Price paid: $ 73.2
Purchased from: Trevor Davies Music
Sound — 8
I use this pedal with various guitars, mainly into a Laney VC30. I usually run the distortion mode into the clean channel, and overdrive mode into the Drive channel on the amp with the gain pushed up a little so that the amp is breaking up a little on it's own. Distortion mode being run into the amps Drive channel is rather muddy, but can be usable on some settings. I usually have the gain on the pedal at about 10 o'clock, with the contour turned completely down, as that gives me just the right amount of gain I need without any scooped mids, good for classic rock and blues. A setting I also like a lot is Overdrive run into the clean channel with a single coil neck pickup, sounds especially good with my Fender Cyclone. Of course it can be noisy, it's a distortion pedal, but it's only really noticable if you crank the gain. I didn't buy the pedal with any intention of sounding like any of my favourite artists, but I can get a similar sound to the Hotel California guitar solo out of it. Both settings are very good in my opinion, and I'm glad I chose this pedal. A little bit of a problem though which gets this marked down a little. If you have the gain up high and are running the pedal through the clean channel, when the pedal switched off, you can sometimes hear it underneath the clean sound.
Overall Impression — 9
I play anything from blues to Grunge and this pedal is a good match for everything I do. I've been playing guitar for about 10 years, I currently don't own many pedals as up until recently I've been using solid state modelling amps which had all the fx built in. This is my first and only distortion pedal. I thoroughly tried and tested this pedal, along with the other Marshall distortion pedals (guvnor and bluesbreaker) and the DigiTech hothead and Bad Monkey, before deciding on buying this pedal. If this pedal went missing I'd definitely buy another, it has worked it's way into being part of my own personal tone, I don't know how I ever did without it! The thing I love about it is that it's so versatile. There are a few things I dislike though, first of all the way it can grit up your cleans while it's switched off as I mentioned above, then there's the way you have to re-adjust all the settings when you switch between the 2 modes although that's only a minor thing as I have to compromise on both so I can Switch between them without adjusting, yet it still sounds pretty good. I don't use the contour control, I find it thins out the sound, but that's no problem, at least the option is there in the unlikely event that I'll need it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal looks like it's built like a tank. It feels solid, just like the rest of the Marshall pedals. I haven't abused mine, but I have a friend who is offering to sell me his Bluesbreaker pedal for 2, he said it's been dropped down the stairs, kicked off the stage during a performance, generally been bashed about quite badly, but apparently despite having the knobs missing, it still works. I'd imagine the jackhammer is just as solid as it is in the same casing. I would confidently gig without a backup, I wouldn't buy a pedal if I thought it was going to die during a performance.
Ease of Use — 7
This pedal is relatively easy to get a good sound out of if you understand how the controls work. I wouldn't say it's a pedal for beginners though. The controls consist of an overdrive/distortion switch, and stacked volume/gain, bass/treble and contour/frequency knobs. Because it's very tweakable it can take a while to get the sound you want but once you've got it it's very rewarding. One thing that lets it down however is you can't really Switch between distortion and Overdrive without having to tweak the controls to suit each setting. The manual is just a little leaflet which gives you some examples of settings and tells you how to use it, which is only useful if you're a beginner, otherwise, you probably wouldn't need a manual anyway. I'm not entirely sure if there has been an upgrade to the internal workings of the JH-1, but I have seen some models with "metal XL" written on the logo.