Catalinbread Karma Suture – Germanium Edition

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DESIGNER’S NOTES, ORIGINAL GERMANIUM EDITION, February 4, 2014

I was wanting to come up with a cool new fuzz and tried a bunch of ideas on the breadboard, different old circuits, to see if there was anything that jumped out at me. I came up with some very cool sounds during my experiments but one idea really literally jumped out at me! It was an obscure and rare circuit known as the harmonic percolator. Whenever we take on an old existing circuit, we only take it on if we feel we can add something to it, extend it, contribute back to the pool of great guitar sounds. So I used that circuit as a starting point and began a several month period of experimenting and tweaking and I’m really stoked about what I came up with! I’m a guitarist first and a pedal designer second so what I come up with has to satisfy the most difficult customer I know – myself! Plus, we had a little stash of NOS germanium transistors. This turned out to be the perfect application for them!

But what I ended up with was more than just a “fuzz”. Oh, it can do that as good or better as most fuzz pedals out there, but it can also do so many more things. My original goal was to make a fuzz that played well with single coils or humbuckers, into clean amp or into a dirty amp, stacked into more dirt or just by itself. I met that goal but also ended up with a circuit that could get great overdrive or distortion type sounds as well as an amazing sparkling cleanish boost that enhanced any passage that you would normally play with a clean sound. Wow, I thought, can’t wait for everyone to check this thing out! They’ll freak out! So, I hope you are in the camp of “OMG this thing is freaking me out, it’s so cool!” 😀

It sounds great at any volume, but for maximum “OMG”, play it into a loud rig! As mentioned in the user guide, this circuit generates even-order harmonics. So everything is aligned harmonically to the notes and chords you’re playing. That’s why it works so well for complex chords and arpeggios, as well as more conventional “fuzz pedal” playing techniques like power chords and single note soloing. And if you love getting controlled feedback, you’ll really love Karma Suture. For me, it’s become one of those pedals that I want to always leave on. Because when I turn it off, the sound seems flat and lifeless all of a sudden! And since it responds so well to my guitar’s volume knob, I *can* leave it on all the time.

Oh, and what’s up with the name? I don’t know! I was working on the circuit one night and the term “karma suture” suddenly entered my mind. Yes, it’s a pun but I don’t know, the sound I was hearing just seemed to fit that name. So there you have it. Play this pedal and your karma will be stitched up and you’ll be good to go until….. until you turn it off 😉

I hope Karma Suture inspires you to not put your guitar down. Drop me a note at kittycaster@catalinbread.com and let me know what cool sounds you’re coming up with!

Peace!

…Howard