Guyatone VT-X Flip Tremolo : Gimmick or Legit?

Started by afrogoose, February 13, 2008, 04:18:35 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I went to the music store a while back to try out some tremolo pedals, and the clerk at the store told me that the Guyatone was his favorite.  After playing it I had to agree that it was a really nice sounding pedal.  I  compared it to the Fulltone trem, which had a bit more of a natural/ even eq.  The Flip tremolo was a bit boxy sounding, but the tremolo effect was nicer than the Fulltone.  Anyway, I was curious if anyone knows how the tube is used in the circuit.  Is it marketing B.S. or is it actually contributing to the tremolo?  I know from experience that the older fender (brown face and blonde) amps that use tube biased tremolo sound much nicer than the tremolo on my blackface deluxe reverb, which sort of seems to be the basis of all the tremolo pedals out there (so far as I can tell).  If the Guyatone is a gimmick, is it that hard to splice the tremolo circuit from the old fender amps and build it into a pedal?


If the Guyatone is a gimmick, is it that hard to splice the tremolo circuit from the old fender amps and build it into a pedal?
  I've heard of only one company, not Guyatone, putting tubes in for show only.
  Whether it's a HV tube circuit or tube bias type tremolo I don't know.
  Can Jfet emulation be created, don't know, I would 1/2 imagine it's been at least looked at.
  Can a tube tremolo be hard? the chassis, layout and power supply, as well as the circuit itself might pose high hurdles, but not barriers to a one off prototype. Sharing an amps power supply and chassis is one probable reason why separate tube tremolo's arent' common.
Convention creates following, following creates convention.


I have a guyatone metal monster, which also uses a valve in the same flip series of effects, so this comment relates to that pedal, but it may help you. The bypass on the pedal is not fantastic. I am not a super tone guru who can hear if a boss pedal is in the pedal chain because of the way it colours the tone in bypass mode, but I have noticed a significant signal loss with the Metal Monster in bypass. If they use the same switching for the Tremelo then I expect you will suffer from similar problems.

I also found that the tube was an active part of the circuit in the distortion - although it was totally ruined by the bad transistor distortion that came after. I noticed siginificant sound differences with different tubes - and all sounded equally tranistorised ha ha! It was just a pretty bad circuit design - but then again it delivered heaps of gain and sounded like a metalzone, which was probably its target pedal... so maybe they succeeded!

So yeah, Metal Monster= bypass no good; tube an important (although wasted) part of the circuit.

Hope this helps a bit mate!
Built: GGG Green Ringer


For a good tube tremolo check out the Bullitt from The Tone God. Just search for it above.

Mark Hammer

Gimmick = sounds pretty good but it didn't need to use a tube to sound that way or do what it does.
Legit = sounds good, and the key reason it sounds like it does is because of how it uses a tube.

I have no idea which of those two the Flip falls under, since a) tremolo in tube amps is achieved in a number of different ways (some of which involve output rather than preamp stages) and we have no idea which way it is used, and b) we have no idea what aspect of the tremolo the recommender likes.  I have a Line 6 Tap Tremolo at home, and I like the emulation of tube-bias tremolo that it can produce, but a) the effect is clearly not a product of using DSP rather than tubes or discrete analog, and b) you still have no idea what it is specifically that I like about tube-bias tremolo.

The current newstand issue of Guitar Player has a "tremolo shootout" and so does Jack O's AMZ site ( ).  The Empress Tremolo that a buddy of mine makes is also a very nice tremolo unit that does some interesting tricks, as I'm sure the Z-Vex Trem-O-Rama does too.  In that same GP issue, John Fogerty mentions a tremolo pedal derived from his old Kustom amp that may well hit the market.  I can also recomment the phase-filter mod on the Small Stone or Ross unitsd as an interesting spin-off of the trem-o-vibe thing.

Undulation seems to be back these days. :icon_biggrin: