Uni-Vibe Vs Harmonic Tremolo [Plus Fuzz & OD Order]

Published 30 April 2021

Do you prefer Vibe or Harmonic Trem? And what’s the difference anyway? Let’s find out…

Life too short for long YouTube videos? Please see the ‘Interesting bits and go-to sections’ information below.

Please note: ‘Uni-Vibe’ is a registered trademark of Dunlop Manufacturing Inc.

Welcome to the show! Today we’re comparing two effects that can easily be confused for one another: vibe and harmonic tremolo.
Vibe is derived from the ‘Uni-Vibe’ of 1968, and it’s the classic churning, pulsing, four-stage phaser created using a bulb and light dependent resistors. Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, Trey Anastasio, Gilmour… you know it when you hear it!
Harmonic tremolo came about almost a decade earlier in a handful of Fender guitar amplifiers.You take two tremolo circuits, make one deal with higher frequencies, one deal with lower frequencies and put them out of phase. There’s no pitch shifting going on (as there is in the Magnatone vibrato for example). It’s a mesmeric sound that doesn’t have the gut-wrenching churn of vibe.

We are using two of our favourite modern recreations of each effect for today’s examples. Clearly there are many, many others to choose from and no doubt you all have your favourites: these are ours.

After explaining and comparing the effects themselves we move on to discussing some related tone questions, chiefly the order in which you might want to use overdrive and fuzz, which is always the subject of much debate.

Enjoy the show!

Gear in this episode…

• TheGigRig Three 2 One

• TC Electronic PolyTune Mini Noir
UK & Europe:

• Dunlop JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion
UK & Europe:

• Cornerstone Gladio Double Preamp
UK & Europe:

• JAM Pedals Retrovibe MkII
UK & Europe:

• Pedal Pawn Gypsy Vibe

• JAM Pedals Harmonious Monk
UK & Europe:

• Supro Tremolo
UK & Europe:

• Source Audio Collider Delay & Reverb
UK & Europe:

• TheGigRig G3

• Marshall 1987x with 1960AX cab / Celestion G12M Greenback speakers
• Matchless HC-30 with ESD 212 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback and G12H Anniversary speakers

• 2012 Fender American Vintage ’59 Stratocaster (Custom Shop Fat ’60s pickups)
• 2001 Fender Custom Shop 1963 Telecaster – Dan’s video –
• 2016 Epiphone Casino (Lollar P90 pickups) - Mick’s video –
• 1965 Fender Telecaster

Interesting bits and go-to sections
- Intro playing: 00:00
- What are we doing today? : 03:38
- Explanations of both effects: 04:45
- GypsyVibe & Supro Trem comparison: 07:20
- Pedal Pawn, and today’s pedals: 09:45
- Retrovibe & Harmonious Monk comparison: 11:47
- Phase and audibility discussion: 13:05
- Mickin Trowlerdrix: 14:00
- …dialling back the depth in the HM: 15:08
- Vibe before or after fuzz?: 19:15
- Hendrix and Trower and pedal order: 22:35
- Adding overdrive after fuzz and vibe: 24:10
- …before and after sound comparisons: 24:45
- Retrovibe before and after overdrive: 26:40
- Supro Trem & Harmonious Monk: 29:10
- Overdrive before and after harm trem: 32:58
- Fuzz before and after harmonic trem: 34:25
- …and the giant buffer discovery: 34:50
- What about some clean tones?: 39:05
- All the mod pedals on?: 41:00
- Closing thoughts: 43:18

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