The Hardwire TR-7 Tremolo/Rotary pedal ($139 street) is a remarkably versatile—and in many ways ingenious—sound modulation tool.
Tremolo is, of course, one of the classic guitar effects and was once a standard feature on tube amps. The TR-7 provides a basic tremolo effect, but also models vintage Fender and Vox tremolos, a Leslie rotary speaker cabinet, a UniVibe effect, a dual tremolo and a panning stereo version called VibroPan.
The basic tremolo modulation is inspiringly warm and initially the most compelling sound. It’s hard not to feel like a Nick Cave sideman strumming surly, warbling chords. The Opto (Fender) and Bias (Vox) modes are a revelation, too. They take a little longer to get a feel for, but once their sound clicks, you won’t want to turn them off again.
The other modes are a little more esoteric, but a lot of fun to play with. The stereo input and output offers the user a lot of different options for routing dual signals in and routing them to different sources. VibroPan especially benefits from being plugged into two amps, as does the rotary function. And yes, the TR-7 has tap tempo.
The ingenious element of this pedal is the “modify” knob, which has different functions depending the mode. In the Opto and Bias modes it’s a tone control. In Tremolo modes, it modifies the shape of the wave. In other modes it controls chorus, phase and dry level. It’s a clever use of space on what could be a more complex-looking pedal.
The TR-7 is an excellent addition to an already great lineup of delay and echo pedals in Hardwire’s line. Its versatility means you have a ton of options to play with, but when you get stuck into a mode, you won’t want to change a thing. —Howard Stock