Weird becomes wonderful in a heady, ambitious modulation pedal that somehow always sounds organic.
Super diverse and versatile modulation sounds with uncanny musicality.
Discerning and predicting some knob functions can be confusing.
Catalinbread Many Worlds
Named after physicist Hugh Everett III’s quantum-mechanics theory of the multiverse, the Catalinbread’s Many Worlds phaser takes a tonal trajectory arcing back to the mid-’70s Phase 90 and fractures it, Schrödinger’s cat-style, with eight stages and eight LFO modes. Five knobs govern up to eight parameters and five traditional LFO types—sine, square, sawtooth, reverse-sawtooth, and triangle—plus two envelope-dependent sine modes that trigger varying levels of phase sweep (one downward, one up) based on the intensity of your string attack. In “battle” mode, two sine waves with independently controllable speeds compete to dominate the phase output.
What a World, What a World
Based on what you just read, you couldn’t be blamed for feeling slightly daunted about transporting to Many Worlds’ sonic planes—especially if you’re accustomed to simpler phase fare. It has more knobs than traditional units, and, to newer players, a couple of controls could be confused with other sound concepts or parameters. Freq (frequency), rather than governing Hz-based pitch ranges, controls what some may be used to seeing labeled “rate”—how quickly the phase cycles back and forth—while feedback might make you think of a delay pedal but is better thought of as a resonance knob. In addition, two of the five knobs have mode-dependent functions.
Thankfully, clever labeling and a laminated reference card help you keep things straight. Orange text and waveform icons indicate that, in envelope modes, the upper-left knob becomes an attack control for the low-pass filter, while depth becomes a sens (sensitivity) control regulating input gain for the envelope-detection algorithm. Similarly, light-purple indicates that, in battle LFO mode, the top-middle knob regulates the rate/frequency of the second waveform rather than depth. If all this is starting to make your head swim, just know all that really matters is your ears will perceive myriad cool sounds, even if your brain doesn’t quite grok all the terms or diagrams.
It’s strangely easy to make unusual settings sit right in a mix.
To get a feel for how Many Worlds sounds in the material plane, I engaged my Telecaster’s bridge pickup, dialed up a good ol’ sine wave, nudged mix to 10 o’clock and freq, depth, and feedback to around noon, and—voila! —instant high-lonesome country sounds. Classic and lush, with a slightly pinched nasal quality alluding to the constantly shifting contours of desert dunes. Engaging both pickups, I chose what you might deem an opposite vibe—reverse-sawtooth. But with freq and feedback at noon and depth at max, this imparted an even more delectably undulating movement to spaghetti-western fingerpicking patterns. Somewhat surprisingly, going to regular sawtooth—i.e., with a build up to the peak waveform rather than ramping down from the peak—yielded a bigger, bolder feel to similar picking work. Turns out the feedback knob is a huge key to the overall vibe of any given “world,” with higher settings instilling a slightly honky sound that feels more sensitive to playing dynamics, while lower settings feel more open and airy.
In downward-sweeping envelope mode, dialing attack (alternate parameter for the freq control) and feedback to minimum and both mix and sensitivity (alternate for depth) to noon inspired Andy Summers-esque staccato arpeggios, which bloomed with a lovely, hypnotizing lushness. For envelope-up mode, I cranked attack, sens, feedback, andmix. But rather than sounding bizarre, it imbued guitar lines with a thick, gooey, inviting swirl. Unlike with, say, an envelope-controlled tremolo, Many Worlds’ attack-sensitive modes feel less predictable due to the asymmetrical crisscrossing of waveforms and phase rates. Yet that unpredictability is precisely what’s compelling. A guitar-playing observer wouldn’t think, “Cool—that phaser is reacting to attack dynamics!” But the player themself would be increasingly engrossed in a constantly shifting experience that lures them deeper and deeper as the subtly writhing tonal possibilities become more evident.
As heady as Many Worlds’ ambitions and control set might seem, what’s remarkable is how useful its delightful array of sounds is. Having grown up with Van Halen’s MXR and David Gilmour’s Small Stone sounds defining my idea of phasing, I remember my disappointment/confusion upon first experimenting with a more complex 4-knobber. Sure, it served up a lot of spacey sounds, but they also often felt hackneyed and harsh—like, “Why would I want that sound?” But with Many Worlds it’s strangely easy to make unusual settings sit right in a mix. Yes, you can get out-there and weird, particularly with square waves or in battle mode. Yet even with the latter’s ever-present sonic Cylon sweep in the background, there’s a musicality that doesn’t feel at all alien.
Inspired by the great mysteries of quantum mechanics, the Many Worlds phaser pedal from Catalinbread is the company’s first-ever phaser. In true Catalinbread fashion, the Many Worlds phaser takes a vintage reference point — in this case, an iconic single-knob stompbox — but pairs it with expanded control knobs (attack, depth, feedback, and mix) and modulation from eight distinct LFO options.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level of performance. Rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. Railhammer Pickups have outstanding tonal balance. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
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The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.