Let's Talk Tremolo (amp vs. pedal)

The Smith

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,623
I love tremolo and ordered the option on a Hayseed that should be coming in late Feb. or March. However, I woke up in the middle of the night and started thinking about tap tempo and how I rely on tapping a lot. And I guess I forgot to take that into consideration when I ordered the amp.

For those of you out there who use on-board tremolo, how do you set it in a live setting? Do you keep the intensity mild enough that the rate doesn't need to sync with the song's tempo?

Another consideration is the quality of the amps trem (of any amps trem) compared to something like an Empress or T.A.W.

I'm debating whether to call Rob and cancel the trem, going with a pedal instead. I hate bugging small builders by tweaking an order once it's been placed, but it's kind of a big deal. What are your thoughts regarding the two considerations listed above?
 

TRW

Member
Messages
399
Love the sound of amp trem but not keen on things being out of time...

Would keep my amp trem intensity low if live and use it for a lush but subtle effect...if anything needs to be hard chopped I'd use a pedal...preferably with tap tempo.

But I don't play live anymore - so the amp is fine.

Too be honest though my amp (Blueverb) doesn't have a massive speed/rate adjustment range so even in a recording environment I would likely use a pedal or plug-in that can cover many BPMs and sub-divisions for more extreme trem settings.

T
 

scottlaned

Member
Messages
654
I don't really ever try to sync a trem with tempo, so I guess I have no opinion on what you want to do with it, but for a great slow rich vintage trem vibe, I go amp trem all the way.
 

Shawn S.

Member
Messages
442
You can't keep me off my deluxe reverb's trem! And if I add an amp to the arsenal, I'm afraid it'll have to be a trem amp too.
 

slipslick

Member
Messages
154
I've had and used both. Much prefer a trem amp,.. never played with a drummer steady enough to stay in synch anyway.
 

steve_chiro

Member
Messages
265
I tried a couple of trem pedals and never really liked any. I use the one on my Fender amps and I bought a Reverberato. I like those much better than any pedal.
 

mprvise

Member
Messages
6,404
Prefer amp trem, but use pedals as well (usually Vibutron, sometimes Swamp Thang - no tap tempo). Approximate on the fly and go with it, and yeah not too intense. On slower I stuff set an approximate triplet feel.
 
Messages
5,703
the trem on the hayseed seems more fender than vox to me. it sounds good and i like it a lot.
apart from drummers w/ meter problems, i've never felt it a very difficult thing to turn around a quickly tweak the speed knob on the trem if need be. i dunno if it's because it's old hat , but i'm usually able to find something more than acceptable w/ a nudge that takes less than a second or two.
having on board tremolo gives one the option of choosing a tube fed native trem or a separate stomp box (or one of the wonderful big box trem effects like that from the vicky reverberato).
 

pappafox

Member
Messages
481
I have an Area 51 tremolo mounted in a small box Marshall (above the pre-amp tubes). It sounds great. I like to add a little helicopter at the end of the song, before the bridge, after the chorus,..umm, ok, sometimes I get carried away.

Jimbo
 

mlj_gear

Member
Messages
3,002
In my experience, the quality of both amp-based trem and trem pedals varies an awful lot. Personally, I don't like the trem on blackface or silverface Fenders at all. I'd take my Fulltone trem over that any day. On the other hand, I have an old Traynor head that has the sweetest trem I have ever heard. I wish I could put that in a pedal. I like it way better than the Fulltone pedal, even, and I kept the Fulltone after trying out about half-dozen nice trem pedals (and another half-dozen crappy ones!) I believe that the Traynor head has bias-modulating trem instead of optocoupler-based trem. I don't remember for sure, though. Anyway, I've liked most of the on-board bias-modulating trems that I've heard, including the one on my Allen Encore. I haven't liked most of the optocoupler-based on-board trems that I've used, with the one on my Ampeg Reverberocket being somewhat of an exception.

I actually have a Hayseed 30 with trem. The trem is optocoupler-based, but I like it better than the Fender trems that are optocoupler-based. I'm glad I got the trem. I don't use it very often, but it's there if I want it. No ones going to stop you from using a trem pedal with the amp just because it had built-in trem, either, and the price difference is modest.
 

jimijazz

Member
Messages
130
I had a Hayseed 30 with trem, but I didn't like it - it wasn't quite smooth enough for me, so when I downsized to a Hayseed 15, I got it without the trem and bought a Catlinbread Semaphore. I'm much much happier now.
 

steve_chiro

Member
Messages
265
Tremolo is amplitude modulation (volume changes up and down) whereas true vibrato is pitch modulation. The two are sometimes used interchangeably though they are not the same thing.
 

macmax77

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,709
i have to say that it really depends on the amp and the pedal.

It is quite difficult to beat a Cusack TAW 2.2

I is just a great Tremolo.
 

mad dog

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,975
I appreciate both, in-amp and pedal trem. Lots of good amps don't have trems I care to use. That includes many of the later Fenders, though for some reason I really like how it sounds in the SR. The Ampeg Gemini trem is optocoupler done too, but that one I really like. Bias vary trems are deeper, more intense.

A good pedal is useful in its own right. I use the Catalinabread Semaphore quite a bit, love the tone out of this thing.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,635
They are different. In my experience amp based trems seem to be more organic-they fit better into the sound of the amp. The pedals are more of a special effect. I don't use a lot of trem, but prefer amp based about 4:1 (looking at numbers of amps to numbers of pedals ;)) to pedal based. That said, there's at least 5 different "tremelo's" I can think of in common use:
1. Tweed and small Fenders: bias changing-results in a fairly smooth and pleasing trem. Can't get super choppy. Speed variability depends on the amp. I like in most cases.
2. Brown-very complex, 2-3 tube that also has an impact on bias voltage but in a wierd way. This my absolute favorite. With the amp cranked a little it can sound almost 3d like a leslie. I just don't think a pedal can do this justice.
3. Opto-basically cuts off the sound going into the PI depending on how you mix in the uneffected sound. This is the traditional sound we think of with Fender trems. Can be very effective both as a basic sound and a special effect but never gets as swirly or pretty as the bias version. I believe that the stereo trem in the Gibson GA79RVT is a version of this, in that case it's set up to act more like a stereo pan-very cool if 15w is enough.
4. True pitch shifting: this is Magnatone's claim to fame, also tube based and pretty complex. Used tastefully it sounds killer, and I'm not sure it's ever been successfully reproduced in a pedal.
5. I'm not sure what Vox uses, one of the setting sounds more pitch shifting, the other more trem like. Whatever, it's quite bewitching despite having limited control over rate and none over depth. If I were building a Vox-like amp this is the one I'd emulate. Even though the trem channel on the AC30 at church is the noisiest, it's worth blending in some trem (jumper the channels and set the brilliant volume slightly higher than the trem volume) just for the sweetness.

The recording session that's going on at Pachyderm this week is going to include a Magnatone, a Vox and a Brown Super plus the studio's BF Fender, so there's going to be lots of different flavors of tremelo on there. Nice to see these complex vintage textures returning to popularity...
 

slider313

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,208
A brown Super, Pro or Concert are, to me, the best on board vibrato ever.
Very wet and thick with a univibe sound, right out of your amp.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,909
µ¿ z3®ø™;3480201 said:
the trem on the hayseed seems more fender than vox to me. it sounds good and i like it a lot.
apart from drummers w/ meter problems, i've never felt it a very difficult thing to turn around a quickly tweak the speed knob on the trem if need be. i dunno if it's because it's old hat , but i'm usually able to find something more than acceptable w/ a nudge that takes less than a second or two.
having on board tremolo gives one the option of choosing a tube fed native trem or a separate stomp box (or one of the wonderful big box trem effects like that from the vicky reverberato).
Me too - that is, I prefer amp trem. I mostly use trem in a Cowboy/ Alt. Country music setting - leaning over to tweak it is part of the fun, though I wouldn't want to do that if I was playing only one set on a big starge for a big show.

In your average roadhouse/ honky tonk, reaching back to tweak can be cool!

Thanks, Dana O.
 




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