THE JONNY OVERLOAD
Some years ago I spent a week or so hanging out with Jonny Lang, a local and national bluesman who had a need for a very high double-octave pedal to simulate the very eerie high octave guitar note at the end of Purple Haze, a single released on March 17th, 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. That sound, impossible to create live at the time, was a studio effect produced by Chas Chandler and Eddie Kramer using a Roger Mayer Octavia pedal and half-speed recording, resulting in the final sound effect of two octaves up. I made Jonny Lang a pedal that had two octave-doubling circuits in it using transformers and germanium diodes, which are often used to produce fuzz, but in this case were carefully steering around a clean waveform, folding the signal coming from the guitar in half and in half again to create a simulated double octave up. I called it the Jonny Octave. We ultimately released this pedal as a ZVEX product but it was not and has never been a popular product. We've continued to sell it because it's quite unique and has a very interesting texture. But then something weird happened.
We built one wrong. It was a simple mistake, a happy accident that resulted in the gain inside the pedal exploding, overloading the germanium diodes to create a glorious cloud of fuzz, causing the octave sound to be delayed until the haze of blistering distortion cleared for a few moments until the screaming double octave reappeared. It's really quite remarkable. The Jonny Overload is that gorgeous mistake made permanent. We've decided to produce a very limited number of these pedals and sell them direct to you for one week only. It's one of those crazy things we do.
The Jonny Overload has two stomp switches and two knobs. The right stomp switch is the bypass, and the left switches between one stage and two stages of octave/fuzz processing. Naturally, the single stage is much more mellow, and the second stage is much more nuts. The two knobs set the output volumes for each stage. The rest is in your fingers, in the selection of pickups, in the settings of your tone and volume controls, which will create a very wide range of textures and tones. There are no internal controls. The phasers have been permanently set on kill, warp factor 10, photon torpedoes deployed with extreme prejudice. We strongly recommend that you stick to double stops or single notes to keep this thing in the realm of musicality. It will generate sub-octaves and super-octaves naturally, and some of the intermodulation byproducts may sound like freight trains passing in the night or ditched motorcycles piling into dozens of metal trash cans if you play too many notes into it at once. Choose your notes carefully. It only takes one or two strings to bring this pedal to life.