How to Create a Tremolo Sound from an Amp

Learn how to recreate a natural tremolo sound from vintage amps from musician Michael Aarons in this Howcast video about guitar pedal effects.


So what I've just demonstrated was just a tune I just made up that is really the essence of it is I'm trying to achieve a classic amp sound. Like you might get in the '60's; if I was back to Stax recording's, the Motown recordings, Steve Cropper, the Funk Brothers, really anybody from that era that was just playing early R&B; what you might find is an amp that's a little harried, because its cranked and a tremolo, on board tremolo, setting within the amp. People played; they weren't really pedals; they plug right in to the amp and dialed everything up. And this was similar to the sound the might have gotten.

I have an amp that was nowhere near what they had back then. It's a two-channel Rivera amp, a great amp. I'm just going clean, and what I've done is I've taken the tremolo that I believe sounds closest to what an on board amp tremolo would sound like, this Supa Trem by Fulltone. It's a very warm, analog sounding tremolo. And then my favorite pedal the Fulltone first generation OCD Pedal, again drive all the way down. I'm basically using it as to emulate a cranked amp, as a transparent sounding overdrive.

So what I'm getting is a very musical representation through pedals and through different settings of what it would sound like if I was just plugging my Telecaster into just an old, vintage tweet amp. What I've done as far as the settings, very simple, you drive all the way down on the overdrive pedal. Volume to match the clean, it'd be a little bit of a boost. And then as far as the tremolo, I have it about 12 o'clock. Mix and rate on like a medium to slow, slow to medium speed on the tremolo. It's not a hard tremolo. It's a soft tremolo.

It's almost barely noticeable and that's what gives you that very warm, rounded effect that I think is really just pretty. I think that a lot of just slow R&B, ballads work great with this. You really pop out of the mix. And I find that if you're backing up a singer or if you're playing where you really have texture; you're not really playing down beats. You're not really-- you're rolling the rhythm section is really to add color and fill up space with texture. I think this is a great effect to use for that and it's a very natural sounding one, too.

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