Catalinbread promises “maximum tone for the minimalist” with new single-knob stompbox series

Catalinbread Elements Series
(Image credit: Catalinbread)

Catalinbread has launched a new series of single-knob guitar effects pedals for players who can’t be doing with tweaking all night and just want to get down to the business of playing the electric guitar.

The Elements series offers three flavours of dirt – Overdrive, Fuzz, Distortion – each housed in a compact enclosure with top-mounted jacks that your pedalboard real estate manager will thank you for.

Of course, the Elements series does not necessarily free you from tweaking; your guitar amp and whatever else is in your signal chain may well require/attract your attention. But at least with these, you simply just turn the big volume dial up and that’s that – then just use the footswitch to turn the effect on and off.

Nice and easy, and yet Catalinbread would like to remind us that designing a circuit such as this takes some time and imagination. It says each pedal’s circuit has been tuned to find the ‘sweet spot’ so all you have to do is turn up the volume on the pedal.

What do they mean? Well, wherever you set the dial on the overdrive pedal, the drive is fixed in the circuit, “giving you amp-like breakup regardless of where the volume is set”. It’s a similar story for the distortion pedal. Again, just adjust the volume dial. This all-important rotary dial has subtle detents in its action to help you make exacting adjustments.

Catalinbread Elements

(Image credit: Catalinbread)

Catalinbread describes the distortion pedal’s voicing a little like a carvery connoisseur might talk about good gravy, “no-nonsense thick and meaty”, and it allows you to run it with fire-breathing levels of gain at low volume. Of course, you could play it at high-volume and adjust your guitar’s volume knob to taste.

The fuzz pedal in the Elements series is silicon based and you will require your guitar’s volume knob should you want to cool its jets – the circuit is by default at maximum fuzz, so mind how you go with that. 

The Catalinbread Elements series is handmade in Portland, Oregon, using through-hole components, and it is out now, priced £136 / $150. Hook them up to a 9V DC pedalboard power supply and you are good to go. See Catalinbread for more details. 

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.