Catalinbread Formula 5F6
The Formula 5F6 adds vintage tweed Bassman response to our range of Foundation Overdrives, giving you the awesome characteristics of this classic amp into any clean amp.
The tweed Bassman may be the most influential *guitar* amp of all time. Although it was marketed as a bass amp, its treble, middle, bass and presence controls and 4 x 10 configuration were perfect for guitar, as guitarists soon figured out. How influential was the Bassman? Look up the schematic and compare its preamp to that of a Marshall or Vox and you'll see!
When a tweed Bassman is set at low to medium volumes, you get a sparkling, harmonically rich tone. Turned up a bit more and it delivers that famous on-edge-of-breakup character that is responsive to your picking attack, a sound so craved by guitarists. Play a ringing open chord and you'll be rewarded with lush harmonic swirl. And then crank the volume up to 12 and you'll get a thick, creamy, meaty crunch - the original genesis for all heavy guitar sounds to come. And if you hit it really hard, you’re rewarded with a slight compression, a slight sag in the response, that feels so good to play. The tweed Bassman is so touch-sensitive and responds beautifully across the frequency spectrum. If you play a Strat, this is a match made in heaven. Gibson style guitars sound great too and will overdrive the preamp sooner and you’ll start to recognize those tones you heard on famous records.
And with the Formula 5F6 you'll get that entire range of response! It does that quick compression on the initial attack that 'exhales' quickly into a wide clean with lots of glassy chime on top and a tight full low end.
After we got the Formula 5F6 circuit dialed in to reproduce the beautiful vintage tweed Bassman response, we asked: “Hey what if we supercharged and gained this thing up but pretended we had never heard of a Marshall?” Some tweaking to the gain structure and tone circuit and boom! we got a great new voicing - much higher gain, a bright attack, and as full as you want it. It was so cool we decided to build it into the pedal, accessible through an internal switch.
The Formula 5F6 lends itself to almost any musical style, from the classic Strat - Bassman blues tones of Buddy Guy and Otis Rush to artists like Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robbie Robertson, Robben Ford, all the way to heavier styles by stacking boost, overdrive, or fuzz pedals into it. Don’t worry, the Formula 5F6 won’t just make you play old music! It will take you where your imagination takes you!
• The Gain knob controls the gain, obviously, but circuit-wise it is identical to the “Bright Volume” control on the tweed Bassman. So, turned down low, you’ll get those great sparkly cleans, turned up midway or so and you’ll get that elusive touch-sensitive response where you can play clean or dirty just by varying your picking attack. And cranked all the way up you’ll get the gain structure of a Bassman on 12, thick and overdriven, but still sounding very California.
• This is the master volume that controls the output of the pedal. The lower you set the Gain knob the higher you’ll want to run the Volume. For the best clean and on edge-of-breakup response, turn the Volume all the way up and start with the Gain control at minimum and then slowly bring up the Gain control to the desired response.
• The tone controls reproduce exactly, part-for-part, the tone circuit (“tone stack”) of the tweed Bassman. If you’re familiar with the tone controls on that amp, you’ll already know how these work! The circuit was carefully tuned around this tone stack to give great tones, no matter how the tone knobs are set. Don’t be afraid to try things like full Mid and no Treble or Bass, or even full Treble with no Mid or Bass. You’ll find a huge universe of useful tones to make your part stand out in the mix.