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For a bit of wobble in your wah or on its own, a tremolo pedal is certainly a great addition to any pedalboard. For the most intense waves and adjustable speeds and stutter, you need to make sure you are buying a quality product. Not all brands can give you what you need so it is important to stick with the tried and tested options.
This can be hard if you haven’t done ample research which is why we have done the hard work for you. After scouring the market we have compiled a list of the best tremolo pedals available. Each one has something different to offer but one thing they all have in common is that they are known for their great sound, whether vintage or modern.
Table of Contents
BOSS TR-2 Tremolo Guitar Pedal
It’s hard to look past a BOSS which means it will not be surprising to many to see that they are behind the best tremolo pedal. Not only is it the easiest to use on our list but you can get a lot out of the simple controls. With wave and rate control you can tweak the awesome wobble sounds then use the depth knob to give your sound body.
With wave control, you can tailor the LFO waveform and choose from a square sound or triangle depending on which way you turn the dial. It comes with a five-year warranty but BOSS has a reputation for making some of the most durable pedals available. There are no ‘out there’ controls which should suit most players and what it lacks in frills, it makes up in practical options. For a classic pedal that won’t break the bank or take up a lot of room on your pedalboard, this is our top pick.
- Easy to use
- Wave, rate, and depth controls
- 5-year warranty
- Compact design
Fender Tre-Verb Tremolo/Reverb Pedal
Anyone who has less room on their pedalboard can combine two sounds in one with the tremolo and reverb pedal from Fender. The voicings are based on the vintage sounds of 63-65′ making it a modern classic and both the independent sounds are easy to adjust.
The tone-shaping controls ensuring you get warm waves from your tremolo and tap tempo means you can set the effect to stay in time with the band. It has a sturdy outer to ensure it is up to the task of following you on tour and stereo outputs making it able to connect to any amp or pedalboard. With three tremolo sounds to choose from you can switch between bias, optical, and harmonic and adjust the likes of level control.
- Classic sounds
- Tone shaping controls
- Three tremolo voices
- Tremolo and Reverb pedal
- Can be a bit pricey for some budgets
BEHRINGER Guitar Pedal
The classic design complements the 60’s vintage amp sounds of this impressive tremolo pedal. The mind-bending sounds still maintain their warmth and there are easy adjustments thanks to the knobs for depth, rate, and wave. They make shaping your sound fun yet simple and for that rockabilly sound, this is one of the best.
It allows you to get those waves overlapping as you put its paces as the springy reverb sounds ring out at an affordable price. With a reasonable footprint, it isn’t hard to find room for it on your pedalboard and anyone on a budget will be glad they did. It might not have all the features and customization as some of the other brands but for those learning their trade, it is a useful, if not basic, tremolo pedal.
- Affordable price
- Warm tremolo sounds
- Adjustable depth, rate, and wave
- Decent battery life
- Plastic outer makes it less durable
Source Audio SA243 Vertigo Tremolo Effect Pedal
Best For Downloadable Sounds
The ability to download additional sounds makes this one of the most versatile tremolo pedals on our list but it already has a lot to offer on its own. There are already three different styles of tremolo included so you can switch between Opto tremolo, bias tremolo, and harmonic tremolo. The Neuro Mobile App is where you can download hybrid modulation effects to open up new possibilities of unique tremolo sounds and tweak depth, speed, level, and shape.
It has space to store up to 128 preset sounds and allows you to play with those authentic tremolo waves but turn them into the most intense variations if the vintage types are not to your taste. One of the most fun pedals to play around with and there are tonnes of features.
- Downloadable presets
- 3 tremolo styles included
- Knobs for depth, level, speed, and shape
- Can be a bit tricky to get used to
TC Electronic Pipeline Tremolo Tremolo Effects Pedal
The vintage and square tremolo options are a good place to start as they offer a good range of tremolo sounds but if you want to dig deeper then the TonePrint switch is worth the price alone. This is where you can download preset sounds with some of them made by many of the world’s leading guitarists.
You can adjust the times of the tremolo via the tap function to amend the rhythmic depth. It is built upon analog circulatory that ensures the vintage style sounds can still be reached combining the old with the new. Because it is true bypass it holds onto the clarity and doesn’t detract from the overall sound when it is switched off.
Because of the downloadable content, there is just about every tremolo sound possible at your feet so, it might be worth investing a little more than what you’d pay for some of the affordable options.
- TonePrint allows you to download preset sounds
- Tap function to set the rhythm
- True bypass
- Volume knob
- Take a bit of getting used to the multiple settings
Ernie Ball Expression Tremolo Pedal
Best For Control
Forget the fact that you can control this manually for a second and let’s start by appreciating the 5 sounds of this easy to like tremolo pedal. There is everything from the usual suspects of square and harmonic but also slow rise, sine, and slow fall to play with.
Depth, rate, and reverb are a few of the customizable knobs to twist to your taste and the latter can be controlled via the foot pedal to bring it back and forth. A mix of fun and practical there is a rugged tremolo pedal that looks great and has a true bypass setting.
- 5 tremolo sounds
- Reverb can be controlled via the pedal
- Adjustment knobs are hard to reach when live
Tremolo Pedal Guide
For some classic surf worthy waves, a tremolo pedal is the only of its kind. The sound is synonymous with rockabilly tracks of old but even the likes of Green Day have been known to use it when it suits. Whether you are trying to replicate the sounds of your heroes or just collect the pedals to experiment at home, a tremolo pedal can make your dedicated time with a six-string more enjoyable.
This is only when you know what the best tremolo pedals should offer. To prevent you from making a mistake and ending up with a pedal you rarely use, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In A Tremolo Pedal?
Being able to tap the tempo of your reverb can ensure you stay in time with the band or can maintain consistent rhythm when playing at home. It is a neat feature that not everyone wants and it isn’t as common but if it sounds like something you could get on with then it can make life easier.
When your budget isn’t so generous you might find yourself having to compromise on some features and one such thing can be the materials of the tremolo pedal. If the outer is made from plastic it might be waterproof (ideal if someone in the front row spills their beer), but it won’t be as sturdy when dropped or knocked by accident.
A metal outer goes a long way towards ensuring you aren’t looking for a new pedal too soon.
There can be a big difference between different tremolo voices and if you are trying to replicate the sound of a certain song, it is going to be easier if you can match it to a particular style of tremolo. Even if you are making an original song, the more options you have, the better. For a helicopter chop tremolo, look for square, or the near overdrive like sine-wave.
This is only available with versatile tremolo pedals but expect 3-5 tremolo voices at the flick of a switch.
To tailor the tremolo sound to your taste you are going to need adjustable settings. Being able to turn the different knobs right can help create some of the crazier tremolo sounds and usually, you will find depth, rate, wave, and more.
This is useful as it means the high-end sounds are not compromised when the device is switched off. It also maintains the clarity when on so whenever you see this on a tremolo pedal, it is a good thing.
What Does A Tremolo Pedal Do?
A modulation pedal that uses different levels of volume alongside differing rhythms, tremolo and can be sped up or down to impact the intensity. The vintage sounds are often warmer and the chopping helicopter effects are made via higher frequencies.
How Much Does A Tremolo Pedal Cost?
This is the topic of some debate and although you can buy a budget tremolo pedal for under $50, they might not be as durable or have the depth of sound as those a little more expensive.
A mid-range tremolo pedal should get you enough adjustable settings for you to have a bit of fun and cost between $60 – $100. If you go any higher you start to get more tremolo voices to choose from and can even get downloadable preset tremolo sounds sent directly to your pedal.
Durability is key and as long as it has a metal outer then it should last a while. Also, make sure it has adjustable knobs for depth, wave, and rate as a minimum.
Tremolo Vs Vibrato
Although these two get confused sometimes, they are pretty much nothing alike. A tremolo changes the volume and frequency of the sounds whereas vibrato is the change of pitch.
The confusion originated when Fender called the whammy bar of their guitars the tremolo bar. Good to clear that one up.
Where To Place A Tremolo Pedal On The Chain?
It is usually best to place your tremolo pedal at the back of the circuit as you want the settings to impact everything before it. However, tremolo pedals are pretty versatile and you can place them before the likes of distortion to play with the gain but place it behind other modulation pedals.
This allows you to get the most out of the rhythmic effects although it is fun to play around with their placement.
Does Volume Drop With Tremolo?
Although they can increase the depth of your sound, these pedals are known for their influence in ‘volume drop’. Because they work in lows and peaks, the lows tend to decrease the volume whereas the peak stays with the volume you are playing at.
This is part of what makes them work but some tremolo pedals come with a volume control setting where you can amend the lows to not fall too far. Keeping the tremolo pedal to the back of the circuit will also help but remember that it is common with a lot of vintage effects and not unique to tremolo.
What Is The Best Tremolo Pedal?
Any seasoned guitarist might find the basic tremolo pedals to be too restrictive so if you want a product with more options and customizable settings you will need to increase your budget a little.
However, a lot of beginners and experienced guitarists get a lot of joy out of our top pick. The BOSS TR-2 Tremolo Guitar Pedal offers a mix of value and a decent amount of adjustments, allowing you to play. with the LFO waveform to find the ideal tremolo.
It has a robust outer, a relatively compact footprint, and is one of the easiest tremolo pedals to get to grips with.