Two Industry Leaders Unite for the 40th Anniversary of BOSS Compact Pedals
The idea to develop the JB-2 pedal was born of the friendship between BOSS President Yoshi Ikegami and JHS Pedals founder Josh Scott, and their shared passion for innovative pedal design. The Blues Driver has long been a favorite pedal for Josh, and he credits it for leading him into designing his own pedals and starting his own company. “I got into pedals because, as a player, I used two Blues Drivers together for years and years. One day, one of them broke. I opened it up and realized it was just a simple soldering fix. It really sparked my curiosity and that just took over my life, and JHS pedals came into existence out of repairing that pedal.”
Yoshi and Josh regularly visit with each other at the yearly NAMM shows, and they had discussed the idea of a collaboration a number of times. With BOSS celebrating the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the compact pedal design throughout 2017, Yoshi felt the time was right to develop a new pedal together. “In the 40 years of BOSS compact pedal history, this is a first,” Yoshi said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing that two companies have collaborated based on a great mutual respect for each other.”
“We’re very excited to collaborate with BOSS, one of our heroes, with the JB-2,” Josh relates. “I’ve said for years and years that BOSS pedals are my favorite pedals. For JHS to jump into the story of what BOSS has done for 40 years is a real honor, and really beyond anything I would have ever imagined.”
Partners in Tone
After discussing a number of ideas, BOSS and JHS Pedals ultimately felt that combining the Blues Driver and Angry Charlie would be the ideal match.
“When this plan came up, we used the ES-8 Effects switching system to try numerous combinations of our pedals with the JHS Angry Charlie,” Yoshi relates. “I thought a combination allowing each pedal to complement the other would be interesting to try. The sound of the Angry Charlie is exactly what BOSS didn’t have.”
“It stacks amazingly with the Blues Driver,” Josh adds. “What’s great about the Blues Driver is it covers low gain phenomenally, and it does boost really well, and that accents what the Angry Charlie is. The Angry Charlie is always angry, so the Blues Driver helps mellow it out and do different things.
“To experience working on a product with a company that has done this thing so well for so long has been really inspiring,” Josh continues. It’s just amazing to see such talented people that love what they do.” Josh is very pleased with the way the JB-2 turned out, saying, “I am 150-percent satisfied. I love it.”
“For several years, we have been continuing to take on new challenges with the keyword “Breakthrough,” Yoshi said. “I think it’s very refreshing and thought-provoking for our engineers to work with such an up-and-coming company and get inspired.”
A Diverse Range of Drive Sounds in a Compact Footprint
With its two drive types, dual-concentric knobs, and six modes, the JB-2 packs an enormous amount of overdrive range in a single-space pedal. The Blues Driver is the lower-gain side, carrying everything from boost to overdrive, and the Angry Charlie carries the medium-high overdrive all the way to distortion.
The six-position mode selector provides flexibility to use the overdrives in numerous creative ways, from individual operation to series stacking and even parallel operation. In series mode, one overdrive works as a booster for the other, while in parallel mode, the overdrive character expressively changes in response to picking nuance. A remote jack extends the pedal’s versatility even further with control from an external footswitch or pedal switcher.
“In this small format, you get this amazing switching system that is out of this world with series and parallel,” Josh relates. “You have six controls for two pedals, but the six controls in parallel become six controls for one new pedal, and that is very, very cool. So you have the Angry Charlie that people know, and the Blues Driver that people know. But when you put them together, the six controls all interact and there are hundreds of sounds. I think that’s a fantastic product.”