The Character series of pedals from Tech 21 is fresh on the market, and has some interesting offering. Apparently the VT Bass cops killer Ampeg tones. I wanted to say the same for the California... it's almost there. The California hopes to emulate Mesa tones, from the Marks up to the Dual Recs – it comes pretty close. The California cleans up very well, and it manages to maintain your guitar/amp tone reasonably well (pretty impressive considering it has "speaker modeling" circuitry). Big points here. The controls are super responsive and the EQ points are centered on the right frequencies. I felt that the California way out performed the GT-2 when trying to cop hi-gain Mesa-like tones and even did the "Mesa-thing" better than some Mesa products! The distortion was reasonably smooth and not too synthetic sounding. Even at high drive settings, there were no "bees in a can" to be found. All in all, very well done. So why did I return it? I'm looking for a pedal to cop heavier modern rock/metal tones and while the flavour could easily be dialed in and the right amount of gain was on tap, the low-end was way too problematic; it lacked tightness and at higher gain settings just went "splat." It warbled and oscillated in a way that said, "Stop hurting me!" For reference I was a/b'ing the California with the Metal Muff. Though somewhat scooped, the Metal Muff is a shining example of a pedal that can produce hi-gain tones that remain tight, especially in the low-end. In contrast, the low-end on the California was very, very strained and loose. For some, this might not be an issue, but for my distortion needs, this made the California unusable; sad considering it did everything else so well. Despite my experience, I would still recommend that you give it a try. In your rig with your playing style it might excel. More than a few people are bound to enjoy it, especially if they like the GT-2. Addendum: it appears the California is heavily inspired by the Mesa MK3, and emulates its low-end. What I've observed is not a design flaw, but reveals the California is actually doing what it was designed for. I'll re-iterate: assuming you don't need to play metal or huge "tight" low end, the California is definitely worth a shot. Highly recommended.