Price paid: $ 150
Sound — 9
Standard tremolo is not to be confused with vibrato. Tremolo is volume modulation whereas vibrato is pitch modulation. Several classic Fender and Vox amps featured built in tremolo and can be heard all over surf and rockabilly music in the 50s and 60s. The Cali Quake is fully capable of recreating that fast and shallow classic trem, but is not limited to that in any way. The wave form Switch gives this pedal impressive versatility. The triangle wave form was my favorite bonus on this pedal. By turning the speed down and the depth up I was in Hendrix wonderland. Combined with some delay or reverb you can comp reverse-tracked guitar leads with Vintage authenticity. At more subtle settings it can create an anxious feeling great for experimental guitarists. The square wave form is a hard-cutting tremolo where the volume modulation is rigid. With the depth knob turned up the signal actually cuts in and out at whatever speed you have dialed in. This effect can be difficult to use in a Live setting if you like having your tremolo on tempo with the song. The flashing LED on the pedal can really help you with this. Without even playing you can see the modulation speed and match it up visually.
Overall Impression — 9
The SPF Cali Quake Tremolo is a straightforward classic pedal with some added features making it highly versatile and capable. I've been in love with my T-Rex tremolo for a long time and this one is equally as great if not better. The value is great, the tone is great, and it covers classic and experimental sounds. This pedal was a random find for me at a really cool music store in Eugene, Oregon called McKenzie River Music. Be sure to check it out!
Reliability & Durability — 9
The SPF Cali Quake is a very good bang for your buck. With a street price of 149 USD this pedal is a steal with it's exceptional build quality, tone, and compact nature. If you're in the market for a tremolo you owe it to yourself to check this pedal out!
Ease of Use — 9
The SPF (Smart People Factory) Cali Quake Tremolo is a simple analog tremolo with three wave form options and your standard depth and speed controls. The first wave form is your classic round wave reminiscent of an old Fender amp. The second wave is a triangle form that can be used for swelling and reverse effects, and the third wave form is a standard square wave for hard-cutting trem. The flashing LED indicates the speed of the trem so you can dial it in to the correct tempo. The compact design is friendly to crowded pedal boards as well. The Cali Quake is a very simple, yet highly versatile tremolo. Your first wave form is easy to keep musical and unobtrusive to your playing. As you delve into the triangle and square wave things get a little trickier to lock in, but with some time spent with this pedal most guitarist will find it simple and useful.