Stomp Box Basics:
Tremolo and Fuzz
Simple guitar effects circuits you can build. By Charles Platt
STOMP BOX 1.0: Harry DeArmond’s electromechanical tremolo generator, well over 50 years old.
Back in the day when guitar players marched around in frilly white shirts
and high-heeled boots while strumming flamenco riffs, Harry DeArmond
changed the path of popular music. He marketed the first successful electric
pickup, so that guitar sounds could be piped through an amplifier.
Ten years later, as if amplification weren’t radical handle on top (above). Still, it was the world’s first
enough, DeArmond jump-started the concept of guitar-sound hack, fetchingly titled the DeArmond
sound mods by selling the first stomp box. Actually Trem Trol. As its name implied, it created tremolo.
you couldn’t stomp it, the way today’s guitarists Anyone with a strong wrist can produce tremolo
use toe-operated switches to activate fuzz, sustain, manually by turning a volume control up and down
flangers, and such. It looked more like an antique 6 or 7 times a second. In other words, tremolo
portable radio, with two dials on the front and a carry modulates the amplitude of the signal. This can be
Photograph by Dan Formosa
82 Make: Volume 15