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.
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!
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:
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.