Run by owner/designer Matt Johnson, Washington-based Tortuga
Effects offers an extensive product line for a one-man shop. Johnson’s
eight boxes include germanium and silicon fuzzes, Roto-vibe simulators,
delays, and phasers. His line also includes the candy-apple green Martini
Dual Analog Chorus and Vibrato—a handwired, true bypass, 2-channel
pedal built around a bucket-brigade analog chip and brimming with a
universe of deep, lush, and subtle textures that can send songs and performances
into interstellar or submarine spaces.
The Tortuga Martini’s dual channels are devoted to Chorus (Channel
1) and Chorus or Vibrato (Channel 2). The pedal has three knobs: Mix,
Single, and Double. The two channels share the Mix knob, which controls
the amount of effected signal. The Single and Double knobs control
the rate for Channel 1 and 2, respectively.
A toggle switch marked Shaken and Stirred selects either chorus
(Stirred) or vibrato (Shaken) on Channel 2. A footswitch marked How
Strong alternates between the two channels. This setup allows you to
dial in chorus on Channel 1 and vibrato or a second chorus on Channel
2, and shift between the two on the fly.
I took the Martini to band practice and plugged it in between a Fender
combo amp and a custom Strat. Moving between light chorus and
vibrato sounds gave my clean tones an organic shimmer that made my
amp sound more lush and, frankly, more expensive. And even with heavy
distortion, the Martini rang through with clarity and expansiveness.
On my own, I experimented with moving between some deeper textures
on the two channels—toying with Andy Summers-styled chorus sounds
and vibrato colors ranging from deep-sea sonics to gentle surf and spaghetti-Western throb. But the real payoff for the 2-channel setup came
during gigs, where I could dial in an understated chorus on Channel 1, set
the toggle to Stirred for my thick “Purple Rain” tone on Channel 2, then
flick the toggle up to Shaken and get a very drunken vibrato effect. The
Martini makes it possible to create dramatic tones that can really enhance
an arrangement onstage.
This is a very addictive pedal that will make an amp sound better, no
matter what style of music you play. The Martini’s space-lounge graphics
look super slick, and though it took me a few minutes to fully digest the
cocktail-themed control names, the pedal ultimately proved quite intuitive.
It has a richness that eludes many chorus and vibrato devices, and
whether you prefer it shaken or stirred, the Martini can make your simplest,
most restrained playing sound as luxurious as a Saville Row suit.
you’re seeking spacey modulation
effects ranging from subtle to deep.
you want your guitar tones to sound