This is a guest post by guitarist Stephen Rose
Tony Iommi took his Jaydee Custom guitar, plugged it into a Laney Supergroup, stepped on a Dallas Rangemaster, and the sound that inspired so many was created. Catalinbread has simplified this process and developed the Sabbra Cadabra pedal. This pedal, handmade in Portland, Oregon takes all of those essential Iommi tones and houses them in this exceptional stomp box. The ominous woman painted on the front of the pedal is the first thing I noticed and was reminded of the woman on the cover of the first Black Sabbath album. There are four knobs on this pedal: Presence, Gain, Range, and Vol. 4 (a nod to the 1972 album of the same name). Catalinbread used a JFET Supergroup pre-amp to dial in the Iommi sound and with the use of the Gain knob, the amount of gain can be dialed in to preference. Catalinbread used its own Naga Viper circuit for the treble booster with the Range knob. The Naga Viper accurately replicates the famous Dallas Rangemaster and when the knob is cranked, some sweet fuzz tones come out. This feature only adds to the versatility of the Sabbra Cadabra.
I used a Gibson Les Paul into a Fender Princeton to demo this pedal. The Sabbra Cadabra responds very well when adjusting the guitar’s volume knob and makes it possible to get a variety of overdriven to all out high gain tones. I noticed with my initial run through of this pedal that there was a considerable amount of treble and high end. When doing some research on the origin of the Iommi tone, I discovered that he preferred to have his Laney Supergroup amps with the bass rolled down and all other knobs cranked. This pedal perfectly achieves that sort of set up. I had to adjust the treble output on my amp to set a more even tone setting when using the pedal. I set all of the knobs to noon and found that to be a good place to get Iommi-esque sounds, but not Iommi exclusive sounds. I downtuned my guitar to drop D and C to see how it handled playing some Sabbath riffs and it stacks up very well to the recordings. I was surprised with how well Catalinbread was able to achieve these tones. This pedal is great for those trying to dial in those exact Black Sabbath sounds from the 1970s, but is not limited to a pedal that emulates Tony Iommi’s Laney amps. This is a great pedal for those looking for a crisp overdriven tone that will definitely cut through the mix.
The Sabbra Cadabra from Catalinbread is a magnificent representation of the types of tones that Tony Iommi conjures when creating those memorable riffs of doom. The Sabbra Cadabra is well worth checking out if you are looking for a classic Laney tone that has the ability to bring out our inner Sabbath. Catalinbread offers a wide variety of pedals for overdrive, modulation, delay, and boost. This is the second Catalinbread pedal that I have reviewed and this, like the Dirty Little Secret, is well made, detail specific, and sonically reliable.