Caroline Guitar Co mastermind Phillippe Herdon told me that the Haymaker is the “Scottie Pippin” of overdrive pedals. His thinking is that every player has their personal “Michael Jordan” gain pedal already, whether it’s a Tube Screamer, Timmy, Klone, or Blues Breaker. The idea of the Haymaker is to be the 2nd pedal to whatever your main pedal is.
Sound: I found that the Haymaker could easily be my only overdrive. I enjoyed things about each mode. I particularly enjoyed Mode A. I found it gave the right amount of gain, without being overpowering. Also, many low gain overdrives have a tendency to emphasize the shrill highs of my Fender amp and the single coil pickups in my Tele and Jazzmaster whereas I found that by controlling the shape and tone contour controls I got a much fuller sound than I was used to in a soft clipping OD.
Features: The Haymaker is an Op-amp overdrive. What makes it special is the mode switch, which moves the spot in the circuit where the clipping happens. Mode A is a soft clipping sound in the vein of a Boss OD-1, from which every soft clipping Overdrive from the Tube Screamer to the Timmy to everything else has come from. Mode B takes the OP-amps totally out of the process and all the clipping happens as the chip, which is similar to how some people like to mod the DS-1 or Timmy. This mode is admittedly amp dependent but I found it to work well both with the 6l6’s in a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and the EL84’s in a Peavey Classic 50. Mode C is hard clipping in the way that a ProCo Rat, OCD, or Caroline’s own Wave Cannon is.
So whatever style of overdrive you use, you can pair it with the Haymaker to compliment or contrast it. I found that the Haymaker stacked well with other overdrives, fuzzes as well as delays and reverb.
How would I use it in church: I left the Haymaker on for the who service last Sunday. It was great for my base tone and really added something when I added in other drives and effects. But I also found the higher gain/harder clipping settings to be good for solos and extra depth in my tone when needed.
The Haymaker is highly recommended.