Bought a Jackhammer!
- From: "DeeAa" <deeaaREMOVE_THIS@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 07:43:36 +0300
Marshall JH-1 that is. 40e used. I got that on an impulse, and it's good :-)
Some backround and then a review of sorts:
I've been using my rig with no preamp presets for a while now and to get the
best possible sounds AND to keep it simple.
(Marshall JMP-1 into a Peavey 50/50 poweramp into a 4x12" with greenbacks
and V30's with a Tube Screamer to kick it into more drive when need be.)
While the JMP-1 overdrives are also good, it simply sounds the best with
just clean 1 setting, all EQ's and all flat, just with quite a lotta volume
to poweramp so it isn't completely clean and gives very sturdy/crunchy
chording sound even on clean. Power tube drive, indeed. You know, EL84's,
very tight bottom, real nice semi-clean crunch, Under the bridge style
snappy cleans that go into almost AC/DC when playing hard full chords...but
for the grunge style we've been playing, not enough gain at all of course.
Hence the TS.
Now the TS is and has always been a real workhorse to kick an amp into more
drive, but there were 2 issues with using it. 1. it was rather noisey, and
to keep it not having any fuzzy qualities I've had to cut the highs some and
2. our other guitarist's sound relies much on his TS clone, and having too
similar sounds for us made it a bit too messy...well actually there were 3
issues - just didn't know it was due to the TS - but the whole rig seemed to
be all too quiet to me, had to keep it cranked up all the time to compete
with the band.
Enter the Jackhammer. It has an Overdrive and Distortion modes which the
manual says mimic the JCM800 and JCM2000 respectively. From online (very
mixed) reviews of the thing I already knew the distorion would not fit me at
It also has a contour sweep control which is basically a parametric EQ in
addition to normal EQ that allows for sweeping off mids in any frequency
range basically. So the thing has lotsa adjustments.
Well, the mid-sweep I find no use for as I expected, no room for modern
mid-cut sounds in rock, but luckily it can be switched off. What I was
interested in how would it compare and replace the TS for adding overdrive
to an already slightly driven tube rig.
Well, what can I say - I was very pleasantly surprised. Simply put the thing
on 'OD' mode, gain at maybe a quarter, volume straight...and it really is a
magnificient OD pedal. It sounds a LOT like the TS but it has a.)no
discernible hiss or noise at all in OD mode (in comparison the TS is a
friggin noise generator) and, what's more important, this thing has
truckloads of clarity even when it screams blue murder.
If you've ever played a JCM800 real loud you know how tight and articulate
the bag end on a good Marshall can be. This gives just that. You hit a
chord, and it has immense clarity and ring/harmonics to it, but it's clear
as a bell. Bass string runs have that Marshall THUMP even on single strings
and you hear exactly what you play even when it has that Metallica-esque
thump. Just amazing, it adds no mush to the good clean sound I have, only
makes it sound LOUD and clear. Really gets the message thru. Also a
Bluesbreaker at full blast has a lot of that. The JMP 50W 70's combo had
that as well but it was way too bright and icy and a one-trick pony. The
best way to describe is...well the difference is as if I had been
fingerpicking chords before and now I'd be playing them by letting a
drumstick fall on strings instead of picking (try that if you dunno what I
mean), just amazing attack and ringing punch.
It was so funny, while we played for like 3 hours or so, I kept going back
to my rig and turning it down...this thing just punches thru anything easy
as pie now...an immense difference to the TS. My amp was a bit weak to me
volumewise before, now it seems there's more volume available anyone would
ever need. And no noise. Never in a million years could have expected such a
difference between OD pedals that basically have the same type sound.
The only thing is, now that the rhythm sound is so clear and punchy, leads
sounded too AC/DC for this music (needs rather thick melody lead sounds) so
for a while I was pondering if I needed two OD's to do that, but stupid me,
all I need to do is use the wah and keep it on the warmer region to get a
more singing thick lead. So that's covered too.
I've read both praise and hatred for this pedal, and maybe it's true when
they say these can sound great if your amp is already good sounding, and
crap otherwise. And yeah, if you turn on the DS mode or use that sweep
contour thing you're in NuMetal territory in a flash---but as a simple
overdrive for a nice amp this rocks.
I bet it would give any amp that Marshall punch, and if I had a Fender or
any tube rig like that, I'd definitely suggest anyone to check this thing
out. They're cheep and they're built true Marshall style like tanks. I
really feel like I've found *the* OD for me and I've owned well over a dozen
of 'em, hell, just this year I've bought and sold on 3 of 'em...always got
back to the trusty TS...but now I don't think so. The only thing I'd use the
TS for is when we play something really bluesy and it *needs* to be a little
scratchy-noisey and really warm and soft.
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