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Catalinbread Carbide Distortion Pedal


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We're currently out of stock on this item but if you'd like to inquire about incoming stock, a special order or a custom build, use the form below to get in touch with one of our specialists, and we'll get you taken care of!
– Matt's Music Staff


From Catalinbread:

The Carbide is a pulverizing distortion pedal that captures the mighty “chainsaw sound,” typically associated with a cranked HM-2, and much more.

If you’ve been a fan of music with guitars tuned lower than standard in the last 30 years, there’s a chance you’ve heard of this hot new sound, usually associated with heavy riffs and power tools. In lay terms, the Carbide is a pulverizing distortion with heady boosts to certain frequency bands—three of them, to be exact—and a ton of volume. Officially, obtaining this “chainsaw sound,” as it came to be known, consists of plugging into a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal and maxing all four knobs. Our Carbide starts with this at its base, then tweaks the majority of the distortion circuit for maximum crunch and thud. Instead of giving you a paltry blend control, the Carbide splits your signal into two paths; one path heads to a powerful clean boost specially configured to downtuned instruments, the other heads into the gears of the distortion. Each path is given its own volume knob before being mixed in parallel, letting you fine-tune the right amount of dirt. An Emphasis control tightens up the extreme low end while cutting treble, letting the boosted frequency bands jump out of the mix. Let’s head in.


  • DRY AND WET KNOBS: These two knobs control the volume levels of the dry, boosted path and the wet, “chainsaw” path. When either one is down, it disappears from the mix. These two circuits are in parallel, so you can mix both sides to your taste or rig.
  • EMPHASIS: The stock HM-2 circuit gives you two “color mix,” or EQ knobs: L(ow) and H(igh). The “L” knob controls a frequency boost at 87Hz, but the “H” knob actually controls two different bands simultaneously, at 958Hz and 1279Hz. The Carbide keeps these three boosts intact, but the Emphasis control cuts frequencies around these bands, making them pop a little more. Like the “H” knob of the original, the Emphasis control adjusts two different filters simultaneously, one at 63Hz and a treble shelving filter. The Q of the low filter is just wide enough to butt up against the onboard bass boost. while knocking out pesky sub bass.


The Carbide accepts a center-negative DC power supply from 9 to 15 volts, capable of supplying at least xxmA of current (over is fine). Plugging in anything other than this (center-positive, AC, higher voltage, etc.) will potentially brick the Carbide. I cannot recommend doing this. Check your supply and make 100 percent sure it says all the right stuff. If you plug in the wrong supply, you’ll immediately send your pedal to the shadow realm. Even though that sounds pretty cool, your Carbide doesn’t want to go there, this I can promise.


I grew up with metal, and even then I was hard-pressed to identify the HM-2 sound. Early adopters of that circuit were none other than… Eric Clapton and David Gilmour? Yeah. Well. As it turns out, only a handful really knew what the term “heavy metal” meant back then. And for those who did know, the sound of the HM-2 was not quite in-line with the knowledge base. Clapton and Gilmour used one with the Dist(ortion) control all the way down, instead putting its powerful EQ to work.

I grew up in a small town without a record store or music scene long before the Internet existed, and when Entombed’s “Left Hand Path” came out, I didn’t hear it and neither did anyone I knew. I was also in grade school, but that’s beside the point. I didn’t hear it until much later in my life, and when I finally got around to listening to it, another band using the HM-2 had already captured my attention. That band is called Magrudergrind, and the song “Bridge Burner” from their 2009 self-titled record is bathed in dimed HM-2 tones.

When I started building pedals as a hobby, the HM-2 circuit wasn’t really in my sights but after hearing that record, I spent an unhealthy amount of time poring over that circuit and its associated applications. I’ve built them with tons of knobs, I’ve built them with a sole volume control, and I’ve built every configuration in between. When it came down to utility though, I found myself really riding one control not offered on a stock HM-2, a wet-dry blend.

The humble blend control is a powerful one; it automatically makes a pedal bass-friendly, and it allows you to toe the line between breath-stealing crunch and something a little more homogeneous to an overall band mix. My only gripe with a standard blend is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution—it can be hard to balance volume between a dry, buffered signal and a screaming distortion circuit. However, the parallel clean boost and distortion circuits do just the trick.

I optimized the HM-2 circuit for “more,” akin to the marginal gains theory but with a little more oomph here and there. There’s a more refined, musical clipping arrangement, adjustments to filter values to really let those palm mutes chug, and a different transistor selection for a little extra gain. Overall, it’s just, as I said, “more.”

The Emphasis control came to me a while back when I worked on the Dreamcoat and realized the power of reducing key frequencies to make others pop. “Tight” controls in some pedals work in a similar fashion; they let the mix “breathe” by cutting low frequencies so you and your bass player aren’t engaging in open fisticuffs. You’re gonna like this one.

Shipping & Returns

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*Korg and Mesa/Boogie products are only available for shipment within the USA.


We want you to be completely happy with your purchase, so we offer a 48 hour approval period on most purchases (see exclusions below). The 48 hour approval period begins when your purchased item is delivered to your door. If after 48 hours you’re not happy with the item, just contact us via phone, email or live chat on our website to arrange for a return authorization (RA#) and return shipping instructions. Any package sent back without prior authorization will be refused.

Returns must be shipped back to us within two days of the RA being issued. Items must come back to us undamaged and in the same condition they were shipped out. All manuals, paperwork, cables, tremolo arms, wrenches, etc… must be included or full credit will not be issued. Any items not conforming to this policy will be subject (at our discretion) to a restocking fee of 20% of the purchase price.

Refunds will be issued minus all related shipping expenses, if free shipping was initially given, the cost we incurred to get the item to you will be deducted from your refund. A 10% restock fee will also be deducted from your refund. Restock fees will be waived for full value exchanges.

Here are exceptions to our return policy.

  • Custom orders of any kind are non returnable and non refundable. We often charge a deposit before we will place a custom or special order. All special order deposits are NON REFUNDABLE, no exceptions.
  • Microphones, Harmonicas, In-Ear Systems and any other items that come into contact with your mouth or ears.
  • Items labeled as BLOWOUT, are non-returnable. These are often being sold below cost and are considered “all sales final”.
  • Software (this may also include hardware that includes software), unless still in shrink wrap with barcode affixed.
  • Guitar strings, blank media, and other disposable merchandise.
  • Guitar or bass pickups that have been installed or used in any way.
  • Any item advertised as “USED” is non returnable.

*Payments for music lessons are non refundable, no exceptions.

View our detailed Return Policy here.

Early Order Cancellation

All deposits are non refundable. Lots of our products are special orders and in many cases your order has to be built for you at the factory. This is what makes a lot of our products special. Once your order is started, it's being put together just for you. For this reason we ask that you don't cancel your order after you place it with us. If for some reason you absolutely have to cancel your order with us, we will assess you a 25% cancellation charge. This amount is equal to 25% of your total order amount. Ask us before you place your order to see if what you're purchasing is considered a special order.

Damaged Merchandise

Do not accept your shipment if the package shows any signs of external damage. After the item is returned to us we will ship you a replacement. If you receive incorrect or defective merchandise, please call 781-335-0700 within 5 days for a return authorization number.