Based in Columbia, South Carolina, Caroline Guitar Company is not exactly a new face in the stompbox realm (they were founded in 2010), but offers products that have the “freshness” (of ideas and execution) of a startup, combined with the quality and sturdiness of a veteran in the field.
One of their latest pedals is called Shigeharu (for some reason, after the name of a waiter currently employed at a sushi restaurant in SC) and it was designed in collaboration with John Snyder at Electronic Audio Experiments, another pedal manufacturer located in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the words of its makers, the Shigeharu is a distortion that provides “Muff-style fuzziness with the punch of a classic overdrive,” enhanced by a parallel octave-up voiced fuzz, via the company’s proprietary “Havoc stomp.”
Notwithstanding the mysterious-ish symbols, the pedal’s four main knobs are rather straightforward (basically Body, Treble, Drive and Level), but it’s the central, tiny “Havoc” knob that, combined with the right footswitch, adds an extra touch of edge: that’s the parallel octave up circuit mentioned above, and it can be activated either as a regular momentary switch or as a kill/mute switch (depending on how you set it up under the hood). The central black knob sets the effect’s volume. Needless to say, this is a function that can be extremely useful in cutting through the mix, since it adds extra layer of mid-range frequencies to the tone.
Another control inside the box is a bias that opens up extra options for dialing up “broken, spitty sounds.”
The Knobs‘ demo video below does a great job in playing with all the options, including internal controls and synthy sounds with more extreme octave-up settings, check it out!