CAROLINE GUITAR CO.
BY MATTHEW HOLLIMAN
In the fuzz realm, there’s an allure to the circuits of the ’70s that attracts a very
obsessive crowd. They prowl for that per-
fect, sinewy, buzz-saw sustain that’s graced
the work of everyone from Pink Floyd to
the Isley Brothers—the tones of silicon Fuzz
Faces and the legendary “triangle” and “ram’s
head” versions of the Electro-Harmonix Big
Muff. These pedals and their counterparts
regained popularity in the ’90s when a new
breed of guitar misfits from Mudhoney to
Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. reclaimed the
tone for their own, and the resurgence in
popularity sent price tags for what were once
junk-shop relics sky high. Given the hun-
dreds of dollars those originals now fetch,
many fuzz-cult devotees have given up the
Craigslist and eBay runaround and turned
to boutique gear for their fuzz fixes.
to hear audio clips of the pedal at
fans of the Melvins, Nirvana, and other
fuzz-freak bands, the Olympia traces a line
back through the Pacific Northwest of the
’90s with filthy grace. With some help from
the Kickstarter.com fundraising platform,
Caroline Guitar Co. far exceeded their
monetary goal to push the Olympia into the
testing and production phases. Now available internationally, this stompbox touts a
wide breadth of color that’s certain to please
the pickiest old-school fuzz fans.
Blues for the Sun
The Olympia’s fuzzed-out chaos is managed
through manipulation of volume (indicated
by a speaker symbol) and gain (a bolt from
Zeus, of course). The knobs are placed perfectly for quick foot-control during a gig—
tight, but not too tight, and right up at the
top of the pedal.
Within the blueberry-colored enclosure
you’ll find a lesson in compact design. No
space is wasted in accommodating the 9V
battery, 3DPT true-bypass setup, jacks, and
circuit board. Shielded jacks protect 1/4"
input and output cables from interference,
and should you choose to go with a battery
over an adapter, it will rest securely below
the footswitch with little to no movement.
On the whole, the Olympia feels tough and
ready for real gigging and a lifetime on a
working player’s pedalboard.
amber Waves of Gain
With both knobs at high noon, a
Stratocaster plugged into its input, and
a 50-watt Bassman stocked with four
Celestion Vintage 30s at the other end of the
line, the Olympia growls with grungy lead
tones. Background noise, however, is virtually—and most impressively—nonexistent.
Power chords at these settings had the
Bassman positively booming and burning
(figuratively, of course). If you’re looking for