Catalinbread Formula 5F6

Description

The Formula 5F6 adds vintage tweed Bassman response to our range of Foundation Overdrives, giving you the awesome characteristics of this classic amp into any clean amp.

Do you play a high-powered clean amp such as a Twin and can’t get a good cranked response at the real world gig volumes you have to play at? Do you play a smaller amp at home but it’s still too loud to give you a great amp response? Do you have a two-channel amp but hate the dirty channel? Or maybe you can play as loud as you want but you crave more touch-sensitivity in your rig. Or maybe you’re having trouble integrating fuzzes into your rig; maybe they get too loud or they just don’t sound right because your amp tone is too clean and the dirty channel of your amp makes the fuzz sound thin, farty, and pinched-o. Adding the Formula 5F6 to your rig will solve all these problems and will become the foundation of your pedalboard, the pedal that will enhance the response of all your other pedals.

The Formula 5F6 lends itself to almost any musical style, from the classic Strat – Bassman blues tones of Buddy Guy and Otis Rush to artists like Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robbie Robertson, Robben Ford, all the way to heavier styles by stacking boost, overdrive, or fuzz pedals into it. Don’t worry, the Formula 5F6 won’t just make you play old music! It will take you where your imagination takes you!

The tweed Bassman may be the most influential *guitar* amp of all time. Although it was marketed as a bass amp, its treble, middle, bass and presence controls and 4 x 10 configuration were perfect for guitar, as guitarists soon figured out. How influential was the Bassman? Look up the schematic and compare its preamp to that of a Marshall or Vox and you’ll see!

What we did with the Formula 5F6 was reproduce the key circuit elements of the Bassman “5F6” preamp circuit’s bright channel using JFETs instead of tubes and then fine-tuned and rened it for ultimate low to medium gain response in front of any good amp set clean. You get the same preamp structure (gain stage -> volume control -> gain stage -> tone stack) as the Bassman, key to getting not just the tone, but the feel and response right.

When a tweed Bassman is set at low to medium volumes, you get a sparkling, harmonically rich tone. Turned up a bit more and it delivers that famous on edge-of-breakup character that is responsive to your picking attack, a sound so craved by guitarists. Play a ringing open chord and you’ll be rewarded with lush harmonic swirl. And then crank the volume up to 12 and you’ll get a thick, creamy, meaty crunch – the original genesis for all heavy guitar sounds to come. And if you hit it really hard, you’re rewarded with a slight compression, a slight sag in the response, that feels so good to play. The tweed Bassman is so touch-sensitive and responds beautifully across the frequency spectrum. If you play a Strat, this is a match made in heaven. The tweed Bassman might just be the perfect amplifier for the Fender guitar. Thus why it can cover any style. The dynamic feel, the perfect amount of breakup, how it lends itself so well to pedals. The tone complements and enhances the Fender guitar rather than fighting it. Gibson style guitars sound great too and will overdrive the preamp sooner and you’ll start to recognize those tones you heard on famous records.

And with the Formula 5F6 you’ll get that entire range of response! It does that quick compression on the initial attack that ‘exhales’ quickly into a wide clean with lots of glassy chime on top and a tight full low end. The more dynamic your style, the more you’ll love the Formula 5F6!

But wait, there’s more! After we got the Formula 5F6 circuit dialed in to reproduce the beautiful vintage tweed Bassman response, we asked: “Hey what if we supercharged and gained this thing up but pretended we had never heard of a Marshall?” Some tweaking to the gain structure and tone circuit and boom! we got a great new voicing – much higher gain, a bright attack, and as full as you want it. It was so cool we decided to build it into the pedal, accessible through an internal switch. More on this later!