Stompbox: Catalinbread Ottava Magus Octave Pedal

Octavia pedals add an octave above the original guitar signal. The are very sensitive to volume and attack and when everything falls into place the notes kind of explode or ‘bloom’ as some people put it after the intial attack. Playing two notes at once can yeild a ring modulator sound where the two frequencies add together to produce odd sounding overtones. Not necessarily beautiful – but mutated!

I bought and sold several Tychobrahe Octavia inspired pedals before settling on the Catalinbread Ottava Magus. Some of the other pedals I tried were too metallic and harsh sounding. Others only sounded good if I had everything set just right (play at the twelfth fret, turn down guitar tone and volume controls, select the rhythm pickup) which just seemed too limiting. This tiny pedal just sounds good no matter the configuration.

I fell in love with the sound after hearing Jimi Hendrix’s Who Knows from the Band of Gypsys album. Jimi broke a string and drops out of the mix for a minute or so and when he comes back he has the wah and octavia swtiched on and has the most incredible strangled twisted sounds coming out of his guitar.

Update: I’ve upgraded to the Catalinbread Ottava Magus II pedal.  It has a third control (saturation) to adjust the amount of distortion, further increasing the range of sounds I can access. It also has a cool LED effect behind the artwork if you play the pedal in a dark room – trippy!

Have a favorite octave pedal? Tell me about it in the comments!

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