In 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 new-old-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 rapid-fire 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-fly tweaking of the speed.
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 the Vibrato side, and fast Leslie-speaker impersonations.
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.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.