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Catalinbread Formula 55 Overdrive Pedal



Order now for delivery to you on Wed 25th May 2022.

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    Product Description

    Here's what Catalinbread say about the Formula 55

    Turn your amp into a 100 watt tweed Deluxe!
    Well no, but that’s what it’ll feel like when you plug into your new Catalinbread Formula No. 55! Big and powerful, yet refined, the Formula No. 55 melts into your amp, transforming it into a wide ranging tweed monster capable of everything from smokey, clean Grant Green jazz tones all the way to full on raging Crazy Horse excursions!

    The old amps from the 50s were primitive beasts and the 5E3 Deluxe was no exception. Its preamp section let a lot of low frequencies through but then it would encounter an output section (power tubes, output transformer, and speaker) that couldn’t handle all that low end, often resulting in a flubby response, especially if you turned the Volume up. In fact, if you look at the manual from an old 50s tweed, it advises you to “turn down the Volume should you experience any distortion”. Of course, a lot of guitarists ignored that advice and cranked it up anyway, much to Leo’s chagrin, and the sound of rock was born. The Formula No. 55 gives you that huge low-end response but was specifically voiced for touch-sensitive dynamics and a fat, but tight and punchy sound. You can play a palm-muted boogie-woogie rhythm pattern, for example, and if you don’t bear down too hard with your picking attack you’ll get a big chunky, woody sound, the kind of sound that you’d think would flub out if you suddenly started strumming harder. But start thrashing away and the response will get tighter instead of flubbing out! You just have to try it for yourself to see!

    The Formula No. 55 is a Foundation Overdrive that reproduces, in exacting detail, the preamp section of the classic Fender™ tweed 5E3 Deluxe using an all-discrete JFET-based signal path. The Volume and Tone controls replicate, part for part, the circuitry of the 5E3, giving you authentic tweed amp response. The output section is designed to give you lots of punch and volume with a low output impedance to drive your amp perfectly. Set the Hi-Lo button to “Lo” for the cleaner response of a vintage tweed. “Hi” is like hot rodding your amp by swapping in higher gain tubes.

    Like all Catalinbread pedals, no SMD parts are used for audio circuitry. Only through-hole components selected for tone and response are used such as carbon composition resistors and premium capacitors. We hand-build them and we tone-test each one to ensure you get the best we can offer.



    • Volume: From warm fat jazz clean to thick horn-like barking overdrive.
    • Tone: Noon for flat. Turn down for warm, smokey tones. Turn it up to boost upper mids and cut through the mix.
    • Presence:  Adjusts ~ 5khz range. Set to noon to start. Turn it up for more bite! Turn it down to warm things up.
    • Master: Sets output level. Lots of boost on tap.
    • Hi-Lo Button:
    • Hi/Red: Like swapping in hotter tubes, for more gain, overdrive and attitude.
    • Low/Green: Low gain mode from clean to overdrive
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    Customer Reviews


    11 reviews





    Mr STEPHEN GOLDMAN14th Feb 2022

    Value 5Looks 5Durability 5Sound 5

    Trusted Customer27th Dec 2021

    Normal setting is a bit on the bassy side. Have both the the presence & tone cranked and it’s still lacking a bit of top end cut. Great overall tone though.

    Value 4Looks 4Sound 4

    Mr Stephen Barney13th Dec 2021

    Nails the tweed volume. Really hits home at louder volumes

    Value 4Looks 4Durability 5Sound 5

    Mr Peter Brown29th Jul 2020

    Value 3Looks 5Durability 4Sound 4

    Trusted Customer24th Jun 2020

    What a happy purchase! I seriously can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover this awesome pedal and the addictive tones within. It stacks incredibly well with my other pedals, especially Jan-Ray and Dumble style drives.... it’s smokey with addictive sag, warmth and character. It’s great fun to play. It has all the great characteristics of Fuzz, without the fizziness. It brings a special character to slide stuff. I also notice it responds really well to gentle picking with fingers... so alternating between plec and fingers brings an extra layer of expression and feeling to your playing. The tone knob is VERY sensitive and thus has the capability to offer great variety over the tonal spectrum. It works with lots of different guitars, pickups & other pedals, inc tremolo, vibe & delay. The two gain stages button makes it very versatile. I am loving it as both a low gainer and for high gain sag. It gives awesome fat tones...great for blues and slide and also for screaming ZZ Tres Hombre tones. It also works incredibly well for those ambient Neil Young ‘Dead man’ tones. Catalinbread knocked it out of the park with this one! I can’t imagine being without it... A desert island pedal for sure.

    Value 5Looks 5Durability 5Sound 5

    Darren Archer3rd Nov 2019

    Bought this to try & get somewhere in the ball park of a Neil Young sound, great result & really has a warmth to the tone even with the gain turn up high.

    Trusted Customer1st Feb 2019

    Great pedal, I thought it may have been too much drive for the sound I want but the two settings get you from "on the edge" tweed style drive right through to heavy Neil Young. Note clarity is always good. Its a keeper for sure.

    Gary Gamble8th Jan 2019

    I wanted a tweed style pedal and Catalinbread's Formula 55 seemed to tick all the right boxes. It's based on a 1950s 5E3 valve amp using FETs instead of valves and it's very convincing. It has the 5E3's 2 knob configuration (tone & volume) and these controls interact in the same way with each other as the parent amp. There is also a master volume knob and a presence knob for adding a little 5k sparkle to duller or darker amps. The push button option ups the gain to real roaring valve amp territory. Pros: I like the look, the build quality, its size (it's compact & pedalboard friendly), its range of features and its voice. As I stated earlier, it is very convincing. It does tones that go from slight clipping all the way up to that Neil Young on steroids vibe. Cons: it doesn't really do a tweed clean which is unsurprising. The push button "boost" gives, apparently, the sound of more high gain valves. It has too much distortion for a tweed, and it's not as authentic. However, it does have its own thing going on, and it is very usable. The only downside is the tone can struggle to cut through a mix, especially when playing with other guitars. It's a great little pedal and I would recommend it though there are others that are as good.

    Trusted Customer25th Nov 2018

    Works well with my Marshall to give me options.

    Mr Oliver Hollis3rd Nov 2018

    Pedal exceeds what I'd hoped for. Basically, with the output ("Master") at about 20-30% it's roughly at unity and retains dynamics. The amp volume (Orange CR-120h) has to go higher but there's a lot of headroom before compression starts. The F55's Tone and Presence are very interactive with the gain ("Volume") controls up to about 75-80% of full gain -- you can get a kind of sparkle that's missing from similar pedals (e.g. Liquid Sunshine). The F55's normal and hot mode both clean up really well using the guitar's volume pots -- and for gigging the pedal is on all the time into a clean, flat amp -- so to clean up: roll back. I've been using a Jazzmaster most of the time and this works great. I did try it with a guitar that had high-ish output humbuckers and wasn't quite so hapy but it was in a gig so just went straight back to the JM rather than faff about. Can't leave without saying what an absolute blast the hot mode and cranked gain is! I only get to use this sound a couple of times in a set but if you like that Neil Young, Live Rust, amp's about to die sound then this is perfect!

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