Myriad subtleties lurk within this lovely-sounding pedal named after Neil Young’s filmmaking alter ego.
Named after the “Bernard Shakey” pseudonym Neil Young takes when directing films, and built in Medellín, Colombia, Lovell’s 4-knob trem features rate and depth dials, a knob to morph between triangle- or square-wave modulation, and a mini pot that blends between positive and negative sawtooth waves. Designer Tim Lovell says that, to address the volume loss often perceived in trem circuits, Shakey “progressively DC offsets the LFO [low-frequency oscillation] when manipulating the depth control” to ensure your signal never feels diminished or lost.
Although it’s not as much of a problem as it used to be, too many trem stomps still neglect tantalizing tortoise-slow rates in favor of strobe-fast speeds. Shakey deserves kudos for offering both. The wave-morph knob lets you go from a tranquil, amp-like feel to abrupt and stutter-y at extremes. Meanwhile the sawtooth-tweaking control goes from more traditional, immediate-attack-and-decay response (at minimum) to a ramp-up swell that yields almost reverse-playback like effects at maximum. Though subtle, the latter can add unusual and trippy vibes to spacious mixes.
Test gear: Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster with Curtis Novak Tel-V and JM-V pickups, Squier/Warmoth “Jazzblaster” with Curtis Novak Jazzmaster Widerange pickups, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21, ’76 Fender Vibro Champ, Catalinbread Topanga, J. Rockett Audio Archer, MXR Reverb.
Squier/Warmoth “Jazzblaster” into a Catalinbread Topanga, a J. Rockett Audio Archer (set to clean boost), an MXR Reverb, and then the Shakey, routed to a Jaguar HC50 miked with a Royer R-121 and a Goodsell Valpreaux 21 miked with a Shure SM57, both feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Middle pickup position. Shakey speed at minimum, waveform at minimum (100 percent sawtooth), mini pot at minimum (100 percent positive), depth at max.
Clip 2: Neck pickup position. Shakey speed at minimum, waveform at minimum (100 percent sawtooth), mini pot at maximum (100 percent negative), depth at max.
Clip 3: Neck pickup position. Shakey speed at maximum, waveform at maximum (100 percent square), mini pot at noon, depth at max.