Review: JAM Pedals

JAM Pedals is a Greek maker of boutique effect pedals, whose products are now available in Finland, too (distributed by R-Jam Group).

JAM Pedals’ products are all-analogue, built by hand from first-rate components. Some models even rely on hard to come by NOS-chips and -transistors for their sound.

Most JAM-models can also be ordered in point-to-point versions, or with customised specifications and/or artwork.

All JAM Pedals come in hand-painted, unique designs, and are delivered with a cloth sack for storage, as well as a JAM-logo’d plectrum.

All the effects tested in this review run on a nine volt battery or a (Boss-type) power supply (not included).

****

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 + bag

JAM Pedals offers four different versions of its Tube Dreamer overdrive pedal.

Their compact Tube Dreamer 58 is the company’s take on the ultimate Ibanez Tube Screamer 808 pedal. The circuit is built around an original JRC4558D-chip.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 pic 1

The JAM Tube Dreamer 58 (current price in Finland: 185 €) wins you over with a healthy dose of that classic, creamy Tube Screamer mid-range. The TD58’s forte, though, is the vastly improved dynamic range of the JAM-model, and the more organic, amp-like overdrive structure, achieved by using three diodes for asymmetrical clipping.

This sound clip – like all the others in this review – has been recorded using a Fender Stratocaster and a Blackstar HT-1R valve combo:

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer 58 pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ and bag

The flagship model Tube Dreamer pedal is called the JAM Tube Dreamer+ (current price in Finland: 225 €), and is the deluxe version of the JAM Tube Dreamer 72, which is designed a ”secret chip”.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ pic 1

The Plus-version adds a high-gain-/boost-circuit (left footswitch) on top of the moderate-gain overdrive section (right footswitch).

The Tube Dreamer+ is shipped with the high-gain circuit adding only more gain to proceedings, but you can also adjust the high-gain circuit’s internal trimmer to deliver copious amounts of signal boost, whenever it is switched on.

In terms of its sound, the Tube Dreamer+ gives more than a passing nod to 1970s Blues Rock and Heavy Metal. Despite its high-gain boost, this JAM-model hasn’t been designed for contemporary Thrash Metal.

Jam pedals – Tube Dreamer+ pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Red Muck + bag

JAM Pedals’ stompbox fuzz is called Red Muck, and it comes in a Soviet-inspired colour scheme, complete with hammer and sickle graphics.

Jam pedals – Red Muck pic 1

The starting points for the Red Muck fuzz’ (current price in Finland: 209 €) tone were the classic, early Big Muff -sounds.

JAM has refined the original fuzz character to come up with a much more versatile pedal. JAM’s Red Muck reacts extremely well to changes in the guitar’s volume knob settings, while the overall delivery is noticeably fatter and creamier, when compared to many other fuzz-effects. This pedal also takes well to full chords, and doesn’t mush up so quickly.

I have to admit that JAM’s Red Muck has quickly become my favourite fuzz box.

Listen for the tonal changes, as I slowly raise the volume control at the beginning of this clip:

Jam pedals – Red Muck pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Waterfall + bag

The JAM WaterFall (259 €) is a dual-function effect pedal, offering chorus and vibrato in one compact package.

Jam pedals – Waterfall pic 1

The two effects in the WaterFall have been designed around two legendary Panasonic-chips (the MN3101 and the MN3007), on which some of the earliest Boss modulation effects were also based.

The mini-switch on the right is for selecting the effect – chorus or vibrato (v) – while the switch on the opposite side lets you choose between a milder, vintage (-) version of the chosen effect, or its more drastic, modern counterpart.

The WaterFall’s chorus is simply superb, sounding very natural and musical:

Vibrato may not be the most-commonly used effect, but the WaterFall’s reading must surely be one of the sweetest-sounding there is:

Jam pedals – Waterfall pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Ripple + bag

JAM Pedals’ The Ripple (199 €) is an easy-to-use phaser. There’s only a single Speed-control for the effect, and that’s all.

Jam pedals – Ripple pic 1

This is one lush-sounding phaser – you can’t get more musical than this! The Ripple has a rich and organic tone, broadening your guitar sound, yet it never seems to usurp the show or hog the limelight.

Jam pedals – Ripple pic 2

****

Jam pedals – Delay Llama + bag

The Delay Llama?! The guys at JAM HQ sure do have a sense of humour!

JAM’s Delay Llama (265 €) is an analogue, lo-fi delay pedal in the spirit of the early Eighties.

Jam pedals – Delay Llama pic 1

The Delay Llama features a classic bucket-brigade circuit, which uses an updated version Panasonic’s legendary MN3205-chip. The maximum delay time offered is approximately 600 ms. An internal trim port allows you to adjust the maximum number of repeats available from the Repeats-control.

The Delay Llama will bring sonic fulfilment to fans of the BBD-sound – there’s plenty of grease on tap, and each new repeat degenerates noticeably from the one before. Factory settings even allow for the Repeat-control to cause infinite and distorting feedback loops, something for the fans of psychedelic and experimental music.

Jam pedals – Delay Llama pic 2

****

Jam pedals – teaser

In my opinion, these JAM Pedals offer the genuine boutique pedal experience at fair prices! They sound great, they look cool, their noise floor is low, and the pedals consume surprisingly little (battery) power. Give them a try!

****

JAM Pedals

effect pedals from Greece

Tube Dreamer 58 – 185 €

Tube Dreamer+ – 225 €

Red Muck – 209 €

WaterFall – 259 €

The Ripple – 199 €

Delay Llama – 265 €

****

Pros:

+ handmade

+ hand-painted

+ sound

+ low power consumption

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