As I build out my live rig/to-go pedalboard, will these affordable and rugged JHS pedals be just what I need?
If there is one thing I love, it’s affordable workhorse pedals. The JHS 3 Series was introduced at the end of 2020 as reasonably affordable, made in America standards for guitar players who need reliable performance and classic tones. Dubbed the 3-series thanks to their 3 control knobs, the Reverb and Delay pedals doing pretty much everything you could want even if they lack some bells and whistles. The Delay features your standard time (length of delay), repeats (number), and mix (volume of delays) controls with a flexible mini toggle that lets you choose a clearer digital delay or darker, analog delay flavor. Likewise, the Reverb prioritizes controls for the size of the verb, from small spacey echos to cascading walls of reverberation. You can tweak how it decays as well, plus control how bright or dark the reverberation is thanks to the EQ knob. Like the Delay, you have a toggle switch to add some spice. Click on some short delay before the reverb begins with the switch, changing the style of verb from a spring-like sound to an old timey slapback-style verb.
Review & Opinion:
Reverb in action above!
Instead of shooting a full length demo for these pedals, I wanted to show how often I use them and how many different awesome sounds they can produce. If you haven’t noticed, they’ve made an appearance in pretty much every guitar or pedal demo from early February through now. Once I put them on a board, I realized they were pretty much capable of doing everything I could need. And that’s really the best example of how these 3 Series pedals should be valued. They’re wonderful examples of classic circuits, that are affordable, built to last, and just sound plain good. No, they will never replace my two absolute favorite reverb and delay pedals on my board, but instead they’ll be an absolute staple component of my live sound. More importantly, if these were around when I was a teenager I would have been thrilled (and sounded way better on stage). Whether you’re looking for an introduction to pedals or for something reliable, these are really superb options. Now, with both pedals, you’re sort of locked into one or two styles of each effect only. The reverb type is more hall in my opinion, I haven’t gotten it to really do the drippy spring sound yet, plus it sounds very lush and rich. The toggle switch does open up some fun, slapback-like Spring sounds though! On the other hand, the delay pedal feels just a bit more flexible, thanks to analog and digital voicing options. You won’t get built-in modulated delay like my beloved Deluxe Memory Man, but it has these wonderfully rich and articulate delay sounds, from short to long. The digital option is really clear and accurate, which makes it great for using on lead lines, solos, anywhere you might want to thicken up a sound without losing note definition. I really liked using it to show off this shorter delay sound on the Noventa Tele video, where it just creates this killer tone for lead lines.
Conclusions & Final Scores: JHS 3 Series Delay 8 out of 10, JHS 3 Series Reverb 7.5 out of 10
I think all you need to know about these pedals is that they’re really good. They’re not experimental, they’re not crazy, you’re not going to be doing your best Nick Reinhart impersonation. But they are really tough, look great on your board, and will cover your bases (and more) if you’re not super into these types of pedals. For cash strapped musicians, I would go as far as to say the 3 Series is the best sub-$100 pedal line. There are plenty of overdrives for $50 that could probably beat the 3 Series Overdrive in a head to head, but honestly reverb and delay are usually pretty costly for this level of quality. Great work from JHS, I really like the way they’re embracing some lower price points without going to overseas production. I’m gonna strap these to my gigging pedalboard for the rest of my life most likely, so I’m clearly happy to fully recommend this product.