Guitar Jam Daily
Home Reviews Effects Gear Review: Hartman OC44 Germanium Treble Boost
December 10, 2019
Gear Review: Hartman OC44 Germanium Treble Boost PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 December 2007 11:06
hartmantrebleboost.jpgBy Ken Volpe - Guitar Jam Daily
In the world of hand-made boutique guitar pedals there are a variety of factors that make them stand out. For instance, superior build quality and hand picked components are the primary reasons for what separates them from a mass produced pedal. Another reason of even greater importance is the "ear" of the pedal builder. In other words, the designer needs to have the instinct to utilize components to get the sound that they are looking for. Actually, it's the sound that their future customers are looking for.

This is a whole new world we are living in. Ten years ago, there were only a handful of builders that were making custom pedals; today there are hundreds. There are many reasons why the boutique market for pedals, amps, and guitars have exploded. But that is a massive topic for another day. The Internet plays a tremendous role in the success of many of these small pedal companies. Potential customers can go on-line to view, to listen and to discuss the vast varieties of pedals to their heart's content.

In my opinion, Theo Hartman has created a line of pedals that sits at the top of the heap. The OC44 Germanium Treble Boost is the most recent candidate that I have been playing. The blend control is a thing of beauty. It can be as subtle or varied as needed. I think the main thing about the OC44 that is great is the fact that is doesn't try to do more than it was meant to do.

It is important when testing new gear not to have too many variables; hence my choice in this case was to use just one guitar. The guitar I used was a Baker Robben Ford model with Seymour Duncan pick-ups. The first amp I used for testing was a Bruno Cowtipper 35 amp. FYI: The CT35 is in the Black Face Fender school. I ran the OC44 at 9 o'clock and I was able to dig in on the bridge pick-up and get a nice low gain fuzz tone. This tone really worked well when I was playing some early Clapton tunes. Next, I switched to the neck pick-up; activated the coil splitter on my guitar while backing off on my guitar's volume control and I was able to achieve a John Scofield type tone. I then turned the OC44 up to 3 o'clock and it made my Bruno amp sound like a cranked Vox. BTW, I was still able to maintain much of the dynamic qualities from my amp.

The next amp that I plugged into was my Bludotone Bludo-Drive. It is a spot on match to the infamous Dumble ODS. With the OC44 turned up it completely changed the character of this amp. Much of the smoothness that this amp is known for was replaced with an aggressive upper mid-range tone. It also made my tone seem a bit out of phase, which was very cool in that application. It gave me an extra sound with my amp that I would have never been able to achieve without the OC44.

The OC44 also contains a frequency selection toggle switch that allows the pedals boost region to be shifted down into the mid-range. This comes in handy for instruments and amplifiers that are already pretty bright.

In conclusion, I'd say that Theo Hartman has achieved what he set out to do with this pedal. You need to understand that when you say the word Germanium that it can equate to heavy coloration. Germanium transistors are obviously the prime component that helps achieve this coloration. Not only is this technology used for guitar pedals, but also it is also heavily used in pro-audio recording gear, such as Chandler Limited designs. I found that the OC44 was best utilized with just my guitar and my amp, no other pedals in the chain. If you are looking for smooth overdrive or a straight clean boost this is not the pedal for you. As I mentioned, in most cases the OC44 is about radical alteration of timbre. Although I wouldn't use this pedal on every song, it does give me a unique voice that no other pedal can deliver.

hartman boost.jpg


Daily Video Lesson

Daily Video Lesson
  • 02:41 - 01.10.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    A five week long, cross-country tour featuring some of the best known and most respected figures in rock and blues has been set to celebrate the legacy and music of Jimi Hendrix. Presented by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., the Hendrix family-owned company founded by James A. “Al” Hendrix, Jimi’s father, entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of Jimi Hendrix together with musical instrument giant Gibson Guitar, this year’s Experience Hendrix Tour represents a dramatic expansion beyond last year’s seven sold out performances.

    Featured artists who will be performing music written by and associated with Jimi Hendrix include blues giant Buddy Guy, contemporary guitar greats Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Eric Johnson, Cesar Rojas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos as well as Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford.
  • 01:53 - 26.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and Italian distributor M.Casale Bauer proudly announce the grand opening of the Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy. It is the third such international exclusive Fender guitar destination, joining the elite Fender Custom Shop Lounge (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Fender Showcase Tokyo (Japan).

    The Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy is in Bologna, Italy, and is housed in a building by California-born Italian designer Gretchen Alexander. The showroom is located near the offices of M. Casale Bauer, Fender’s Italian distributor since 1962, and was created to provide Fender dealers, their special guests and artists with a comfortable place to find, try and buy some of the most beautiful guitars in today’s market. The showcase features an impressive array of high-end guitars crafted by the master builders of the Fender Custom Shop and provides artists and dealers (and their VIP clients) with access to some of the most unique high-end Fender instruments ever made available in one place. The showroom houses an unparalleled selection of Fender Custom Shop instruments, as well as Bauer’s personal collection, one of the largest and most valuable in the world.
  • 03:41 - 23.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Los Angeles, CA – World-renowned Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will  release Center Stage, a live concert DVD on October 14th via Favored Nations Acoustic.  
    The full-length concert DVD follows the recent release of the Center Stage  double CD, both having been recorded live for the PBS television series “Sierra Center Stage.” Filmed in eye-catching high definition, every element of modern technology was used in production, creating a stunning package, both aurally
    and visually. 
  • 00:09 - 19.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Montreal, Canada- September 16th, 2008: Renowned guitarist Daryl Stuermer will be giving Godin Performance Clinics in and around Quebec and Eastern Ontario from September 29th to October 3rd 2008.

    Having performed in studio and toured the world with both Phil Collins and supergroup Genesis for years, Daryl is a player who is on top of his game and has the chops to prove it. Performing as the Daryl Stuermer Duo, he will be accompanied by keyboardist Konstantin Efimov during the clinics and will also be giving attendees his perspective on playing live, recording, technique, and his gear, by fielding a Q&A session after each performance.
  • 09:29 - 03.06.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (June 2, 2008) -- Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Groove Tubes LLC. Among other assets, FMIC purchased the Groove Tubes brand. Groove Tubes company founder Aspen Pittman will continue in a consulting role.