Top Tremolo Pedals – Guide & Comparison
If you are looking for the best tremolo pedal, this article will help you find it in the fastest way possible, because we know you don’t have the time to go through all the tremolo pedal reviews that you can find on the internet. We did our job to thoroughly research the market and after careful analysis, we found out that the BOSS AUDIO TR2 pedal is the one that you should look for. Everything about it is based on simplicity, from the design to the circuitry and that will ensure it will work for a long time. Beginners will love it as it’s easy to set up and use; the controls are intuitive and easy to understand. It will sound good no matter how you change the settings. If you can’t find our first recommended pedal for sale, you should try and get the Fulltone Supa-Trem ST-1, which is a great choice too.
Our Top Choice
The quality of the build is clear in this tremolo pedal. It has a simple design, reminiscent of old stompboxes and the circuitry is simple as well. The effect is a classic tremolo one, with no unnecessary sounds into it. It’s a great tremolo pedal for beginners because the controls are easy to use too. No matter how you change the settings, it still sounds good.
It’s a bit of a pain to be used in live performances as you need to bend down and adjust it.
Offering the tremolo effect in a compact and efficient form, this pedal is reliable and sounds great.
It’s a well-made tremolo pedal and that is why it doesn’t have the annoying ticking sound that some other models have. You have some simple controls and the Speed and Mix knobs are large enough to be adjusted with your foot. Also, there is a Volume knob that adds up to 14dB to the sound. The LED shows you if the pedal is active or not.
This pedal is bigger than other models and you will find it hard to fit it on your pedalboard.
Easy to use, even when standing up, this tremolo pedal provides a great sounding effect.
This pedal offers you the Tremolo effect needed but it also comes with a Fuzz effect. You can combine the two effects together or use them separately. By using a joystick you can easily adjust the settings for each one of the effects. You can also start the two of them separately. The LED will let you sync the pedal’s timing with the one that you want.
The fuzz effect is better than the tremolo. The tremolo is subtle and lacking in volume.
If you want to have a decent tremolo effect and a great fuzz one in the same device, this pedal is for you.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
We know that the sound of a tremolo pedal can be something subjective to judge; however, after carefully considering what the experts had to say about the most popular models, we managed to find some tremolo pedals that can offer a lot. Here they are.
BOSS AUDIO TR2
In terms of looks, the brand went with a classic one, and the design of this BOSS tremolo pedal suggests that it’s hard to break. It’s a device that looks similar to most BOSS products and the quality of its build is high as usual, meaning that you can stomp on it as much as you want. If you’re looking for a simple yet efficient pedal, this is the one.
When it comes to sound, the manufacturers wanted to provide something simple, without complications like bells or whistle sounds.
In terms of controls, things are simple too – you have a Rate knob which impacts the speed of the effect and a Depth knob that dictates how much the volume dips when the effect is activated.
For such a simple design, there is a lot of range and a great tone quality in this little stompbox. It’s as vintage as it can get.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($94.33)
Fulltone Supa-Trem ST-1
This mini tremolo pedal is one of those that are simple to use and provide the necessary effects in a compact form. The effect is the result of an amplifier tremolo that uses an internal photocell to create a distinct sound. Comparing to other models, it doesn’t have the annoying clicking sound that sometimes appears in the effect.
The controls are simple, and they are present in two large knobs. The first of them is the Speed one which controls the speed of the effect and then there is the Mix knob which takes charge of how much of the tremolo gets into the final result.
You can also boost the sound volume with up to 14dB using the Volume knob and there is also a Hard/Soft switch to change the attack of the tremolo. There is a LED that lets you know if the tremolo pedal is active or not and it also shows the rate.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($159.2)
Walrus Audio Janus
While most pedals serve a single purpose, this one is a great combination between Tremolo and Fuzz, providing you with the ability to achieve both effects. You can even combine the two to get a unique sound. To do that, you have a pair of joysticks, each controlling one of the two effects.
You thus have a lot of possibilities for experimentation on and off stage. You can adjust the Speed and Depth of the Tremolo using the corresponding knobs. On the Fuzz side, you have a Tone knob and a Depth one. What’s interesting is that the effects are independently switchable, so you can start each of them at separate times when you need them.
Use the LED positioned on the far left to sync the tremolo’s timing with the one that you want. You can dial it how you wish with the help of the corresponding joystick.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($289)
Coming with a classic look, this new model from Supro offers the sound of a classic Fender harmonic tremolo from the ‘60s. There aren’t many features built into this pedal, but the quality of the sound is the one thing that the manufacturers focused on. It also uses Amplitude tremolo circuitry that is made to replicate the original sound of the Supro amps.
Because of this circuitry, you get two different sounds – one that resembles a ‘60s style harmonic tremolo and another one that is similar to the Supro amps tone. You can change between these two types of tremolos using the switch on the pedal.
Both of these tremolos are controlled using standard knobs for Speed, Depth, and Gain. You can also add an external expression pedal to have even more control over the Speed. The quality circuitry and durable case make this a good choice for years to come.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($229)
JHS Honey Comb
To make things interesting, this pedal offers something unique – two tremolo effects in one device. Although it may look like a complicated thing to do, playing with this pedal is simple, due to the two LEDs that indicate the speed of each of the tremolos.
In terms of controls, you get a Volume knob and a Depth and both knobs control both tremolos. However, there are two separate Speed knobs, each corresponding to one of the effects. You can only have one effect active at a time and to be sure which one is engaged, the LED on the right shows you the color of the active one.
You can thus set each tremolo to a completely different speed and activate and deactivate them as you wish, making your music more interesting. The tone of the effects is a vintage, analog one and the sound is reminiscent of early Fender and Vox tremolo circuits.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
While some tremolo pedals strive to offer as many features as possible, this one does a great job at keeping the tremolo effect in the most compact shape possible. It also does that while being a true bypass pedal. This device is excellent at introducing a bit of effect at just the right moment in the song.
It doesn’t require you to pay too much attention to it or its settings. But if you want to change anything you have the Depth knob, the Speed and the Bias one.
All things considered, it’s clear that you can only really adjust the Speed from the fly, the rest you should adjust in your spare time. The Bias knob introduces a certain colorful tonality to the sound wave.
Measuring only 3.5 inches in length and 1.4 in width, this little stompbox will occupy so little space on your pedalboard that you won’t have to worry about it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109)
Diamond Pedals Tremolo
This pedal from Diamond has an awesome design and a distinctive look. It has a wider body and it looks like it was made by a passionate amateur maker, but it’s a highly professional device. The dark green color suggests that it’s a rugged piece of equipment.
When discussing circuitry, we should say that it uses a classic analog signal path combined with a micro-controller that is used to modify the effect. In essence, it brings innovation to an old guitar effect like tremolo. There aren’t many settings on this pedal but playing with them you will see that they can offer a lot of control over the effect.
You have the classic Speed, Depth and Volume knobs, but there is also the Mode knob that gives you the possibility to choose the timing accent.
It’s a pedal that gives enthusiasts that old school tremolo effect that they are looking for while spicing things up with modern technology.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($224.1)
EarthQuaker Devices Night Wire V2
Focused more on the actual tremolo effect than other pedals, this device is a harmonic tremolo and that means that when producing the effect, the output signal is split into high and low pass filters. The result is a tremolo with more depth and a fuller tone. In the past, if you wanted to use this effect, the amp that you were using needed to have three tubes just for this.
Providing the tremolo in such a manner makes it a complicated pedal. The device allows you to use several modes, each of which capable of providing a certain tone that you are looking for. There is a Rate switch that can be used to select between Manual and Attack modes.
In Manual mode, you can set the tremolo rate as you wish, while in Attack you can control the sensibility of the speed change. There are two more knobs, one for Level and one for Depth.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($202)
Voodoo Lab Tremolo
In terms of design, Voodoo Lab didn’t make things too complicated for themselves, choosing the classic wide body that most producers use for tremolo pedals. This model is also made of durable materials and that gives the player confidence and offers the needed sense of sturdiness when stomping on it.
The detailed graphics pattern gives the pedal a nice appearance, while the isolated footswitch has a nice feeling and is placed effectively.
When listening to it, this tremolo pedal has a vintage sound to it and the available controls give you enough room for experimenting and changing the sound.
You can get the old school sound and the modern chopper tremolo too, and you will be able to oscillate between those using the Slope knob. Use the Intensity knob to change the depth of the effect. You also get the standard Speed knob and the Volume one.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($149.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
Because tremolo can transform a plain tone into a beautiful, colorful one, finding a good tremolo guitar pedal is important for any player. You should have the possibility to use tremolo as an effect in an entire song or you could play it only in certain parts of the song to add a certain unique feeling to those particular parts. Nevertheless, here are some things that we consider important in a tremolo pedal.
When engaging the tremolo effect, one main problem that comes with it is that the general volume of your guitar appears to drop a bit. Even though that is just an auditory illusion, it will still give the listener the impression that you don’t have enough volume anymore. This problem appears because of the constant “sweeping” of your signal, lowering or raising it.
The peak of the tremolo effect, in terms of volume, is only the same as the guitar’s initial output. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but the majority of the time the effect is under this peak, thus giving the impression of a lower volume. A good tremolo pedal offers a volume control knob that allows you to change the output signal on the fly.
There is also the possibility that your tremolo pedal deals with this problem using interior circuitry. This is the better option, as you won’t have to manually adjust the volume every time you engage the tremolo pedal.
As we already mentioned, a tremolo sweeps between a low and a high signal output and in doing that it follows a certain pattern which is observed as a waveform. There are mainly three different waveform types that a tremolo pedal can follow. The first of them is the square one.
This might be the most extreme of the waveforms, as it offers the possibility of achieving a totally on-off pattern. What this means is that the volume output of such an effect would vary from the highest to the lowest in a split second.
Another type of waveform is the peak or triangle one. Typically found in larger amplifiers too, this kind of effect has a waveform that rises and goes low in a linear and precise fashion. Even when played slowly, there are peaks and valleys that can be heard with ease throughout the signal.
Then there is the sine waveform. In classic tremolo pedals, unlike the peak waveform, this one resulted from the modulation of a power tube or transistor, in a similar fashion to the overdrive effect. This leads to a smooth but not-so-precise modulation that gradually adds or decreases power. It’s the smoothest of the waveforms and it’s sometimes asymmetrical.
It is thus important that your tremolo pedal offers you the possibility to choose between these waveforms as you wish because each of them can have its own applications in a piece of music. Cheap tremolo pedals will most often only offer the sine waveform and won’t mention anything about the others.
Having the possibility to choose the waveform is always nice, along with having the control over the speed or volume of the effect. But certain tremolo pedals offer more than that, and higher quality models give the possibility for more customization. You can always do well with a basic configuration, but having the possibility to alter the sound as you wish is always good.
Some models offer the possibility to play with the depth, the decay and the intensity of the effect and if you want more control, they are worth the investment. You can get even more features in a reverb tremolo pedal. However, some players don’t like all that complicated stuff or they simply want to stick to an analog device.
Because tremolo pedals that offer many effects are not analog, as they use digital circuitry, they may prevent an analog guitar player from using them. So it’s really a matter of preference, as there are advantages to both styles. On one side you get more control, but on the other end of the spectrum, a classical and more natural sound.
Mono vs Stereo
When listening to the tremolo effect, it’s clear that a stereo output is a superior one, offering a special feeling. Tremolo pedals that are capable of putting out a stereo sound come with two different sets of outputs, each leading to a different amp. This also offers the possibility to adjust the phase of the sound, and that leads to an awesome end result.
However, the use of a stereo tremolo pedal represents a bit of a hazard, as you will need all your other pedals to be stereo too. If you don’t have the proper setup you won’t be able to use such a pedal.
Frequently asked questions about tremolo pedals
How to use a tremolo pedal?
Although it’s a simple effect, a good tremolo is hard to achieve because it requires a lot of fine adjustments. There are two main controls that make a tremolo sound good or bad and those are Speed and Depth. Depth affects how high or how low the sound volume oscillates, thus how far the peaks of a waveform are from each other.
Speed influences the frequency of those fluctuations and the most important thing here is to match that frequency to the tempo of the song. If you get this wrong it will sound like you are playing off-tempo or worse, even make you play off-tempo.
What does a tremolo pedal do?
Tremolo is a modulation effect that creates rhythm by varying the amplitude of the signal or the sound volume. Tremolo pedals do that in various ways, depending if they are analog or digital, but the more important aspect is that they help create a percussive stuttering effect that can be gentle or intense, depending on preference.
Nowadays tremolo is mostly found in small digital stompboxes and the effect is rarely built into amps anymore. It’s important not to confuse tremolo with vibrato. Although the effect seems similar, a vibrato varies the sound frequency and not the volume to achieve the effect.
How to make a tremolo pedal?
There are many professional guides that show you how to make your own tremolo pedal. It’s important to note that each of these guides assumes you already know how to work with electronics. You will thus need many pieces of electronic equipment, including LEDs, transistors, resistors and of course integrated circuits. The total for all these shouldn’t go over 20 dollars.
After you have the electronics, follow the schematic provided by a professional guide. Make sure to test the circuit before using it. Solder all the pieces together and you get your own amateur tremolo stompbox.
Are tremolo pedals usually noisy?
Due to how they are made and how they work, tremolo pedals can be a bit noisy, or they can add a certain humming to the sound. Most of the time that is caused by electromagnetic interferences that occur when the pedal’s housing is not well made. The better tremolo pedals do well with keeping that noise as low as possible.
Some pedals have a “thumping” sound to them and that is because of the oscillator not working well. If that is the case, you should try to isolate it as well as you can, in the hopes of reducing the noise.
Do I need a tremolo pedal?
Many guitars come with something known as a tremolo bar that, when used, produces a similar effect to the tremolo. However, that effect is known as vibrato, as it affects the pitch of the sound and not the volume. Tremolo as an effect is incorporated into many amps, especially in older models.
Nowadays the tremolo effect is required in many songs and many guitar players like using this effect. Tremolo is one of the less complicated effects out there, but achieving a good tremolo requires finesse and skill. That is why a pedal that helps you in getting this effect is needed.