Sunday, May 30, 2010

Your Guitar Tone at the Speed of Light

To me there are a few pedal companies that will never seize to amaze me, Maxon being one of them. I can look back at some of the first Maxon pedals I ever had and remember them being stunning little devices. The art of the stompbox is something that the people at Maxon have down to a science. We're talking pro quality tone, flawless builds, and a never ending trail of designs. In the last couple years I myself have had a chance to use and travel with a handful of Maxon pedals and all of them have been right on the money to say the least. When the VJR-9 landed on my doorstep one thing came to mind, "Oh my God!!!!" I've played some pretty pedals in my time but WOW!!! Music these days has finally beginning to take a turn for the best. People are experimenting more and letting their creative ticks shine out big and bright. If you are one of these sound hawks who is on the constant hunt for new and exciting soundscapes you will love this pedal. No really, you will LOVE this pedal.


Vintage Jet Riser

* VJR-9 based off of the legendary 70's Jetlyzer JL-70
* Employs newly developed Jet sound generator
* Capable of wide range of effects. From subtle chorusing/tremolo to heavy jet effects
* Employs DC to DC converter circuit & internal voltage stabilization circuit
* High performance NR provides high dynamic range with low noise
* Works great in amplifier effect loop
* True Bypass Switching
* Easy access no-tools battery compartment
* AC2009 power adapter can be used worldwide from 100VAC to 240VAC by auto voltage sensing. Great for touring musicians.

* External footswitch jack: Switches Jet sound On and Off (latching or momentary)
* Range: Controls tone range/Jet sound
* Jet: Controls volume/Jet sound generator
* Sensitivity: Controls Jet sound amount
* Speed: Controls modulation speed
* Width: Controls modulation depth
* Footswitch: Effect/Bypass


Let's get straight into it shall we? It is no secret where the idea for the Maxon Vintage Jet phaser came from. If you've been around for a while or have a love for pedals (like many here do) you have probably heard of the old school Ibanez Flying Pan, Ibanez Jetlyzer, or Roland Jet Phaser. These are all pedals that were ahead of their time with their unique sounds and unmistakable capabilities. As far as stompboxes go there weren't many that could stack up with what these pedals were capable of. Try finding one of these pedals in perfect working condition or at a reasonable price these days and you'll find yourself on a road to impossible. This is where the mighty Vintage Jet Riser steps up to the plate. Maxon has not only created a pedal capable of pulling off what the classics were capable of they have also gone the extra mile to give us a pedal capable of lots more. The VJR-9 is very easy to dial in, sounds fantastic, and is a perfect fit for both studio and live situations. The reason the VJR-9's success is it's state of the art sound generator, voltage controlled amplifier, and voltage controlled filter which give the pedal it's more realistic jet effect and give it it's wide range of effect possibilities. Toss in top quality parts and components, then take these features and blend them in with Maxon's MC4107D bucket brigade analog flanger circuit and you have one off-the-wall, splendid sounding effect unit. The VJR-9's layout consists of Input and Output jacks, an external footswitch jack, Range knob, Jet knob, Sensitivity knob, Speed knob, Width knob, bypass switch, LED indicator, and DC input. The Vintage Jet Riser also ships with it's own power supply for the ultimate performance. I was able to work the VJR-9 with not only guitars but also with many more stringed instruments and keyboards. The sky's the limit with this baby!

I can honestly say I took the Vintage Jet Riser and pushed it to it's furthest/farthest capabilities. Straight from the box before I even plugged into this box I was impressed beyond belief. Maxon's build quality is one that is seriously second to none. You can take these pedals and toss them off your roof without the fear of them falling apart. I've had many many 9 Series Maxon pedals on my pedalboard and I will say all of them look and function just as great as they did the day they landed in my setup. I first dialed in some clean'n'crisp guitar tones to hear the pure uncut effect of the stompbox. My Tele and Deville were the perfect combo for this. I set the VJR-9 through my amp's effect loop and got to work. The first sound I was able to get from the pedal was a lush, smooth, and sweet chorusing sound. I wanted to see how many sounds I could get before switching on the Jet effect. The quality of the pedal's sound, especially through the amp's effect loop sounded brilliant and very defined. The sweep was mellow but quite present, letting the chorus sound fall and rise with organic analog goodness. I was also able to get some pretty cool sounding tremolo effects by positioning the controls in just the right settings. I found the VJR-9's Speed control to have a really wide range of possibilities. Depending on where I'd set the Sensitivity the tremolo sounds came off either choppy and strong or mellow and fluttery. By dialing in a blend of the pedal's chorus and tremolo sounds I was also able to get these great sounding vintage vibe effects. The pedal's bucket brigade circuitry really gave off some warm pulsating effects. I soon found myself in Robin Trower and Hendrix territory by tossing in a thick'n'creamy overdrive or fuzz pedal in front of the VJR-9. Even with wild and unpredictable fuzz tones I found the combination of both pedals to produce very low to no noise. If ever you've used vintage flanger, chorus, or vibe units with harsh sounding drive you know the noise that can come along with it all. This pedal was having none of that! The VJR-9 blended in beautifully with everything I threw at it and sounded great with both clean and dirty amp settings. Now for the wild and crazy tones this pedal is known for. I will say that having a footswitch thrown into the mix makes all the difference in the world and gives you much more options when gigging or just playing in general. I used both momentary and latching type footswitches with the VJR-9. My AC15 style amp pushed to a natural grit was the perfect tone for getting things started. I dialed the pedal into a slow climbing Jet effect and let the amp's drive create the extra growl and aggression needed to make everything much more extreme. With the latching switch I was able to from classic sounding flanging effects to futuristic plains. The Vintage Jet Riser also worked great with a bit of and a lot of delay thrown into the mix. I almost don't want to share this but I will anyhow. I'm big on volume swell tricks and am always looking for new and exciting ways to create different sounds. The VJR-9 was able to give me one of the most exciting volume swells effects I have ever heard come from my amplifier. The formula was a sopping thick helping of the pedal's Jet effect with a hint of flange in the mix, next a good healthy helping of my analog delay pedal set to a slow long setting, then last I rolled up some of my amp's reverb to mesh everything together into a blanket of trippy swishes and swooshes. The ultimate though was setting this pedal to big epic Jet effect with some thick sounding fuzz, a hint of analog delay, and a momentary footswitch for clicking the sound in and out. For those of us who dig the art of sound play this is one awesome freaking pedal. The trick really is to use the Jet effect in small amounts and in te right places. I dig giving my listeners little doses of weird and wild guitar sounds. This pedal sounded great through clean and dirty tones, heavy and soft settings, and with just about every effect I threw at it. This made the Vintage Jet Riser one of the most versatile pedals I have ever used and one of the most fun. The strange, psychedelic, and futuristic phase tones that this pedal produced are only the beginning of what it possible. Some of the most desirable sounds were the warm vintage type effects that I was able to get. The thing with vintage units is that they're just too damn precious, too damn delicate, and not suitable for live applications. And the thing is that not all classic pedals sound good. I've played all of the vintage units mentioned above and when it comes to tone quality, tone range, and effect features the VJR-9 blows them all away. I'm not one that puts vintage gear ahead of modern gear just for the sake of doing so. For me there are three things that are a must when it comes to pedal play. #1. A pedal must be user friendly, which means I have to be able to get what I want from it without having to study a 30 page manual. #2. It must have great quality sound, and work with my root tones and not against them. Then there's #3. It's gotta work with me in both the studio and the stage. The Vintage Jet Riser proved to hold it's own in all of these applications while able to surprise me on more than one occasion. For me it is these type of pedals that are the most desirable. I want to have tone tools that will help me expand my tonal possibilities. You tone freaks will love this pedal and love it like no other. Get out there and grab one before they discontinue this baby. I easily see the Maxon VJR-9 becoming one of our timeless, collectible classics.


For more info on Maxon pedals click either the link in our sidebar or the Godlyke Dist. link below. Be one the look out for more pedal features from this awesome company. We will be looking at more from the famous 9 Series and much much more. Stay tunes my friend's.



  1. Thanks for the key points..
    I really enjoyed reading your blog

  2. I have an OD808. The tone is magical !

    But, take a look at this: