JHS The Bonsai

(22 customer reviews)


Screaming Valves of Overdrive

What the Muffuletta did for big fuzzes, the JHS Bonsai does for screaming green overdrives. Slap the Bonsai on your pedalboard and enjoy unhindered access to four decades’ worth of pedals. There are nine different sonic textures to choose from. Want some classic mid-bump grind? It’s in there. SRV-style dirty boost? Yep. Mayer-esque low-gain grit? You got it — and a whole lot more. The Bonsai isn’t a modeler — it boasts the exact same components as the source units. So when you select a mode with the Bonsai’s rotary control, your guitar signal actually passes through a replica of the original pedal’s circuitry. With the Bonsai, you truly get nine overdrive pedals packed into one housing.

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Replication, not emulation

The Bonsai packs nine vintage and often hard-to-find versions of the definitive green overdrive into a single pedal. When he designed the Bonsai, JHS founder Josh Scott examined dozens of versions of this famous stompbox and authentically reproduced their circuits. He was meticulous, capturing every quirk of the original components using an Audio Precision analyzer. He even accounted for drift, as the original pedals were decades old, and their components had strayed from their original values. The result is a replication, not an emulation. When you plug into the Bonsai, you’re playing through the exact same circuitry as the original pedals. No digital modeling is involved — it’s pure analog all the way. At Sweetwater, we love the authentic vintage mojo that we get from the Bonsai.

Nine overdrive pedals packed into one housing:

  • OD1 (1977) A brighter and somewhat higher gain mode that doesn’t utilize the Tone knob
  • TS808 (1979) The classic low-gain grind with the signature mid-bump
  • TS9 (1982) Similar to the TS808, but with a brighter, SRV-style sound
  • MSL (1985) The “metal” version produces a higher-gain sound with more low end
  • TS10 (1986) Replicates the bluesy low-gain sound popularized by John Mayer
  • XR (1989) Duplicates the Polish-made EXAR OD1, known for its unique drive character and slightly higher gain
  • TS7 (1999) The late-’90s overdrive with a “hot mode” that yields more gain and low-end dirt
  • Keeley (2002) Robert Keeley’s classic Mod+ that tightens up your tone and gives you less noise, along with smoother mids and highs and increased bass
  • JHS (2008) JHS’s “Strong Mod” that gives you a cleaner sound with a serious power boost

JHS Bonsai Features:

  • Overdrive pedal that packs 9 classic overdrives into a single housing
  • Replicates 4 decades’ worth of pedals using analog circuitry
  • Boasts the exact same components as the source units
  • Dial in the perfect sound with Volume, Tone, and Drive controls
  • True bypass switching preserves your tone when the pedal is off
  • Ruggedly built and handwired pedal

Tech Specs

  • Pedal Type:9-way Overdrive
  • Analog/Digital:Analog
  • Inputs:1 x 1/4″ (instrument)
  • Outputs:1 x 1/4″
  • True Bypass:Yes
  • Power Source:9V DC power supply required (sold separately)
  • Power Usage:Less than 100mA
  • Height:1.6″
  • Width:2.2″
  • Depth:4.8″
  • Weight:0.57 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Part Number:Bonsai


22 reviews for JHS The Bonsai

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