Posted on20 July 2017 9:22 PM GMT

9 of the Best Tremolo Pedals for Your Consideration

Electric GuitarGuitar OwnershipGuitar PedalsEffects PedalsModulation EffectsTremolo+-
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I’ve long considered Tremolo to be my favourite modulation effect - who doesn’t like a good vibration? And it seems that some sort of waverform oscillation is at the root of most modulation effects - Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Rotary, Tremolo and Vibrato - all have certain similarities.

 

However, until relatively recently, the only Tremolo I had was part of my Strymon Mobius Modulation Workstation. Not that the Vintage and Pattern Trem aren’t great effects themselves, but I wanted to explore more stand-alone varieties. For a long time the Strymon Flint - Tremolo + Reverb pedal was top of my wishlist, alongside another Strymon Modulation effect - the Lex Rotary Speaker simulator.

 

Things change quite frequently though, and I was soon on the case of analogue tremolos. I had long been a fan (from afar) of Chase Bliss pedals - particularly into their smart form factor and inherent cleverness. Yet I was never sure whether they were the right sort of pedals for me - all those dip-switches etc. just looked a little fiddly and overwrought - and were the opposite of the stomp preset dynamics of something like the Strymon Mobius.

 

Yet I persevered down that particular line of enquiry and within a relatively short timeframe I have now amassed three of the Tremolo pedals pictured. After a really strong demo by my Danish namesake Stefan Fast (q.v.), I was convinced that the Stone Deaf Tremotron provided the best match for my needs, then I discovered a second-hand Chase Bliss Gravitas in near mint condition and for a great price; I rounded out te selection by picking up the diminutive Mooer Optical Tremolo Trelicopter in the same sweep.

 

Note of warning - that both the Tremotron and Gravitas were way too quiet when I first got them. I was advised by Luke at Stone Deaf about an internal gain trim-pot on the Tremotron which sorted out the volume issue for that pedal, and for the Gravitas I simply upped the power supply to 18V - problems solved! Anyhow, for a while I thought I would prefer one over the other, and I would accommodate one in my chain while the other would remain a swappable backup. Thing is - I love them both, and have so far made space for both of them - with the tiny Mooer as a backup.

 

The Tremotron is marginally easier to use, and very easy to activate a second parallel tremolo voice, while you can achieve similar effects with the Gravitas through manipulating the dip-switches. Both pedals are analogue with a digital control layer, and once the volume issues were sorted - both sound amazing. The Tremotron is better at really choppy textures, while the Gravitas has all manner of wonderful warbles and fluttery textures that are unique to it. I still harbour a desire for the Strymon Flint, and would probably like to experiment with the waverform generator on the TonePrint-enabled TCE Pipeline, but truly have plenty of Tremolo to see me through for now. Note that I still use several of the Tremolo effects on the Mobius - so I have in effect 4 different tremolo pedals at my disposal (3 active).

 

NOTE - Pedals are pictured and listed alphabetically by brand, prices are the lowest I could find online for new.

Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas - £299

This was for a long time my standout front-runner, pretty much ever since I saw the above Knobs demo. The amount of technology Joel Korte crams into his regular-sized enclosures is simply incredible. There's no question that this is an amazing pedal, and I will be hard pushed to decide between this and the Tremotron if I were to only use one dedicated Tremolo.

Electro-Harmonix Super Pulsar - £221

The amount of features onboard the Super Pulsar make it an excellent choice for tremolo enthusiasts, in terms of sheer number of features this is probably top of the pile. Pricing also is pretty fair considering what is included. However, this is the largest pedal on offer here, and for a single modulation type effect box, probably a little too large for my needs - great though for those that can accommodate it.

Empress Tremolo 2 - £249

Early on, this pedal was initially level pegging with the Gravitas - when that was my pretty much only top choice. I am a big fan of Empress pedals - and have two wonderful ones already - the EchoSystem and Multidrive, but for me they justify their size format. For a single effect pedal, the Empress seems slightly over-sized for me. Would love the functionality in a slightly smaller form-factor, or included in a full-range Empress Modulation Workstation. I still find this an incredible pedal, and it is sort of on my ongoing wishlist, but currently below the Strymon Flint and TCE Pipeline.

Hamstead Soundworks Signature - £199

Purveyors of fabulous high quality amps, Hamstead have produced a pedal which replicates the fantastic clear and pristine tremolo of their amps. Its enclosure seems to be a fairly close copy of the classic Strymon medium-sized format, but compared to Strymon, the feature set is somewhat stripped back. This is a very boutiquey tremolo with very standard functions - sine-wave and square wave shapes - it does sound amazing though if you're into more traditional / vintage tones and don't care so much for the bells and whistles.

Mooer Trelicopter - £45

Everyone should have one of these - I have a few Mooer pedals which I genuinely love, and this is another one of their greats. Not all Mooer pedals are equally good, but they do a handful of exceptional ones which are that special that they feature on many pro players' pedalboards. It does everything you might need a small tremolo to do and can veer from hard stuttery square wave to smooth sine-wave. That a small pedal should sound this good for so little outlay is just amazing. Both Dan and Mick of That Pedal Show alternate between Trelicopter and Hamstead depending on the size of their board.

Stone Deaf Tremotron - £249

This one came in from nowhere really. I had seen some fairly vanilla / lacklustre demos of this pedal, and it seemed somewhat totally overshadowed by the Gravitas and Tremolo 2 - right up until I saw the Stefan Fast 'The Pedal Zone' demo as above. Of course I need a synthy pedal too now to get some of the more extreme sounds, and I will likely spring for a DigiTech Dirty Robot to cover that. I seem to be going though a phase of dual simultaneous effect pedals, and this one totally fits the bill on that. There is some seriously clever digital manipulation of an all-anlogue signal path going on here - and the controls are both clever and properly intuitive. As mentioned several times already, the Tremotron is my equal favourite with the Gravitas.

Strymon Flint - £299

John Mayer has one of these on his boards if you need a recommendation - but then so do dozens of of others pros looking for the classic vintage trem plus reverb tones. You probably don't need to hear again that I'm a big fan of Strymon. I have several of Strymon's medium-sized pedals on my hitlist, and at one stage this was quite high on the wishlist. Since that time, first the Tremolo 2, then the Gravitas, and now the Tremotron have pushed the Flint down the list - it's gone from a must-have to a nice-to-have.

TC Electronic Pipeline - £127

The newest of the pedals on this page, and in some ways the most versatile - courtesy of the superb TonePrint functionality - where via the app, you can actually design your own waveform. Other than that is is really quite a vanilla tremolo, I personally would have preferred more TonePrint presets and more rhythm variations. It is easily the best at this pricepoint, and has some unique features - including tap-tempo through the single footswitch - you activate by depressing switch for 2 seconds, then tap away.

Wampler Latitude Deluxe - £249

Note that the video is for the V1 Dlx pedal, the newer version pedal (V2 - pictured above) has the same controls, but slightly different arrangement. This pedal somehow passed me by until recently - I am a big fan of Brian Wampler, yet somehow my focus has always been more on his drive pedals than modulations, never really noticed the Lattitude until I started this research. This is a very capable pedal with an expansive feature set - in the medium-sized Wampler enclosure. It's a good all-rounder tremolo, and sits comfortably up against the Tremolo 2 - minus the presets I guess. All the pedals on this page merit consideration and this is my own list, so there is no point really in splitting the difference beyond my overall favourites. In terms of further acquisitions, I may well spring for a Flint and a Tremolo 2 if I can find them at a good price, and I am itching to try out a Pipeline too, but not for a while yet - there are other priorities to attend to first and of course I have great tremolo options already.

Stefan
Posted by Stefan
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