Very Interesting Josh Scott Video

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,723
Tucson
I just finished watching the JHS video entitled Six Guitar Inventions Explained. Be forewarned, this is a somewhat lengthy and nerdish discussion about inventions, and the factors that go into why inventions come along when they do. In particular, he addressed the question of why inventions tend to come in clusters, such as the fact that there were a number of people working on the telegraph, at the same time. They weren’t aware of one another’s work, but came up with similar solutions, pretty much simultaneously.

The phrase that came up, continually, is ”adjacent possible”. The basic idea was that certain developments could only happen after other developments. So electric guitars couldn’t happen before there was a way to amplify an electric guitar. Electronic amplifiers couldn’t happen until the understanding of electricity was developed to the point where they were able to develop tubes that were capable of reliably amplify a signal. So every invention, came from earlier inventions.

The summation of this video is what I found the most interesting. Basically, the point he made was that invention doesn’t require genius, and that there is no magic.

Every interest I’ve ever pursued has had its own culture, and none more rich than the culture of guitarists. There are truisms, legends and myths that I have been exposed to, almost since the day I began learning guitar. I was eleven years old when I took my first guitar lesson, and my technical and scientific knowledge was fairly limited. In the years since, I have pursued any number of technical subjects and have learned more an more about how things work. What I have learned in my technical education is that the things we rely upon, be it a transport category aircraft, or something as simple as a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal, are based upon well-known devices which behave predictably. For example, airliners, as complex as they are, at their core, are complex collections of simple, well-known, predictable devices.

One thing I appreciate about Josh Scott‘s videos is that he doesn’t indulge the mysticism that is so common in the industry, and he assails the mythological notions of some in the guitar world. He has said, on a number of occasions, that it is not the diodes, but the entire circuit that determines what the pedal is going to sound like (in the case of Drive pedals). Individual components come and go, but circuits can be designed to accomplish the same results, even when one component has to be changed, because it can no longer be obtained.

Getting back to the video, Josh puts some perspective on some of the inventions which are part of our world, and how these were products, not only of their designers, but also of the point in time when they came into being. Fascinating stuff.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,723
Tucson
This video? One hour...oh gosh, maybe later.



One of my favourite series is James Burke's Connections. I get a deep desire to watch it every few years.

It is lengthy. In a sense, it’s somewhat like a Connections video, in that he talks about the dependencies of various pedals developments, such as IC OpAmps having been invented, and then coming down in price to the point that they became feasible for use in overdrive pedals. You couldn’t have had the Tube Screamer without the OpAmp.

He spent a lot of time on pinpointing the first deliberate use of Fuzz on a recording, and it turns out that it predates the Marty Robbins recording by years. IIRC, I think he traced it back, at least, to Bob Wills’ Boogie, recorded in 1947. His point was that you could credit that to Mary Robbins’ Don‘t Worry, Link Wray’s Rumble, Rocket 88 or this Bob Wills song, but it was a development that came along when all the pieces were in place, and it would be hard, if not impossible, to pin it down to one inventor. If there are examples dating back to four commercially released recordings, there are even more examples that happened in situations that weren’t recorded.

He then goes on and explores the various pedals that were created to package that effect, once again, the point being that there were a lot of people working along the same lines.



And that led into another video, where he talked about clone pedals, and what is protectable. As he put it, protecting a circuit design is all but impossible. It’s unlikely that any use of a circuit could be considered unique, or groundbreaking. Even if a usage is unique, as regards effects pedals, at the circuit level, chances are that someone has created a similar circuit, and that the use in an effects device is a development, based upon that usage. Again, another one hour video:



I would recommend these videos, only, to people whose interest in the subject is such that an hour long video, which might seem to ramble a bit, is a worthwhile investment. Much like the James Burke Connections episodes, these videos sort of culminate towards a big payoff, but slowly. I like these, because they directly confront the mythology that is so often associated with the subject of electric guitar, amplifiers, and effects.
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
18,857
lafayette in
One of my favourite series is James Burke's Connections. I get a deep desire to watch it every few years.
Excellent series. I'm a fan.
----------------------------------------
You may not be able find the original pedals, or find them at a price you can afford. The clones may actually be superior. I think "close enough for government work" may fit here. Unless you're recording and it's imperative for some reason that you have the original sound, it's likely not that important of an issue. Nobody at a bar gig is going to notice any difference.
 

BrianW

Country Gent
Oct 21, 2014
1,464
Vancouver Island
This video? One hour...oh gosh, maybe later.



One of my favourite series is James Burke's Connections. I get a deep desire to watch it every few years.


A little late to this party, but have to admit I am a fan of the Connections series as well (in particular the first year). He raised some very interesting points on how in the 70s "modern society" had lost its understanding of how their world works and some potential results of the failure of a single part of the complex technology. 50 years after the fact its interesting to compare how his predictions of possible choices worked out.
Also worth watching just to see the actual locations the series was filmed in - not to mention the 70's fashion statements 😉

cheers
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,526
Winnipeg
Also worth watching just to see the actual locations the series was filmed in - not to mention the 70's fashion statements 😉

cheers

I think the first and second series are very well done, the third one kind of feels cheaply made.

It's weird that opening scene, you know exactly where he is and there's a subtext to what he's saying that he doesn't understand, and a plane roaring in the background.

My favourite scene is where, in one take, he does a monologue while walking along the Saturn V rocket and ends almost precisely when he gets to the tip. That's really superb mastery!
 
Last edited:

Mr Twangy

Gretschie
Dec 27, 2020
213
Canada
I just finished watching the JHS video entitled Six Guitar Inventions Explained. Be forewarned, this is a somewhat lengthy and nerdish discussion about inventions, and the factors that go into why inventions come along when they do. In particular, he addressed the question of why inventions tend to come in clusters, such as the fact that there were a number of people working on the telegraph, at the same time. They weren’t aware of one another’s work, but came up with similar solutions, pretty much simultaneously.

The phrase that came up, continually, is ”adjacent possible”. The basic idea was that certain developments could only happen after other developments. So electric guitars couldn’t happen before there was a way to amplify an electric guitar. Electronic amplifiers couldn’t happen until the understanding of electricity was developed to the point where they were able to develop tubes that were capable of reliably amplify a signal. So every invention, came from earlier inventions.

The summation of this video is what I found the most interesting. Basically, the point he made was that invention doesn’t require genius, and that there is no magic.

Every interest I’ve ever pursued has had its own culture, and none more rich than the culture of guitarists. There are truisms, legends and myths that I have been exposed to, almost since the day I began learning guitar. I was eleven years old when I took my first guitar lesson, and my technical and scientific knowledge was fairly limited. In the years since, I have pursued any number of technical subjects and have learned more an more about how things work. What I have learned in my technical education is that the things we rely upon, be it a transport category aircraft, or something as simple as a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal, are based upon well-known devices which behave predictably. For example, airliners, as complex as they are, at their core, are complex collections of simple, well-known, predictable devices.

One thing I appreciate about Josh Scott‘s videos is that he doesn’t indulge the mysticism that is so common in the industry, and he assails the mythological notions of some in the guitar world. He has said, on a number of occasions, that it is not the diodes, but the entire circuit that determines what the pedal is going to sound like (in the case of Drive pedals). Individual components come and go, but circuits can be designed to accomplish the same results, even when one component has to be changed, because it can no longer be obtained.

Getting back to the video, Josh puts some perspective on some of the inventions which are part of our world, and how these were products, not only of their designers, but also of the point in time when they came into being. Fascinating stuff.
I don't as yet own any JHS pedals but I enjoy Josh Scott's videos. He is very informative and open-minded about about pedals by other manufacturers and he's funny and entertaining. I really like his guitar playing too.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,240
Petaluma
A little late to this party, but have to admit I am a fan of the Connections series as well (in particular the first year). He raised some very interesting points on how in the 70s "modern society" had lost its understanding of how their world works and some potential results of the failure of a single part of the complex technology. 50 years after the fact its interesting to compare how his predictions of possible choices worked out.
Also worth watching just to see the actual locations the series was filmed in - not to mention the 70's fashion statements 😉

cheers
I think it is much earlier with the use of electricity. Most people don't really understand how electricity works on a practical level, inciuding me.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,723
Tucson
I don't as yet own any JHS pedals but I enjoy Josh Scott's videos. He is very informative and open-minded about about pedals by other manufacturers and he's funny and entertaining. I really like his guitar playing too.
I find him a breath of fresh air. He absolutely refuses to participate in the mythology that so permeates the world of effects, in specific, and electric guitar, in general.

He seems to have some very deep convictions, and a truly sincere sense of fairness towards his competitors. Again, a breath of fresh air. Something tells me that this fellow is very brilliant.
 


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