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Old 04-19-2013, 03:20 AM   #1
trashedlostfdup
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'chorus' 'vibrato' 'vibe' technical function

i was in another thread talking about 'a tremolo' as being regarded as a bridge but its really a 'vibrato' because it alters pitch, not volume.

now that makes sense, but the industry standard term (as far as i would consider, and fender as well) is 'tremolo' even though its a 'vibrato.'

so now i am interested into the aspect of how 'chorus' 'vibrato' 'vibe' are doing on the technical side as far as pedals go.

what does a chorus technically do? vibrato? vibe (as in a voodoo lab microvibe)?

im going to bed.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:51 AM   #2
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I'm probably not the best source to answer here, but as a general rule, Tremolo alters volume back and forth, whereas vibrato and chorus actually alter the pitch of your note. Chorus does this more subtly, which is why it gets the shimmer it does, but can't do the really drastic range of shifting that vibrato does. As far as I can tell, phaser and vibe are cousins in what they actually do, shifting the EQ of a signal in and out of phase. Again, I'm not the most seasoned source but I hope it helped.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:59 AM   #3
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Do you mean a tremolo arm/whammy bar? Then yes, it is stupidly named because it doesn't tremolo, it does in fact vibrato.

Look into how they originally crated the sounds to find out how it's made. I believe chorus (or possibly flange) is made by playing the same track through two old tape players & the slight variance in speed makes the weird sound.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:55 AM   #4
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The vibrato/tremolo thing dates back to when Fender first stuck them on their guitars. Leo Fender was something of a hack and called them the wrong thing; since they were the first successful, popular guitars to have them, though, people adopted Leo's terminology. A similar thing happened with coil splitting and coil tapping.

It doesn't really make it okay. You're getting terms wrong, leading to more issues when you have tremolo effects and talk about vibrato technique. It's a problem when a Telecaster with coil tapping comes along and people don't understand how you can possibly make it work without a humbucker. Stick to the correct terms and it makes life much easier for everyone.

Now, as far as the effects go, it's very simple.

Tremolo is a fluctuation in volume, as long as the volume then returns to its original level. Simply taking the volume down or up is of course just a change in volume. Tremolo can be fast, slow, an extreme effect or very subtle. Volume changes = tremolo.

Vibrato is a change and return in pitch. Again, slow, fast, deep, subtle, it doesn't matter. Vibrato is always the alteration of pitch.

Chorus multiplies the original signal and shifts pitch. The pitch does not go up and down (or down and up). A chorus effect can be as simple as making a double of the original signal and lowering the pitch by 3 cents, or it can be as complex as making a hundred copies of the signal and shifting each one a quarter of a step. If you move the pitch a half step or more then it is no longer chorus and is, instead, a harmony effect (though of course a simple half step harmony wouldn't be very, er, harmonious). The important thing to note is that with chorus the original signal is still there. Note that the duplicates made by a chorus pedal can also have their tone altered, very often by removing some of the highest frequencies.

I like to think of it like singing. Tremolo = moving the mic further and closer. Vibrato = singing higher and lower. Chorus = a choir where not everybody is bang-on pitch.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:55 AM   #5
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MrFlibble summed it up.
Vibe pedals (like the univibe/rotovibe) are Rotating Leslie Speaker simulators. IIRC Phasers and Leslie speakers are quite similar.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:13 AM   #6
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Mr Flibble, you sir are a fountain of knowledge.


I then noticed you were from Bath & read the whole thing in my best West country accent. Endless fun!

Edit: This bit sounded like something Phil from Time Team would say:
Now, as far as the effects go, it's very simple.

Last edited by AndyGray : 04-19-2013 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
The vibrato/tremolo thing dates back to when Fender first stuck them on their guitars. Leo Fender was something of a hack and called them the wrong thing; since they were the first successful, popular guitars to have them, though, people adopted Leo's terminology. A similar thing happened with coil splitting and coil tapping.

It doesn't really make it okay. You're getting terms wrong, leading to more issues when you have tremolo effects and talk about vibrato technique. It's a problem when a Telecaster with coil tapping comes along and people don't understand how you can possibly make it work without a humbucker. Stick to the correct terms and it makes life much easier for everyone.

Now, as far as the effects go, it's very simple.

Tremolo is a fluctuation in volume, as long as the volume then returns to its original level. Simply taking the volume down or up is of course just a change in volume. Tremolo can be fast, slow, an extreme effect or very subtle. Volume changes = tremolo.

Vibrato is a change and return in pitch. Again, slow, fast, deep, subtle, it doesn't matter. Vibrato is always the alteration of pitch.

Chorus multiplies the original signal and shifts pitch. The pitch does not go up and down (or down and up). A chorus effect can be as simple as making a double of the original signal and lowering the pitch by 3 cents, or it can be as complex as making a hundred copies of the signal and shifting each one a quarter of a step. If you move the pitch a half step or more then it is no longer chorus and is, instead, a harmony effect (though of course a simple half step harmony wouldn't be very, er, harmonious). The important thing to note is that with chorus the original signal is still there. Note that the duplicates made by a chorus pedal can also have their tone altered, very often by removing some of the highest frequencies.

I like to think of it like singing. Tremolo = moving the mic further and closer. Vibrato = singing higher and lower. Chorus = a choir where not everybody is bang-on pitch.

Then why do chorus pedals have a control for rate? I thought it controlled how fast the effected signal went up and down. At least with my MXR Micro Chorus when the rate is high, I can hear the effected signal pitch going up and down. I think you will also hear it when you have the rate knob at low and range knob at high (though my pedal only has one knob and it's rate).

Also vibrato on wind instruments can be done like what you would call "tremolo". I think that's how you do it on flute. Though I think that also changes the pitch a bit.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyGray
I then noticed you were from Bath & read the whole thing in my best West country accent. Endless fun!

Edit: This bit sounded like something Phil from Time Team would say:
Now, as far as the effects go, it's very simple.
Did you know Phil is a mighty axeman himself?



He plays a lot 'round Salisbury, check the pubs if you're ever in the area.

I love the west country accent, I wish mine were stronger. It's always good for a laugh. Got a mate down in Devon who can say 'pasty' like you would not believe. I actually sound quite posh, there's only a few syllables I pronounce la west country.

Ahem. Anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Then why do chorus pedals have a control for rate?
Depends on the product in question. Some provide the option of fluctuating the pitch in addition to the basic duplicate/shift effect (technically this is chorus with vibrato); some swap it between the duplicate signals; some incorporate stereo panning and the rate control effects how quickly the signals are panned, which can sound like the pitch is just shifting when used with a mono cab. Some use a 'rate' control to adjust how far up or down in pitch the duplicated signals are shifted, though they don't actually shift them as they continue to play out.
The best way to know what a specific product is doing is to simply buy it, read the manual and use it. The definitions of what are tremolo, vibrato, chorus, flange, phaser and everything else are pretty simple, but there are so many thousands of pedals and rack units out there that you're always going to get slightly different takes on it, combinations of effect, etc. This is why generally when talking about different effects, guitars, amps and whatever, we simplify our terms down to whatever is the most dominant element. A chorus pedal is still called a chorus pedal even if it does have a vibrato effect added to it; a delay pedal is still called just a delay pedal even if it has reverb and modulation options; a Les Paul is still called a Les Paul even if it's hollowed out and has a bolt-on neck.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:32 AM   #9
MaggaraMarine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
Did you know Phil is a mighty axeman himself?



He plays a lot 'round Salisbury, check the pubs if you're ever in the area.

I love the west country accent, I wish mine were stronger. It's always good for a laugh. Got a mate down in Devon who can say 'pasty' like you would not believe. I actually sound quite posh, there's only a few syllables I pronounce la west country.

Ahem. Anyway...

Depends on the product in question. Some provide the option of fluctuating the pitch in addition to the basic duplicate/shift effect (technically this is chorus with vibrato); some swap it between the duplicate signals; some incorporate stereo panning and the rate control effects how quickly the signals are panned, which can sound like the pitch is just shifting when used with a mono cab. Some use a 'rate' control to adjust how far up or down in pitch the duplicated signals are shifted, though they don't actually shift them as they continue to play out.
The best way to know what a specific product is doing is to simply buy it, read the manual and use it. The definitions of what are tremolo, vibrato, chorus, flange, phaser and everything else are pretty simple, but there are so many thousands of pedals and rack units out there that you're always going to get slightly different takes on it, combinations of effect, etc. This is why generally when talking about different effects, guitars, amps and whatever, we simplify our terms down to whatever is the most dominant element. A chorus pedal is still called a chorus pedal even if it does have a vibrato effect added to it; a delay pedal is still called just a delay pedal even if it has reverb and modulation options; a Les Paul is still called a Les Paul even if it's hollowed out and has a bolt-on neck.

Yeah, makes sense. My RP355 multi FX has chorus effect models and I think all of them have the pitch changing. Then there's a detune effect that sounds pretty much the same but it doesn't have the pitch going up and down.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:41 PM   #10
trashedlostfdup
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thank you all for the answers.

i kind of knew the Leo using the wrong term from the start from past knowledge.

but i wanted to know the technical properties to the effects.

interesting bit on the chorus.

now that i think about it, i don't think i have ever seen a leslie in person that i know of.

thank you. it may seem like it was trivial, but i just wanted to learn.



if anybody has more feel free to go for more.
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