The Twilight Zone: Top Vibrato Effect Pedals That Deserve Your Attention

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Vibrato pedals are a twilight zone for a good portion of guitar players. If that was the full scope of mystique about this type of effect pedal, it would be fine. However, even the manufacturers mistake vibrato for a completely different, yet somewhat similar effect. Tremolo has been the main culprit when it comes to why vibrato pedals are not more popular these days.

Even though they operate in a completely different way, you will still see many pedals being marketed as vibrato, when they are actually tremolo, and vice versa. That is pretty funny considering that vibratos are among the oldest and most influential effects pedals there are. If you would like to check out what other effects fall into this category, check out our list for more information.

We are going to go ahead and explain the difference between the two a bit later in the text. For now, we would like to introduce you to our top picks for this category of effects pedals. We did some research and found what we consider to be six best vibrato pedals. Our main criteria was overall quality of the product you are getting, so you may or may not agree with us. Either way, you can’t really go wrong with any of these models. On that note, let’s dig right in.

Top 6 Best Vibrato Effect Pedals

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Reverb Pedal
Summary
Rating
TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal
TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal
Modern package that offers the incredible TonePrint tech along with great performance.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300
Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300
Affordable vibrato stomp box that brings a performance outside of its league.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
BBE Mind Bender Dual-Mode Analog Vibrato/Chorus
MXR M135 Smart Gate
Absolute best bang for the buck sweet spot pedal at the moment.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Diamond Vibrato
Diamond Vibrato
A very impressive top tier vibrato box that brings true analog performance.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Boss VB-2W Vibrato
Boss VB-2W Vibrato
One of few Boss elite models that delivers boutique grade vibrato effect.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe
Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe
Among the oldest, and most respected legendary vibratos on the market today.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5

TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal

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Features:5.0 Stars
Controls:4.9 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

There’s a lot of reasons why TC Electronic is currently killing it on the market. For the most part, their solid manufacturing process and an even better quality control, took care of establishing a proper reputation on the market. However, that’s not all. TC Electronic also included their impressive TonePrint technology into the TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal. The end result is a vibrato pedal that is more than capable in its factory condition.

With that said, once you crank up the editor software that comes with it, and dial in some of your own parameters, things get extremely interesting. Along with its core performance, Tone Print technology has made TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato Pedal one of the best pedals of this type on the market, period. It’s not the cheapest model you can get, but it is definitely among those that have the most range to offer, and versatility that is miles ahead of most modern designs.


Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300

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Features:4.7 Stars
Controls:4.7 Stars
Performance:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Behringer pedals are not something you really look into unless you are either looking for an affordable pedal to test out the effect itself, or you’re just tied down by a very strict budget. Either way, more often than not, their effects pedals are going to bring an acceptable performance, and then some. Aside from a great line of affordable, but capable EQ pedals, Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 is actually one of their better cheap boxes at the moment.

The thing comes packed with everything you can find on standard vibrato units of today, only Behringer chose to go with a more vintage type of effect. Think ’60s and ’70s kind of vibrato. Whether you are a fan of this specific type is completely up to you, but let’s make something clear – you won’t find a better cheap vibrato box than this one. Simply not possible. If you are between a rock and hard place, but you still want to get some vibrato going in your tone, we definitely suggest you check this Behringer out. It’s a heavy hitting little trooper.


BBE Mind Bender Dual-Mode Analog Vibrato/Chorus

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Features:4.8 Stars
Controls:4.8 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:5.0 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Alright, so you don’t often see a multi-functional pedal on the top list of anything. In most cases, such pedals are somewhere in the middle where they offer a good performance of each of their two effects, but not really anything you would want to write home about. BBE Mind Bender Dual-Mode Analog Vibrato/Chorus breaks that rule, and brings a completely mind bending (no pun intended) experience to those in need of some sweet, sweet vibrato.

This pedal’s main advantage, beside its dual personality, is the fact that it costs about half of what you would have to pay for a boutique vibrato pedal, while bringing a performance that is pretty close to one such pedal. All analog design combined with a sensible spectrum of both vibrato and chorus, make this unit a prime stompbox for those in need of a reliable mid range solution. In this price range, you won’t find a better deal.


Diamond Vibrato

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Features:4.9 Stars
Controls:4.9 Stars
Performance:5.0 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Now that we have worked our way through some of the more affordable models, let’s take a look at one heavy hitter elite unit that just takes vibrate to a whole new level of awesomeness. Diamond Vibrato – a pedal that bears a simple name, is also one of the most intriguing designs you can find under the vibrato umbrella. The whole thing is analog, but it uses a type of technology that creates very precise analog pitch shifting, giving you clinically accurate vibrato on demand.

On top of that, it has a built in chorus feature that is a byproduct of its circuitry. It’s not marketed as a chorus pedal, but it’s definitely capable of giving you the type of effect that can go toe to toe with most modern chorus heavy hitters. True bypass comes as standard, along with a switch that lets you activate a darker type of vibrato, that is suitable for jazz or similar genres. In short, this is the type of pedal you might want to get if you got a bit looser budget to work with. Needless to say, the investment is very much worth it.


Boss VB-2W Vibrato

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Features:4.9 Stars
Controls:4.9 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Pitch shifting effects pedals, and modulation pedals in general, seem to be something that Boss is quite comfortable with producing. They always come up with fairly balanced solutions that bring a great combination of price, performance and overall quality. There is a reason why they are the staple brand for any aspiring guitar player out there. Boss VB-2W Vibrato is a very peculiar unit, since it is placed in a higher tier of pedals compared to where you usually find Boss products. This is also reflected by its price.

The pedal comes packed with awesome features, and delivers a performance that is on the level of top tier boutique units. That is no exaggeration in any way. Boss VB-2W Vibrato is a pro league stompbox with all the necessary components and elements. Whether you are looking for a great vibrato effect that will last you a long time, or just something on a higher level of quality, Boss VB-2W Vibrato is definitely am model to put on your list.


Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe

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Features:4.5 Stars
Controls:4.8 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

The last stompbox we want to talk about is the good old Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe. In all honesty, this list just wouldn’t be complete without this pedal somewhere on it. Dunlop’s Uni-Vibe has been around for a long, long time. We are talking ’60s here. The fact that it has managed to cling on as one of the most trusty vibrato pedals on the market is just a testament to how sturdy Dunlop made this thing in the first place. Sure, it’s a revamp with some tweaks, but the core of this Uni-Vibe is still very much the same.

The pedal is extremely simple, which is something a lot of users can appreciate. It comes featuring only three controls, and offers true bypass as a standard part of the package. On top of that, Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe is priced just right – not too expensive, nor too cheap. If you are looking for the authentic vintage vibrato/chorus setup, this is one pedal that can get you that type of experience and then some.


The Vibrato Effect Explained

Vibrato effect is a very interesting animal. Like we have mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is mistake for a tremolo and vice versa, way too often. There is an understandable reason for that confusion, though. These two effects are pretty similar. The main difference is that vibrato uses pitch shifting to create the wavy effect, while tremolo uses volume modulation. On top of that, vibrato effect actually sounds exactly like the sound you would get if you were to work the tremolo bar on your guitar. That alone is enough to confuse a lot of people.

In practice, the main difference between the two is that tremolo induces a consistent frequency that retains those defined peaks and dips as it slowly dies off. On the other hand, vibrato achieves a more refined effect that is similar in nature, but much more organic. Because of that, vibrato is something you can use quite liberally in a variety of genres, where tremolo requires tempo alignment and other precautions to be taken into consideration.

Conclusion

In the end, vibrato is one of those effects that you don’t get to see too often, however it is making its way back into the mainstream. Just how practical vibrato can be is hard to describe since it can be used in so many different applications. If you are looking for a new effects pedal to spice up your tone a little, adding one of these stompboxes could be just the kind of solution you were looking for. All of the models we have shown you today are very much capable of giving you the necessary performance. That goes whether you chose to get the something as cheap as that Behringer, or as expensive as that Diamond. Decent vibrato can take you long ways.