Rowland S. Howard’s signature sound was very much about his Fender Jaguar hitting a MXR distortion+ and going into a crancked Fender Twin Reverb amp with lots of reverb. Occationally he would kick in his MXR Blue Box, with the distortion pedal still on, for some amazing noise bursts. The two effects blends extremely well, the distortion adding some very interesting overtones to the (otherwise dark sounding) blue box.
For those new to the ‘blue octave down’ effect, it’s a fuzz box which adds an artificial, monophonic, synth-like two-octaves-down tone to your guitar sound. This sound is blended into the fuzz sound using the ‘blend’ control, which goes from pure fuzz to pure monophonic bass synth-tone (on the Reuss pedals, the ‘blend’ control is actually reversed compared to a vintage unit, so that you are dialing in more octave-down content to your sound as you turn it up)
I believe the devil is in the detail, and the key to the great sound of the Reuss RSH pedals are the strict use of vintage new old stock semiconductors. The pedals are made with rare vintage new old stock germanium diodes - along with new old stock Panasonic 2SC1849 transistors and Texas Instruments UA741CP opamp ICs. The same parts as can be found in vintage 1970s MXR pedals.
The RSH-03 features old-school carbon film resistors and tantalum capacitors like the original 70s pedals. The RSH-version of the blue octave fuzz circuit is based on the original pre-1977 circuit which is more primitive, noisy and chaotic. Expect glitchy tracking of the octave tone and poor gating.
Like all Reuss pedals, the RSH-03 is completely handmade in the European Union.
The RSH-03 features the popular 'C11 mod' as a switchable option via a 'dip switch' at the circuit board inside the pedal. The 'C11 mod' makes the 'blue octave fuzz' brighter sounding, and it's a very popular modification, which I have had a lot of inquiries for.
2022 marks the ten years anniversary of the first Rowland S. Howard pedal, and I took this as an opportunity to give it a slight facelift. The new RSH-03 version, launching in April 2022 (available to preorder now), has received a few minor cosmetic revisions compared to the previous RSH. Most notably, the jack has been moved from the sides to the top end, where they originally sat on the RSH-01. The knobs are changed to a different design and the finish is a semi-matte olympic white, as opposed to the previous few batches which were high gloss. The electronics remains the same, though I have replaced the LM741 opamps for UA741CNs. Both types were used in vintage MXR pedals.
Through the years there has been (at least) six different versions of the RSH pedal:
Here's JP Shilo channeling the spirit of Rowland S. Howard, pushing air into crystals with a vintage Jaguar and the Reuss RSH pedal in Paris, February 2020. Bobby Gillespie taking his vocals to a new level of cool, Mick Harvey working the drums like it was 1999 and Conrad Standish laying the solid lows. It’s the ultimate Reuss RSH pedal demo:
The Reuss RSH (and ‘Evil Twin’) pedals are used by these fine artists – and more:
Download the Reuss RSH-03 manual here
A version of the RSH distortion circuit is available in the "Double Standard Distortion" pedal (if you don't need the octave fuzz part)
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