Jetter Gain Stage Red

26 04 2008

Recently, this appeared at my doorstep.Jetter Gain Stage Red

So, being the always-inquisitive individual that I am, I opened it up to inspect.Jetter Gain Stage Red Inside

Well, you can imagine how offended I was to see all this ugly stupid goop inside there, so I rolled up my sleeves and went to work removing the disgusting offal.Disgusting Offal

Goop is a cancer, and as dutiful Practitioners, it is our obligation to remove this cancer whenever it is encountered.

Jetter GSR, Offensive Goop Removed

After the goop has been removed through our Art, we then must trace the circuit the share with the world and spread the Shining Light of Knowledge.

Jetter Gain Stage Red Schematic

What’s this? Does this schematic look familiar to anyone? Those who visit Freestompboxes will no doubt recognize this circuit as the same one which can be found in the Hermida Audio Zendrive! Any differences between the two are negligible and paltry. This is a great shame when a company which makes claims to having original designs has to hide behind goop to disguise the fact that it is not only unoriginal, but a blatant copy of another popular design.

But another, and arguably even greater, shame is poor workmanship! The Jetter was full of cold solder joints caused by poor soldering technique at incorrect temperatures. You can see here:

Jetter bad soldering 1Jetter bad soldering2Jetter bad soldering3

These kinds of joints are unacceptable in any electronic construction.

Another strange point of worry was the small toggle switch. Apparently, because it doesn’t fit properly, the solder lugs have been chopped off of it and the wires were just tack-soldered into place.

Jetter switch - lugs chopped

All the solder lug connections within the Jetter unit are tack-soldered in this manner. This means that the wires are just barely touching the lugs and the solder is used like a glue to hold it in place. This makes a poor connection both electrically and mechanically, and coupled with the cold solder joints is a failure waiting to happen. Completely unacceptable.

And what’s up with this?Jetter Battery Snap Why would a boutique guitar effect in the $200+ price range use the cheapest low-grade battery snaps? We’ve all seen these before and we all know that it won’t hardly last a year before falling apart. Again, this is unacceptable.

There are numerous other amateur-level mistakes to be found in the construction of this device: from the hot-melt glue used to hold the board in place, to the very poorly drawn artwork on the PCB itself. The word I kept saying to myself while dissecting this thing was, “Why?”. Why do they think they can get away with this? Why do so many guitarists think this poor level of construction quality is acceptable? Why has it become normal for people to charge $200 to $300 for something that’s lower quality than the average Boss pedal? Why are consumers continuing to put up with companies who don’t respect them either as customers or as intelligent thinking humans? It’s really a sad state that we’ve come to.

I know I’m beginning to rant, but this is something I believe is important; I have become completely fed up with the unprofessional and disrespectful attitude that I see from the “boutique” community. This isn’t just Jetter; what I’m talking about appears to be common to the majority of them. I’m only singling out Jetter because they are the subject of this article, and therefore, are the subject of this particular critique. I am tired of seeing people on message boards get all excited about every piece of shit these “boutique” shysters sling at them. It seems like all one has to do is repackage a stolen circuit in a fancy box and people will gladly pay out the nose for the goop-shrouded mystery that promises sonic nirvana.

And how does it sound? Bland, boring, common… I was able to cop its signature “chewy” midrange tone with any number of common overdrive boxes. It sure doesn’t sound anything like a Dumble or any other tube amp, and I find it especially dishonest that they would compare it in such a way. To be fair, it sounds nice at low gain settings when used to drive an already-hot tube amp; but as the gain is turned up, it becomes progressively more and more generic sounding. Honestly, if a one desires the sort of sound this box creates, I would recommend supporting the original designer and purchasing an Hermida Audio Zendrive.

Seriously, who thought this thing sounds like a Dumble? I could see how it could possibly give certain dirty tube amps a tone which could be more akin to a Dumble, but the unit by itself does not sound anything like a Dumble (or any tube amp!)… not even close. The only thing it sounds like when fully overdriven is that standard opamp/diode clipper distortion that has become the normal thing to expect from Boss/Maxon-inspired pedals.

To learn more about this, or to join in further discussion, please visit

Of course, the statements in this article are my personal opinions… but I believe my opinions to be well-informed based on my first-hand personal experiences. The rather harsh critique I have given of the build quality has been seconded by an experienced Electronics QA Engineer who inspected the unit personally and gave a much harsher opinion than I.


Ed. Note:
I have disabled comments on this article. People need to to keep their misinformed shit-talk to themselves. If you don’t like what I have to say here, then try being an adult and ignore it. Yeah, I know lots of people like the GSR. If you own one and love it, then good for you… it doesn’t make any difference to me.  I don’t have any personal beef with Jetter and this article isn’t intended to defame anyone. It’s an honest and unbiased review given by a me – a person who has years of professional experience building and repairing electronics. If I say I think a certain stompbox is poorly built, I’m speaking sincerely and with the same standards of judgment I use for any piece of electronics I review. If it doesn’t live up to my personal standards for how something should be built, then don’t get all bent out of shape if I say I think it’s junk.




7 responses

12 05 2008

Thank you for posting this awesome info. Stuff like this needs to be brought to the surface more often.

15 05 2008

Thank you for forcing these boutique guys to be honest! The more people like you do this, the more they will realize they can’t get away with lying to musicians about what their products are and where they came from.

15 05 2008

Nice work, Soulsonic.

23 05 2008

I have searched like many and been dissapointed with the latest and greatest “boutique” pedals. Two that I found that are reasonably priced, well made, and sound good are MI Audio’s Crunchbox and Blues Pro. Happy playing!

28 06 2008

Well, i must differ and i have t say the JGSR sounds truly wonderful.

I am letting go a couple of my pedals because this one sounds just great.

Anyway, to each his own, but try before you make a comment, i have been looking for a pedal for quite a while and i just love this one.

9 07 2008

Wow!!!!And iwas just checking the so called dumble in a pedal out yesterday.Thanks so much!Just happened upon you from your klon article.Your my kind of guy.There are so many pedals out there now as we all know.Your attitude is needed and appreciated and helpful on the pocket book.

28 07 2008


I picked up Xotic’s AC Plus this weekend – one side of the pedal is an OD and the other side is a boost. I mistakenly thought that the OD side was a rehash of the AC Booster – but it is almost exactly the same as the Jetter GS Red – which of course is a Zen – but the values match the Red a little closer – ‘giant’ input cap (.47uF), MOSFETs and BAT46 (symetrical) in the feedback loop – and, input into the non-inverting of the IC – as opposed to the AC Booster’s use of injecting the signal into the inverting input.

The boost side is in fact an RC Booster with an added band of EQ to the stack and a ‘comp’ switch which appears to defeat two of the 6 clamping diodes in that circuit’s FB loop.

Nice sounding pedal now that I’ve rectified things in the drive ch that I don’t like about the Zen/GS Red/Fukks Plush, etc.

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