I admit it. I’m obsessed. The tone that can be wrought from vintage Germanium transistors is simply awesome. For JDM Pedals I keep a large and ever-growing collection of vintage Germanium transistors to build our pedals. From vintage European black glass, to metal-can, gold-lead high performance U.S.A. made, to bomb-proof Russian military grade, all of these transistors offer different performance specs and influence the sound of circuits in an endlessly fascinating way.
When a well designed circuit with Germanium transistors is pushed into overdrive it’s a little piece of tone heaven. There is a liquid, three-dimensional quality to Germanium-driven sounds that seems impossible to simulate. There is a touch sensitivity unique to these circuits. The way the simple guitar-amplifier pairing is enhanced by using a Fuzzface, a Rangemaster, or a Tonebender goes beyond the sum of the parts. Yes, I speak in the abstract. This synergy is best not explained, but explored.
The Rangemaster was responsible for elevating many a muddy-toned tube amp to becoming a singing, sustaining tone machine. With a wide variety of modern amps available that provide an already balanced tone, we figured it’s time to grab the “filth” control and crank the dial.
The JDM “Red Roaster” uses three separate stages driven with vintage Germanium transistors and a MOSFET-powered EQ section. By cascading these vintage devices one into another, the Red Roaster’s controls range from smoldering silky smooth boost & sustain to raw & filthy distortion sounds that can be pushed to the edge without getting harsh. Oh, you may strike fear into the hearts of listeners, but they’ll be coming back for more. Because we all like it filthy, whether we admit it or not.
The Red Roaster
As with all our pedals, the Red Roaster uses true-bypass switching and premium components to treat your guitar signal properly, that is, at least when it’s not being intentionally and consensually abused. This is, after all, the 21st century. We test and select the vintage Germanium transistors for each pedal and fine tune each unit to be sure it’s as beautiful and filthy as it can be. At this stage we still silkscreen the graphics by hand in the shop, so each pedal has minor cosmetic variations.
We hope you’ll enjoy exploring the dirty side of Germanium tone. You may want to assure the neighbors that everything is under control before you get started.
joe / jdm pedals