Catalinbread Topanga review

Putting a spring in your step

  • £159
  • $195

MusicRadar Verdict

Many pedals simulate spring reverb, but few get this close to a Fender outboard unit.


  • +

    Great value and tones.


  • -

    Very few.

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From the early 1960s, Fender's 6G15 outboard spring reverb unit set the standard for the effect, in particular defining the sound of surf guitar, and is still available if you have £800-plus and don't mind the large enclosure on top of your amp.

For a cheaper, more streamlined rig, Catalinbread has released the Topanga, which is designed to replicate those 6G15 sounds with similar Dwell, Tone and Mix knobs plus a volume knob that can add a flavour of the original's valves to boost your amp's front end.

There's also a modulation mode, awkwardly entered by powering up with the tone knob at minimum, plus full wet capability at the extreme of the Mix knob.

You can get Fender amp-style reverb from this, but it's the channelling of the crazed splashiness and presence boost of an outboard spring tank that make this stand out among reverb pedals.

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.