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Carl Martin Panama British Hot Modded OD review

Cranked amp tones in a compact, versatile format

Carl Martin Panama
(Image: © Carl Martin)

Our Verdict

Classic Brit drive that adjusts to take you from looser to tight and focused tones.


  • Damping knob tightens things up nicely.
  • Amp-like drive.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Compact.


  • No much to complain about here, but there are a lot of drive pedals out there doing similar jobs.

Carl Martin is known for some pretty decent overdrive pedals, in particular the Plexitone. The Panama’s Brit tones probably owe a lot to that pedal, as well as to the classic amp that inspired it, of course. 

You get the standard Gain, Level and Tone knobs here, but the unique feature of this pedal is the Damping knob, which is designed to tighten up the sound. 

Basically, it works on the bottom-end, and turning it from its fully counterclockwise position will start to reduce any woofiness for an altogether leaner, more aggressive sound. 

There’s a wide range of tones available here, from a clean boost through all levels of amp-like drive to high-gain with plenty of sustain. 

The Tone knob is very effective in matching the pedal’s tone to your own amp and would make a fine complementary extra channel for a clean or driven amp, depending on where you set the Gain knob.  


  • PRICE: $199/£111
  • ORIGIN: China
  • TYPE: Drive pedal
  • FEATURES: Buffered bypass
  • CONTROLS: Gain, Level, Damping, Tone, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied), 100mA 
  • DIMENSIONS: 60 (w) x 115 (d) x 50mm (h) 
  • CONTACT: Carl Martin

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.