Catalinbread Karma Suture Germanium Harmonically Rich Fuzz
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“The Karma Suture will reward your good tone intentions by lacing up your sound with awesome harmonics that bloom and bloom, turning your power chord into a tantric event!”
We try out a lot of different circuits at Catalinbread when looking for new ideas, always looking for that spark of something special. During one such prototyping session, one circuit really stood out. We’re talking about a rare and obscure circuit known as the Harmonic Percolator. “Wow! There’s something to be mined here!” This circuit has the amazing property of generating predominantly even-order harmonics – which creates an amazingly sweet and clear distortion. You may know of this circuit from its use by Steve Albini, who owns one particular unit that apparently has magical properties no other unit seems to have. We could search for holy grails and chase rainbows, but we saw a potential beyond one person’s use of it. Oddly enough, the ‘Percolator has a reputation for creating an ugly sound, albeit a cool and ugly sound. But we found something beautiful in it. So beautiful that you could play complex jazz chords through it and every note rings sweet and clear. So, using the original circuit as the springboard, we created the Karma Suture.
At the heart of the circuit is a NOS PNP germanium transistor coupled with a silicon NPN transistor. We found the magic pair to give you the sweetest harmonic generation and most dynamic playing response. The Karma Suture is capable of a wide range of sweet, even-order harmonic distortion responses – from heavily saturated fuzz tones, to big and open overdrive, to a sparkling boost. And no matter how you have the pedal set, the tone and response is always alive, sensitive to your every playing nuance.
The original Harmonic Percolator had only two controls, “Harmonics” and “Balance” controlling the input level (fuzz) and the output level respectively. We kept these controls, renaming them with words that describe the attributes that they actually control INPUT and OUTPUT. To overcome the control surface limitations of the original circuit, we developed the exclusive DIODES and DENSITY controls that give you complete control over the amount of clipping and compression and frequency response. The addition of these two controls permits the Karma Suture to be paired with virtually any guitar and amp.
You’ll find that the Karma Suture will have the potential to enhance your pedalboard in a huge variety of ways. Use it as an amazing fuzz. Use it as a harmonically enhancing boost after an overdrive to really get that part to stand out in the mix. Use it as your only overdrive pedal. Use it to add new life to your wahs, phasers, and other effects. It can be subtle. Or it can be over the top.
Although it works great off of a 9V power supply, we suggest that you use a fresh battery to power your new Karma Suture, without any other pedals, plugging straight into your amplifier set up for a full clean to verge of breaking up tone. In order for you to become acquainted with your new Karma, start by setting all of the knobs to noon, listen to and feel where this takes your playing! After you’ve had some fun playing and getting a feel of what each knob seems to do, you may feel the need to learn more about your Karma. In which case, read the manual!