Carl Martin Surf Tremolo Pedal Review

Carl Martin Surf Tremolo Pedal Review


The Carl Martin Surf Tremolo Pedal was inspired by classic amp tremolos of the 50s and 60s. I have one of the first version which has an usual shaped case. Sadly, the current version is a little more plain with a standard rectangular enclosure. However, the circuit is the same, which is the important thing.




The idea for the Surf Tremolo was to recreate classic tremolo sound of the 50s and 60s often found in tube amps. Carl Martin wanted the pedal to sound authentic, so they build an amp with the tremolo circuit in it. Then, they tried to model the pedal’s input so that it behaved like the input of an old tube amp, thus faithfully recreating the sound.



Build Quality: 8/10

Carl Martin are well known for their excellence build quality and even though this pedal is one of their cheapest, the build is just as high as their other pedals.


The sea foam green case is attractive and hard wearing. The input and output jacks are on the top which some guitarist prefer as is the power in.


The battery compartment is, sadly, well hidden. You have to remove the base plate to gain access, which isn’t user friendly at all.



Controls and Features: 7/10

The pedal has two controls. Speed and Depth. Speed controls how slow or fast the tremolo is and the depth controls how much effect is blended in to the sound.


While the pedal does not have true bypass, the footswitch is easy to use without knocking any settings and LED is very bright.



Tones and Sounds: 7/10

The pedal has a really musical sound and offers a range of subtle tremolo sounds. While it doesn’t do over the top hard wave choppy trem sound, every setting is pleasing and the rate control has a wide range.
My favourite thing to do with tremolo pedals is to start with all controls at 12. This setting produces a middle of the road kinda tone which usable for most situations. I’d then tweak the rate control to match the song’s vibe.



Overall: Carl Martin Surf Tremolo Pedal

Rating: 8/10

If you’re looking for an aggressive hard wave tremolo sound, then frankly this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a vintage and more subtle tremolo sounds then you should consider the Carl Martin Surf Tremolo Pedal.

Purchase this pedal


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