Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret review

Marshall-ish tone from the refined Dirty Little Secret

  • £137
  • $169.99

MusicRadar Verdict

A versatile tone-building dirt box with two distinct M-style flavours.


  • +

    Great tone.


  • -

    Very few.

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One of the Portland, Oregon-based company's most popular pedals, the Dirty Little Secret is now in its third incarnation and delivers Marshall-like tone, whatever amp you're using.

An internal switch sets the pedal to either Super Lead or Super Bass mode: the first, based on a later 'plexi' model having more gain and a different tonestack with more upper mids; the second more akin to early Marshalls or the Bassman it was based on, with less prominent midrange and lower gain.

Internally, a presence pot dials in the top end to suit your rig. The tone knobs offer the sort of organic control you'dget with an amp and both modes sound excellent, providing a range of drive with familiar British tonal signature.

The Super Lead mode offers enough gain to take you into JCM territory, while the Super Bass takes a fuzz pedal really well for some classic 60s rock sounds.

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.