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JHS Pedals - The  @ Andy Timmons Signature Dual Drive

Seeing red @ a different level...

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

 

Andy Timmons is a player’s player and has appeared on more than two dozen albums, so it’s safe to say his pedigree as a tone hound is well established. Known for his mid-forward pushing of classic Marshall amps and thick, dynamic tone, Andy has his feet solidly planted in the camp of Vai and Satriani but with a modern edge. Timmons previously used a signature Xotic BB Preamp pedal to push his classic amps, but he recently partnered with JHS Pedals to get his signature tone built into a box meant to feed a clean(ish) amp with an included Boost to really goose things. The JHS The  AT+distortion pedal features Volume, Drive, EQ, Air and Boost controls as well as a three-way toggle switch to select between 25, 50, and 100 watt modes and is powered by a standard, Boss-style power adaptor.

 

What You Need to Know

 

With over a dozen gain pedals in their current line-up covering everything from tweaks on the classic Tube Screamer with the Bonsai to the six-way Muff sandwich that is the Muffeletta, what does JHS have left to say in the world of overdrives? My hands-on time with the JHS  AT+ revealed a tweaked version of the Angry Charlie, Marshall Amp-in-a-box tone that is meaty without some of the low-end mush found in similar pedals. The Volume control easily exceeds unity gain by the midway point and can slam an amp hard without even tapping the included Boost circuit, and the Drive control takes the pedal from Bluesy break-up at the lowest settings (with passive single coils) to raging JCM2000 tones all the way up.

 

The EQ control works similar to most drive effects, boosting the lows while taming the highs counter-clockwise and pushing the highs forward while attenuating bass clockwise on the dial. The Air control fine-tunes the EQ setting, similar to the Presence control on a modern Marshall, and adjusts the frequencies and peak of the high frequencies. I found the two controls to be very interactive, and started with the Air at noon to dial in the EQ to where it fit best with my amp and the general mix and made tweaks to the Air control from there for maximum articulation.

 

The 25/50/100 switch is interesting in that it feels like it is handling a few things at once- the compression of the overdrive, the headroom, and the overall output volume. In the 25 Watt mode, The  AT+ sounds the most “pedal-like” and constricted, with pretty heavy compression and a fairly contained sound that really shows well in the context of recording, where it keeps to its own and occupies a very specific space. The 100 Watt setting, the other extreme, is enormously louder in output volume than the 25 Watt mode and is much more open. Chords and articulate passages stand out the most in this mode, but there’s a bit less of the classic Marshall focus exhibited. The 50 Watt mode falls squarely in-between the two mode, balancing compression with articulation and volume.

 

The Boost side of the pedal is loud and clean, with a touch for textured grit added at extreme settings but no real EQ shift. Because it’s placed before the Drive section, it can be used either independently or to slam the front of the Drive circuit for an even creamier, longer sustained gain stage.

 

The  AT+performs equally as well with chords as it does with leads, and unlike a lot of Marshall-inspired effects it doesn’t hide your playing. Fumbled runs and “not quite there” chord fingerings don’t get lost in the distortion, and it’s exactly the type of voicing I’d expect from a technical player like Timmons. It performs particularly well in front of a clean amp and turned my Fender Pro Reverb into a modern sounding monster. The bottom end can get a little flabby if the Air control is in the bottom quarter of the dial, but I’ve yet to find a sonic need to EQ it as such (even with a relatively shrill Super Reverb).

 

Limitations

 

Like most overdrive/distortion effects the JHS The  AT+ has places where it shines and areas it is limited. Extremely low gain settings to “warm up” your tone more than distort it are hard to come by with high-output hum bucking pickups.

 

Conclusion

 

The JHS The AT+ Andy Timmon’s signature distortion is one of the most articulate “Marshall in a box” pedals I’ve played, with extra versatility and care given to the Air and 25/50/100 controls to tailor a tone to your exact rig without giving up the flavor of the effect itself.

 

Resources

 

JHS The @ Andy Timmons Distortion Product Page

 

Buy JHS The @ Andy Timmons Distortion ($219.00 Street) @ Sweetwater 

 

                                      

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

 

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