’t ‘heard’ it or played it.
    I actually am not that big into the Dumble thing… i got the Zen because I was looking for a fairly low gain transparent pedal that handled a G natural chord well… and to stand in for a TS9. The Zen handles extremely well in all of those, and I control its gain with my volume knob most of the time.

    As for the Jetters….🙂 I just wanted to try them. Have heard a lot of good things about Jetter. I traded and sold to get these two and enjoyed them, but they aren’t for me. I already like my tone as is!

  7. it’s enough time working on your tone, time to practice. these jetter pedals are beyond your skill set now. you will be able to realize their full potential, but gotta get better first.

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