In Focus: HTJ-Works

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In Focus: HTJ-Works

Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Whether you’re after a little extra tube goodness, reverbs, boosters or fixed wahs, HTJ has you sorted!

There’s a bunch of classic sounds that are an essential part of every guitarist’s collection of tonal options. Certain circuits have become ingrained in the sounds we hear every day because of their unique ability to coax certain harmonics from our playing that emphasise, augment, and emote our tone before they hit our amp. This is the focus of HTJ-Works, hailing from Japan, who strive to bring together famous gain-based circuits into more affordable and usable boxes than their predecessors.

Aesthetically, their designs are subtle and refined, speaking to the pedal’s designs, intended to subtly refine and shape your sound without stealing the show entirely. They have clones of famous screamin’ pedals, some horse-based options, tube preamps, and variants of all of these available depending on your preference, or, for the more financially irresponsible among us, you can get them all because we like to ‘have the option’.

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HTJ’s range begins with some TS808-style circuits, their three-knob design being a dead giveaway, even before you’ve plugged them in. The Ventura pedals give that crunchy attack we’ve become accustomed to hearing, pushing our tube amps to overdriven bliss, tightening the low end and refining the mids for that classic Ibanez ‘bark’. Moving through to the Bright Horse, featuring a message from pedal maker Toru Kamigaito, the Bright Horse is available in both silver and gold editions, hinting at its Klon-based roots. The Bright Horse offers that classic warmth and mass of the original Klon in the gold version, boosting and pushing your tone to its limit for subtle drive to gooey, fuzzing heat and everything in between. The silver edition offers the same circuit with different diodes that clip differently and shape your transients as your tone passes through them.

HTJ also offers the Valve Crystal 12AX7 pedals. For those playing at home, the 12AX7s are a super popular pre-amp tube choice for guitar amps, their design being great for shaping tone before the power amplifier stage because of how they clip, distort and filter signal. The Valve Crystal pedals feature Treble, Middle and Bass controls, as well as Gain and a Master volume settled either side of Mid, Deep and Bright toggles. The Valve Crystal pedals are based on the only circuit to rival the fame of a Klon: the Dumble amplifier. The Dumble is one of the most famous, and admittedly now expensive, amplifier circuits known to modern guitar playing, having been featured as a secret weapon for years and more records than we can count. Dumbbells play nice with other amps, push boundaries on their own and stand ahead of the pack whether you’re playing clean or dirty, which is no mean feat.

Blending tones is what makes guitar songs unique, and that brings us to the Hide & Seek: a combination of the Tubescreamer and Klon in a box, featuring HTJ’s TJH-10 and Bright Horse to be used in series. You can toggle the order of the pedals to your liking, the Tubescreamer circuit can be used to shape the tone and tighten bottom end and attack before overdriving it with the Klon or vice versa, you can drive the warmth of the Klon before shaping and refining with the Tubescreamer. Both pedals’ circuits are buffered so there’s no tone loss, and you can toggle between silicon and germanium diode types on the Bright Horse circuit. Both can be used on their own thanks to the independent stomp pedals for each circuit, while the layout is clean, clear and concise allowing you to nail a great sound very quickly. The Hide & Seek is available in a few different version with the same interior, but there’s Dumble-esque knobs and Klon style knobs available depending on your preference. The aesthetic option is a constant in HTJ’s pedals, the Valve Crystal being available in black or silver faceplates, and the Bright Horse available with an entirely custom design if you so require.

HTJ-Works have a great offering pedals that don’t stop at standard drives and distortion. Their pedals are refined and modern, aesthetically pleasing but very functional at their core. Hey feature great components and well laid out designs that can help you use them to shape your tone quickly and easily, so you can focus on the playing while their diodes, circuits and toggles pass your signal through some classic sounds re-designed for the modern player. The classic sounds are classic for a reason, but their fame creates an allure and makes the originals unattainable for most of us due to sheer rarity as well as their constantly rising costs. HTJ bring these sounds back to the hands of playing in their accessible and affordable pedals. Whether you’re after one new pedal with a new sound, or a combination or pedals, a little extra 12AX7 tube goodness or one of the reverbs, boosters or fixed wahs we didn’t even discuss here, HTJ has you sorted!

Head to HTJ-Works for more information. For local enquiries, reach out to Gsus4.