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Overview by GAK

The JHS Bonsai is 9 tube screamers in one pedal. JHS founder Josh Scott looked at multiple versions of the iconic tube screamer and spent 3 years developing replicas of their circuits, using an Audio Precision analyser to make sure he was getting the exact same sound that the originals produced. This is an all-analogue pedal, staying true to the original tube screamer signal path, are the circuits are replicas, not emulations. This is a great way to explore the history of tube screamers without needing to buy a separate pedal to hear each sound, and also for Tube Screamer fans that need more options than a single pedal usually offers.

The different tones are accessed through a simple 9-way rotary knob:

OD1 (Boss OD-1), 1977

This pedal inspired the Ibanez Tube Screamer. This mode has a brighter and slightly higher gain tone and takes the Tone control out of the signal path, so it’s more open and brash.

808 (Ibanez TS-808), 1979

The classic low gain with that signature pronounced mid range.

TS9 (Ibanez TS9), 1982

This sounds very similar to the TS-808 but has a slightly more pushed low-mid range, but with a brighter, SRV-style sound

MSL (Ibanez Metal Screamer), 1985

Great for blues, rock and metal players. It has a soft attack, as well as a throatier low-mid bark, and a higher gain sound.

TS10 (Ibanez TS-10), 1986

This is an upgrade of the TS9, with a bluesy low-end roll-off, made popular by John Mayer

XR (Exar OD-1), 1989

This is a rare Polish-made pedal that has a slightly more saturated tone and a little more gain than a Tube Screamer, opening up the midrange for a more transparent feel.

TS7 (Ibanez TS7), 1999

The ‘Hot Mode’ makes this the most aggressive sounding of the 9 settings, delivering a jump in volume with more low end and a thick, well-defined, smooth sustain.

K (Keeley TS9 Mod+), 2002

Delivers a smooth, tight tone with less noise, an increased bass response, increased clarity, and more percussive qualities.

JHS (JHS Strong Mod), 2008

The Bonsai is completed with JHS’s own mod, this is perhaps the loudest and most open-sounding of the 9 modes. It has a balance of creaminess on single notes, with a clean boost, mild overdrive and better clarity, and also lets you dial up to an aggressive, vibrant overdrive.

Overview by JHS

In the late 1970’s the overdrive pedal was arguably perfected when Japanese engineers designed the sound that we now know as the heart and soul of so many of our favorite artists, recordings and sounds. Players ranging from The Edge, Trey Anastasio, Buddy Guy, Kirk Hammett, John Mayer, SRV, Carlos Santana and thousands more from every possible genre have utilized and depended on this classic iconic green box. If a single effect pedal was chosen to board a Voyager 3 mission and be solely responsible for showing the universe the sound of overdrive, it would undoubtably be Tube Screamer. It is probably the most produced and sold pedal in the history of guitar pedals! The Bonsai is our tribute to one of the greatest pedals ever created.

Following in the steps of our Muffuletta (released 2015), the Bonsai utilizes a simple rotary knob to switch through nine classic, vintage, rare, or hard to find variations of the Screamer. Creating the Bonsai became an archeological dig of sorts that sent us deep into the history of this circuit by examining dozens of versions, variations and replications. At the end of it all, Josh chose nine of his personal and favorite units and we painstakingly replicated every nuance and aspect of each pedal. One of the most challenging parts of this project was accounting for component drift as many of these pedals were decades old and the internal components had strayed from their original values. Each pedal was individually replicated using our Audio Precision analyzer and various other methods that allowed us to perfectly replicate every aspect of the sound and feel of the unit. It’s important to know that the Bonsai is not a “box of mods,” it is exact replications of these nine units all housed in one box! The Bonsai is exact replication, not emulation. When you choose a mode on the Bonsai rotary, you are actually activating components specific to each mode and playing the unit that Josh chose along with all the quirks, drift, vintage mojo, and individuality that a vintage pedal has.

LETS TAKE A LOOK AT THE 9 MODES OF THE BONSAI BASED ON THE 9 PEDALS WE HAVE CHOSEN…

OD-1 - 1977

An overall brighter and slightly higher gain mode that does not utilize the Tone knob. This mode also inverts signal just like the original and has asymmetrical clipping. The OD-1 is magical at boosting other drives or amps into singing saturation.

TS-808 - 1979

The classic low gain with that signature pronounced mid range.

TS-9 - 1982

Nearly identical to the TS-808 but with a slightly more pushed low-mid range.

MSL, POWER OR L SERIES - 1985

Though metal is in the name, this sound doesn’t quite inspire the modern metal djent we think of. Still it has a higher gain sound with a more low end and an overall more gooey feel.

TS-10 - 1986

Made famous by John Mayer, this model is a slight upgrade from the TS9 for the late ’80s. Bluesy, crisp, more low end roll off and low gain.

EXAR OD-1 1989

The EXAR is a Polish made TS-style pedal that has a slightly different drive character with a little more gain than the classic screamers as well as a slightly more transparent feel.

TS-7 (+MODE) - 1999

The hot mode on this version gives you the highest gain sound in the Bonsai. More low end and dirt fill out the tone to have you shredding away.

KEELEY MOD PLUS - 2002

Robert Keeley’s classic mod tightens up the tone on the original giving you smoother mid range and high frequencies, and increased bass response.

JHS STRONG MOD - 2008

Our own mod we’ve been doing since 2008 is much cleaner and overall more powerful. The mode has more pronounced higher and low end drop offs.

With the JHS Pedals’ Bonsai you can get the classic sounds of nine Tubescreamers in one pedal. Let the Bonsai help you find your overdrive zen.

THIS PEDAL REQUIRES STANDARD 9V DC NEGATIVE POWER, CONSUMES 20 MA, AND MEASURES 2.6"X4.8"X1.6".

THE WORDS IBANEZ, BOSS, ROLAND, TUBESCREAMER, TS9, 808, EXAR, AND KEELEY, AUDIO PRECISION MAY BE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS. THE JHS PEDALS BONSAI IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED OR ENDORSED BY IBANEZ, BOSS, ROLAND, TUBESCREAMER, TS9, 808, EXAR, KEELEY, AND AUDIO PRECISION.

  • Dimensions 2.6" (W) x 4.8" (H) x 1.6" (D)

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