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Following in the steps of the Muffuletta (released 2015), the JHS Pedals 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 JHS deep into the history of this circuit by examining dozens of versions, variations and replications. Each pedal was individually replicated using JHS' Audio Precision analyzer along with other methods that allowed JHS 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 house 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 choose along with all the quirks, drift, vintage mojo, and individuality that a vintage pedal has.
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 symmetrical 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. 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: JHS' own mod is much cleaner and overall more powerful. The mode has more pronounced higher and low-end drop offs.
This pedal requires standard 9 V DC Negative power, consumes less than 100 mA, and measures 2.2 x 4.8 x 1.6 in.
This article was originally published in Playback Issue 004. Subscribe to Playback for free to stay up to date with our latest articles, interviews, product reviews and more.
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