Ernie Ball Ex­pres­sion Tremolo

A ver­sa­tile trea­dle-ad­justable tremolo with added re­verb

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

The Ernie Ball Vol­ume Pedal is prob­a­bly the only truly iconic vol­ume pedal in the gear world, rep­re­sented on the ped­al­boards of tour­ing su­per­stars and garage bands alike. With its new se­ries of ex­pres­sion-based ef­fects pedals, Ernie Ball has been seek­ing to cap­i­talise on their brand recog­ni­tion and rep­u­ta­tion to move closer to the boom­ing com­pact ef­fects mar­ket.

This Tremolo is a wel­come ad­di­tion to the range, with con­trols for depth, rate, wave shape and a de­cent re­verb. The rate func­tions as a max­i­mum for the trea­dle – with toe down it is fastest, toe up, by­passed. Although the ad­di­tional re­verb doesn’t add a huge amount, the dif­fer­ent wave shapes are a joy, and the re­ver­se­tri­an­gle set­ting is very Baba O’ri­ley over fin­ger­picked arpeg­gios high up the fret­board. Tra­di­tional trem sounds are avail­able, and the ef­fect of the more sub­tle trem sounds is in the ball­park of a vin­tage Fen­der. The hid­den gem is the har­monic mode. Once dis­cov­ered, the pedal didn’t see much ac­tion elsewhere, with sub­tle phas­ing sounds be­ing mixed into picked pat­terns, and Jimi Hen­drix histri­on­ics into a dis­torted Marshall chew­ing up most of an af­ter­noon.

The only snag­ging is­sue is that the pedal still op­er­ates via the same loop and string sys­tem as the orig­i­nal vol­ume pedal. Oc­ca­sion­ally flaky and prone to need­ing re­plac­ing half­way through a tour, it might more ap­pro­pri­ately be re­placed with a mod­ern op­ti­cal sys­tem. It’s the only weak point of the build, though, as the pedal it­self is rock-solid and the trea­dle travel is but­ter-smooth – and those sounds are cer­tainly well worth ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

Alex Lyn­ham

the pedal is rock-solid and the trea­dle travel is butte r-smooth

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