||Download Example 1
Clean: Speed – 11, Depth – 3, “Minus” setting, Chorus effect
||Download Example 2
Dirty: Waterfall Chorus in Effects Loop of Egnater Amp. Speed – 2, Depth – 10, “Plus” setting, Chorus effect
||Download Example 3
Trill: Waterfall Chorus in Effects Loop of Egnater Amp. Speed – Varies from Slow to Fast, Depth – 3, “Plus” setting, Vibrato effect
||Download Example 4
Vibrato: Speed – 2, Depth – 10, “Plus” setting, Vibrato effect
|All clips recorded with Parker Fly guitar, Egnater Tourmaster 4212 amplifier, Audio Technica AT2021 Microphone, Avid Pro Tools
Jam Pedals, who build their stompboxes in Greece by hand, aren’t
yet a household name among guitarists. But with users that include
Nels Cline, John Abercrombie, and Greg Koch, Jam’s analog pedals
are steadily popping up on more pedal junkies' wish lists. Most
Jam stompboxes are based on old circuits of the ’60s and ’70s and
incorporate rare NOS chips, matched NOS transistors, and carbon
comp resistors. The Waterfall is not based on any specific vintage
circuit, but in terms of delivering warm, analog chorus sounds that
can range into the realm of Leslie-quality modulations, the Waterfall
has few equals.
Under the hood, the Jam Waterfall is built around original NOS
Panasonic MN3101 and MN3007 chips. But on the outside, it’s
designed around a fairly basic set of controls consisting of knobs for
Speed and Depth, plus two toggle switches—one to control intensity
and the other for switching between chorus and vibrato. Inside the
pedal, there’s an internal trimmer for adjusting the maximum modulation
speed, should you want an even more intense chorus.
All of Jam’s pedals sport folk-art graphics that enhance their cottage-built
vibe. The Waterfall features brushed blue paint to simulate
rushing water, and it also has a water faucet on the face of the pedal,
with the two mini toggle switches cleverly placed on the handle of
Let It Flow
The Waterfall is a plug-and-play effect with a forgiving and intuitive set of
parameters. Using a Parker Fly with humbucking pickups and an Egnater
Tourmaster amp, I started working with the Waterfall’s basic rich, smooth
chorus and immediately fell in love with sweet tone of the humbucker in
the neck position and a clean, uncomplicated chorus setting.
Working the Speed and Depth knobs yields everything from a subtle
doubling effect to a really swirly, warbling sound. The Waterfall also
works well within an amp’s effects loop. For example, if you want to
treat your preamp overdrive with some chorus, the Waterfall adds a
smooth, liquid tone to the distortion that sounds great for either rhythm
or lead playing. With the pedal in its more extreme settings, it can also
add some wilder effects to your playing, such as super-fast speed rates
or a crazier vibrato sound.
The two toggle switches add variety—and extreme sci-fi textures—you
won’t find in many analog chorus pedals. The switch labeled with plus
and minus signs enables you to move between a contemporary chorus
sound and a fuller, more Leslie-like tone. The other switch allows you to
select a chorus or vibrato effect.
The vibrato can get pretty crazy, especially when you start tinkering
with the speed knob. My favorite vibrato effect was setting the depth
about 3/4 of the way up, resulting in what sounds like a minor second
trill. By adjusting the speed, you can make the trill speed up and slow
down. With the toggle switch set to the plus side, the individual notes
in the trill interval get more defined. On the minus side, the notes get
a little more slurred. It’s a cool effect if you want to make single notes
sound like trills up and down the fretboard.
Rich, smooth, or wild, the Waterfall chorus is a pedal of great depth
and flexibility. Both Chorus and Vibrato settings are very warm and
musical. But this is also a pedal that can work for those inclined toward
more radical use of modulation effects. This range—combined with the
Waterfall’s no-compromise quality, NOS-based circuitry, and hand-built
look—make this one of the most remarkable chorus pedals made today.
you are looking for a chorus and vibrato
effect that sounds as good as it looks.
you’re not concerned with having a vintage
chorus made of rare NOS chips or
if you want a digital effect.