Monday, April 23, 2018

Pet Peeve: Tremolo and Vibrato are NOT the Same Thing


A slight rant for today, as I hear the terms tremolo and vibrato used interchangeably. Here is the gist of it: tremolo modifies volume and vibrato modifies pitch.

To obtain a tremolo effect, the amplitude of an incoming signal raises and lowers (oscillates), so the listener hears a pulsing wave of sound. Depending on the size of the amplitude (how high the waves and troughs are), a tremolo can be heard as a gentle throb or it can be like the volume is turned on and off rapidly.

To get a vibrato effects, the frequency of the it’s the frequency of the signal needs to be raised or lowered, or goes sharp and flat. This can result in otherworldly cool sounds. If you have ever seen a violinist wiggling his or her left hand on the fingerboard – that is what vibrato is all about.

That is it, the rant is over. If only amp and guitar manufacturers could figure this out…


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