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Tremolo pedals can give your guitar playing a cool panning type of effect by alternating the volume levels between soft and loud over and over again.

If this is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place!

To help you find the best tremolo pedal for you, we asked 5 guitarists to make their recommendations and tell us what makes them awesome.

Before we dig into the recommended tremolo pedals, let's go over a few things.

What does a tremolo pedal do?

Tremolo pedals modulate your guitar's sound - consistently altering the volume between loud and soft. This effect can be very subtle to where it's noticed on almost a subconscious level, or very noticeable to where the volume levels produce almost a stuttering effect depending on your settings.

What's the difference between tremolo and vibrato?

The name "tremolo" can be confusing to a lot of guitarists, and there's a somewhat common misunderstanding on the differences between tremolo and vibrato.

Many guitarists confuse these pedals with a pedal version of the tremolo bar you'd put on a guitar, but while a tremolo bar (also known as a whammy bar) changes the pitch of your guitar by putting extra strain on your strings. Relaxing your strings past their normal level of tension will lower the pitch. When these pitches change to form a wobbling-like sound, this is known as vibrato.

A tremolo pedal, however, affect your tone by altering the volume levels - not the pitch.

What makes a good tremolo pedal?

In its most basic sense, tremolo is just an automated way of adjusting the volume of your guitar from 0 to 10.

While this is a simple concept, there are a few things that make for a good tremolo pedal.

Quality, durability, and size

If you're going to spend $100+ on a pedal, you want to make sure it's something that can take a beating - especially since you're going to be smashing them with your foot.

Make sure the pedal you buy is durable enough to take a stomp by your foot. Additionally, make sure it's the right size for your pedal board so you can fit it into your pedal setup.

Level adjustment

One thing to look out for in the levels is a volume drop. Some tremolo pedals produce a drop in volume levels when they're in use. Most tremolo pedals have this issue, but you can fix it by adjusting the volume levels on your pedal directly.

Tap tempo

When activating your tremolo effects pedal, it's a good idea to have the effect stay in time with the rest of the band. A tap tempo feature lets you accomplish this by tapping a couple beats with your hand or foot to set the bpm easily.

Number of waveforms

The basic function of tremolo pedals is based on following a wave form. If your needs are basic, you don't need to pay too much attention to this, but for more complex tremolo effects, you may need to seek out a more full-featured pedal.

How much should you spend on a tremolo pedal?

Everyone hates this answer, but when figuring out what you should budget for a tremolo pedal, it depends.

If you're looking for the most basic feature set, you can get a somewhat high quality tremolo pedal for around $100, but for more advanced feature sets and higher quality pedals, expect to spend up to $350.

Top 5 Tremolo Pedals - According to Guitarists


KVN MCDermott from Cave of Swords

Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook


What's the best tremolo pedal?

Zvex Super Seek Trem

Features
  • MIDI sync.
  • Tap tempo control and tap tempo sync capabilities.
  • Expression pedal control of speed or glissando.
  • individual step glissando.
  • 8 user programmable memory locations.
  • delta speed control.

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

The amount of control you get with this pedal is awesome. It sounds cool and has midi tempo control which comes in crazy handy when using it in the studio. The memory slots are great for setting up a few different styles that you can use at whatever tempo yr shooting into it. Basically a good time.


Stephen Perry from City Sounds Rhythm

Facebook | iTunes


What's the best tremolo pedal?

Black Cat Mini Trem

Features
  • Metal film resistors and audio grade capacitors.
  • True bypass.
  • Uses 2.1mm Boss style power jack, or internal 9V battery.
  • LED flashes in time to tremolo rate
  • Two footswitches – one for On/Off and one for Speed.

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

The size is perfect. Dual function pedal for clean boost/trem has the classic 70's tone for crazy tremolo sounds. If you are going for an abstract ambient sound like me, this pedal has a wide spectrum of tone.


Seth Michael Keil from Powder River

Bandcamp


What's the best tremolo pedal?

Electro-Harmonix Super Pulsar Stereo Tap Tremolo

  • Analog Tremolo with Stereo in/out, mono in/stereo out, stereo in/mono out and mono in/mono out.
  • Adjustable waveforms include sine wave, triangle and pulse waves, and 9 different rhythmic patterns that can be changed and saved by the user.
  • The waveform phase for the right channel may be adjusted from 0 degrees to 360 degrees in relation to the left channel.
  • Modulation Rate and Depth can interact with your playing by adding envelope follower modulation to each parameter.
  • Expression pedal or CV control over Rate, Depth, Shape, Phase or Volume.
  • Volume Boost of up to 12dB when DEPTH control is set to minimum position.
  • Save and recall up to 8 presets.
  • MODE FSW allows user to scroll through TAP DIVIDE modes, EXP MODES or 8 Presets.
  • True Bypass.

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

This pedal can seriously do anything. Tremolo in stereo is one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. This beast has preset slots to save your favorite sounds. You can sculpt and shape your tremolo wave form or make rhythmic patterns. You can also control nearly all the parameters of the pedal with an Express pedal for some extra fun.


Chan Maurice Evans from YOUPEOPL

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube


What's the best tremolo pedal?

Boss TR2

Features

This pedal has dedicated "Wave," "Rate" and "Depth" knobs.

  • "Rate" control allows for speed adjustment.
  • "Wave" control alters LFO waveform from triangle to square.
  • "Depth" control sets the strength of the effect.

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

Durability and range. The Boss TR2 has anywhere from a mild "bubble" to a violent shake. The three control knobs are easy to manage with you fingers or, in a pinch, your toe - if you can't get away from the riffs.


Brice Winschel from Coffin Fit

Facebook


What's the best tremolo pedal?

Tune Melt

Features
  • Hard/soft switch for '50s-style amp tremolo sounds.
  • Speed and depth controls.

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

It's dirt cheap. It does the job. I'm not fancy. Only downside is I get hungry every time I mention it.



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