REVIEWED: CATALINBREAD SFT VER. 2 AMPEG FOUNDATION OVERDRIVE PEDAL

Gladesville Guitar Factory | guitarfactory.net | Expect To Pay: $269

The SFT is one of Catalinbread’s many Foundation Overdrive series effects pedals. These pedals are designed to emulate the circuitry, dynamics and tone of history’s greatest tube amplifiers. Based off Ampeg amplifiers, the go-to brand of for guitar heroes B.B. King, Keith Richards and Josh Homme, amongst others. Unassuming in its blue and white housing, this two-in-one pedal houses some monstrous tones and a wide range of dynamic nuances.

I’m a sucker for pretty things. I’ve been known to make purchases based purely on looks, rather than sound. I mention this because the SFT is a perfect example of a pedal I would buy based off no other research than a YouTube review, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if its looks were misleading. Fortunately for me and my lengthy list of poor life choices, this tiny terror is far from all bark no bite.

 

A little push button, cutely giving the choice between ‘stoner’ (on) and ‘stones’ (off) is all that divides the split personality of the SFT. In the off position you get 70’s Rolling Stones overdrive tones. In the on position it changes face, taking on the fuzzed out characteristics of stoner rock reminiscent of Josh Homme’s signature QOTSA/Kyuss tone. The button’s position rules out any smooth transition from overdrive to fuzz on the fly, but it’s a minor flaw and one not worthy of lost points.

 

In this mode, the pedal emits a rich vintage overdrive, pure and simple. The EQ is limited to bass and treble knobs, but mids can be boosted through tweaking the bass, treble and gain pots. If you’re looking to recreate a rich, vintage overdrive tone, this is your guy.

 

Switching to stoner mode is sure to give you a shock as all the grit and grime that this pedal tucks away is brought to the fore. Perfectly comfortable in a low gain and light fuzz setting, but capable of unhinged ferocity with all dials pushed to max, this setting is worth the price of admission alone. Adjusting all of them to noon reels in the ferocity for a tight, responsive fuzz.

 

Like the tube amps it emulates, different guitars will conjure different tones and how it reacts to the amount of gain added varies between both guitar and amp type. The SFT plays well with others – it stacks nicely and can bring vintage characteristics to the party without taking away from either pedal, or muddying tone. Stacked with amp distortion in stones mode, it can serve as a shaper of distortion, providing plenty of options for customising a raging distortion sound. With all of this considered though, it is the stoner mode that wins MVP. It has the power to turn a clean amp into an over-saturated stoner delight, switching from laid back stoner rock to crushing, to slow and low doom riffs.

Hits and Misses

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A versatile pedal that will satisfy most needs for vintage overdrive and fuzz

A must have for any pedal board needing a utility player to fill in the gaps between your more prominent assets

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The position of the ‘Stoner/Stones’ button could be in a better position

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