I’ve been designing pedals at Catalinbread since around the beginning of the Obama administration and, wow, now it’s 2017 and I’ve certainly learned a lot over my two terms of designing pedal circuits. Just as it is with songwriting or guitar playing, as your skills mature you don’t necessarily get more complicated, but rather, your work becomes more refined, more elegant, more essential. So, when I was informed that some of the parts we were using for our first tweed-inspired design, the Formula No. 5, were no longer available and could I approve some substitutions, instead of doing that I jumped at the opportunity to take what I’ve learned and apply it to the concept of a tweed-inspired Foundation Overdrive. My mantra as I started from scratch with the circuit design was, “I want to be able to go from Grant Green to Neil Young”. I wanted to make it even more accurate to the 5E3 preamp design. I wanted it to have a wider clean-to-overdriven range. I wanted it to have more output. I wanted it to feel even better to play. I wanted it to stack even better with other pedals. I dove into the breadboarding process with all this in mind. After two or so months of intensive development, which means sitting in front of a breadboard with a guitar in hand and playing and tweaking the circuit until it SOUNDED right and it FELT right, I emerged with a simple, elegant circuit that has the widest range of clean-to-dirty yet. At Catalinbread, we do everything in house, so then our hardware development team set out to do the circuit board layout and all of the other details to transform the circuit into the pedal you see on this page. We care too much about the sound and quality to let anyone else have their hands on the process! The production team hand-calibrates each Fn55 to the spec I laid out so you know you’ll be getting what I intended. Thanks for considering the Formula No. 55 for your pedalboard. Please check it out and play one for yourself and I hope you will find it as rewarding to play as it was for me to develop.
… Howard Gee