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Dunlop JHOC1 Octavio Pedal Review

Even after all these years and countless technological achievements we saw, people still enjoy the good old vintage stuff.

Of course, we’re talking about guitar players who sometimes really love to dig deep in search of a great tone. While doing so, they sometimes end up finding the rarest of the rare, some of the most unusual vintage pedals by some long-defunct manufacturers.

Aside from the tube amp stuff, there are plenty of other fun little gadgets from the old times that are worth checking out. For instance, those fuzz octave pedals that were capable of creating some really thick tones.

Despite replicating old and broken amplifiers, they managed to captivate many of the guitar players with specific tastes over the years. But since these old original fuzz pedals might get too expensive, there’s something from Dunlop that might be worthwhile if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Called JHOC1 Jimi Hendrix Octavio, it will definitely help you get those vintage-ish psychedelic bluesy tones.

Jimi Hendrix Octavio

Since there seems to be a great trend of the 1960s and 1970s throwback in rock and other genres, we’ve figured we could take a closer look at this pedal and see what it’s capable of. Now, let us dig in.

Features

All the fans of the vintage stuff usually like their amps and pedals and other effects straightforward. Just look at any fuzz, overdrive, and distortion pedal from the old days or most of the amps from the ’60s and the ’70s. It’s not that rare to find an amp or a pedal with just two knobs.

Well, such is the case with JHOC1 pedal. What you get is input, output, control for volume level, control for fuzz, on and off switch, and… Well, that’s it! It is intended to be as simple and as straightforward as possible.

The idea was developed by engineers from Dunlop to replicate some of the old tones Jimi Hendrix had back in the day.

This particular pedal is a complete copy of the very old legendary “Octavia” made by technician Roger Mayer for Hendrix. The one that’s inside the museum in Seattle, Washington.

The old Octavia was based on the idea that distorted tone should have a really rich harmonic content. Maybe too rich for today’s standards.

In fact, many of the guitar players today, playing modern-oriented stuff would not find use for such a pedal. Nonetheless, Dunlop developed this one as a great throwback for the ’60s and ’70s psychedelic music.

Aside from adding fuzz (a lots of it, in fact), Octavia added lower and higher octave in the mix. This unusual blend created a weirdly pleasant mushy fuzz chaos that Jimi Hendrix exploited so well. And Dunlop’s version of it is intended to do the same.

Design

We don’t really know what to think of this pedal’s design. It’s as if the original builder was told to come up with something that’s both ugly and beautiful at the same time. But all the jokes aside, just like its features, operation, and its tone, the pedal’s design was taken from the old Octavia made by Roger Mayer.

roger mayer

It’s pretty minimalistic, which is certainly something that brings back the old vibes. Unlike modern pedals we have today, with inputs and outputs on the left and right side and the pots on the front panel, the JHOC1 has input and output on the top side and the two knobs for volume and gain right above them. The front panel is completely blank, except for the “Octavio” sign written on the very top and the one switch on it.

Placing it on your pedalboard with all the other modern pedals, it will look like some sort of a time traveler from the 1960s.

Performance

As we already mentioned, it has a really rich harmonic content with one higher and one lower octave added. Of course, these octaves are blended in an unusual way. The upper octave is somewhat more pronounced, but it goes in so well. In a way, it sounds like there are added harmonics to your regular signal.

The fuzz itself is pretty solid, reflecting on those classic tones from the 1960s. What’s really interesting is that it can be paired with overdrives as well if you want to add a different flavor to it.

But in our opinion, it works the best with the clean channels of classic tube amps, especially old Fenders or anything that replicates that vintage American vibe with 6L6 tubes in the power amp. On the other hand, it might sound a bit dull plugged into solid-state amps.

Conclusion

Look, it’s a pedal that definitely gives you that little piece of Jimi Hendrix. However, it’s not for everyone. There have been some negative reviews about JHOC1 online, but we believe this is due to people buying the wrong kind of pedals for themselves.

Yes, that happens, especially with young and enthusiastic beginner players who are automatically drawn to the Jimi Hendrix’s name on it. The secret, however, lies in how you implement it and how you combine it with other pedals and amps you have.

Hating on fuzz pedals is not unheard of. It’s especially the case with ones that have such high gain operation and really rich harmonic content, in addition to the higher and lower octave.

As we already mentioned, it’s the best option if you’re into those vintage psychedelic rock tones and already have a vintage or a vintage-style tube amp. Otherwise, there’s no point in getting your hands on the JHCO1.

On the other hand, it is a bit expensive for such a simple and straightforward pedal. Not to be too negative, but it seems to us that this was Dunlop’s attempt to cash in on Hendrix’s name.

Since this particular model is not in production anymore, you can find it used for around $100 up to $130, depending on its condition. Just don’t hold your expectations too high thinking this is for tight heavy riffing and power chords.


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Young Coconut is a music geek and musician who has written and recorded over 20 albums and still going strong. https://open.spotify.com/artist/1v3iPVEXzurahTI2Tm4Tpm His music ranges from rock, to electronic, experimental, and all points in between. He can be found recording at least 2 x per week at one of his favourite recording haunts.
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