ProGuitarShop

Premier Guitar Galileo Review

August 22, 2012

We were fortunate enough to have one of our exclusive pedals reviewed for the september issue of Premier Guitar!  Galileo owners, give us your own quick review of your experience with the pedal in the comments.  We would love to hear feedback from the players that are using this pedal in their own rigs.  Here's what premier guitar had to say:

 

 

Written by Matthew Holliman

The Vox AC30 has graced the studio and stage with legendary notables such as The Beatles and Jeff Beck, as well as modern-day heroes like Jonny Greenwood. Queen’s Brian May is among the most famous AC30 users ever, and he favors the Top Boost AC30TB model. May kept his amps loud and simple, going so far as to have Pete Cornish remove the Bright and Vib/Trem circuitry.

In an attempt to capture the hot, direct sound of May’s AC30, Portland-based Catalinbread developed the Galileo. The effort was spurred, in part, by the Pro Guitar Shop who, together with Catalinbread, decided a combination of Catalinbread’s CB30 overdrive and Naga Viper (a Dallas Rangemaster clone) would add up to a “Vox in a box.”

Brick of Gold

Without an official endorsement, there’s only so much you can get away with when casting a product in a legend’s likeness. Catalinbread is really pushing the envelope here, as the Galileo’s flamboyant appearance screams Queen. Painted with a flashy gold flake, the crowning visual is a modified Queen crest, originally designed by Freddie Mercury for their debut cover. Nearly identical to the original emblem, the Galileo trades a ‘G’ for the ‘Q,’ a trout for a crab, and a goose for the mythical phoenix. A regal, if irreverent, design indeed.

For a dual-pedal setup, the Catalinbread Galileo is exceptionally compact. This true-bypass stompbox has jacks positioned at the top along with a 9V barrel adapter (a battery will also work if you open it up). There are five controls to manage—volume, treble, bass, gain, and top boost. The first four attend to the CB30 circuit, which is engaged by the leftmost footswitch. The treble and bass knobs are interactive, so if you adjust one you’ll more than likely need to adjust the other to create a new sweet spot. For Brian May’s live tone, Catalinbread suggests turning the gain all the way up and kicking it down a notch for higher-output pickups.

Striking a chord released a dazzling array of British Invasion drive with plenty of gain that doesn’t fall into a wall-of-sound distortion.
The top boost effect is engaged with the right side footswitch and, like a real Rangemaster, only has one control. This is primarily used to boost the overdrive into glimmering sustain, although the effect can be engaged by itself. Activating the top boost in this manner produces the best results if your amplifier is already near the point of breakup and needs that final push. Or you can use it to boost another effect on your ’board.

On the Stage

My voyage with the Galileo began with a vintage ’72 Fender Mustang plugged into a vintage Fender Tremolux powering it’s matched 2x12 cab. I started with the Catalinbread’s suggested settings—maximum gain, treble at 1 o’clock, and bass at 11 o’clock. Activating the overdrive drew the curtains open on the dark vocals of the Tremolux, peppering the output frequency with a focused treble—a trademark of Vox amplification. This stock setting was a bit harsh, especially given the twangy nature of the Mustang’s single-coils, so I kicked up the bass response a tad, and rolled off the treble. Striking a chord at this point released a dazzling array of British Invasion drive with plenty of gain that doesn’t fall into a wall-of-sound distortion.

The hotter pickups of an ’80s Gibson Sonex kicked up the output level and pushed the gain into much crunchier territory. This was the perfect situation to use the guitar’s volume pot to control the OD’s strength. Brian May is a master of this technique, and the Galileo supports this style of play very well. Clicking into the top boost gives you critical ingredients for nailing Brian’s laser-guided tone, a spike in upper-end frequencies with a dash of gritty jangle. I found keeping the top boost a little past noon to be the best fit for this setup—below noon will begin to cut your volume, and extreme clockwise positions seemed to choke some of the tone with compression.

I also tried plugging the Galileo into a ’65 Twin Reverb reissue, which ultimately lacked some of the umph that the Tremolux displayed, especially at lower amplifier volumes. The Twin still delivered a convincing take on AC30 rip—a pretty impressive feat. But it’s harder to get that AC30 grit with an amp this clean and loud. A Fender Deluxe clone was a better fit, and responded infinitely better to the top boost.

 

The Verdict

Amp-in-a-box effects can be difficult to use when your amp has entirely different characteristics. But the Galileo does a great job of delivering AC30 characteristics across a wide variety of amps, including clean Fender-style amps. The spiky/slashing treble tones and clear picking dynamics are especially impressive. If you’re a stickler for authentic AC30 sounds, this probably won’t substitute for the real thing—you’re going to have to buy an AC30. But if an AC30 isn’t in your budget or you want near AC30 tones from a changing backline, the Galileo will get you fairly good seats in the ballpark.

 

You can find the full article complete with sound clips at Premierguitar.com.  They offer a free digital copy of the magazine on their site as well!

 

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    I use the pedal with vintage AC30s, and it’s a terrific match. With a Top Boost amp, plugged into the Brilliant channel, I set the amp just on the verge of breakup, and then I use the gain side of the pedal to kick things into serious overdrive. Instant old-school U2 (Red Rocks era) is instantly on tap, as is Brian May tone with the gain cranked.

    With non-Top-Boost AC30s, I most often use the Galileo to add extra gain by engaging the Top Boost side of the pedal only—which is incredibly musical and useful. But the pedal also shines when using just the gain portion of the circuit, too. And, of course, you can always use both sides of the pedal at once.

    I don’t know how the pedal works as an “AC30 in a box”. But I do know that it’s a fantastic match with actual AC30s.

    posted on August 24, 2012 at 12:19 am
  2. Jeff says:

    Should have been: “Old-school U2 (Red Rocks era) is instantly on tap”

    Correction courtesy of the Department of Redundancy Department

    posted on August 24, 2012 at 12:27 am
  3. mike says:

    I just can’t believe they’re calling the naga viper a clone of the rangemaster.  Its based around a silicon transistor!!  Its a good sounding circuit, but definitely not a rangmaster

    posted on August 24, 2012 at 12:39 am
  4. Glauco Carvalho says:

    I want my Galilleo!!!
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  5. Dean Allen says:

    I have what you might call a “Vox in a box”. It contains two speakers and some tubes and - check this out - sound so much like a Vox AC30 you’d think it was the real thing!
    Okay, my AC30C1 may not be the same circuit, but please - I’m so sick of the “this in a box and that in a box ” concept I’m about to throw up. But fair’s fair. 5 knobs and two foot-switches, more or less hand made, more or less in America? I’d love to try one.

    posted on August 24, 2012 at 7:52 am
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    there is only one true “vox on a box” pedal and it is the “over the top boost” . A real Vox pedal, not aother mark. And this pedal didn´t take the atention of the people. Why???. only beacuse is not a boutique pedal

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    I have both pedals, Arturo. Both are quite good, but if space is an issue on a pedal board, then the Galileo definitely has the advantage. I can spend more time comparing them head to head, if you like.

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