Carl Martin Surf Trem 2018 review

An update for the well-regarded amp-style tremolo

  • £75
  • €74

MusicRadar Verdict

No bells and whistles - simply vintage amp-style tremolo elegantly presented.


  • +

    Authentic Fender-style bias tremolo tones.

  • +

    Good speed range.


  • -

    Amp-style tremolo only: there's no wave variation here.

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

Designed to deliver the sort of tremolo sounds you’d find on 50s and 60s amps, the Surf Trem has the simplest of control options, providing just Speed and Depth knobs. 

However, the new design offers plenty of improvement over its chunky but cool-looking predecessor. Its sleek, slimline shape presents a more workable footprint on the pedalboard with all connections at the top end, making it easy to site similar pedals right next to each other. It does, though, lose the second blinking LED, which showed you the tremolo speed at a glance. 

The circuitry (taken from the TremO’vibe tremolo and vibrato pedal) offers a warm and rounded tremolo reminiscent of Fender-style bias tremolo with plenty of variation running from a deep slow throb to fast and fluttery. And you won’t miss a volume knob, as there’s no perceptible loss of level when the pedal is kicked in. 

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.