May 18 2011

Review of Caroline Guitar Company’s Wave Cannon

Review of Caroline Guitar Company's Wave CannonPhilippe Herndon of Caroline Guitar Company sent over one of his Wave Cannons for us to check out. Glad he did! Immediately the look of the pedal struck me. The enclosure is cool and sturdy with some interesting and classy white knobbies. I also dug the laser etched name plate. That plate reminds me of something you’d see on the side of a drill press in your high school shop class or something. Very cool.

There are four knobs, a toggle switch and footswitch. The knobs have an image representing their particular function. Going from top to bottom, we have “shape”, “rock horns/hand”, “stack” and “speaker”.

Shape - this refines the frequency response and grit which is more pronounced at lower gain settings
Rock - this is the gain control
Stack - this is the tone stack for controlling treble
Speaker - this is the output or volume of the pedal

The toggle switch is the havoc switch to launch the pedal into havoc mode. Havoc mode is hard to describe – it’s very Theremin-like (when I say Theremin-like I’m referring to the tone vs. control)  and and responds with volume swells and creates a oscillation. Looking for something weird and crazy… flip the havoc switch ON.

For this demo I again enlisted the help of Jimmy Rolle. He used is Les Paul Custom Shop Elegant into a Rivera Knucklehead 100w head through Marshall 4×12 cabinet loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s. The demo was recorded with Fathead SPII Ribbon Mic and Shure SM57. Also for this demo with thought it would be cool to try out a Armor Gold instrument cable as well. On the demo Jimmy played a similar riff while going through the settings, then opens it up a bit. Jimmy also goes into some of the craziness of the havoc. Most of the weird oscillating sounds were created while Jimmy rolled the volume knob off on the guitar.

You can listen to the high quality MP3 clip via SoundCloud

Here is the official description of the pedal by Caroline Guitar Company:

Our flagship product is the Wave Cannon™. Based on our favorite op-amp fuzzes and distortions of the 1970s & ’80s, we believe it is the finest pedal of its kind. In distortion mode, it is a veritable Swiss army knife of overdrive sounds, capable of going from a “clean” boost all the way to amber waves of gain. In Havoc™ mode, chaos reigns.

We’re not going to pretend that this pedal is for anyone and everyone. The Wave Cannon is not for the novice who expects their gain pedal to do most of the work for them. Nor did we nanny-state this pedal to protect you from yourself; if you crank the drive controls and use a really bright guitar and amp, things may get weird, squeal, and whistle at you. However, a serious player will find plenty of great sounds with the Wave Cannon that respond to how they play; changing your technique, pick attack, dynamics, guitar and amp controls, pickup selections, and so on will yield a variety of great sounds.  And we haven’t even talked about the kinds of sonic mayhem that the Wave Cannon is capable of when you flip the Havoc™ switch!

This is a great sounding fuzz/distortion. We dug the creaminess of the fuzz, has good low end and low mids. This would be a great pedal in combination with a high gain amp. The havoc switch is cool and fun. Personally, wish the havoc switch was footswitchable for on-the-fly havoc-ness.

They just announced that they shipped a bunch to Fat Tone Guitars in IL. You can pick up the standard version (no havoc) for $179.95 and the custom (w/havoc) for $199.95 at Fat Tone Guitars!

If you want to learn more about Caroline Guitar Company – check out my little interview with Philippe – “Introducing Caroline Guitar Company“, or check them out at their site, Facebook and Twitter

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