Joey Sturgis Tones Toneforge Jason Richardson Review

Joey Sturgis Tones Toneforge Jason Richardson Review

The Joey Sturgis Tones Toneforge Jason Richardson plugin has been sitting in my collection for a while now. I’ve been meaning to try it out, but with the constant stream of new amp sims being released recently poor old JR had been sadly overlooked. Well, it’s time to put that right!

Enter The Forge!

The layout is pretty standard for a JST Toneforge plugin. There are Gate, Input and Output controls along the top along with your preset manager. Along the bottom of the plugin, you can click between the various sections of the plugin which open up in the main display area. Strangely, there are no preamp pedals, only a channel switcher. This seems like a bit of an omission. It’s always nice to have at least an overdrive pedal but we have to keep in mind it’s a signature product rather than trying to cover all bases.

The amps available are the usual mix of clean, rhythm and lead. None of the amps feature a dedicated gain control, using the input control instead. It’s a quirky way to do it but it does work. I think I’d prefer proper gain controls on each amp though to be honest, but again, this is the way Jason Richardson wanted to do it. The gain has been dialled in to hit the sweet spot on each amp so you probably won’t feel the need to adjust it much anyway. The amps all have an EQ section along with an extra section which is different on each model. Shimmer for clean, Clarity and Range for the rhythm amp and Edge for the lead model. They all work in different ways to bring a little extra flexibility to each amp section but they’re all basically ways of adding extra clarity and definition.

JST Toneforge Jason Richardson

The cabinet section gives you two cabs to choose from and four mics plus a handy IR loader. An IR loader is always a useful addition but I found the JST cab and condenser mic to be a good match for each amp, especially when using the Parametric EQ section of the plugin. I’m a big fan of parametric EQs within amp sim plugins because they let you really fine-tune your tone and remove any unwanted frequencies.

The FX section features Delay, Lofi and Reverb pedals. I was a little disappointed with the controls on the delay pedal. It doesn’t sync to your DAW so you have to dial in the pedal using the Time control in milliseconds. The delay pedal itself sounds nice but it’s another missed opportunity to make life easier and a basic feature people expect to find. The Lofi pedal might not be many people’s first choice but it’s a very handy addition to add a different texture. The reverb is fairly basic but sounds great and it really brings the Clean amp to life and partners perfectly with the Lead amp when it’s solo time.

JST Toneforge Jason Richardson

The last section is the dynamic controller. This is a bit of a secret weapon within this plugin. Rather than being a standard compressor as I first assumed, it’s been designed to help you dial in the low-end response for when you’re playing drop-tuned riffs. Once you have set your tone it’s well worth spending some extra time with this section of the plugin to really dial in the sound and response further as it can have a dramatic influence on the overall sound and feel.

In Use

The features might be pretty basic compared to some plugins but I guess that’s because Jason Richardson wanted to keep things pretty stripped back so all the focus is on the sound rather than endless tweaking of knobs. The tones available from it are what I really loved with the Jason Richardson plugin.

The Clean amp is pretty basic but it’s very easy to dial in a good sounding tone for those clean passages. Add a little reverb and it comes to life beautifully. It doesn’t have huge dynamic range but it finds it’s place within a mix very easily.

JST Toneforge Jason Richardson

The Rhythm and Lead amps are where this plugin really inspires me. They have a very similar base tonality but the Lead amp is just has a bit more balls. I can see why they’ve labelled them Rhythm and Lead but they’re both comfortable in either role. They’re not the most organic sounding amps in the world but they’re nasty (in a good way) with a brutal edge. Low tuned riffage sounds big and meaty but with a lot of clarity. With a quick EQ adjustment, it’s very easy to dial in a tone to sit perfectly in a mix and not get lost. I think that’s what this plugin is really about. Great mix ready tones. It almost seemed too easy to get a good sound. Record some double-tracked rhythm parts and they simply slot into the right area of a mix with very little effort. For leads, the clarity controls really help those quick runs to stay defined. Add some delay or reverb and you have the perfect starting point for leads. Once again, it doesn’t take much effort to make them sit well within a mix. The note definition thanks to the clarity controls is perfect when it comes to getting each note clearly audible without simply boosting the volume and drowning out other instruments.


If you’re looking for a plugin to give you a huge range of options then the JST Toneforge Jason Richardson might not be for you. Instead, we have a plugin which still has a lot of variety on offer but feels more stripped down to the essentials rather than offer endless settings to adjust. It sounds great and makes a guitarists life easy by giving you mix-ready tones with very little effort. If you tune down then this is a plugin you simply have to try. The dynamic processor is a fantastic way to get the perfect rhythm tones and the amps have been dialled in very well so you spend more time playing and less time changing settings. It’s mean, it’s nasty and I love it!

Rating 9/10

The JST Toneforge Jason Richardson is available from – for £70

Joey Sturgis Tones Jason Richardson Demo Video

JST Toneforge Jason Richardson