The tremolo effect is a rock ’n’ roll staple. Varying the volume of a signal up and down at regular intervals, it has been used by many crafty songwriters to add texture and motion to their pieces, creating countless hits that feature the effect as a signature, defining element.

The MXR Tremolo welcomes the beloved effect back into its ranks, and it comes equipped with six different waveforms and a bevy of features for advanced players, from stereo operation to tap tempo and expression pedal functionality to attack-sensitive envelope tremolo. It all comes in a single MXR housing.

Check out the MXR Tremolo in action below. 


The MXR Tremolo’s six waveforms represent the most popular methods used over the years to produce the tremolo effect—and then some.


The MXR Tremolo’s first setting is an exact recreation of the M159 MXR Stereo Tremolo. Originally designed to emulate the tremolo of vintage amplifiers, the rich tone and organic pulse of that pedal became a sought-after sound in its own right.

If you dig tremolo with a healthy side of distortion, then you’ll be well-served by the MXR setting. In this clip, we’ve paired it with the very versatile, highly responsive MXR Super Badass™ Distortion—listen to how those vibrant pulses respond to high-gain, rock-ready harmonic content.


An early form of amp-based tremolo, utilized by models made from the 1950s to the early 1960s, produced the effect by varying the voltage going into the amp’s tubes. The result is a lush, browned-out compression. Here, we’ve combined it with the MXR Reverb—a classic effect pairing—and the MXR Sugar Drive™ Pedal to conjure up some old school trem’d out garage rock.


The Revo setting is an original creation from the MXR design team. It takes the smooth pulses of the Opto setting and runs them in reverse to create more exaggerated peaks and valleys. Want to take a ride straight to the sonic frontier? Pair this setting with an aggressive saturator such as the MXR La Machine™ Fuzz for a trip through wild and unexplored territories.


The Opto setting recreates the smooth pulse generated by photo cells in many popular amplifiers from the 1960s on. The MXR Reverb’s Spring setting makes for a historically perfect pairing, and adding the Super Badass Distortion to the mix opens up a full range of expression no matter how big your rig is.


The SQR (square wave) setting is based on a classic outboard effect that cuts your signal completely rather than gradually lowering and raising the volume, producing a choppy, super pronounced effect. It sounds epic when used with the pedal’s stereo mode—just connect a TRS cable to the main output jack. Adding an MXR Phase 90 and an MXR Reverb set 100% wet is a recipe for cavernous ambience and magically lush soundscapes. 

HARM Setting

The Harm (harmonic) setting recreates the trippy, phase-like tremolo produced by certain rare vintage amplifiers. Those amps did more than just vary the volume of your signal—they actually split your signal through high-and low-pass filters, worked some magic on the separated signals, and then mixed the two back together for a much more ethereal sound. Let your creative impulses run wild with this setting by stacking other modulation pedals along side it, and then slam the signal chain with a dirt pedal for good measure. We used the MXR Reverb, MXR Carbon Copy® Delay, and the MXR Super Badass Distortion to create a combination of sounds that offers a wide range of rich musical tones to explore.


It takes little time to dial in a killer sound with the MXR Tremolo, but if you’re into more advanced setups, this pedal comes with a host of features to satisfy your needs. Here’s a look at what this pedal offers you fine-tuners out there.


Envelope Mode allows you to take any one of the six tremolo waveforms and have them react to your playing dynamics. Playing softly produces a slower, more subtle effect, while playing with more intensity produces a faster, more exaggerated effect. You can set set the maximum level for each parameter so that you don’t generate a faster or more exaggerated effect than you need.


Few effects create the ambience and texture of a tremolo pulsing from side to side. With the MXR Tremolo, all you need is an MXR TRS Cable to pan your signal two different output sources.


Want to sweep between two different control configurations? All you need is an MXR TRS Cable and an expression pedal such as the Volume (X)™ Pedal. Adjust the Gain, Speed, and Depth knobs one way with the expression pedal in the heel-down position, and then set them another way for the toe-down position. Blend between the two configurations or switch between the two—the choice is yours.

The MXR Tremolo puts a wide variety of intriguing, well-crafted tremolo waveforms on your board with no overcrowding. Get yours today, and start making your own waves.[/read]