In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: March 08, 2021
Prime Sound is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Vibrato is one of the key ways that musicians add expression and bring their sound to life. It adds character and personality to your playing and, if done right, can give notes a vocal quality that can’t be matched. To do this, of course, you’ll need a vibrato pedal.
To put together this review, we looked at a few key features. One of the most important is the circuit type. These pedals come with either digital or analog circuits, and each brings an entirely different sound. Next, we looked at the interface. How many knobs are there? How many different aspects of the sound can you control? Another thing to think about is whether you want a pedal that does strictly vibrato or one that has additional effects, like chorus or tremolo. We considered dimensions, too, because some people prefer a larger footprint than others. Finally, we considered the price. Believe it or not, you can get a decent vibrato pedal without investing a lot of money.
We spent hours analyzing data from manufacturer’s sites and pouring through reviews from both professional musicians and amateurs who play using these pedals every day to figure out what products were worth your time. The first thing you’ll see is a table where you can compare all of our picks side by side to see what each one has to offer. After that are in-depth reviews of each product, followed by a detailed buying guide that explains everything you need to know to find the right vibrato pedal for you.
The best analog vibrato pedal is also our Editor’s Choice, the Boss VB-2W Waza Craft Vibrato Pedal. Believe it or not, the original version of this design, the VB-2, debuted in 1982 and the redesign is popular once again thanks to its one-of-a-kind sound.
The modern VB-2W uses the same all-analog circuitry to create the vibrato and pitch-shift of the original with a new updated vibrato option and real-time adjustments to enhance your sound. In standard mode, you get a near-perfect reproduction of the original vibrato while custom mode gives you something completely new.
The four-knob control layout is a little difficult to use when compared to some of the other pedals we reviewed. There’s a knob for rate, depth, and rise time as well as a fourth knob to switch between latch, bypass, and unilatch. The unilatch mode comes in really handy; it creates the vibrato effect only when you press the pedal, which means you a lot of control over your sound.
Customers didn’t have many complaints about this pedal. It creates a great sound and people were very happy with it. That said, it is on the expensive side, but that’s to be expected for something with such a history.
If you’re in the market for a good vibrato pedal but don’t want to spend a lot of money, take a look at our budget pick, the Kokko Acoustic Guitar Effect Pedal (FVB2).
The vibrato is controlled with simple, clearly marked knobs that let you ramp the effect up or down, change the speed or rate of the vibrato, and adjust the depth and intensity. This pedal uses true bypass for a clean tone and has a single footswitch for easy operation. There are also two foam feet on the bottom to prevent it from slipping, though they’re kind of thin so there’s a good chance they’ll wear off quickly over time.
Considering the price, this is a pretty durable pedal. It’s made primarily of aluminum alloy and holds up pretty well. Plus, it weighs only 4.5 ounces, so it’s really easy to pack up with your gear without adding too much bulk. Keep in mind that this is small in size. The dimensions are only 3.7 x 1.4 x 1.6 inches. Some people were surprised and expected something larger.
The control knobs are effective, but some users stated that they felt they should have been a little tighter. Because they rotate so easily, it’s difficult to make fine adjustments. Plus, any small bump can move the knobs away from the setting you chose.
What we liked:
Clearly labeled control knobs for rate, depth, and ramp
Aluminum alloy construction
What could be better:
Non-slip pads are thin and may wear off quickly
Knobs are very sensitive and move easily when bumped
The best guitar vibrato pedal if you want something that gives you a lot of sound options is the Donner Guitar Modulation Effect Pedal. It has seven effects in all, including vibrato, chorus A and B, tremolo, phaser, rotary, and flanger, allowing you to add a lot of color and personality to your sound.
This pedal features a digital circuit design with a true bypass that makes for a clean, consistent sound. Three smaller easy-to-adjust knobs control your sound: effects level, depth, and rate. Chose the effect you want by turning the large center knob.
The body is made from aluminum alloy and is super strong and durable. It weighs a little more than 10 ounces and is a nice size at 3.9 x 2.5 x 2.4”. The bright blue metallic finish looks great and is so bright that you can’t miss it.
People who use this pedal commented that it was very solidly built and that the footprint was small and easy to work with. Most people felt that all of the effects were pretty decent though some worked a little better than others. As for the vibrato, opinions were split. Some people felt it was great, while others thought there was some room for improvement.
What we liked:
7 different effects
Knob controls for rate, depth, and effect level
Sturdy aluminum alloy build
Bright metallic blue color
What could be better:
Opinions on how good the vibrato effect is split
Not all of the effects are of the same level of quality
We’re calling the Behringer Ultra Vibrato UV300 Classic Vibrato Instrument Effects Pedal our best authentic vibrato pedal because it creates a sound that’s straight out of the 60s and 70s. The design is sleek, stylish, and intuitive, and we love the cool green color. It weighs just shy of 12 ounces and is pretty compact with a small footprint.
Behringer designed this pedal to go up against the best of the best while creating a more vintage sound at a lower price point. It features an easy-to-use three-knob design to adjust rise, rate, and depth characteristics as well as a switch to change from unilatch, bypass, and latch modes. There’s also a convenient LED light to let you know when the pedal is on and if the battery is low.
The case is made of plastic which some reviewers took issue with. While it’s not as tough as pedals with metal cases, it should hold up just fine if treated gently. Some people loved the sound while others felt it wasn’t quite as deep and rich as they would like, but others felt it was a great sound for the money. This is hands down the best vibrato pedal at this price point.
Our pick for best chorus vibrato pedal is the Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato. This pedal creates an effect that could have come straight from the 1960s and gives your sound a classic, vintage feel. The minimalist styling looks cool, and the 5.5 x 2.5 x 4.5” dimensions create the perfect footprint for easy access when playing.
With true bypass, you can be sure that your tone always sounds as clear as possible. The simple three-knob controls let you easily adjust the speed, depth, and level of the vibrato effect, which gives you a lot of control. First, choose between vibrato and chorus mode. Then, adjust the level to set the volume, speed to control the rate, and depth to determine the intensity.
One of the best things about this pedal is how durable it is. The metal case not only looks great but is strong enough to prevent easy damage when traveling. For the most part, people didn’t have a lot of complaints about this pedal though there was mention that it tends to be heavy on the bass and mid-tones. Some users mentioned that they were unable to correct this no matter how much they tinkered with the knobs.
What we liked:
3-knob controls for speed, depth, and effect level
We love the simple design of the TC Electronic TAILSPIN VIBRATO. With a single pedal and two simple knobs, it’s one of the easiest pedals to use, and we dig the 1980’s retro design. The 5.2” × 2.9” × 2.3” size is just right, although it’s a little heavy at just over a pound.
This pedal has a true bypass to maintain the integrity of your sound and uses an all-analog circuit for character and depth. The knobs let you control vibrato rate and depth to create a variety of different sounds, including subtle bends and more pronounced wobbles. The great thing about the old school design is it produces a natural vibrato tone that you can use in different styles of music.
One of the best things about the vibrato pedal is the metal chassis. It’s tough and durable, which is pretty impressive for a product at this price point. Another great thing about this design is that it doesn’t cause a volume drop or boost at all, which helps your sound remain stable no matter how long you play.
Most people had nothing bad to say about this pedal, though some users felt that, while it was great for medium to high-speed vibrato, its performance dipped a little when the rate was slowed.
What we liked:
Simply two-knob design for rate and depth control
Natural vibrato tone
Durable metal chassis
What could be better:
Performance dips slightly when the vibrato rate is slow
What surprised us the most about the Sonicake Chorus Vibrato Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal is not only that it’s the best mini vibrato pedal we found in our research but that it’s also capable of doing so much. The small 3.9 x 2.9 x 1.4” pedal is loaded with features and does the work of three separate modulation pedals.
This pedal is capable of 11 distinct effects, including a massive jet-like tone with a lot of feedback, classic flanger, jazz amplifier, lush chorus, two different tremolos, two vibratos, an auto-wah filter, and more. There are three control knobs at the top of the pedal to adjust mix, rate, and depth and a large center dial to choose the effect you want.
Some people mentioned that you can hear the pedal through the amp, which isn’t ideal. It’s also been known to drop the volume pretty hard and changes the tone a bit. Another issue was that some people liked a few of the sounds but didn’t feel they all performed as well as they should. Still, most users had good things to say about this one and, when keeping the price in mind, you’re really getting a lot of bang for your buck.
What we liked:
11 different effects
3-knob controls for mix rate, and depth
Good buy for the money
What could be better:
Can sometimes hear pedal through the amp
Changes tone occasionally
Not all effects perform with the same level of quality
Things to Consider
Using a vibrato pedal is one way to take your sound to the next level. If you’re not sure what to look for, this buying guide should help you gain a better understanding of what to look for when shopping.
Features to consider while choosing vibrato pedal
Not all vibrato pedals are created equal, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of options to consider when choosing the right vibrato pedal. Here are some of the main features you should know about before you make your decision.
To choose a pedal with good sound quality, you first have to understand a little bit about how these pedals work. This is actually a pretty complicated process, but here’s a simple explanation. The pedal receives an input signal from the guitar and sends it through the circuitry where the magic happens, and the effects are added before the signal is sent to the output.
You’ll see that some of our picks, like the Kokko Acoustic Guitar Effect Pedal (FVB2), have what’s called true bypass. This basically means that the part of the circuitry inside the pedal that adds the vibrato effect is separate from the rest so you can turn it completely off and on. A true bypass can be noisy when turning it off and on so some people prefer a buffered circuit, which is quieter. Buffered circuits are also more reliable with longer cables than true bypass but tend to dirty up the input signal a bit. There are pros and cons to each so, ultimately, this boils down to personal preference.
The benefit of having more than one effect is obvious, you get more than one way to manipulate your sound without having to invest in separate pedals or extra equipment. So, what’s the downside? Well, you never know how good the effects are going to sound. What are the chances that they’re all going to be great? What if you have a pedal with 11 effects and you only like the sound of, say, four of them? Some would say, yeah, that’s still worth it because you’re getting four really good effects with one pedal. Others would say it’s a waste if there are 11 effects and you only ever use four. Again, this boils down to personal preference.
There are two types of circuits, analog and digital. Analog signals do not have any breaks while digital signals are made up of multiple points. Here’s one way to think about it. When someone counts out loud by halves, you hear them say, “One, one and a half, two, two and a half” without interruption. It’s smooth and continuous. That’s analog. When someone counts on their fingers, whole numbers are easy, but there’s no way to clearly show halves without creating distinct and separate movements or points. It’s a little disjointed. That’s digital.
Analog circuits, like the Boss VB-2W Waza Craft Vibrato Pedal, react to subtle changes better and create a more natural sound than digital. Analog circuits are generally considered better, but that doesn’t mean digital circuits don’t have a lot to offer. It just depends what kind of sound you’re looking for. Digital signals are great for sampling and presets, and some people just like the sound.
When choosing a pedal, think about where you’re going to put it while you play. Do you have a pedalboard? Is it going to go on the floor in front of you? Dimensions don’t really have anything to do with how the pedal sounds or performs, but they are important physically using the pedal. Make sure it’s the right size for your setup and, to some extent, your feet.
The price tags on these pedals vary quite a bit. You can find a vibrato pedal for anywhere from $40 to $200 and everywhere in between. It’s a good idea to invest as much as you can afford. Don’t sweat it if you have to settle for one at the low end of the price range. Some of the less expensive models sound just as good, but they may not have a metal chassis or multiple effects like the more expensive options.
A lot of people don’t know the difference between vibrato and tremolo. In fact, some musicians probably can’t explain how they’re different because, admittedly, they do sound similar. Vibrato is created by a subtle change in pitch where the volume remains the same. Tremolo is created with a change in volume where the pitch remains the same.
Analog circuits are considered better because they sound more natural. No – they are more natural. The sound coming from the guitar itself is analog. In fact, all natural sounds are analog which makes it a nicer sound for your ears. By its nature, everything about a digital circuit is programmed which leaves little room for variation. Analog circuits better translate all the little nuances that make music interesting.
As we mentioned, in true bypass, the part of the circuit that creates the effect is separate from the direct circuit that goes from the input to the output. When the bypass is turned on, the signal travels through the separate circuit where it’s processed to create the vibrato effect. When it’s turned off, the input follows a direct circuit to the output, bypassing the separate circuit that adds changes the sound. Since the signal travels down a more direct path to the output when you’re not adding vibrato, true bypass gives you a purer, cleaner sound.
Our Editor’s Choice is the Boss VB-2W Waza Craft Vibrato Pedal. It’s a great option if you’re looking for an analog pedal and is based on the original 1982 design. Standard mode gives you a near-perfect reproduction of the original sound while custom mode brings something completely new.
Next, we recommend the Kokko Acoustic Guitar Effect Pedal (FVB2). Not only is this a budget-friendly option, but it also has a simple design that’s easy to use. In addition to changing the speech and depth of the vibrato, you can also ramp the effect up or down to create a unique sound.
Finally, check out the Donner Guitar Modulation Effect Pedal. In addition to vibrato, this pedal has six other effects, including chorus, flanger, and tremolo. The aluminum alloy chassis is strong and durable, too, which makes this a great choice for traveling between home and the studio or whatever gig you’re heading to next.