Tremolo is one of the very earliest effects, and players are still finding new uses for it. The Varimolo is an interesting take on this effect: while it is indeed a true tremolo and not a vibrato - an effect that tremolo is often misnamed as - it has a few extra modes that take the basic idea of what a tremolo does and then twist it into new areas.
The Varimolo is a digital tremolo pedal with three modes: Normal, Filter and Variable. The Normal mode is where you’ll find the traditional tremolo effect: rhythmic variations in volume, from a subtle wavering to an all-out on/off/on/off chop. Filter adds a sweeping filter sound to the tremolo effect, almost like a steady rhythmic wah-wah sound. Variable adds rhythmic variations to the tremolo effect so it’s not just up-down-up-down. Aside from the three-position mode switch there are three controls: Rate, Shape and Depth. The pedal is true bypass, and it runs of a 9V DC adaptor (not supplied). It’s a teeny tiny little stomper that won’t take up much space on your pedalboard.
DID I STUTTER?
I found my favourite sound pretty much instantly: Filter mode with the Shape control all the way to the left, Depth at about 1 o’clock and Rate at about 11 o’clock. This created an almost wah-like texture with a repeatable shimmer, great for slightly bubbly, giddy-sounding clean effects. Moving the Shape control more towards the center and lowering Depth led to a more Hendrixian vibe.
The Normal mode is perfectly predictable and useful and low in noise, making it a great starting point before you start digging into some of the weirder sounds that this little thing is capable of. There will be some players who will be perfectly happy to keep this pedal in that one mode forever, since there’s a great range of sounds lurking in here. Then there’s Variable. This is where things can get weird. The effect is similar to an arpeggiator in a synth, so you’ll get all sorts of rhythmic pulses rippling through your guitar, as subtly or outlandishly, as you like. It’s like a little Skrillex that you step on, and part of the fun is that it’s not so easy to sync it up perfectly to your tempo, so you just kick back and let things get all weird and freaky.
The Varimolo probably does more things than some players want a tremolo pedal to do, but that’s fine. Some will be happy with the Normal mode; others will have the time of their life exploring the more out-there textures it’s capable of.
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Hits and Misses
Some really out-there sounds
Tap tempo would be good