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NPD: Jan Ray....broke down and got it...

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by bluesholyman, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I posted in mid-2019 about trying this pedal out and saying "I don't get it" and that I wouldn't get it. At some point, I decided that I am missing a Timmy from the board and the comparison and quest began - there was simply too many good things said about the Timmy. I had even said I didn't want to spend the money and was looking at inexpensive clones... yet here I am...so how did this happen?

    The short of it is, I listened to enough Timmy and Jan Ray videos (TPS being the most convincing one) comparing the two sounds that it became obvious the pedals are not exactly the same, but similar, despite what has been said. The Jan Ray is brighter overall and in my rig, that is something I felt like I wanted/needed as I am mostly into 335s these days and that sound tends to be a bit darker/woodier, depending on pickups. I figured if I got it for a good price, it could flip in time without much of a great loss - chalk it up to education - the price was about as good as I could find on used market.

    My initial impression of the pedal in my own rig is that it is quite wonderful and a sound that I really lean towards - uncompressed, nice dirt, without a harsh/brittle high end. The Xotic Soul Driven is perhaps the closest thing I have presently to it in that sound. Not sure how close they really are yet - need to play with them back and forth for a bit. Maybe the JR will stay, maybe I will flip it because it ends up not being different enough. I don't see myself getting rid of the Soul Driven - its really, really good.

    If any of y'all have kept up with my antics over the past two years, I have gone through many, many, overdrive pedals in the quest for tone. It has been quite an education and I can reasonably say that the quest is winding down.


    [waiting for laugher, coughing to die down]


    The quest is nearing the end, not specifically because of the Jan Ray, but because I keep coming back to the same pedals and sounds I now have. While there are plenty more pedals to try, there aren't many different enough pedals to try. The Timmy (and clones) were one of the ones I had not gotten to. I am about 1.5 years out from my KoT (production has recently slipped) and that will be the cherry, if they are still making them. Until then, the foxcatcher will keep me happy in the bluesbreaker department.

    What I have found overall is that every sound I like, the pedals that really impress me, they have [mostly] existed since the 90s (bluesbreaker, klon, Timmy, etc.) and there isn't that much new, original, or different out there now that isn't just a copy of something else already there. The Jan Ray certainly mimics the Timmy in many respects but it's a different enough variation, and I prefer that variation over the stock Timmy, mostly for the reasons stated above.


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  2. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Congrats! Happy NPD. :cool:
     
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  3. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I couldn't stop laughing @artdecade - so true....so true...
     
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  5. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've reached the same conclusion, or at least WRT getting any of the classic guitar tones.

    And if the stuff that's been available since the 90's doesn't quite nail it, most of it can be gently altered to push it over the finish line. And since all of our tastes and rigs differ, it probably makes more sense to adjust something stock and mass-produced as a starting point, instead of counting on something new to actually be some sort of complete sonic utopia. Every pedal is going to have some kind of compromises.

    ...I've got a few pedals that the traditional, mass-produced stuff simply can't touch, and I'd be majorly bummed if I didn't have them. That said, it's a very subjective preference for them, and they're the kind of stuff that the majority hasn't tried, and many folks may not even know they exist. They're almost in the realm of being bespoke gear, which is like a completely different animal.

    But the mass-produced and then the 'bespoke' stuff really do represent the two groups of pedals for me. I don't even personally need or want anything like the Timmy, Zendrive, OCD, Sweet Honey OD, or the vast majority of newer OD pedals that have come down the road in the last couple of decades.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  6. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I have tried to avoid that rabbit hole...

    Rabbit hole #1 - Overdrive
    Rabbit hole #2 - Fuzz
    Rabbit hole #3 - bespoke

    "Bespoke" is not a common term associated with pedals I think, but for me, this is Third Man Records pedals - Jack's stuff is just so out in one corner of space, but it sounds really good, if you are going for that. Also something like Gamechanger Audio Plasma pedal comes to mind. I could do music with those pedals, but I feel like there is a lot more I have to conquer with the traditional sounds before I even get there.

    Jack to me is a modern day Hendrix of sorts, but I want to be careful about that comparison - more about being avant-garde in the sonic palate while using traditional musical structures. I am not old enough to have "experienced" Hendrix live, in the context of that era, so I don't think I really understand his impact. No one was doing what he did and I am sure it was more than just a fuzz into a loud amp. While I don't really connect with The White Stripes, the Raconteurs are a whole different picture for me w/r/t appreciating Jack. A great example of what I mean is this one from their latest album - you can hear one of the Third Man Records pedals (forget which one) front and center.

    All that to say my journey to find traditional sounds I like, going on close to 10 years, but really pedal to the metal the last two, is wrapping up. At some point, I'll visit the bespoke stuff, but only after I catch my breathe on what i have now.

     
  7. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Congrats on your NPD!
    I do not own a Jan Ray, but I’ve tried one extensively and it was wonderful.
    One thing I did to get out of this (expensive) rabbit hole though, was to store my whole pedalboard and spare pedals in a suitcase and go direct. Once in a while I take the suitcase out, plug into a pedal to remember how it was, and to my big surprise I’m not that excited anymore... But I’m sure it will come back, because that’s something you recover from, but never cured completely :rolleyes:
     
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  8. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    You know....there is something about this...

    At some point, all these flavors of dirt push the amp, albeit in slightly different ways and once the amp is pushed far enough, the amps sound takes over and the pedal disappears. I think a treble booster opened my eyes to this reality, especially when A/B'ing the treble booster against another dirt pedal and all I heard was the same pushed amp out of either pedal.

    So my chain of dirt pedals have essentially become tools for EQ shaping of the guitar and pushing the amp with the various EQ adjustments they make along the way. I'm doing this because I don't have the guitar that sounds the way I want it to. Giving it a little help from a couple pedals made all the difference and opened my eyes to what I could do if I stacked them properly. So this has kept me in pedal land, for now.

    Gain staging is something else I am playing around with these and its a lot of fun. I'm up to 5 stages of dirt w/o excessive noise or instantaneous feedback. It has taken some time to dial that in and they are not on all the time, but I can. It looks like this with the addition of the Jan Ray:

    Guitar -> foxcatcher -> klon -> Jan Ray -> Soul Driven -> Marshall Guv'nor -> amp

    That sound is like a very juicy marshall amp waiting to explode with each note in a very musical way, hanging on the edge of feedback, waiting to get nudged over. The Guv'nor adds the marshall spice to it, and the rest just push it a little more along the way with however they affect the EQ of it all.

    Achieving this (stacking 5 dirt boxes) isn't the goal necessarily, but understanding how it all interacts and how to dial it all in, in order to get there. It's more about the journey than the destination, although the destination sounds pretty cool so far.

    I totally understand going direct and with the right guitar one day, I expect to.
     
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  9. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Gain staging and pedal stacking is cool and a lot of fun too. These days though I love having limitations when I play, because my inspiration comes from adapting to my gear, rather than trying to adapt my gear to what I have in mind.
    Two very different approaches to serve the same purpose: playing music. That’s the richness I like in playing amplified guitar.
     
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  10. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. Your done. Not one more.
    But have you tried the....

    :twisted:

    Where do we place bets on how many more between now and when the KoT arrives?

    I'm almost at the point where I want to scale down the pile of things I have tried. Fun though. Not much else to do these days.
     
  11. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think there will be many more in the dirt department, perhaps a few strays/collectables I'd just like to have because they are standards in certain genres, i.e. Nobels ODR-1, etc. As for my core tone, I think I have found the centerline of that and don't expect to stray much at this point - that was the heavy lift.

    Fuzz is one of those where I think I may keep exploring, but I have a few solid sounds I like and cover the standard fuzz variants (FF, BMP, TB) plus a Foxx Tone Machine clone that is pretty killer.

    Digital delay I will probably explore further as I am happy in the analog realm: Boss DM-2w for "analog" and a Belle Epoch Deluxe for the tape style. I am not a Strymon fan so the goto is not really for me, but everything that might interest me is at that level, so its just not as easy to go through, which is probably a good thing.
     
  12. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm in a similar boat. Floating a little slower. :)
     
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  13. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Great choice...It’s an awesome pedal. Congratulations!
     
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  14. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    And it's gone.
     
  15. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Afflicted

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    Is there a story?
     
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  16. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    There is always a story...just didn't think this one was particularly interesting....

    The Jan Ray was along the lines of what I want for my core tone and I liked it, a lot, but I already had something that did that and at pretty much half the cost new. Didn't figure that out until I had them side by side and could go back and forth - part of the fun of rolling pedals. The Soul Driven has a little more low-end girth and breakup that I like - a bit more rock'n'roll to it, if you will. They are both very close, but I prefer the Soul Driven over the Jan Ray.

    I figured having the Jan Ray for the sake of having it wasn't a good enough reason to keep it, especially at that price point. Not much of a collector, except to have specific tools in the box for when I want/need them and I didn't feel like an expensive backup was worth keeping.
     
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  17. High Head Brad

    High Head Brad Tele-Meister

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    Like the OP I resisted trying the Jan Ray for a long time, mainly because it is overpriced. But a month or so I decided to try one and I couldn’t resell it fast enough. I much prefer the Timmy. I was quite surprised in the difference between the 2 pedals. The Jan Ray has way more gain than I’m interested in and sounded more compressed
     
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  18. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Congrats and thanks, BHM!

    I’m most appreciated of your journey because you’ve been a great resource; a sounding board for things I can consider or not.
     
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  19. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    Your welcome. I am glad my madness can help at least one other soul on the planet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  20. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I am trying hard not to try a Timmy....you are making it harder :D
     
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