If I’m explaining to you what tremolo is for the first time, I might play you CCR’s intro to “Born on the Bayou” or The Black Keys’ “Howlin For You," but hands down, a song you never want to hear while riding that spinning teacup ride at Disney World is “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and The Shondells. Tremolo shows up on the guitar, bass and vocals tracks.
Now that you’re acquainted with that fun-loving choppy effect, I’m here to review the Mini Trem by Black Cat. Not only is it a dual-speed tremolo pedal, but it can also function as a clean boost.
The true bypass, all hand-wired pedal runs off of a top-mounted power jack or a 9-volt battery. There are two switches on the pedal. The On/Off, which is nothing new, simply turns the effect on or bypasses the pedal entirely. The Speed switch, which is unique to the pedal, turns the tremolo effect to half speed or double speed. There isn’t a tap/tempo feature on the pedal, but when the effect is on the bright yellow LED pulsates in time.
Next, a run-through of the knobs; Speed determines how fast you want the effect. Depth is how much you want the effect to saturate your signal. Tone gives you a flat signal at 12 o’clock or a nice bass or treble boost, depending on which way you turn it.
Boost acts as a volume knob. I feel it’s unsung hero of the Mini Trem. There are plenty of great tremolo pedals already on the market, but they have one problem; a slight volume drop when switched on. We’re guitarists; when have we ever wanted to be turned down?
Here’s a quick sound clip of me strumming a Les Paul. First I play clean, then I kick on the Mini Trem at half speed before going to double speed. Nothing fancy, but I wanted to demo the clean switching and no signal loss of the Mini Trem.
Overall, I can’t think of anything else you’d need from a tremolo pedal. It’s built tough as nails here in the US, and it goes from a soft slow tremolo to a fast abstract helicopter chopping effect.
Street price: $175