“It's not a replica or a clone. It’s the actual thing”: JHS Pedals revives influential gear brand Ross Electronics – and recruits John Mayer, Brian Wampler and Robert Keeley for new documentary

Ross Electronics has been brought back to life by JHS Pedals, which has relaunched the late Charles “Bud” Ross’s cult classic effects pedal brand with five stompboxes.

Launched by Ross in the ‘70s – arriving not long after the inventor and engineer had established the hugely successful Kustom guitar amps in 1964 – the eponymous pedals (and, indeed, the amps that came before them) are some of music history’s most influential pieces of gear.

As JHS Pedals founder and pedal connoisseur Josh Scott puts it: “Although you may not know his name like you know the name Leo Fender or Paul Bigsby or Jim Marshall, at the peak of his career and at the peak of the products that he made in the ‘60s, he was on par with those creatives and entrepreneurs.”

In fact, such was the influence Ross had on the music world, JHS has launched a 30-minute documentary detailing the brand’s history and eventual revival, which features the likes of John Mayer, Brian Wampler, Robert Keeley and Butch Walker.

After transitioning from amps to the pedal market in the late ‘70s, a handful of distinct eras of stompboxes steadily arrived throughout the ensuing years. 

The first era ran afoul of MXR, which threatened legal action against Ross for its form factor and branding, but the second era (crafted after Ross returned to Kansas) delivered a pedal that would gain cult status in years to come.

It’s the spirit of these early pedals – with their recessed control knobs and angled footswitch – that has been further immortalized by JHS, which has released Era 2-accurate Compression, Phaser and Distortion pedals, an Era 3-inspired Chorus and an all-new Fuzz inspired by a Kustom amp circuit.

The seeds for the newest generation of Ross pedals were first sown back in 2020, when Scott – whose Kansas-based JHS Pedals brand is located mere miles away from Ross’s original location – approached Bud’s grandson, Cameron Ross, with the idea.

Ross Electronics Compressor pedal

(Image credit: Ross Electronics)

“JHS was the clear choice,” said Cameron Ross, who first tried to revive the company in 2019. “[They were] the ones that cared about the story, cared about Bud, and cared about the direction of the company.”

As mentioned, the Compressor, Phaser and Distortion pedals are faithful reproductions of the original Era 2 units, though each has been tweaked to include handy top-mounted jacks and additional switches.

For the Compressor, Level and Sustain knobs dictate the OTA-based, vintage-style comp pedal, which also has a side-mounted Bright/Vintage switch.

Ross Electronics Distortion pedal

(Image credit: Ross Electronics)

Controls on the Distortion include Level and Distortion parameters, as well as a switch that flicks between Germanium and Silicon modes as a nod to the two different circuits produced during the pedal’s 15-year history.

Rate and Recycle knobs, and a switch that changes between classic Analog Phaser and Univibe-style operation, are featured on the Phaser, while the Era 3 Chorus offers Rate, Depth and Chorus/Vibrato options.

Ross Electronics Phaser pedal

(Image credit: Ross Electronics)

Arguably the most notable release of the bunch is the Fuzz, which acts as a branch between two of Bud Ross’s most successful gear companies.

With a sound pulled from the same Kustom amp model that John Fogerty, The Grateful Dead and many others used, the Fuzz is dubbed “a tribute to a lost Kustom distortion effect that, until now, was only available in an amplifier”. Level, Fuzz and Vintage/Modern switches are the order of business here.

Ross Electronics Chorus pedal

(Image credit: Ross Electronics)

“I am dedicated to pursue the manufacturing, production and evolution of this legacy brand in the same way Bud Ross would,” Scott said in a statement. “As I have said time and time again, ‘Companies don’t make things, people do.’ 

“I am beyond excited to merge the amazing legacy of Bud Ross’s life with the hardworking, passionate team at JHS Pedals.”

Ross Electronics Fuzz pedal

(Image credit: Ross Electronics)

In terms of price, each pedal weighs in at $189.

To find out more, head over to Ross Electronics.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.