Bias Tremolo Pedals

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by RYAN1987M, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Hi All,

    I've been trying to learn about the various different kinds of tremolo as of late. I'm particularly interested in Brownface-style Bias Tremolo pedals.

    Regarding Brownface Trem, I understand that there are two types - larger amps (larger than the Deluxe) had harmonic trem while smaller amps (Deluxe, Princeton, etc.) had the bias trem that I'm interested in.

    I understand that the Origin Effects RevivalTREM is new out and has made a big splash. I get the impression many feel it's the most accurate reproduction of bias trem in pedal form. If I understand correctly, one of its competitive advantages is that you can 'play through' the trem (ex. if you play/pick hard, the trem is not evident but slowly begins to become evident as what you were playing fades out).

    So...

    1. What other bias trem pedals are out there?
    2. Do any of them allow you to 'play through' the tremolo (ex. does the trem respond to your dynamics?)?

    Thanks!
     
  2. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fuchs makes a really nice one.
     
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  3. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can give some insight on the NON-harmonic trem, meaning it's either power tube bias (some brownface amps, and also the blackface Princeton Reverb), or preamp tube bias (the Vibro-Champs did this)...

    Schaller was one of the 1st companies to make a tremolo pedal using transistors (instead of optical components) to make sine wave tremolo... which is usually considered the smoother/swampier tremolo as opposed to the more choppy optical type. These are generalizations.

    I've been through a PILE of tremolo pedals over the years. The best of the best tremolo pedals that recreate the smooth swampy brownface-like bias-type tremolo are: (some of these have not been in production for awhile, can only be found used, and can be very pricey):

    -with the exception of the Schaller, I have owned all the pedals mentioned:
    Schaller TR-68
    Monster Effects Swamp Thang (my personal favorite)
    Mojohand Sugar Baby
    Diaz Tremodillo ($$$)
    Guyatone VT-X Flip Tremolo***
    Basic Audio Throbby - this one is currently being made, and it an online favorite for this type of trem. I place it equal with the Swamp Thang, and actually I just bought a Throbby this morning... it'll be my 2nd one, as I had one several years ago as well.

    ***the Guyatone is a really good pedal, it has a tube in it, and a tube swap is required because the pedal has a volume jump when activated; a tube swap to a lower-gain tube solves this problem.

    ...there are others, but as I said, these are, imo, the best of the best. I think the Boss TR-2 might be a simple sine wave trem, the Malekko Trem is also one.... it's not a difficult design, but the ones I listed above are the most-popular ones, over many years. They are all SIMPLE pedals.... there are also other tremolo pedals with all kinds of switches and knobs and wave form choices, etc.... the above pedals just do the simple, smooth, bias-type trem. No frills. (altho both the Guyatone and Throbby can also get choppy, if wanted.)

    Right now, I have sitting here:
    -a PRRI
    -Monster Effects Swamp Thang (newer small box, no speed switch)
    -Guyatone VT-X
    ... and on the way, a Throbby
     
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  4. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    20200226_113003.jpg
    I also own a beautiful, original 6g2, with gorgeous trem. This pedal, handmade in Israel really has the sound...imo...





    RJ
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
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  5. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Do either the Swamp Thang or the Throbby react to your playing attack/dynamics? I think that's the coolest element I've seen in some of the RevivalTREM demos that I've watched...if you play really hard, you can 'play through' the tremolo. So, with a big input signal you essentially cannot hear the trem effect...but when you soften up and lighten your touch, there it is again. Origin Effects says that no other pedal does that...but I'm hoping to validate that assertion.

    Thanks for your response!
     
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  6. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    No. But neither does real amp tremolo.
     
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  7. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Actually, that's not the case. The bias tremolo in my 6g2 does just that! When you hit the strings hard the trem " steps aside " and comes back in as the note blossoms. Don't believe me? Believe Dave Hunter.....please read.....

    https://www.vintageguitar.com/8931/the-fender-princeton/


    RJ
     
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  8. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    That's the thing I'm so fixated on, haha. I know that the RevivalTREM does this...but I'm curious if any other bias trem pedals also do it.
     
  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It was years of tremolo pedals that finally revealed that I was ultimately chasing the Fender Bias trem, so you are way ahead to already realize that.

    @ruger9 has a good list to run with. Some of them a touch too swampy IMO. I ended up with the VFE Old School a few years ago. I'm done chasing.
     
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  10. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Why would I not believe you? I've never played a 6G2, but the the PRRI does not do that. I have one. I wonder if the bias points have something to do with that.... I know hotter bias = less intensity on the tremolo....
     
  11. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I sold the Throbby the first time because I thought it was too swampy. But since it is one of the only trems that can do slow speeds, I figured I'd give it another shot (it is also why I bought another Guyatone Flip). I love the small box Swamp Thang, I think it's perfect tonally, but it just doesn't go slow enough (the older big box did, but those were handmade and had some build/reliability issues).

    I remember the VFE Old School... lots of talk about that one when it came out. Very popular.
     
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  12. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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