JHS Pedals has teamed up with Madison Cunningham for the Artificial Blonde – a signature vibrato pedal that aims to deliver some of the folk-rock singer-songwriter’s trademark tones.
As the pedal company explains (opens in new tab), the pair’s collaboration first began back in 2019, when Cunningham’s crew reached out to JHS while the guitarist was putting together her second studio album, Who Are You Now.
In an effort to “develop her new foundational sound," Cunningham’s producer, Tyler Chester, sought the help of JHS, who dutifully provided a number of modulation pedals to aid the cause.
After landing on the JHS Emperor chorus/vibrato pedal and using it heavily throughout the Who Are You Now sessions, Cunningham then began closely collaborating with JHS’ Josh Scott, who provided pedal advice and pedalboard builds.
Scott then sought to design a signature prototype pedal that would best serve Cunningham’s vibrato needs, eventually crafting a nondescript black-finished box titled “Blonde?” that she used extensively both live and in the studio.
Artificial Blonde is that same pedal, repackaged and reproduced for the masses.
The Artificial Blonde boasts a half-dozen knobs in total – a master Volume knob sits at the top left, while an EQ knob sits below it. Turning the latter to the left boosts bass and cuts highs, while turning it to the right, of course, flips the equation.
Then, there are two sets of Speed and Depth knobs, which can be toggled between via the pedal's right footswitch. Speed, as you might expect, controls the speed of the vibrato, while the equally self-explanatory Depth controls the depth of the vibrato.
Elsewhere, the pedal features a 1/4” input jack, and dual mono/stereo 1/4” output jacks. The Artificial Blonde is buffered bypass.
Of her new signature pedalboard stalwart, Cunningham explained, “Early on in making my first recordings and going headlong into the intimidating search for tone, JHS was the first place that made me feel at home with my sound.
“Josh Scott noticed that I started to Sharpie my settings onto the JHS Emperor pedal,” she continued, “and came to me with the idea of making a two-switch version pedal that had my customized settings dialed.
“This is a pedal that has truly formed who I am as a player and makes me feel like myself. No matter the environment, I leave it on at all times and lean on the EQ and volume settings most always. Thank you JHS for making this dream come to life.”
The Artificial Blonde runs on 9V DC power, and is available now for $249.
Head over to JHS Pedals (opens in new tab) for more info.