A pedal rediscovery

A pedal rediscovery

So the other day, I was rebuilding my pedalboard the other day and started testing out some older pedals that I had planned to sell off and plugged each one in to make sure it worked correctly, etc. Anyway, among those pedals, I plugged in the Catalinbread Katzenkönig fuzz/distortion. I recall when I had originally checked this one out, I found it to be too much gain for my taste and I just couldn’t seem to get control of it, so it sat alone in the corner, collecting dust.
Anyway, fast forward to a few days ago and I was firing it back up again. However, on this occasion, I had my Strat in hand. The tone was GLORIOUS. For leads, the sustain was amazing! As you’d see in their product description or in videos, this pedal is a cross between a Tone Bender fuzz, and a Rat distortion pedal, and there is definitely some interaction that you have to spend some time with to really dial it in. I’m glad I spent some extra time with it and gave it another shot. It seems to have found a more permanent home on my pedalboard. Anyway, just wanted to share :beerbanger:

For a sample of some of the lead stuff like I was getting…


Hey, good to see you Bryan! Hope you and yours are well-- Oregon is among the least hard hit states thus far, hope that remains true (I have family there as you may recall).

Don’t have anything to offer on pedals, being a totally ITB kinda guy, but glad you had a nice rediscovery!

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I feel a little sad watching this, because I had a nice pedal collection, back before I gave way to the dark side (VST amps and effects). I love good pedals, especially stacking them up with each giving a flavour to the signal path.

A couple of years ago I managed to find a Ibanez TS9 in a flea market. The guy at the stall was distracted on the phone, and just shouted “it doesn’t work”. So I flashed a €5 euro note in the air and he accepted. Took it home and realised that it was just a couple of loose connections that had to be re-soldered. The thing was a work of art. For a few minutes I was under the impression that I’d got myself an original TS9, which can be worth quite a sum on the second hand market. In fact it was a re-issue, and after much soul searching I realised that a physical pedal just didn’t fit into my workflow at all. I ended up selling the thing to an avantgarde Sax player who uses guitar pedals in his performances


Having spent several years trying out nearly every form of digital solution (from Line 6, eleven rack, Axe FX, VSTs, impulses, etc) and then coming back around to amps and pedals, it really is a world of difference to me. I may actually do a write-up soon on my thoughts. I think I’ve reached the conclusion that an actual amp IS a musical instrument, much like the guitar is. I think that’s the big difference to me between the digital and analog world as it pertains to amps. I’ll elaborate soon.

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Really looking forward to reading your thoughts Bryan!

I think I can completely grok the idea of an amp or pedal being an instrument, in the sense of its imparting a unique aspect to the sound and the performance, because as we all know, that feedback while we’re playing has a huge influence on how we do play.

My only caveat, and it’s a big one, is that in the recording zone, once one commits to a particular combo of sounds from a mic’d amp (with whatever pedals), that’s it, it’s baked in. I know that for many, that is a choice, hey-- l commit to something and deal with it. But for me, I just don’t have the chops to be confident that such a commitment will hold up to later choices. I’d just have to re-track the part, and because of my limited playing ability, that would be a major disadvantage. This is why I completely gave up on anything but ITB, nothing but sims, so that I can always go back and change the tone (with effects, cabinets, virtual mic placements, what have you).

I have ALWAYS needed to make these kinds of adjustments for years now. I can still remember the last time I recorded a mic’d amp and all the pain I had to go through to get a mix I could live with. So I will always stick with sims and fx ITB. I can’t even remember the last time I used my Peavey amp… definitely not since moving to Virginia almost a year ago, and I’m sure not for the last few years I lived in Texas either.


Funnily enough, last week as I’d rotated through my 4 millionth virtual amp, I made the decision to dial in the tone and then print the take in place so I didn’t have the choice to re-amp or remodel the sound!

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Yep, I know for many, it’s a point of pride to make that commitment. I wish I had the confidence in my choices to do that, but I have proven to myself so many times that my choices need fixing later that I’ve concluded I simply don’t. So I’ve stopped fighting it. :wink:

But I totally get that overload of options… hell, I even wrote a song inspired by that very thing that I called Paralysis by Analysis. (And no, I didn’t commit to a mic’d amp sound, I went ITB all the way!)

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I get the ease of going ITB, and then opening Pandoras box of a million guitar sims to get that perfect tone.
Right now, I have a mic draped in front of a Marshall DSL15C stuffed under a desk within arms reach. For me, it’s so intuitive to get a usable tone that I rarely actually use SGear.
I love SGear for how it sounds, but I find myself constantly flipping through presets and tweaking more than actually getting anything done. (I also tend to play the SGear stuff really loud through headphones. The Marshall can play at bedroom volume and record well on both the distorted and clean channels).
There’s a lot to be said for designing and committing to your sound on the way in, and pedals can inspire that commitment. What I should probably do is invest in a good DI splitter setup so I can drive myself nuts tweaking the same part twice.


I think of the amp/guitar relationship like mouthpiece/horn on a brass instrument or compression chest/manuals on an organ. I don’t think of them as separate instruments, I think of them as 2 parts of the same instrument.

I would equate guitar pedals to stops on an organ. They are add ons that enhance the capabilities of the instrument, but take them all away, and you still have the instrument. They are part of the tone, just as pedals are part of the tone, but if you take them all away, you still HAVE a playable instrument. Just a more limited version of it.

But if you take away the compression chest on a pipe organ, then keys don’t do anything. Same with an electric guitar. You can still ‘play’ it, but it doesn’t make any sort of meaningful sound. That’s where I’d draw the distinction between when an instrument with two essential pieces (like a guitar + amp) should be understood as ONE instrument.