Tremolo is so simple in concept and so versatile in practice. A top-of-the-line tremolo pedal is an excellent addition to any guitarist's or bassist's pedalboard.
These level modulating pedals can really add some interest to the guitar tone and sound great across most musical genres.
In this article, we'll discuss the top 11 best tremolo pedals in the world. Of course, there are countless tremolo pedals on the market, and this list could be much longer.
The top 11 best tremolo pedals for guitar and bass are:
- Source Audio Vertigo
- Boss TR-2 Tremolo
- Voodoo Lab Tremolo
- Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter
- Stone Deaf Tremotron
- Wampler Latitude Deluxe V2
- Keeley Electronics KDYNA DynaTrem
- EarthQuaker Devices Hummingbird
- Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar
- Diamond Tremolo TRM-1
- ZVex Effects Sonar Vexter
These pedals are focused on tremolo. There are plenty of general modulation pedals on the market that offer tremolo, and many ring modulation effects offer tremolo as well (in their “low” setting).
Another thing worth mentioning is the subjective nature of these types of lists. These 11 pedals are my opinion of the top tremolos. I'd expect your list to be different, but I would hope there would be plenty of overlap.
Let's discuss each pedal on this list and the reasons why they are the best.
What Are Tremolo Pedals & How Do They Work?
Tremolo pedals are modulation pedals that produce the amplitude-varying tremolo effect.
Tremolo is an effect that causes variation in signal amplitude. It is similar to vibrato, except that it acts on amplitude/level rather than pitch.
Tremolo can really add interest to a sound, ranging from slow and wavey increases and decreases in volume to speedy in-and-out cuts in volume.
Because tremolo only really affects the signal's amplitude at its input, it can be positioned anywhere in the signal chain. Some prefer it just after the utility pedals; others like it mixed in with the modulation effects, and some dig it right after reverb (which sounds incredible).
Related article: How To Order Guitar/Bass Pedals (Ultimate Signal Flow Guide)
With that being said, let's talk about some tremolo pedals!
For more in-depth articles on tremolo pedals, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• What Are Tremolo Guitar Effects Pedals & How Do They Work?
• Complete Guide To The Tremolo Audio Modulation Effect?
Source Audio Vertigo
First up is the physically and sonically flashy Source Audio Vertigo (link to check the price at Source Audio).
The Source Audio Vertigo is part of the impressive One Series of Source Audio pedals. It's a stereo tremolo with tons of functionality. It offers 3 distinct tremolo effects, selectable via the toggle switch:
- Normal: based on the thumping “opto-trem” amplitude modulation found in vintage Blackface Fenders.
- Harmonic: based on the Fender Super’s “Vibrato” effect from the early 60s, producing a vintage tremolo that offers alternating low and high-frequency boosts, creating a swinging phaser-ish effect.
- Bias: based on early tube bias amplitude modulation.
Each of these modes can output in mono or stereo for wider tremolo effects. Note that the pedal also has a stereo input. Each mode has its own world of sonic possibilities with the other controls of the pedal:
- Depth knob: controls the depth of the tremolo effect by affecting the amplitude of the LFO modulator.
- Speed knob: controls the rate of the tremolo effect by affecting the frequency of the LFO modulator.
- Shape knob: continuously morphs the LFO modulator waveform from square to sine or opto, to saw tooth.
- Level knob: adjusts the overall output of the signal.
The internal memory of the Vertigo can hold up to 3 presets. Couple the pedal to Source Audio's Neuro App to access more parameters and sounds along with up to 128 presets. Use MIDI to sync the pedal to a master clock (in a DAW or other MIDI device) and/or to control more parameters of the Vertigo on the fly.
In addition to MIDI, the One Series Vertigo is also compatible with expression pedals via its 3.5mm control input. The pedal also works with Source Audio's proprietary Hot Hand 3 Universal Wireless Effects Controller. Wear the Hot Hand as a ring on your picking hand, and the pedal will use the motion of your hand to control different parameters.
Other notable One Series pedals include:
- Ventris Dual Reverb (featured in My New Microphone's Top 13 Best Reverb Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Nemesis Delay (featured in My New Microphone's Top 13 Best Delay Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Aftershock Bass Distortion (featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Distortion Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Lunar Phaser (featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Phaser Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Mercury Flanger (featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Flanger Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- C4 Synth (featured in My New Microphone's Top 10 Best Synth Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
The Source Audio Vertigo also features a universal bypass, allowing us to select either analog buffered bypass or relay-based true bypass, depending on what suits our situation best.
We're kicking the list off with an excellent tremolo pedal. If versatility and sonic quality are important to you, then the Vertigo makes for a superb choice!
Source Audio is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Boss TR-2 Tremolo
The Boss TR-2 Tremolo (link to check the price on Amazon) is a superb tremolo pedal for a superb manufacturer.
The Boss TR-2 is a relatively straightforward unit built into Boss's legendary compact stompbox format. It provides guitarists (and other musicians) with awesome tremolo effects in an easy-to-use pedal.
As we can see, the TR-2 is a mono pedal with a single input and output. It is designed with a buffered bypass but does little to alter the tone of the signal passing through it, whether it's on or off.
The controls are simple on this pedal:
- Rate knob: adjusts the rate of the tremolo.
- Depth knob: adjusts the depth (amount of pitch-shift) of the tremolo.
- Wave knob: control the waveform of the tremolo's LFO modulator from triangle to square.
If you're looking for an affordable, durable and easy-to-use tremolo pedal for your rig, look no further than the Boss TR-2!
Boss is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use
• Top 11 Best Guitar Amplifier Brands In The World
• Top 11 Best Pedalboard Brands On The Market
Voodoo Lab Tremolo
Voodoo Lab doesn't have too many pedals to their name, but the Voodoo Lab Tremolo (link to check the price on Amazon) has put them on the map as a manufacturer of great pedals.
Voodoo Lab's Tremolo pedal is designed to emulate the smooth warmth of vintage tube amp tremolo. The pedal actually utilizes the same lamp and photocell design found in many popular vintage amps, using light to achieve the amplitude modulation effect.
This true bypass pedal is mono with a single input and output. The controls of the pedal are straightforward:
- Intensity knob: controls the depth of the tremolo effect by adjusting the amplitude of the LFO.
- Slope knob: varies the shape of the tremolo's LFO waveform from smooth to choppy.
- Speed knob: controls the rate of the tremolo effect by adjusting the frequency of the LFO.
- Volume knob: adjusts the output level of the pedal.
The Voodoo Lab Tremolo offers us warm, mind-bending trem vibes in a compact and durable stompbox. It does an excellent job at reproducing vintage tremolo effects and gets itself a spot on the “best tremolo pedals” list.
Voodoo Lab is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Pedalboard Brands On The Market.
Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter
The Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter (link to check the price on Amazon) is a fantastic choice for all your tremolo needs.
Seymour Duncan's Shapeshifter is an impressive stereo tremolo pedal with true stereo inputs and outputs. This versatile unit can deliver the classic tremolo textures we come to expect along with more extreme effects like helicopter chops, piano stabs or backwards swells.
Notice the Tap footswitch on the Shapeshifter. Yes, this tremolo pedal has tap tempo!
Flip the Ratio|Rate toggle switch to ratio; tap in the tempo to set the modulation speed between 0.5 pulses-per-second to over 15 pulses-per-second. Use the Speed knob to control the ratio of the tremolo effect. Flip the toggle to Rate and use the Speed knob to adjust the rate without tap.
Regardless of how we dial in the rate of the effect, the Shapeshifter's illuminated Speed knob will flash to indicate the rate of the tremolo.
In addition to speed control, the Shapeshifter offers the following adjustable parameters:
- Wave knob: changes the waveform of the tremolo effects from sine through triangle to square.
- Shape knob: controls how evenly the signal rises and falls by morphing the selected wave.
- Depth knob: sets the blend between your dry signal and the wet tremolo signal
- Channel Phase mini-knob: adjusts the phase difference between the stereo outputs from 0º (in-phase) to 180º (out-of-phase).
The Shapeshifter from Seymour Duncan is not only incredibly versatile, but it sounds great and is built to last. Try one out for yourself, and you surely will not be disappointed!
Seymour Duncan is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top 11 Best Electric Guitar Pickup Brands On The Market
• Top 8 Best Bass Guitar Pickup Brands On The Market
• Top 8 Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup Brands On The Market
Stone Deaf Tremotron
At number 5 is the Stone Deaf Tremotron (link to check the price on Amazon): a wicked tremolo pedal with cool artwork.
The Stone Deaf Tremotron is has a digital brain and an all-analog signal path to give us the best of both worlds when it comes to functionality and sonic purity. This dual analog tremolo offers two independent amplitude modulation circuits, allowing for interesting rhythmic possibilities.
To access the secondary tremolo, press each of the rotary encoders and adjust them to the value you want. The 3 rotary controls are:
- Depth: controls the intensity of the tremolo effect.
- Rate: controls the speed of the tremolo effect.
- Shape: adjusts the continuously variable LFO wave from sine, square, ramp, reverse ramp and more.
The pedal also features Tone and Level master controls.
Set the rate with greater control via the tap tempo footswitch and adjust the tap divisions with the small button. With tap, we can easily sync up the two tremolo circuits to maintain a consistent polyrhythm.
The Tremotron has 4 assignable presets in its internal memory and MIDI compatibility. Expand the amount of accessible preset via MIDI connectivity and use MIDI to control other parameters with ease.
Alternatively, we can input an expression pedal and assign it to affect Rate, Depth and/or Shape controls for more control.
From rhythmic possibilities and analog sound to presets and tap tempo, the Stone Deaf Tremotron offers one of the most excellent tremolo effects.
Wampler Latitude Deluxe V2
The Wampler Latitude Deluxe V2 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a beast of a tremolo pedal, fully deserving of a spot on this list.
Wampler's Latitude Deluxe V2 is another highly functional tremolo pedal. Just looking at the pedal is intimidating. It's got an all-analog signal path with digital processing to achieve its great functionality. Let's discuss what it can do.
This pedal offers tap tempo with subdivisions (quarter, eighth, dotted eighth and triplets).
We can also choose between 3 different waveforms for our amplitude modulation: bell, peak and square.
- Speed: controls the speed of the tremolo effect.
- Space: allows more or less space between the volume bursts.
- Depth: controls how much of the tremolo effect you hear.
- Attack: changes the attack of the tremolo waveform.
- Volume: adjusts the output volume.
All in all, the Wampler Latitude is a fantastic tremolo pedal and is fully deserving of a spot on this list.
Wampler Effects is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Boutique Guitar/Bass Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Keeley Electronics KDYNA DynaTrem
Next up is the Keeley Electronics KDYNA DynaTrem (link to check the price on Amazon). This is perhaps the most interesting tremolo pedal on this list.
Keeley's DynaTrem is an awesome responsive tremolo pedal that adjusts to the dynamics of the input signal. In other words, our playing controls the rate and depth of the effect. Play harder, and the pedal responds with faster and more intense tremolo. Play softer, and the pedal produces a more subtle effect.
Choose between 3 modes via the DynaTrem's toggle switch:
- Dynamic Rate mode: playing strength controls the rate.
- Dynamic Depth mode: playing strength controls the depth.
- Harmonic Tremolo + Reverb mode: a phaser-like harmonic trem with addition reverb (adjusted via the Shape control).
In the dynamic modes, the Shape control gives us access to 4 different waveforms: ramp up, sine, ramp down and square.
Since the DynaTrem was released, Keeley updated the pedal with a 4th mode, accessible by turning the Shape knob all the way down. This “hidden feature” is simply a standard triangle wave tremolo.
This true bypass dynamic tremolo pedal offers us something exciting and responsive. Set correctly, the DynaTrem can unlock a whole new world of expression that is unobtainable via standard tremolo units. This makes the DynaTrem, in my opinion, one of the best tremolo pedals out there!
Keeley Electronics is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Boutique Guitar/Bass Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
EarthQuaker Devices Hummingbird
EarthQuaker is known for its out-of-the-box thinking, but they certainly have some rock-solid standard effects units. The EarthQuaker Devices Hummingbird (link to check the price on Amazon) is a great example of one of these beautifully simple effects units.
The Hummingbird is a straightforward sawtooth tremolo pedal with excellent sounds and a surprisingly versatile effect. Whether we've after a classic “50’s style” shimmering tremolo, a synthy delay-like chopping trem or anything in between, the Hummingbird will gladly oblige.
Flip the toggle switch to choose from the Slow, Mid-Tempo or Fast modes. Adjust the Depth, Rate and Level knobs to dial in your preferred tremolo effect. Fast mode can even get us into ring modulation territory!
The Hummingbird has an awesome boost circuit, controlled by the Level knob. We can even turn the Depth control all the way down and use the double the pedal as a clean JFET boost if we want to.
Use the 1/4-inch expression jack to connect an external expression pedal and control the rate of the tremolo remotely.
Like many of EarthQuaker's pedals, this pedal features the company's proprietary Flexi-Switch footswitch that allows for both latching and momentary use without having to toggle between different modes.
The Hummingbird has gone through a few different versions at this point. They're all solid tremolo pedals. Check any one of them out, and you'll be in for a treat!
EarthQuaker Devices is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar
The Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar (link to check the price on Amazon) is a classic tremolo pedal that I couldn't leave out.
The EHX Stereo Pulsar produces a beautiful vintage stereo tremolo effect that adds warms and rhythmic energy to our playing.
The pedal sounds fantastic, and it's durable, affordable and straightforward. The unit has a mono input, stereo output, 3 knobs and 1 toggle switch.
The toggle changes the modulation waveform between a triangle or square. The Shape control allows us to control transitions from negative to positive saw tooth (in triangle mode) or adjust pulse width (in square mode).
Adjust the depth and the rate of the trem with the Depth and Rate knobs and have yourself an awesome tremolo effect. Dial in a classic setting or opt for something new with this easy-to-use pedal.
Sometimes the best effects come in the simplest packages. This is certainly the case with the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar.
Electro-Harmonix is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Diamond Tremolo TRM-1
The Diamond Tremolo TRM-1 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a wonderful tremolo unit complete with tap tempo.
Diamond's Tremolo pedal has a 100% analog signal path based around an optoisolator, just like vintage tube amplifiers of the 60s. The pedal combines this signal path with a digital microprocessor to allow for awesome features.
These features include the always handy tap tempo complete with a TapView blinking indicator, ratio controls (3/4, 6/8, 2/4 and 4/4), and a double-speed mode. We can also select the waveform of the trem from ‘sharkfin' (sawtooth), sine, square waves and ‘chop’.
Set the Diamond Tremolo to Chaotic mode for random speeds with any waveform.
This true bypass pedal has the typical Speed, Depth, and Volume controls via knobs on the front face.
Diamond's Tremolo pedal is manufactured with the utmost quality. It's a durable stompbox that offers versatile and pleasing tremolo effects. For that, it makes the cut as one of the best tremolo pedals ever!
ZVex Effects Sonar Vexter
Last up is the ZVex Effects Sonar Vexter (link to check the price on Amazon): the top budget pick in terms of tremolo pedals.
The ZVex Sonar is yet another excellent tremolo pedal with some special features.
It can produce beautiful standard tremolo all the way to choppy “helicopter” effects. The pedal can also vary the speed of the trem automatically over time and turn the trem on and off automatically within a given time period/cycle. Use these effects separately or together to get unique tremolo effects out of the Sonar.
The Sonar also has tap tempo functionality that allows for cycles as slow as 4 seconds per cycle. It also features a clean circuit (Clean) and a cross-over distortion circuit (Machine) selectable via a toggle switch.
The pedal is built in a durable, compact unit. In order to achieve tremendous functionality, many of the controls have dual functionality. Without getting into all the details, let's have a look at the Sonar controls to get a better idea of how the pedal works:
- Volume: adjusts the output volume. Further adjustments for gain control are possible inside the pedal.
- Speed: manual control of the tempo.
- Alt = Attack: controls how quickly audio reaches peak volume of tremolo.
- Duty: controls duration of peak audio, the “on” portion
- Alt = Release: controls how quickly audio ramps down from
- Alt = Release: controls how quickly audio ramps down from
- Delta: controls the rate of change when the unit is in “Arrow
- Alt = Depth: Controls minimum volume of the quiet portion of
- Alt = Depth: Controls minimum volume of the quiet portion of
- Tap Tempo: calculates tempo by taking the last two user
- Alt = shift key: to access hidden waveshaping functions
- Clean / Machine toggle switch: switches between clean and cross-over distortion.
- Tap Tempo toggle switch: Allows the user to set the tempo to 2x or 4x original tap rate.
- Arrow Up /Down: controls the up or down direction of
auto parameter change and also selects which parameters
are being changed.
ZVex Effects is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Boutique Guitar/Bass Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Choosing the right effects pedals for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Effects Pedal Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next pedal/stompbox purchase.
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