The JHS Pedals team (from L-R): John Pennington (builder, Custom Shop manager), Tim Shaeffer (builder, Mod Shop manager), Nick Loux (builder), Nick White (builder), Josh Scott (founder, designer), Steve Offutt (business operations, dealer/artist relations), Mrs. Holly (administration), Mason Gentry (quality control, testing), Heather Rodriguez (administration), Zach Simms (builder, shipping manager).
Have you ever wanted a pedal that could combine the classic sounds of a vintage Tonebender with a modern gated fuzz in a single unit that’s handpainted with your grandmother’s face? If so, JHS Pedals is more than happy to oblige. From the company’s beginning, Josh Heath Scott, founder and owner of the outfit that bears his initials, has instilled a “what you want is what you get” approach that’s propelled JHS to become one of America’s hottest new gear manufacturers over the past five years.
“We pride ourselves in service and we have really crazy abilities to be there, customer service-wise,” Scott says. “We’re real people—you’re not going to be talking to some robot on the phone when you call us. We’re just like the players because we are players and that’s been a big part of our success.”
The birth of JHS Pedals can be traced back to a single broken Boss BD-2 Blues Driver. “It’s kind of a story of how necessity is the mother of invention,” Scott recalls. “Around February 2007, I found myself fixing one of my broken guitar pedals. I didn’t have the money to pay a guy to fix it. So I opened it up, fixed it, and in doing so it lit the fuse for a hobby that has taken over my life.”
An active guitarist, JHS Pedals’ founder and namesake Josh Heath Scott says 85 percent of his product catalog is based on gear he has always wanted.
Once he began to poke around the innards of his BD-2, Scott became obsessed with how pedals worked, why parts were placed where they were, and what would happen if you substituted one part for another.
“I remember really getting into it. I’d get on Google and look up schematics to the pedals I owned. ‘What is this doing?’ I’d get a Tube Screamer and change out parts and listen to them. Back then I didn’t have the electrical engineering knowledge I do now—I really didn’t know what I was doing. But I’d think, ‘If I take that capacitor out and put in this one, what will it sound like?’”
From the humble origins of Scott’s personal curiosity in pedal design sprouted a one-man mod shop based out of his home at the time in Jackson, Mississippi. “There’s a shop in Jackson called Fondren Guitars and they started selling a couple of Boss pedals I’d modded. I remember when I started selling them at that store. Bands would come through and people would buy them—it really motivated me.” After the first taste of success, Scott decided to expand his operation and began to sell his modded pedals over eBay to huge fanfare.
With his mods in hot demand across the world, Scott felt the time had come to try his hand at building entirely new pedals from the ground up. Many JHS flagship models, including the Morning Glory overdrive, Pulp ’N’ Peel compressor, and the Mini-Bomb Boost were conceived and fleshed out in those early years of trial and error. Soon the popularity of Scott’s stompboxes and mods reached a level he didn’t anticipate, and he was faced with the question of a lifetime: Is this just a part-time diversion, or could this be something more?