“The most versatile modern distortion pedal available today”: Fortin debuts its first dedicated distortion pedal, the Natas – and it’s based on a “blisteringly high gain” tube amp

Fortin Natas Distortion
(Image credit: Fortin)

Canadian guitar amp specialist Fortin has expanded its effects pedal lineup with the Natas – the company’s first dedicated distortion pedal, which recreates the high gain tones of a discontinued gem from the Fortin archives.

Specifically, the Natas stompbox is based on a 2010-dated tube amp of the same name, and promises to bring back to life the full scope of that unit’s sonic capabilities. That’s no tall order, mind, considering the original amp sought to assume “many tonal forms”.

According to Fortin, though, the Natas is a “staggering piece of precision audio engineering” that not only meets this objective, but exceeds all expectations to become “the most versatile modern distortion pedal available today”.

A bold claim indeed, especially when the competition is considered, so how does the Natas Distortion aim to make good on such promises?

Well, it probably helps to revisit the original Natas, which at the time was labeled in a press release as a “blisteringly high gain” amp that was designed for “extreme metal musicians”.

With that in mind, the Natas set its sights on channeling “mid-’80s modified English crunch, ultra-tight late-’80s thrash, aggressive down-tuned ‘60s death metal, and tones from the most over the top technical excursions of the 21st century”. In other words, a very heavy blend of tones.

Despite the pedal’s humble size, the Natas Distortion is said to be able to harness a similarly diverse selection of tones by way of its three-band EQ, master Volume and Gain parameters, and Mid Shift toggle switch for a mid-scoop or hump.

There are also smaller control knobs for Girth and Grind for more in-depth frequency manipulation, with a Kill footswitch – positioned next to the bypass footswitch – serving to supply an additional gain boost.

Admittedly, it’s a remarkably streamlined control set for a pedal that claims to be able to harness a decade-spanning assortment of distortion tones. On the flipside, when such tones are the topic of conversation, Fortin is one of the biggest names in the game.

It has, after all, helped sculpt the tones of many a metal hero, including Kirk Hammett, Scott Ian, Ola Englund, Janick Gers and Meshuggah’s Fredrik Thordendal, as well as Slipknot, Whitechapel and Architects.

Given such credentials, Fortin may be best positioned to craft a distortion pedal capable of such a broad tonal palette. Indeed, the demos would suggest that is the case, but “the most versatile modern distortion available today”? That’s up for debate.

The Natas Distortion is available now for $299.

Head over to Fortin to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.