Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 133
BRIDGE OF FLOYD
Jam Pedals RetroVibe
n a civilized world, every guitarist would
have a bit of Robin Trower, Pink Floyd, and
Band Of Gypsys shimmer in their musical
vocabulary. Fitting, then, that a company
headquartered in Greece - cradle of Western
civilization - has taken it upon itself to help
guitarists reach such lofty heights.
Jam Pedals' RetroVibe produces succulent
old-school flavor thanks in part to its newold-stock (NOS) 2SC828 transistors and
carbon-comp resistors - the same used in
the 1969 Uni-Vibe. Jam added an internal
trim pot so the user can dial-in maximum
intensity without sacrificing character.
Inside, four photocells surrounding a pulsating light source offer cork-sniffing Uni-Vibe
aficionados the experience of a thick chorus/
vibrato effect in all its swirling oceanic beauty.
Manipulating the Speed knob slows it down
to deep-sea effects and speeds up to a rapidfire warble as you progress to higher settings.
The only other controls are a Depth knob
to manipulate the pulsating intensity of
the throb and a toggle that moves from
Chorus to Vibrato. The RetroVibe also
has an expression pedal input to allow
for smoother on-the-f ly tweaking of the
Running on a 9-volt adapter and wired
true-bypass, the RetroVibe is sturdy, has a
cool paint job, and doesn't take up a lot of
space. On the Chorus side, with the control
knobs set at 12 o'clock, you're immersed in
watery realm with all the nuances of hallucinatory Trower and the Floyd's "Breathe."
Judicious tweaking offers tone that can
be fattened with smidgeons of warble on
Billionaire by Danelectro Big Spender
n this day and age, there's a lot of spin going
down, but perhaps not enough of the right
type. Enter the new Billionaire line of affordable effects from Danelectro, including
the Big Spender spinning-speaker simulator.
It's spin control in all the best ways.
Leslie speaker cabs are big and bulky,
while Univox Uni-Vibes cost big bucks.
The Big Spender counters all of that with
its small size, simple controls, and alluring
The effect is housed in a sweet and stylish die-cast casing that's light and solid.
Its two-tone color scheme harkens to '50s
cars - and early rock and roll.
At its simplest, you really only need
to bother with the two footswitches.
"Effect" turns the box on or offers full
bypass; "Ramp" increases the "speed" of
the spinning-speaker simulation. Click it
once to light up the green LED and evoke
luscious slow-speed revolutions; hit it again
to accelerate to the red zone. The Speed dial
offers further fine control over each range.
Volume dials in output, while Treble
the Vibrato side, and fast Leslie-speaker
While it'll recall some truly iconic
rock sounds, the RetroVibe is more than
a one-dimensional impersonator. Dig
in and you'll find a gateway to a diverse
palette of chorusing and tremolo effects.
- Oscar Jordan
and mesmerizing rhythm, or sweeping
David Gilmour wet sounds that can send
you to outer space. The Big Spender responds
especially well to slower, more articulated
playing of chords and double-stops, adding
depth and richness. If you're looking to join
the rotary club on a budget, this is great place
to start. - Michael Dregni
boosts the top end for increasingly sparkling
and chimey sounds. It's all that simple.
The slower, green-lit speeds gave enough
spin simulation to make chords and
double-stops sound lush and lustrous.
Red tightened the sound nicely,
of fering Memphis
R&B and Motown
tones. But speed it up
too much while also
turning up the effect's volume and
you'll get some
You can dial
in SRV Texas
blue s tone s ,
Allman Brothers-like warmth