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Catalinbread RAH Royal Albert Hall Drive Pedal


We have all heard of pedals based on specific amplifiers, even specific artists settings, even the sound off of a single album but I think this may be the first pedal based off of a live sound from one bootleg. The Catalinbread RAH is based on the signature sound of Jimmy Page performing at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970.

The Goal

in 1969 Jimmy Page changed from using huge sounding fuzz to Hiwatt amplifiers that helped give him huge amounts of dynamic range and the ability to clean up his sound with just his guitars volume control. Catalinbread thought that this beautifully uncompressed overdrive and great dynamic range would be excellent in pedal form... so they made this.

Controlling The Tone

This pedal not only has to capture the overdrive sound of the Hiwatt amplifiers used by Jimmy Page but also the dynamic controllability of the overdrive. It does this through a complex circuit but fairly simple controls, looking at this pedal you will notice it controls just like any amplifier. You have control over gain, treble, middle, bass and master volume just like you would have on most amplifiers.

They key to getting the sound just right though is using the volume control on your guitar to clean up your signal when needed. This lets you get those incredible low gain crunch sounds that we so prominent at that show over 30 years ago.

Here's what Catalinbread say about the RAH

In January 1970 Led Zeppelin hit the stage of London's historic concert hall, Royal Albert Hall. At this performance Jimmy Page expressed himself masterfully with a broad pallet of tones and GIANT dynamic range. Of course this has a lot to do with Page's playing technique and Gibson Les Paul. His backline amps, custom Hiwatt heads into Marshall cabinets filled the entire hall with a cornucopia of colors at levels ranging from a mouse whisper to rave ups louder than a jumbo jet taking off only inches over your head.

At Catalinbread we love the RAH performance, but we hadn't considered the possibility of capturing it to put into a pedal… One day our friend Charlie got ahold of Catalinbread's chief circuit designer Howard Gee to ask if we could do it. Charlie said that he'd been trying to get this tone for years and told Howard, if anybody could do it would be Catalinbread. Having proven his ability to capture the essence and experience of famous amplifiers, Howard began experimenting with what is now the RAH.

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