Ode to Joyo

Bob Spumoni

Senior Stratmaster
May 5, 2019
1,886
New England
When I was a kid, in the weird afterglow of WW II, we used to talk about "cheap Japanese junk." I remember unraveling inexpensive toys made in Japan, only to find that they were made of newsprint, rolled up, glued and painted. I remember seeing photos of Japanese guys on the paper, and Japanese characters too, which i found fascinating. I also thought they were pretty cool toys just as toys. Back then, a lot of my father's friends still hated the Japanese, but I liked the stuff they made.

By the seventies, Japanese stuff was often the best available. My hobby/side business is restoring old sewing machines. Japanese machines of the early-mid sixties are pieces of industrial art, beautifully made (often painted in Imron auto colors just like those early Strats).

I think something similar might be in the works for Chinese stuff. I have cheap Chinese guitars that are shockingly good for shockingly short money.

I also have five Joyo pedals, Made in China: Tremolo, AcTone, Vintage Overdrive, Classic Flanger, American Sound. They're all just great, and they were very reasonably priced. Not only do they seem well made; I think they're thoughtfully designed as well. One piece of evidence: on every pedal, if you put all the knobs at 12:00, right there is the pedal's sweet spot, and there's interesting stuff both left and right of that spot.

Chinese stuff has its quirks too, just like the old Japanese stuff. Why, for example, is there a graphic of a Harrier Jump Jet on my new flanger pedal?!

I don't know if it's worth a thread, but I think it's a happy and hopeful state of affairs.
 
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19sixty3

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 8, 2020
16
Frankfurt/Main, Germany
As with everything ... regardless of the country of origin ... Some gear is nothing short of amazing, others simply meh. I'm not interested in where the stuff comes from or was designed - as long as it sounds good. I second that, the Joyo American Sound is a great pedal. I'm a big fan of the Tone City Mandragora overdrive pedal. That thing is really unbelievable good.
 

Stone

Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 17, 2019
6,927
Mean Streets
Almost everything has Quality Cycles IE: Hyundai Pony cars were terrible but the Korean Giant developed really good Cars in later generations, japan used to be called MIJ scrap and became Top Quality stuff anyone could buy in the 80's, Like cars, motorcycles, electronics industrial machinery etc etc, Meanwhile made is USA in the 80's was horrible quality, so everything goes through a cycle, now China is on the rise
 
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Ronkirn

Most Honored Senior Member
May 26, 2006
7,017
Jacksonville, FL
I too recall those days...

Once My GrandMa gave me a few $$ to spend as I liked.. I had her take me to a local Hobby Store where I bought a toy boat.... I was playing with it in a shallow wading pool when my Dad came home.... He picked up the box.. saw "Made in Occupied Japan" and went ballistic... but that thing was made from Beer Cans... I thought that was so cool , you could see the Budweiser label when ya put the battery in it..

He had served in the Pacific Theatre, and participated in the Indianapolis Rescue... He didn't care for the Japanese at all.. Interestingly, some 30 years later, he has a Dodge Van he decked out for Mom and He to travel the States... and I slipped and mentioned that many of the parts were made by Mitsubishi, one of the makers of the Zero.. a Couple of weeks later, he had a new van.

But yes I too see a ever increasing level of quality coming out of China... I personally try to stay with Japanese, Taiwan, or South Korean components.... for me, it doesn't matter how good the Chinese quality gets... they have other issues they need to address.

r
 

Bob Spumoni

Senior Stratmaster
May 5, 2019
1,886
New England
Almost everything has Quality Cycles IE: Hyundai Pony cars were terrible but the Korean Giant developed really good Cars in later generations, japan used to be called MIJ scrap and became the The Top Quality stuff any one could buy in the 80's, Like cars, motorcycles, electronics industrial machinery etc etc, Meanwhile made is USA in the 80's was horrible quality, so everything goes through a cycle, now China is on the rise

I remember the first time I worked on a Honda motorcycle, maybe 1965. Everything I took apart was a thing of beauty, watchlike. And the levers/cranks, rods under those 60's Japanese sewing machines are forgings, fer cryin' out loud, beautifully machined and nickel plated (!), not the stamped tinfoil and molded styrene you'll find under today's plastic junk. The gears are machined steel, not delrin or nylon. Beautiful.
 

Bob Spumoni

Senior Stratmaster
May 5, 2019
1,886
New England
I too recall those days...

Once My GrandMa gave me a few $$ to spend as I liked.. I had her take me to a local Hobby Store where I bought a toy boat.... I was playing with it in a shallow wading pool when my Dad came home.... He picked up the box.. saw "Made in Occupied Japan" and went ballistic... but that thing was made from Beer Cans... I thought that was so cool , you could see the Budweiser label when ya put the battery in it..

He had served in the Pacific Theatre, and participated in the Indianapolis Rescue... He didn't care for the Japanese at all.. Interestingly, some 30 years later, he has a Dodge Van he decked out for Mom and He to travel the States... and I slipped and mentioned that many of the parts were made by Mitsubishi, one of the makers of the Zero.. a Couple of weeks later, he had a new van.

But yes I too see a ever increasing level of quality coming out of China... I personally try to stay with Japanese, Taiwan, or South Korean components.... for me, it doesn't matter how good the Chinese quality gets... they have other issues they need to address.

r

Absolutely agree on the "other issues."
 

soulman969

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 5, 2016
5,482
Denver, CO
Most of JOYO's pedals are very close emulations of those they're derived from. I've had several and the American Sound is one of my favorites. It's like adding a Fender Blackface channel to any single channel amp.

While their overall quality may be a notch below the best US made versions much like the Harley-Benton gear and others as well JOYO also gives us an idea of just how inexpensively some gear can be made and sold direct without markups for distribution and dealers involved.
 

Stratoskater

Fuzz Meister General
Feb 8, 2011
11,058
Naked in NC
The ones I had about 7-8 years ago were not good. Chorus hissed like crazy, digital delay had very loud pop every time the switch was engaged and the tremolo switch broke after 2 weeks.
 

Stone

Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 17, 2019
6,927
Mean Streets
Most of JOYO's pedals are very close emulations of those they're derived from. I've had several and the American Sound is one of my favorites. It's like adding a Fender Blackface channel to any single channel amp.

While their overall quality may be a notch below the best US made versions much like the Harley-Benton gear and others as well JOYO also gives us an idea of just how inexpensively some gear can be made and sold direct without markups for distribution and dealers involved.

yup I keep saying it if your a guitar player in these times then your in the golden era, one can get such great sounding gear, superb playability quality guitars for such low prices

:thumb:
 

GeejeeZ

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 10, 2018
23
Netherlands
Never have tried Joyo, and will try them out now!

Your post stirs up memories mr. Spumoni! I can still remember my dad's unease when in the early eighties he bought his first Japanese car after having driven French for his whole life. I can also remember his almost ecstatic mood every time after picking up the Toyota from the garage after its yearly maintenance; having gotten used to the extensive repair and maintenance costs of his Renaults, he could not believe that driving a car could actually be so carefree!

At that time I never understood why my dad made such a fuzz of the Japanese thing. I did remember my grandfather though, who had fought against the Germans in WW II and ever since kept going balistic when he saw Dutch driving Mercedes or Opel!

Nowadays, while slowly reaching the wisdom years of my life, I must admit that I sometimes do feel like my dad when I select an effect pedal or a guitar. I still have this uneasy feeling when I read that the thing is produced in China, and prefer to look further for something made in America or Japan and often dodge to the second hand market for that. I have my share of Chinese stuff though; beggars can't be choosers when a Chinese version of a pedal or guitar suddenly comes into my price range.

Interesting anecdote to close my winding post: I tried to buy stuff online last year during the start of the Covid-19 lockdown. It struck me that lots of things were on backorder. I could understand that in case of Chinese products: that country was almost completely shut down. I could not understand though why it was also almost impossible to obtain American, European and Japanes products, so I informed at music store Thomann in Germany. The sobering reply was: keep in mind that American and European equipment often consist of parts made in China!:D
 

telepraise

Strat-O-Master
Feb 20, 2019
729
Tampa Bay
It sounds like their quality has improved. The one I tried a number of years ago was really bad, buzzy and dirty pots, it went right back to Amazon. Their guitar factories have improved drastically, a Gretsch Projet I have is nicely crafted and my Eastman acoustic is flawless.

With pedals, for me the issue is originality not country of origin. I'm old school in my thinking that it's not fair to copy a circuit that someone else engineered and rebrand it to undercut the price. Of course, I'm lucky that I have the disposable income that paying double or triple for an American engineered and built product doesn't phase me. I realize that lot's of musicians don't have this economic luxury and I understand. Still, I'm glad I can afford to support original designers/manufacturers by buying their products.
 

bikehomero

Strat-Talker
Dec 28, 2019
269
Frankfurt - Germany
I notice as well the increasing quality of MIC products. Have had a Behringer TO-800 in the past, sound was superb but it doesn't last long as I damadged its plastic case...Just bought the TC electronics elCambo, what a great quality at the given price of about € 35,00! Electronics and sound are as well as I know it from thr former Behringer, but the case is solid built up, including nice features like the non plopping switch and rooutings at the frontend. Well done!
 

Bob Spumoni

Senior Stratmaster
May 5, 2019
1,886
New England
It sounds like their quality has improved. The one I tried a number of years ago was really bad, buzzy and dirty pots, it went right back to Amazon. Their guitar factories have improved drastically, a Gretsch Projet I have is nicely crafted and my Eastman acoustic is flawless.

With pedals, for me the issue is originality not country of origin. I'm old school in my thinking that it's not fair to copy a circuit that someone else engineered and rebrand it to undercut the price. Of course, I'm lucky that I have the disposable income that paying double or triple for an American engineered and built product doesn't phase me. I realize that lot's of musicians don't have this economic luxury and I understand. Still, I'm glad I can afford to support original designers/manufacturers by buying their products.

I'm of two minds (maybe more!) on this. I do think that better is better, and that there are times when you pay more, you get more. I think of PRS guitars, for example. The darn things are pretty near perfect, beautifully thought-out and just about perfectly executed. I assume there are similar instances in effects pedals. There are other times, though, when paying more gains you little. The extra dough might support a better living standard for the workers who put it together (which might be important to you, perhaps because they are fellow countrymen), or more profit for the guy who owns the company, or the questionable satisfaction of having "bought the best" when all you did was overpay. There are times too when you don't really need "the best." I think of all the tools I buy from Harbor Freight. I bought my hammer drill there for next to nothing, for example, because it's a tool I just don't use that often, mostly when I want to slam a few holes in concrete for screw anchors, which I just have to do very often. I bought my wife her own cordless drill there - $17. She loves it: it weighs nothing and it drives screws. I'm not sure whether this point really applies to effects, but it might. As for the matter of having enough discretionary income that you can buy whatever you want, this has no necessary bearing at all on the wisdom of any particular purchase. Extra green supports equally effectively "buying the best' on the one hand and simply wasting money on the other, merely because you can or because you're looking for an opportunity to gloat, irrespective the actual, empirical wisdom of the purchase. As for me, I research the h--l out of things, whatever I'm purchasing. I buy dried beans 50 pounds a whack not because I want to show my pals how remarkably large my bag of beans is, but because I'm a cheapskate who wants his beans cheap and understands that a bean is a bean is a bean. Even if I could afford the absolute best artisanal beans lovingly fertilized by the night soil of virginal Lithuanian women or something for 30 bucks a pound, I'd pass.
 
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