The History of Moog Music
Jesse at Rogue Guitar Shop here to bring you something from one of my all-time favorite musical gear manufacturers. Moog Music was originally founded by Robert Moog as R. A. Moog Co. in 1953. Based in Trumansburg, New York, they started off manufacturing theremin kits and moved into making analog modular synths in the mid 60's. Moog Music quickly became the standard all other synth manufacturers would try to live up to. Their synths have been a mainstay for legendary artists like The Beatles, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, and many more. Many digital synthesizers have come and gone over the years, but none have ever been able to truly replicate the sound of a real analog Moog.
In the 1990's Moog decided to bring their analog effect knowledge to the world of guitar players, with the Moogerfooger line. This line possessed many effects that have since become classics, each becoming the benchmark in their respective effect type. There were also a few unique designs, only made by Moog, that could produce sounds one would not expect from an effects pedal. However these pedals had a couple downsides for the average guitar player. Their size was quite large for a pedal and the price for each was rather expensive. Enter the Minifooger line!
Controls and Features of the Minifooger Trem
The Minifooger line would not replace the now legendary Moogerfooger line, but instead become an additional option. With their smaller size and friendlier price point, the Minifoogers are a fantastic alternative when you can't spare the board real estate for the Moogerfooger. So without any further ado, I bring you the Minifooger Trem, tremolo pedal. Having purchased the Minifooger Delay myself, and previously reviewing the MF Drive pedal, I knew Moog would not fail in living up to their standard of quality. But, beyond Fender amp tremolo and the tremolo arm on guitars, I'm not much of a trem guy. So I knew this would be an interesting one.
Controls consist of Shape, Speed, Depth, and Tone. Like all Minifooger pedals, the MF Trem has top mounted jacks, true bypass switching, and an expression pedal jack. The expression pedal input works the Speed control. All of the controls aside from Shape, are pretty standard to tremolo units. It's how they're implemented that's truly special. The Tone control is a low pass filter, which lets you shape the sound as dark or bright as needed. The Speed control alters the LFO speed. Depth is essentially a mix control that can make the tremolo soft and subtle or hard and choppy. The Shape control is truly unique as it allows control over the modulation wave shape, massive amounts of control in one single knob. This allows you to adjust which area of the wave has “weight” to it. Ok, time to see what this puppy can do!
Applications of the Minifooger Trem
Upon plugging it it, I decided to try the controls all at noon before trying any of the suggested settings. This produced a very amp tremolo-esque sound. Using the Moog EP-3 expression pedal, I'm able to adjust the speed from slow to extremely fast. A whole host of natural sounding tremolo sounds by just moving the treadle. Very cool for just setting everything to noon. I unplug the EP-3 as to get the true speed of each setting suggested. First suggestion I try is the Opto-Trem setting. This is with the Shape at noon, Tone at 2:00, Speed at 3:00, and Depth at 10:00. My ears were graced with a very accurate opto tremolo sound. Next I decided to try the Reverse setting, which I assumed is designed to simulate a reversed guitar sound. Shape is all the way down, Tone, Speed, and Depth all at noon. Running the trem with a little bit of fuzz, I was easily able to replicate the sweet psychedelic reversed guitar sounds of The Beatles. The Shape control is such a great thing to have with this type of effect. I was able to dial in a lot of non-tremolo sounding tones, including many I have never been able to replicate with anything else. The Depth control can make the tremolo so hard that it's literally chopping the notes into bits. Excellent for that helicopter type of sound made famous by The Who. I may not be a tremolo guy, but I am a MF Trem guy!
I hate to give a perfect score, but this is just about the most perfect pedal tremolo I've ever used, for me that is. I make a point that it's perfect for me, as it might not be perfect for you. Especially if you need more options, such as digital control. But for guys who want a ridiculously versatile and organic sounding tremolo, yet with a simple control set, you've gotta check out the Minifooger Trem!
Can't get enough Moogerfoogers? See Rogue's entire Moog Collection!