10 Best Tremolo Pedals in 2018 – Honest Review & Buying Guide
Playing guitar has become one of the most effects-driven musical experiences in modern music making. When you play an acoustic, you can make some beautiful sound, but once you've hooked your electric to a great amp and maybe thrown in a few pedals, it's really hard to go back. There are pedals that add wahs, reverb, delays, and even models that can change the overall tone of the produced note, but one of the most iconic pedals available to advanced guitarists is the tremolo pedal.We are here to discuss every aspect of the best tremolo pedals.
Tremolos are some of the most iconic sounds available on the electric guitar. Tremolo picking requires the fast up and down motion on the fretted string that produces a truly unique sound. Many users know of the music from tremolo-heavy songs like "Misirlou" and "Knights of Cydonia," but to get a similar sound, you can always employ the aforementioned tremolo pedal.
The tremolo pedal for guitar will greatly depend on your own style. Some pedals have multiple switches, some have a Dunlop "Crybaby" shaping, and others are tiny with foot switches. In any situation, the top tremolo pedal can be found anywhere in your toolkit; in a standard pedal board or even as a single pedal that you've attached to an amplifier. Tremolos can vary widely; take a look at some of the different styles on Reverb.
Tremolo Pedals Comparison:
4 x 3 x 6
7 x 3 x 5
6.2 x 3.2 x 5.7
1.8 x 4.2 x 2.2
4.7 x 1.5 x 2.5
4.7 x 2.6 x 2.5
8 x 3 x 6
9 x 4.8 x 3.2
3.7 x 1.8 x 2
2.8 x 2.1 x 4.8
15 Best Tremolo Pedals Reviews 2017
Tremolo Pedals over dozens of competitive models from different brands listed below:
Our first product has become somewhat iconic amongst guitar effects enthusiasts. This particular tremolo pedal has plenty of unique features that make it the perfect pedal for both beginners who are trying to diversify their sound and experts who are looking for a well-rounded effects package. As a matter of fact, this particular product is considered to be the tremolo pedal for guitar.
The BOSS Audio TR2 comes in an emerald green, all metal design that has the BOSS logo featured on the relatively large, square-shaped, and well-gripped footswitch. It is a great pedal for a board and has an input on the right of the pedal and an output on the left. In addition to these features, the device also has a tension adjustment for the footswitch that works great when you want to establish a pressure to engage or turn off the effect.
Dial for Rate
This particular tremolo pedal allows you to adjust the rate of your tremolo effect. For a slower, more nuanced effect, simply turn this leftmost dial all the way to the left. This sound somewhat emulates the effect on some delay pedals, but as you turn it more to the right, you'll start to get that fast-strumming tremolo sound that so many people love.
As mentioned previously, many tremolos on the market today come with sine, triangle, or square wave effects. These greatly vary the guitar tone, and this particular product features both triangle and square wave effects.
This dial affects how much you can hear the tremolo effect.It is really useful for unique sounding notes, with left featuring the lightest overall effect level and right being much more pronounced. Placing this dial in its left position provides a harmonic style sound, which is perfect for guitarists who have trouble strumming harmonics.
- Item Overall Size: 4 x 3 x 6 inches
- Pedal Overall Weight: 12.8 ounces
- This is an easy to use tremolo pedal
- This pedal can be used with just your guitar and your amp
- There is also a scale switch so that you can change a tone construction.
- Easy to hook up and play
The Wampler Latitude is a more excellent option for mid-tier to advanced guitarists that want a more robust set of choices. Amazingly, this particular tremolo pedal has five dials on it and is one of the tremolo pedals with tap tempo on the market today.
This device has one of the most natural-sounding signal paths of any of the tremolo pedals on the market today. If you're looking for a Fender-friendly tremolo sound, then this might be a great pedal for you. This is probably because the signal path used in this product is purely analog, not choppy-sounding like digital.
Tap Tempo Button
Many tremolo pedals have preset rates for the tremolo effect. This particular pedal will allow you to set the tempo by tapping this button with your finger or your foot. The result is access to a plethora of a unique tremolo effects.
This unique dial adds more space or less between the tone's volume bursts. When the sound is being crafted by this pedal, rather than hitting any of the waveform types that are standard in this style of pedal, you can set this pedal to make your tone crest a wave then play normally for a second or two. It is a relatively unique dial and makes this a great pedal to craft unusual sounds on.
The attack dial is another unique dial that significantly affects how each side of a wave behaves. At its center most setting the waves are even on each side, but on its leftmost positioning, the waves will be slow to rise but fall off very quickly. It sounds amazing when playing and makes the tremolo effect feel very natural.
- Item Overall Size: 7 x 3 x 5 inches
- Overall Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Tremolo pedal reviews for this product are overwhelmingly positive
- This pedal has settings for three different customizable waveforms
- There is also a scale switch so that you can change a tone construction.
- The manufacturer has crafted several classic settings that you can explore with this tremolo pedal
Our next tremolo pedal utilizes a very vintage styling that's perfectly attuned to guitarists of varying skill levels. One of the first things that you might notice about the Electro-Harmonix pedal is that it's minuscule.This little shaping is perfect for add a bit of streamlining to what can be a very disorganized pedal board. As a vintage-style model, this device is constructed of die cast aluminum.It makes this a great tremolo pedal among many of its peers when it comes to overall durability. Step on this device as much as you want; it'll come back for more.
In addition to these features, this particular tremolo actually has two outputs so that you can pan from two separate amplifiers. This is a really nice feature that has made this the darling of many tremolo pedal reviews.
Unique Shaping Options
When selecting a shape between the sine and square waveforms, this particular pedal has unique features. Specifically, it has two different controls for the waveform shaping:
- Shaping Switch – This switch lets you select between the two types of waveforms.
- Shaping Dial – This particular dial gives your further shaping options that'll let you minutely change how each waveform, regardless of initial shaping, performs. It means that you can have sine waves that drop off like a square wave.
Variable Depth Dial
If you want to minimize the presence of the tremolo effect or boost it so that your sound is a little more punch, then this is the dial to use. Simply put, this particular dial controls how much you can hear the effect.
The rate dial modulates the frequency of the waveform. Setting it to its leftmost setting will reduce the speed of the tone effect and setting it to the right will do the opposite.
- Overall Size: 6.2 x 3.2 x 5.7 inches
- Item Overall Weight: one pound
- This is a very durable device
- It's a great tremolo pedal for learning
Out of all the products on our list, the Mooer Trelicopter is by far the best tremolo pedal for space-saving. It's very tiny, yet has more than enough real estate to operate almost solely using your foot. In addition to this inherent portability, this unique tremolo pedal has some great features that set it above the many of the products of its type on the market today.
The device is all black except its chief dial and the metallic footswitch. Its outputs and inputs aren't aligned with some other products, but they are still designed to be able to fit into any guitarist's pedal board easily. In addition to this, you'll get a immaculate sound since this device utilizes a true bypass system.
This bias knob mellows out the generated pulse when you have it turned counter clockwise. This single button actually works in conjunction with the depth knob so that you have almost perfect control of the waveform. When you turn the knob in the clockwise direction, you'll get a more choppy style of sound.
This is a small pedal! While you might not consistently carry your pedals from gig to gig in your pocket, this particular pedal has a minuscule, pedal-board space-saving design that you might love. Despite this sizing, the tremolo pedal has some excellently responsive buttons and dials. The footswitch itself is very active, and the makeup of the pedal is durable.
The overall richness and variation of the tremolo sound that you produce with this pedal are amazing, especially when you consider how small it is. The tone can go from a very shimmery style of tonality to a chopper-friendly grind that is perfect for some metal sounds.
- Item Overall Size: 1.8 x 4.2 x 2.2 inches
- Overall Weight of the pedal: One pound
- The interplay between the bias knob and the depth knob provides a lot of variation
- The speed knob being so large makes it easy to adjust during a set
- The light in the middle lets you know when there is a connection and the pedal is engaged
The Joyo JF-09 Tremolo Guitar Pedal is another great, compact pedal that is perfect for saving a bit of space on a small pedal board. This unit only has two dials; one is for intensity and the other for the rate. It doesn't make this a pedal that lacks in functionality; however, as you'll discover, you still have an enormous amount of customizability when you run your tones through it.
The device is yellow with a bulldog on it, which makes it a very visually distinctive tremolo pedal. The footswitch itself is very responsive and sturdy so that you won't have to worry too much about damaging it when you're playing a gig. It is also slightly larger than many of the button-style footswitches of other competitor products.
Many musicians love true bypass because it loses less signal when the tone is being pushed through the circuit when the effect is not engaged. Since it has a dual switching system, more of the original sound will keep intact when you want to hear it. This style truly bypasses the effect when you engage the pedal, which produces some of the best tones your guitar can produce.
Sturdy All-Metal Construction and Plug N' Play
I find that durability is incredibly important in any style of guitar effects pedal. A reason why it's great that this particular model of tremolo pedal is constructed of metal throughout its frame. On top of this, the device even comes with a battery for when you need to plug and play quickly.
One of the most useful features of this particular device is its indicator light which will help you accurately get an idea of the tempo of the tremolo effect. You adjust the rate and intensity of the effect with the two dials, and you can track it with the indicator light.
- Item Overall Size: 4.7 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches
- Item Overall Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Can produce clean Fender-esque tones
- Has a very warm and warbling sound
- Sturdy construction means this device will last
Sometimes a tremolo pedal doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles in its construction for it to be a real gem. This particular pedal, the Donner Golden Tremolo Pedal Classic has a very vintage design that's meant to provide you with a very desirable tremolo effect simply. There are three dials on the body of this tremolo pedal that help you control the output of the device. The two at the top are smaller and invented to control depth and bias. The final dial which is smack in the middle of the pedal is much larger and helps you control the speed of the tremolo warble.
The tremolo's construction is made of a durable aluminum alloy that can take more than its fair share of stomps. I think that the most striking aspect about this particular tremolo pedal is its unique golden color. This pedal stands out but is subtle so that it won't clutter up your pedal board setup.
It's a good thing to know exactly how the tremolo waveform is behaving. The LED indicator on this tremolo pedal flashes along with the tempo of your music so that you will know if you need to speed or slow it down with the great speed pedal.
This dial is overlarge so that you can quickly reach down or over and change the speed of the warble. It is very useful while playing, especially when you want to make changes mid-performance quickly.
Golden Tremolo Styling
It is a very stylish tremolo; it even has a stylized mustache on the center that adds a lot of personality to the device. In addition to this, the aforementioned golden coloration makes this pedal look very cool.
- Item Overall Size: 4.7 x 2.6 x 2.5 inches
- Weight of the pedal: 9.9 ounces
- This is a true bypass tremolo that produces a very loss-free sound when bypassing the effect
- The sound is very customizable
The BBE Tremor Dual-Mode Analog Tremolo is the first dual-mode tremolo in this guide. speedyspeedyDual mode tremolos are designed to produce two separate tremolo warbles so that you can bring a fast and slow effect, a slow and gradual effect, or a quick and speedy effect. Each of the two-speed buttons on its face will allow you direct control over one effect, and it's relatively easy to toggle to each setting by hitting the footswitch on the left of the device. Typically, the on/off foot switch is in this position in many foot pedal designs, so this might be different for you if you are used to those types.
The toggle switch also has its own set of lights so that you'll know which tremolo settings that you're adjusting. Design-wise, this tremolo has an analog system so that you can expect some quality sound from it. Aesthetically, the tremolo has a black coloration that has some off-white bordering. There are only three dials on this device, two labeled speed 1 and speed 2 – these control the tempo of the independent warbling effects, and depth, which controls how audible the tremolo is for the selected effect.
A Light to Keep the Tempo
At the top of this dual-mode tremolo is a blue light that keeps up with the beat. Since this is a tremolo with two different simultaneous warbling effects, you'll also be able to know which dial toggle via a green and yellow light over the speed toggle switch.
The device is tough; as a matter of fact, the main circuit board of this device is made of military-grade components that will last for years.
This is a great true bypass tremolo that works great with an overdrive and uses the loss reducing true bypass system to produce very clear tones. If you combine the depth controls with an overdriven guitar, you'll be able to produce some great-sounding helicopter-like sound effects.
- Fulltone Custom Shop Supa-Trem2 Stereo Tremolo Pedal
- Item Overall Weight: Three pounds
- This tremolo pedal has a very unique shaping
- The two lights will each blink with the tempo of their respective amplifiers
The Fulltone Custom Shop Supa-Trem2 tremolo pedal is a unique looking effects pedal that packs in a lot of great features. If you're looking for the best tremolo pedal with tap tempo, then it's a toss-up with the Wampler Latitude. In any situation, the presence of tap tempo on this pedal will provide you with a high amount of customization when you produce your tones.
The Fulltone Custom also has a very stylish looking yellow coloration that also looks very industrial. This unique coloration will be at home on most pedal boards and pedal setups. The device has an all-metal construction that has raised edges on the side to protect the pedal from damage. Including the tap tempo button, this unique tremolo pedal has six unique settings so that you will be able to change the behavior of your produced tremolos substantially.
With the Fulltone Custom Shop Supa-Trem2, you'll be able to hook up two amplifiers and two guitars via the dual input and output jacks. These extra connections allow a user to create a stereo panning effect with their tremolos.
This is where this device differs from other pedals currently on the market and why I recommend this product. This phase correction dial uses the fact that this is a stereo tremolo pedal to balance out the different levels of the initial effect. When you have two amps wired into this particular effects pedal, the produced tones will come out of each amplifier at potentially differing rates. This stereo phase correlation can synch up if you'd like by turning the dial fully to the left.
Triple Wave Selection
This unique tremolo also allows you to produce all three main types of tremolo waveform. Labeling these as square, warble, and size, this device quickly switches between the selections through a toggle switch.
- Item Overall Size: 8 x 3 x 6 inches
- Item Overall Weight: 9.6 ounces
- This is a very light tremolo
- Dual-mode tremolos like this one can produce the some of the most iconic sounds of all tremolos
The Valeton CTR-1 Wave Shaker tremolo pedal is another vintage-style effects pedal that gives you a more traditional tremolo experience. While this means that you won't get a whole lot of extra, game-changing features, this is still a very robust pedal that'll provide some unique sounding warbles for your electric guitar and amplifier combo. Some great features that ensure that this particular pedal sounds crystal clear are the fact that this product uses an analog signal path for excellent style clarity and a true bypass system of loss reduction.
Insofar as design, this particular tremolo pedal is made of a very sturdy aluminum die cast alloy that aims to stand up to a lot of gig-related punishment. It's vintage pill-shaping makes this a very easy pedal to use, especially if you're planning on putting it on a pedal board. It's also a space saver; this particular pedal has a tiny form factor. You'll get four different tremolo settings with this pedal so that you can significantly vary the sound output along the devices analog patching.
This is a great feature for someone who wants to keep their guitar at a set level, but also want to adjust the overall volume of the effect. This means that your initial strum will still be loud, but the warbling aftereffect will have a more subdued sound.
Like many of the other tremolo pedals on this list, this device has a set speed dial. This speed dial is very easy to adjust with grooves that allow it to turn into whatever setting you prefer quickly.
The bias dial on this tremolo pedal can add a mellowing factor to the produced sound when you've turned it counterclockwise. If you turn it to the right, it adds a more choppy, helicopter like tonality to your generated warble. Effectively, this changes the waveform of the saw-toothed wave through the square-style wave.
- Item Overall Size: 3.7 x 1.8 x 2 inches
- Item Overall Weight: 5.3 ounces
- This product has an analog signal path
- It has a hot purple coloration
- It's easy to fit in any pedal board
The last pedal in our review of the top tremolo pedals on the market today is the Behringer Ultra Tremolo Ut300. I recommend this pedal to anyone who wants a budget pedal but doesn't want to lose quality and sturdy construction. The design of This particular pedal is to provide the warm tremolo effects of the vintage 60s models. As a matter of fact, this product has all of the tools to compete with more expensive tremolo pedals.
Its three dial system allows you to quickly adjust the waveform, the depth, and the rate of the warble effect. The classic pedal shaping also uses a good footswitch grip that features the Behringer logo and doesn't slip very easily when you're using it.
This LED lets you know when there the device is powered on. While this doesn't show tempo, since battery power initiates this unit, this is a great visual indicator for gigs.
This particular tremolo pedal features two distinct power profiles. Firstly, you can power this using a 9V battery so that you can have a more reliable gig experience. In addition to this, you can also separately purchase a Behringer PSU-SB DC power supply so that you can just plug in.
There's no question that Behringer designed this little tremolo pedal with a vintage style in mind. The footswitch is a pedal-type, the dials designed like the dials you'd find on a 60s tremolo, and the device has a bronze coloration that looks nice.
- Item Overall Size: 2.8 x 2.1 x 4.8 inches
- Item Overall Weight: 11.7 ounces
- This pedal has a classic styling that's reminiscent of pedals from the 60s and 70s
- This device has great integrity in bypass mode
- This pedal is very inexpensive
How to Choose the Best Tremolo Pedals
Finding an excellent trem pedal for you will take a little bit of effort. First, you should consider what kind of sound you want to generate, but there are also other things that you should take into account as well. Let's take a look at some:
Tremolo pedals can vary greatly when it comes to the sound that each model is able to create. These devices alter your tone's waveform, but some models have only two dials, while others can have four or more. Each knob or dial can directly change the waveform from triangular to square, reduce the volume of the effect, or even cut the force entirely when you want a more clean, Fender-like sound for the part of the song you're playing. Some tremolo pedals can:
- Adjust the rate of your produced tremolo effect.
- Help you manage the sound's depth.
Frankly put, these devices are designed to step on…constantly, so it'll behoove you to select a tremolo pedal that can take a bit of punishment. This will usually depend on the construction of the device as well as how it grips both the floor and your foot.
While there are several great plastic models, you might be better served to search for a more traditional all-metal tremolo, especially if you're going to be playing long sets at a lot of consecutive gigs.
In addition to this, try to find one that has a good grip. You don't want to try and hit the footswitch and either lose your footing and miss the effect or have the tremolo slide dangerously.
Many guitarists hook their tremolos up to a pedal board. These pedal boards allow you to hard wire multiple effects pedals to a daisy chain of devices so that you can select the sound that you want to hear when you play. These pedal boards wire directly into your amp and your guitar so that you get power directly from the amp's power conversion system while you also run the sound through. It is an easy way to power your device, but there are also tremolo pedals with battery power that work great as well.
The most iconic effects pedal shape is the first one. This is the device that has become known as the Dunlop Crybaby wah is a great stapler-shaped wah pedal that has used by legendary guitarists like Jimmy Hendrix. Some consider this shaping to be perfect tremolo pedal design available, but many also like a smaller sized device that has foot switches and more effects dials. Unfortunately, which device is the tremolo pedal for guitar when you play will greatly depend on your personal style, so practice to see what you like.
5. Other Considerations
When selecting a new tremolo, you'll also want to consider the a few additional features as well:
- Bypass System – There are three types of bypass – single bypass, true bypass, and logic bypass. Here is a more detail write up on pedal bypass systems.
- Single is the original style, and with this system, there is some frequency loss and reduced dynamic range.
- True Bypass has a dual switch system so that the tone will go through cleanly, reducing frequency loss significantly. Many guitarists prefer it.
- Logic Bypass is a more convoluted system that efficiently and entirely bypasses the pedal's effect. Some guitarists don't like this because of its complexity and how they feel it changes the tone.
- Sine Wave vs. Triangle Wave vs. Square Wave Tremolo Effects – This, once again, is up to the guitarist, but picking among these different types of tremolo can be tough. Fortunately, some models have settings for all three waveform types.
How to Use a Tremolo Pedal Correctly
Using a tremolo pedal correctly can take a bit of effort. I recommend actually getting to know your guitar's unmodified sound through an amp before you start to experiment with your first tremolo pedal. Learning how to produce good-sounding tremolos with just your guitar is very useful. In addition to this, mastering vibrators can also help you create a unique sound once you start working with a tremolo pedal.
Once you've really started to understand the guitar sound and are ready for your first pedal, some of the better pedals for learning are the ones with the least unique sound options. Usually, the best of these types will have:
This will greatly affect how easy it is to hear the warbling effect of your tremolo pedal. When you start learning, try to keep the sound very audible as it will help you get used to the effect.
Whether your tremolo sound is saw-toothed or square will greatly affect your overall sound. Decide which sound you like and practice playing in that mode.
How often each wave crests and falls is important to the sound of your tremolo warble. Once again, you'll need lots of practice to really understand how rate affects your overall sound.
How to Take Care/Maintenance Tremolo Pedal
Let's face it: you're going to either be pressing the buttons on your tremolo pedal with your fingers or you're going to be stepping on it. When you step on anything, you'll be adding wear to it, so it's important to execute a little upkeep on your trem from time to time.It is not a foot operated pedal so that you need not to take precautions about shoes. Official Rave on Studio Page has a great YouTube video about pedal maintenance. Here are a few items that you can use to clean your pedal:
Pressurized air also works very well for this. When it's time to clean, use your amp cable's end (unplugged of course) to loosen any debris on the inside of the input and output connections. Once that's done, use your contact cleaner or pressurized air to blow and clean any loose junk that's accumulated inside.
End of cleaning that
Most large metal tremolos will have a screw that you can turn to fully lift the pedal. Once the pedal is fully lifted, use the cleaner to really get the gunk out of its innards.
Sometimes when you're playing gigs, you can get drinks, food, or many other foreign substances caked onto your pedal. What I do in these situations is use rubbing alcohol to break up and clean grime and disinfect the surface of my pedals. I suggest a higher concentration like 90 percent for a good, reduced-water cleaning.
All of the products that you've read on this list are perfect for a myriad of different guitar players. Each of these provides unique sounds that will take your guitar playing to the next level. Whether you're a pro or are just cutting your teeth in the pedal world, there's a pedal on this list that's perfect for you. Finding the pedal that'll produce your next unique sound will take a bit of due diligence, but I hope that the reviews that we've featured in this guide will give you a great starting point that you'll be able to use to find your next tremolo pedal of choice.