053 | JOYO F-12 Voodoo Octave Fuzz: A Closer Look at this Affordable Fuzz Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to Episode 53 of the Sonic Renegades Podcast. We're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we're going to be taking a closer look at the JOYO brand, specifically the JOYO Voodoo Octave Pedal. There's a lot of buzz online about this, some people love it, some people hate it, and we're going to be unpacking it in more detail on the other side.


Hey guys, Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you today, hope you are having a great one. And for today's discussion, we're going to be going back into the world of fuzz, and we're going to be doing this by taking a closer look at the

JOYO brand, specifically the JOYO Voodoo Octave Pedal. As I mentioned in the intro, some people love this pedal, some people hate this pedal, and it's going to be up to you to decide which camp you actually fall in. So Eric, I know you've been playing with this pedal for the last couple of days, what have been some of your initial thoughts?

Eric Wilson:
So I'll be honest, I'm not exactly quite sure what the thing about this thing. As far as fuzz goes, it absolutely destroys your signal, and in that respect, it's a great fuzz pedal. But as far as the whole octave portion of it, it's strange because the octave is not really an octave, but I guess we'll get into more detail with that a little bit later. But yeah, it's been interesting. I'm still not entirely sure what I think of it.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I know some people say it's more of like just a tonal shift rather than an actual octave jump. But yeah, as you mentioned, we'll get into actually talking a little bit more about just the schematics and the circuit, and how it's actually built because like you mentioned, there are some rumors out there floating, which we'll circle back around to in here in just a bit.

So just a little bit of context about this pedal. So the pedal has actually been around for quite some time. It actually came out in July 16th of 2011 and it's Chinese made so it's super affordable. You can pick one up for about $40, and so what you're getting here is obviously sort of a mass produced product to get it down to that lower price point. So as we talked about this as an octave fuzz pedal, if you don't know much about octave fuzz, we don't need to expand all the entire episode talking about octave fuzz, but its roots go back to 1967. There are a lot of names in that sort of time period. People like Jim Morrison, Roger Mayer, or some of the individuals who are giving credit for actually creating octave fuzz. Roger Mayer specifically was known to work with Jimi Hendrix, where he basically created kind of the really first version of octave fuzz and presented it to Jimi. He fell in love with it, ended up creating a solos for Purple Haze and Fire and the rest is sort of history.

So there've many versions of octave fuzz since then. One of the most popular octave fuzz pedals is the Tycobrahe Octavia, which was eventually kind of just improved upon which became the Fulltone Octafuzz, which I know is a really, really popular pedal these days. And so again, rich history, lots of stuff you can find online about octave fuzz and octave fuzz pedals. And this JOYO Voodoo Octave Pedal basically falls in line with that and is really just trying to reproduce that famous tone and sound.


Eric Wilson:
Yeah, like you're saying, it's rumored to be loosely based on that Fulltone Ultimate Octave, and there's rumors online that they got a faulty schematic and that two of the caps are actually reverse the polarity that they should be. And so basically what people are saying is, if you swap those two caps, just flip them 180 degrees, well, you can fix this pedal in the sense of what they were trying to copy kind of thing. But there's also the aspect of it to where it's like there is really nothing like this. There's nothing else on the market because if you use a faulty schematic and get polarity wrong, there's going to be nothing else like it because nobody else is going to be trying to screw that up. So really having that octave and having the polarities "messed up" really does give you a completely different tonal characteristic when you kick on that again, "octave" up.

Scott Schwertly:
I mean all those sort of differentiations, potential mistakes, again, I think it goes back to what we're talking about earlier, about you're going to get this "love it or hate it" camp. Those that maybe can pinpoint that and notice it are obviously going to fall into the "hate it" camp. Those that just love its oddness and weirdness will fall into the "love it" camp. Or maybe this is a pedal that you're picking up for the first time and your ears just aren't used to it yet so you can't even pinpoint that, so you may just love the affordable price point and the great fuzz tone, and you fall into the "love it" camp. So yeah, definitely mixed emotions out there on the web as far as personal thoughts on the pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, I went and watched a couple YouTube videos on it because when I plugged it in, my initial thought is, because it says octave fuzz and I kicked it on, it's definitely doesn't sound like a typical octave fuzz, I'm like, "Man, am I doing something wrong?" And so I went and I was looking up YouTube videos and man, people are ruthless on this thing. There are so many people just tearing this thing to shreds, and then there's other people who are saying it looks great and that whoever was doing that particular video just didn't know how to use it. So everybody's reactions and responses to it are all over the map, but there's kind of no middle ground on it, I guess.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean because it does sell quite extensively on Amazon. I mean, you could even look at the reviews. There are some that are just like five stars, five stars. And then the other is like one star, one star. So like you said, there is no middle ground, people love it or they hate it. Yeah, it's pretty much that simple. So really kind of our consensus on this is if you are, let's say, a new player and you're wanting to get into the world of fuzz or specifically in this case, octave fuzz, being $40, that's great place to start. I mean, it's built like a tank. I mean, not like a boss tank, but it's built. I mean, it's pretty sturdy. So it's a great pedal if you're just wanting, again, to get into the world of fuzz. If you've got more refined tastes and you've got the ears for all this, then probably not the best thing for you.

So with that said, as we talked about this thing, it really was inspired by the Fulltone Octafuzz Pedal, which we actually covered on this podcast many, many, many weeks ago, which has its roots in the Tycobrahe Octavia, which was really, really popular back in the day. If you've got that refined taste, that's the direction to go in. But if that's not your thing, hey, again, it's a great entry point. It's a great starter pedal for somebody wanting to get into octave fuzz. Just know what you're getting into if you pick one up.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, definitely. And I mean, really the controls on this thing are, I mean, they're pretty simple. You got fuzz tone volume, and then there's just a mid-cut switch and then your switch to kick on the so-called octave. I still don't believe that. It's basically just another tone control. It's just makes it a little bit different. But yeah, so overall, super simple controls. It's a great place to start like you were saying. I mean, for $40 you can't really like go wrong. I mean, it's like you're paying $40, what do you expect? What are you asking for?

But honestly, if you're kind of a DIY kind of person, you want to take a crack at maybe opening it up and swapping those caps or flipping the polarity or whatever, it's also a good place to start if you want to get into that kind of DIY stuff and kind of do stuff like that. So I would also recommend it just if you have any interest in building pedals or modifying pedals or anything like that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, even folks like Josh Scott from JHS Pedals, he actually did an episode on Octave Fuzz 101, and this is actually one of the pedals that he recommended. He actually tends to be in the "love it" camp. So again, various obviously mixed emotions on this one, but ultimately it's up to you to decide whether you like it or not. If it's something you want to try out again, $40, isn't going to break the bank. So yeah, check it out if it's something that's striking your interest. So with that said, we're going to go and jump into the demo and actually give you a sample of what it does sound like. And yeah, you can be the call on whether you fit that, love it or hate it camp.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So I'm just going to run through the Voodoo Octave, straight into the Iridium and then I'm going to use my Telecaster and yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. Well, we're going to get to set up and we'll see you guys on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
All right, that was the JOYO Voodoo Octave. It is a unique fuzz pedal and it might fit what you're looking for. So for 40 bucks, I think it's worth finding out.

Scott Schwertly:

Yeah, go check it out if you've got a few bucks laying around and you can make the call, and hopefully you've got a good sample or a flavor of what it's about based on the demo that we just shared with you guys. All right. So there you guys have it, that is the JOYO Voodoo Octave Pedal. Obviously, definitely more on the affordable side of things. Join us next time, we're going to go from cheap to expensive where we're going to talk about the Strymon Iridium. Now, I picked this up about a day or two ago. Absolutely love it, I'm wishing I bought it months ago when it first came out. But as of now, I'm loving it and I am super excited to be talking about that one on our next episode. So quite the contrast from the world of JOYO and octave fuzz pedals.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I love the Iridium. I got one, well actually last year around this time, maybe November or whatever, whenever it came out because I bought it as soon as it came out. But actually all the demos that you've heard since well, I've been on the podcast have been from the Iridium. So obviously we like it enough to use it for all of our demos. So I'm excited to talk about that one, just kind of dig into all the features that come with that.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh yeah, it's absolutely amazing. I'm in love with it. So it's going to be a fun episode. I can't wait to talk about it. All right. Well, there you have it guys, that's what we wanted to talk about today. Hope you have a great day, have a great week, and we will catch you on the next one.

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