Readers of this site will know that I’m a huge fan of Björn Juhl’s pedals - which nowadays means Mad Professor, OneControl and of course his own iconic original BJFE brand as featured here. I believe this is the first time these pedals are made available directly in the UK - certainly in modern times and in this number.
Joe’s Pedals is now officially a BJFE stockist and carries 10 of Björn’s most celebrated pedals - which are all enduring classics. You need to move quickly here as they are bound to get snapped up very rapidly indeed! These are of course hand-built by Björn and his team - just outside Stockholm, and are fairly priced at either £269 or £289.
We have the Candy Apple Fuzz (Björn’s take on the Super Fuzz), My favourite Emerald Green Distortion Machine (Plexi/Boosted Vox Style Distortion), Flame Top Overdrive (Transparent OD inspired by TS808 & BB), Fuzz 109 (Silicon Fuzz Face), Honey Bee Overdrive (Björn’s Legendary Sweet & Warm Medium-Gain Overdrive), Mint Green MiniVibe (3D Bias Tremolo / Vibrato), Model G (Gibson GA-40 Combo Amp), ODS 34 (Dumble ODS Amp), Silver Bee (Tighter Upper-Accentuated Bee), and Sparkle Face (Germanium Fuzz Face).
Here below follow the usual details - with pedals of course ordered alphabetically by name :
Controls : Volume, Fuzz, Treble, Nature (sort of Bias / Gain Character).
Björn's take on the Super Fuzz delivers suitably blooming textural upper octave harmonics with the Nature control around the mid-way mark - and you can either dial that out slightly or accentuate it. The other 3 controls are more typical and self-evident - while 'Nature' is really a sort of Bias. I have a Germanium variant of this circuit - and it sounds grand. Björn has a highly identifiable signature sound and sort of preferred default EQ profile - which is typified by a certain upper-mids ringing clarity! Note that the above demo is for the earlier 3-knob version, while our featured edition is the current 4-knob variety!
Controls : Volume, Distortion, Treble, Bass.
A really versatile distortion which covers both Plexi and Top-Boosted Vox Amp Voicings - depending mostly on how you shape the Treble and Bass EQ on this particular model. This circuit has long been a favourite of Brett Kingman, while it's also probably my own favourite of Björn's because of its range and easy dial-in-ability. Everyone should surely have one of these! My version of this has a Voicing as well as a Treble control rather than separate Bass and Treble as is the case with our featured edition. Note that the demo is also of an older BJFE EGDM - with only 3-knobs.
Controls : Volume, Drive, Treble.
The Flame Top is Björn's own take on a transparent circuit - loosely inspired by Ibanez TS808 and Marshall Blues Breaker pedals - but it's its own thing really with gorgeous dynamics and really elegant breakup texture. This has risen in stature in recent years, - as many players favourite BJFE pedal (and secret weapon even) - over and above the more typically celebrated Honey Bee. The signature EQ profile is a little flatter than than those others - elegant and dynamic are really the best descriptives here!
Controls : Volume, Saturation, Fuzz.
Björn's enhanced take on the Type II Silicon Fuzz Face - which offers more refined control over the circuit with its combination of Fuzz and Saturation controls. These typically have slightly lower gain BC109B Transistors versus the more strident regular BC109C types. The core tone here delivers quite a distinct profile - somewhere between the more traditional Germanium and Silicon Fuzz Face variants.
Controls : Volume, Drive, Nature.
The Honey Bee is probably still Björn's most identifiable signature flagship effect - and in fact comes in a number of different varieties - not just Uber Bee and Silver Bee, but Vintage / Retro and Modern as standard too. The Vintage has the original Sweet and Warm Crunch - while the Modern further accentuates the mids and beefs up the gain a touch too. I believe the version stocked by Joe's Pedals is the Modern take - with a little more range onboard. Legend has it that Björn was inspired by an old beaten and battered 50's Supro Combo Amp with burned-out tubes - which is what sparked this particular memorable circuit.
Controls : Speed, Depth, Volume.
Occasionally conflated with being a Uni-Vibe - while this is actually rather a sort of widescreen Bias Tremolo type effect - more along the lines of a Vibrato. The original BB-size Mint Green Vibe is a legend of the scene - and this more compact Mini version is simply a shrunk-down variety of the same circuit. This is many players' go to modulation - for when you want to add some more dynamic movement to your core signal. Note that I was unable to find an authentic MiniVibe demo - as so had to refer to the discontinued BearFoot FX variety. Note that Björn cut ties with Bearfoot in part over allegedly inconsistent quality control - and that former line of effects is now rather being licensed and rolled out through Japan's OneControl - where Björn is a key consultant.
Controls : Volume, Drive, Bass, Compression / Contour, Treble.
Much in the same way that the Honey Bee was inspired by old Supro Combo Amps, so the Model G is based on those earliest of Gibson Combo Amps - like the GA-40. The 5-knob edition as featured here is my favourite take on this circuit and delivers more range and tone-shaping ability over the other versions. In fact there seem to be a variety of 5-knob editions variously with the 5th knob variously labelled as M for Mids, N for Nature, or C for Compression / Contour I presume! In this instance of the featured pedal here I believe the 'C' option both elevates the Mids, and adds some more compression into the mix!
Controls : Volume, Drive, Edge (Drive Character / Bite), Treble, Body / Bass.
Björn has had a smart take on the Dumble Overdrive Special format for a while - initially in his Model D edition, and latterly within this further evolved ODS 34 Edition. The only unusual control here is the 'E' Edge knob which is essentially shapes drive character - turn CCW for smoother tones, and CW for raspier and more bite! The Dumble format is one of my favourite varieties of overdrive - so surely I need to target this edition too! Note that the demo once more is of an earlier variant - in this instance, the Model D predecessor to the ODS 34.
Controls : Volume, Drive, Bass, X-Dynamics, Treble.
This is a somewhat different take on the Honey Bee circuit with something of an EQ shift toward a sparklier and more accentuated top-end. Versus the more mids accent of the original Honey Bee. This version is somewhat more 'bitey' than the original - with a somewhat thinner core profile. Depending on how you set it up it's not instantly clear that those two share the sane pedigree - while you can think of it as sort of sparklier / brighter version of the Honey Bee. The fifth 'X' control is a somewhat unique 'Dynamics' control which alters the character of this output, and this is the first time I've come across that on a BJFE pedal. I think I personally largely prefer the profile of the original Honey Bee, while this has its distinct advantages too. I was unable to find a demo of a specific BJFE Silver Bee variety - so this recent OneControl Silver Bee edition will have to do!
Controls : Volume, Fuzz, Attack.
This is very much the vintage Germanium Fuzz Face counterpart to the above Silicon Fuzz 109 - if you really want that warm Germanium grit! Again with one extra control over and above the classic Aribter variety. Björn does some clever things with the circuit too in order to make it more consistent and easily controllable. I personally have a version of his Pink Purple Fuzz - which is a somewhat hybrid take on the Germanium Fuzz Faze - and I really like that - while it's quite distinct from most traditional Arbiter types. For us fuzz fans there is just some extra special nuance to be found in Germanium - which only a few of us can fully discern or appreciate. I personally love all variants of Fuzz Face - and can never have enough really!
In doing this write-up I'm fully aware of how many Björn Juhl varieties I still need to add to the collection. I have acquired a number of different varieties from across Björn's associated roster - while to date I don't yet have one of his BJFE varieties - which will surely change soon enough.
Björn is working on a special edition Honey Bee just for me, and I really want to add a Flame Top, Model G and ODS 34 to my collection. Alas right now I'm already way overextended for July - with various prior commitments already engaged - so it looks like I will miss out on this batch. I just hope this will become a fairly regular feature on Joe's Pedals - and that we will see more regular batches in the future.
If you're new to BJFE - then the first ones you should check out at the Honey Bee and Emerald Green Distortion Machine. I personally have several variants of Candy Apple Fuzz, EGDM, and Fuzz Faces - so the key ones for me are the 3 I mentioned - with possibly the Flame Top at the head of the list - while I really do love my Dumble varieties too!
Get yours on Joe's Pedals now - before they all disappear!
Are you as excited as me to see Björn Juhl finally at Joe's Pedals? And will you be planning on snagging any of these formidable classics!?!