Octave fuzz is one of my favourite effects, and if you’d seen my house you’d know that Pilgrim and I are all about psychedelic 60s and 70s design. So I feel like the Catalinbread Octapussy is practically designed for me. And check it out: that picture above was supplied by Catalinbread but that’s the same model Strat that I have. It’s a sign!
Catalinbread Octapussy hits the streets.
Dateline: March 5th, 2012 Portland, OR
If you followed the news from NAMM you may have seen this pedal unveiled. Well, Catalinbread is ready to let the cat out of the bag. The Octapussy is an octave-up fuzz in the tradition of the Octavia. But it’s not a clone of that circuit! Nope, it’s an original circuit designed by Howard Gee, utilizing 3 silicon transistors and two diodes that takes the tradition to the next level! Get yourself the ultimate octave fuzz, and launch your sound into the stratosphere.
The Octapussy was designed to be extremely responsive to your guitar and playing. Whether you’re looking for sweet, breathy, delicate octave-up melodies; epic soaring leads that bloom as you hold a bend; or massively huge grinding, industrial-strength power chords. The Octapussy has it! There’s also a slew of other sounds to be had not only in the pedal itself, but also with your playing style and guitar controls.
Catalinbread showed at NAMM for the first time in 2012 with a really cool display. They had plenty of cool new pedals to check out, but in the true spirit of showmanship they drew a lot of attention with a set of special Custom Shop Fuzz Flowers handpainted by Sharlet Thompson. These amazing creations feature the Catalinbread line as well as some special fuzz creations built by Bryan Lundstrom.
Also on show:
All Aboard NAMM
This is Catalinbread’s first year exhibiting at NAMM, and we’re releasing a boatload of new products at the show. Three new pedals to our product line make their first appearance, and we also have three special custom shop creations dubbed the ‘fuzz flowers’. Come visit us in booth #1366 to meet some of the crew and try out our entire line-up. But for those who can’t make it to the show, here’s a round-up of the new products we’ll be showing.
Nautilux Chorus – Vibrato
-All analog utilizing high voltage MN3007 bucket brigade chips
-Tap tempo capable.
-Stereo, dual modulated outputs.
-Level Control inspired by the classic CE-1
-Powerful tone circuit allows you to dial shinny airy, to warm and chewy.
-Mix control allowing you to tune in 100% modulated to 100% dry and everything in between.
-Independent rate and depth for both modes vibrato and chorus.
-Vibrato mode is modulated by a sine wave form, chorus is modulated by a triangular waveform, again inspired by the CE1.
-Expression pedal capable to control rates or depths.
Catalinbread presents the newly redesigned Semaphore Tremolo.
Dateline: October 20th, 2011 Portland, OR
The newly redesigned Semaphore combines a fantastic audio path, with a diverse tremolo that has a bottomless feature set including 8 different waveforms, tap tempo and divide, tap tempo input, and expression pedal capabilities. It’s small footprint combined with a feature set that suits both foot tappers and knob twiddlers alike, makes the Semaphore both versatile and pedalboard friendly.
At the heart of the Semaphore is a lush audio path that incorporates optically controlled JFET gain stages to sculpt a gorgeous clean boost sound, that is present and alive without being peaky or harsh. We’ve quadrupled the number of waveforms, everything is in there from classic square, triangle, and sine waves to ramping sounds, and a mind-bending random shape. And in conjunction with the Shape contour, which morphs the waveshape, numerous waveforms are waiting to be unlocked. The Semaphore sounds fantastic, and the Tap Tempo section is engaging and easy to use. We’ve even included a control voltage input to control the tap tempo with another unit.
The humble treble booster has got to be one of the most criminally underrated guitar effects ever. Oh, it was appreciated back in its heyday (the late 60s and early 70s), but since then it’s been relegated to a secret weapon (at best) and a disused curiosity (at worst). Catalinbread is doing their part to change this with the Naga Viper, which adds a few unique twists and turns to the established treble booster format.
Catalinbread Introduces the Naga Viper Treble Booster.
Dateline: August 18th, 2011 Portland, OR
The Naga Viper is a booster in the grand old tradition of the Dallas Rangemaster “Treble-Booster”. The Rangemaster has been used by many influential British guitarists including Tony Iommi, Brian May, Marc Bolan, and KK Downing and Glen Tipton of Judas Priest. These guitarists, while completely unique in their styles, share the Rangemaster secret of boosting their cranked tube amps into a juicy, harmonic-laden rock tone that always cuts through the mix.
The Naga Viper is our version of this famous circuit and it enhances the classic circuit with the addition of two extra controls – Range and Heat. The original Rangemaster had just one control – Boost. The Range knob is a continuous control allows you to go from classic treble-boost to a full-range boost and anywhere in-between. The original could only function as a “treble-booster”. The Heat knob gives you control over the gain level, unlike the original which was fixed at maximum gain.
Catalinbread first caught my eye when I stumbled across the Ottava Magus at Pony Music a few years ago. I’ve always been into the octave thang, and the Ottava Magus has got to be one of the coolest-looking pedals ever. The Formula No. 5 is inspired by vintage tweed amps including the Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe. The 5E3′s character is very unique: minimal power filtering, low plate voltages, simple tone stack, and next to nothing in the way of controlling the low end between gain stages. Combine that with an under-rated output transformer and speaker, and you’ve got one loose, dirty, greasy, edgy amp. The Formula No. 5 seeks to tap into that same sound because, as we all know, while descriptors such as ‘greasy,’ ‘inefficient’ and ‘grit’ may sound like bad things to the lay person, to the guitarist they can represent the holy grail.
The Formula No.5 has only three controls: Volume, Gain and Tone. The circuit itself is built around cascading JFET gain stages, which have a softer sound than MOSFETs and a more natural note envelope than diode clipped rings. I plugged my Ibanez RG550 with a Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker into my Marshall DSL50 set to a clean sound (into my AxeTrak isolated speaker cabinet), and stomped. I recorded what happened:
High volume and low gain settings have a little bit of high-end ring to them but are mostly lo-fi – in the nicest possible way. This is really emphasised by some amp spring reverb. It’s interesting to explore the interaction between the tone and gain controls: higher settings on the Gain control and lower Tone excursions result in loose bass, gruff treble, and a fat midrange. It’s a strange mix of fine articulation and clumsy wallop, and the overtones are amazing, especially for those of us who like to Jeff Beck it and play fingerstyle.
The Formula No. 5 interacts with particular sensitivity to changes to pickup and tone settings. Switching to the neck pickup and rolling back the tone control brings out a flutey, fat honk with great sustain, while flipping to the bridge pickup with the tone opened back up has an almost ‘broken jangle’ sound. Again these probably sound like descriptions of something bad, but the result is actually extremely musical and interesting: it’s just not conventional in the way you might expect, say, a tube-style overdrive unit.
The vibe of the Formula No. 5 is fuzzy-but-not-fuzz, distorted-but-not-distortion. It pushes out a conglomeration of a whole bunch of frequencies you don’t expect to come out of your amp – but don’t let that put you off, because I can’t stress enough just how good it sounds. It’s great for blues, rock, avant garde, country and other styles most of us haven’t thought up yet, but most of all, it’s extremely fun.