JHS’ Josh Scott: AmazonBasics pedals are a “sign that guitar is doing really well”

The mini pedals have caused a bit of a stir lately.

JHS Pedals‘ owner Josh Scott has taken a deep dive into the newly released AmazonBasics line of guitar pedals in a new live-streamed video, arguing that the series is a “sign that guitar is doing really well.”

He made his case by showing other products offered by AmazonBasics – kitchen knives, towels, a keyboard, headphones, a rucksack and so on. Guitar players, and musicians in general, can only benefit if entry-level effects come with one-day delivery to anyone with $25 and a Prime account, and are counted as an “essential” – no arguments there.

And that brings up another point: who are these pedals for? Those watching The JHS show are more likely to be fans of the brand, or of the many boutique, rare or otherwise nerdy effects that Josh dives into in his vlogs. However, as he argues, that audience isn’t likely to buy the AmazonBasics pedals. Instead, they’re just another generation of affordable beginner gear. Josh gives a personal example – his whole guitar obsession started with a guitar from Walmart.

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When the pedals were first unveiled, the reaction was divisive. The ultra-affordable mini pedals were nothing particularly new, there are plenty of those on the market – however, comments sections across the internet ignited with anti-Amazon sentiment from some. The trillion-dollar company has come under fire for countless controversies, ranging from involvement in facial recognition, tax avoidance and demanding relentless work habits from its employees. So having its logo on your ‘board isn’t very rock n’ roll.

Josh Scott addressed this in his video, quoting a viewer who was disappointed that the JHS show would endorse “oppressive big business and worker exploitation.” Josh’s response was that he never intended to endorse Amazon – he instead wanted to educate people about the history of these kinds of products.

Something else that caused a stir was the revelation that the pedals are simply rebranded Nux units. The JHS video makes good on Josh’s promise to educate by diving into the history of this practice – known as Private Label or OEM branding. A huge number of brands, from TC Electronics to Electro Harmonix have either sold another brand’s circuit in a rebranded box or made pedals to be rebranded. Even the original Ibanez Tubescreamer was manufactured by Maxon and just rebranded as Ibanez.

JHS Pedals' Private Label Table.
JHS Pedals’ Private Label Table. Image: JHS Pedals via YouTube.

In short, then, will these pedals destroy the industry from the inside out? Well, it’s not likely, but only time will tell. But it is just another iteration of something we’ve seen countless times before. Josh wraps up the video with perhaps the most important question of them all: “Generations from now, will anybody give a crap about this?”

Take a look at the full stream below.

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