There are many tremolo pedals on the market that offer some level of control via the use of a separate expression pedal. But finding a tremolo that’s housed inside of an expression pedal is virtually unheard of. That alone is reason to celebrate what Ernie Ball has done with the latest addition to their Expression Series.
Tremolo holds an auspicious place in the history of modern music. The DeArmond Tremolo Control, introduced in 1946, was one of the earliest effects available to musicians.
At its core, “tremolo” refers to any technique involving rapid repetitions of a single note, which is usually used to create a sense of urgency in a song. The first electronic interpretations of that sound were achieved by rapidly increasing and then decreasing a signal’s amplitude, which resulted in a doppler-like effect that was quickly integrated into many early guitar amps. It did not take long for the effect to creep into nearly every song on the airwaves, taking a prominent place in the emerging R&B/rock ‘n’ roll music of the mid ’50s through early ’60s. Tremolo is still an element in many modern-day hits and emerging underground acts, such as Shannon and the Clams, Gabriella Cohen and the Ratboys.
AT A GLANCE:
Housed inside of an enclosure similar to that of their volume pedals, the Expression Tremolo features a stunning purple design with a non-slip surface and intuitive controls. Like the rest of the Expression Series, it has an upgraded PVC-coated Kevlar cord that increases its durability. Using the foot treadle itself feels very smooth throughout the entire range of motion. The treadle will also stay in place after you lift your foot from it, allowing you to lock in any expression of tremolo you like.
- MSRP: $199.99
- High quality classic and modern tremolo sounds
- Bonus rotating speaker effect and spring reverb
- Hands-free control of depth and rate
- May also be used as a stand-alone reverb pedal
- Powered by a 9V center negative 100 mA supply (sold separately)
WHAT SETS IT APART:
There is something truly inspiring about the level of control that the Ernie Ball Expression Tremolo offers. The moment the pedal is pushed forward with your foot the effect begins to engage; lean all the way back and it’s bypassed. You may control the rate, depth, and amount of reverb on each selected sound either separately or simultaneously. The reverb can also be used by itself and really nails the classic drippy, almost underwater-like character that great spring reverb units are known for, making it perfect for adding a surf-like or cavernous texture to the signal.
The sine and square waveform settings represent vintage and modern interpretations of tremolo, which can range from a subtle warble to a full-on robotic pulse, respectively. Selecting the slow fall waveform provides a very percussive sound that is quite similar to some of the quirky tremolo circuits that were built into most of the vintage combo organs that dominated the music of the 60s. Slow rise almost seems to introduce a delay into the signal and is perfect for creating some pseudo reverse guitar sounds with its slower settings.Perhaps the best kept secret of the pedal is the harmonic waveform, which beautifully mimics the sounds of a rotating speaker and simply sounds fantastic.
That is quite a bit to offer in a single pedal. With the Ernie Ball Expression Tremolo, I found myself using an effect that I’ve always loved in completely new and thrilling ways.
Want to win one of your own? She Shreds is giving one of these Expression Tremolo pedals away this week! You’ve got until Monday, July 2nd to enter to win!