Due to a trend that was basically started and promulgated by Fender, vibrato and tremolo have long been utilized interchangeably. This mistake has been repeated many times not only by the customers who didn’t know any better, but the manufacturers themselves. You will see countless pedals out there that are essentially tremolos but market themselves as vibratos. For that reason, it has become really difficult to find the stompboxes that stay true to the character of the effect and don’t try to sell you something that is actually something else. Sometimes we have to turn to the vintage originals in order to locate true vibrato pedals. One of them is definitely the VB-2 from Boss that was released back in 1982. Though it didn’t catch on right away, its price rose significantly after the brand discontinued this model. From then on, we craved something that would replicate the same feel and character and most importantly, deliver vibrato that relied on pitch shifting – just like it should. Boss has reincarnated the original in their VB-2w pedal that is part of the Waza Craft series. This fella has a lot to offer and proves to be one of the best vibrato pedals out there. If you want to experience all the virtues of such an amazing pedal, then keep on reading this article, scrutinize all the necessary features until you get convinced to give it a shot. Let’s begin!
The effect that shook the world back in 1980s had to be equipped with analog circuitry. Otherwise it would have a different feel and definitely would not be the same. VB-2w utilizes bucket-brigade chips in order to produce the effect. It is part of the Waza Craft series that provides us with special edition pedals. This time Boss has done its best to concentrate its efforts on technical correctness and the results have followed. We have quite a feature-laden package here: this bad boy combines vintage sounds with modern requirements and enables the players to experiment with both. Custom mode creates a new vibrato that has a very distinctive feel to it and perfectly matches everything contemporary times ask for. Standard mode, on the other hand, replicates the exact sonic palette of the original VB-2. This way you can easily switch between the two and see, which one speaks to your soul more. In addition, VB-2w has a footswitch that operates in three modes: Latch lets you click once to activate pedal, Bypass triggers the true bypass mode in which your tone remains uncolored when it bypasses the unit, while Unlatch turns on momentary operation and enables you to utilize press and hold motion for employing the effect. Boss knows how important depth is in creating the vibrato effect, so they have included a dedicated input for the expression pedal (which alters the depth, duh). This multifaceted package gets even better when you add rugged enclosure and extreme durability to the equation. Boss did really get out of their way to bring back the memories of good ol’ days and yet still maintain the relevance in this day and age. We are truly amazed, Boss, what a pedal!
In order to bring to surface everything this pedal has to offer, you have to know what the control section is capable of. If you know what the deal with vibratos is, you will easily do that without my help as well. But if this is your first time, then let me make your life a bit easier and enable you to avoid reading the manual. I hope you like that idea.
What we have here is the combination of four knobs and a slide that refine vibrato perfectly and deliver it the way you like it. Rate alters the speed of effect and lets you go from subtle settings to more extreme ones easily. Depth changes the intensity of the effect and opens up quite a few possibilities with its range. Rise Time determines the time it needs before vibrato goes completely crazy and reaches its peak. Last encoder shifts between Latch, Bypass and Unlatch modes and makes it possible to select either depending on what you want in that moment. The slide I mentioned earlier allows you to choose Standard or Custom mode and go from vintage to modern sounds with a simple tweak. The pedal is activated via footswitch that takes up different functionalities depending on the settings chosen with the Mode selector.
The sound of Boss VB-2w is the part where none of the controversy can find their way. Its sonic capabilities cannot be doubted and that is a well-known fact. In custom settings, it accentuates the character of the BBD chips and saturates your being in their beautiful essence. The Standard mode is way more dramatic and can go as crazy as creating psychedelic tremolo-like results. As you start off slow, you hear the modulation crawling to the surface slowly and pulsating in the distance. As you increase the settings, the effect becomes more pronounced, with way more wobble and texture. All these mean one thing: VB-2w has a gigantic range to choose from no matter what you are looking for. Whether you are a vintage, modern, subtle or extreme guy – this pedal has something for you. The replication of VB-2 sounds is identical, which is one of the reasons why this baby is worth every penny. And trust me, these words don’t even come close to the actual experience you will have with this pedal.
To sum up everything said above, Boss made history once again when they put together VB-2w. This pedal is not only the replication of original VB-2, but it also has added features that set it apart from the competition. Its unique and distinctive feel offer an alternative to the sounds that have been considered as standard for many years now. Invest in this fella, as it is worth every single penny. After all, it has hardly any flaws, can you believe it? Good luck!
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