Updated by Danielle Kittleberger
Updated on February 16th, 2023
Major updates to this page, including new tremolo pedal recommendations from Boss, JHS, and more. Also updated copy and removed some old pedals we no longer recommend which has cut the list down to five total. Enjoy!
Best Tremolo Pedal (our top pick)
Boss VB-2w Vibrato
Boss is nailing it with the Waza Craft series. The VB-2w has an analog circuit with some awesome ethereal tones, that really seem to crystalize on the higher frequencies. It sounds great on both sides of the intensity spectrum. That said, you could make an argument for putting the Keeley Hydra in this spot as well.
Parent article: Best Guitar Pedals
A good tremolo pedal can provide quality from a few different angles.
Things like usability at varying levels of intensity, multiple tweaking options, mix knobs, analog circuits, or even a tap tempo control, run up the value and quality of a tremolo pedal. This roundup is a collection of tremolo pedals that have these quality markers while still maintaining a reasonable price tag.
We've targeted tremolo pedals from brands that we are most familiar with and specifically pedals that we've tested in-house.
If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
You can also browse other types of effects in our best guitar pedals roundup.
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Best Tremolo Pedal Recommendations (top 5 picks)
Boss VB-2w Waza Craft
Strymon Flint Tremolo
JHS Pedals Artificial Blonde
Universal Audio Astra
Walrus Audio Monument Tremolo (honorable mention)
Walrus Audio Julia (honorable mention)
Compare More Pedals
Use our search box to look for more tremolo pedals to add to the comparison bar that pops up at the bottom of this page. We're continuously adding to our database of products.
For most of our product reviews we take our own photos, in-house. Thank goodness for portrait mode. For those interested in using these photos, that is completely fine with us as long as you give us credit and don't claim the work as your own. Simply linking to guitarchalk.com near the photo is totally fine.
1. Boss VB-2w Waza Craft Vibrato
The VB-2w is a vintage tremolo from the Waza Craft series, which I've been really impressed with. Boss has struck some gold with this roster, bringing back analog circuits and some of their most popular pedals from decades past. The VB-2w definitely has the ability to exaggerate tremolo waves, which gives of a bit of a pitch bend, like you would get from a straight trem bar.
It even has some space-like flutter, especially on the higher frequencies. Surprisingly, I found a lot of use cases for it on a wide intensity range.
Note the three different latch modes and Rise control knob.
This gives you a lot of flexibility. On top of the welcoming analog tone, it's easily one of my top tremolo pedal recommendations, if not my favorite.
Demo courtesy of Pedalboard of the Day
IDEAL FOR: Ethereal/vintage balance, analog snobs, and guitars without a trem bar
2. Strymon Flint Tremolo and Reverb
The Strymon Flint combines two effects that have been traditionally handled by amplifiers with analog circuitry: Tremolo and reverb.
The Flint is actually an analog simulation that uses a SHARC DSP analog processor and does an excellent job of imitating this classic combination of sounds. In total, there are six different effect flavors.
I’d recommend checking out the owner's manual, even if you’re just considering buying one and don’t yet own it.
The Flint sounds great and is especially ideal for those that want the added reverb tones.
Read the full review: Strymon Flint tremolo
IDEAL FOR: Melding ambient tones (reverb) with modulation (tremolo)
3. JHS Artificial Blonde
In typical JHS fashion, the Artificial Blonde puts a simple, yet unique spin on an otherwise standard modulation effect. You have two speed and depth controls, which effectively give you two channels to work with that are easy to switch between. When I tested it, I used my PRS CE 24 with Seymour Duncan Invader pickups, which really seemed to bring out the warmth and low-end of this pedal. I could EQ that out if I wanted, but the analog-ness is a defining quality.
I'll keep this section brief since I've already reviewed the Artificial Blonde in full, for those wanting to dive deeper.
Read the full review: JHS Artificial Blonde
Here's my own settings and audio demo:
IDEAL FOR: Tube amps, Strats, Teles, vintage tremolo sounds, analog fans, and just about anything else
4. Keeley Hydra
The Keeley Hydra adds some features that we miss in a few of these other tremolo pedals. It has multiple modes, a mix control, and a tap tempo. I'd argue that the mix control and tap tempo are big value markers for the Hydra, and that you could make a case to put it at the top of this list. Like the Strymon, you have reverb and tremolo combined, with three modes and presets. It's as good, if not better, than the Strymon Flint.
IDEAL FOR: Reverb fans, ethereal tones, anyone who needs presets, live performances (tap tempo helps out with that)
5. Universal Audio Astra
The Astra isn't strictly a tremolo pedal, but a modulation specialty processor with chorus, flanger, and a vintage tremolo model. This is part of the high price tag in that it's giving you three effects in one, and a wide range of control. While it's all digitally modeled, the Astra does a good job of giving you some analog flavor. It's expensive, which will be a deterrent for some, but I like what UA has done with their first foray into guitar pedal building.
All of the models in this pedal sound extremely good. It's downright pristine.
Again, I'll keep it brief since I've done a proper review of the Astra.
Read the full review: Universal Audio UAFX Astra Modulation
IDEAL FOR: Advanced modulation tones, recording, live performances (presets), and anyone using a lot of clean tones
We only recommend products and brands. that we have experience and familiarity with. In many cases, we test the product in our office, which is shown by providing original photography as often as possible.
When we do not test a product in-hand, we consult with musicians who have, do thorough research, and rely on years of familiarity with the musical instrument market.
This means we generally avoid recommending certain products, even if they might be preferable to what we highlight.
We can only truly recommend what we already know.
If you have questions about our methodology, we are an open book. Get in contact with us whenever you'd like.
What's the best analog option?
For analog tremolo pedals, I like the Boss VB-2w, though the JHS Blonde is a close second. Analog tremolos tend to be a little simpler and a little more subtle, which is the style of tremolo that I prefer.
Are there cheaper options?
There are a couple tremolo pedals I like, that are a lot cheaper than what we've listed here. If you're just looking for a deal:
These are affordable and much simpler with basic control schemes.
Desirable Tremolo Features
What features should we look for? We can take the information covered and set up a brief, simple list of features that we’d like to have in our tremolo pedal. That list would include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Basic modulation controls (rate, depth, etc.)
- Community consensus and reputation
- Gain/volume control
- Selectable modes or waveforms
- Tap tempo
- Mix knob
It’s likely there are plenty of noteworthy tremolo pedals that I failed to mention here.
As I’ve said from the beginning, finding the best tremolo pedal, or collection of pedals, will have some subjectivity attached to it.
This list is not to say that all other tremolo pedals are terrible or that everything mentioned here will be an ideal fit for you. These are the pedals I believe are worth your time based on my personal experience.
A lot of times that information is helpful to people who don’t know what to look for.
If you have thoughts about what should have been included here, help other folks out by sharing in the comments section below.
Questions about the pedals in this list are great to leave as well.
I'll help out as much as I can.
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