Build Your Own Vibrato

Make like Elvis with an "electronic" throbbing guitar

Once again, we have uncovered some great vintage plans for you.  These vibrato (actually tremolo) plans were first printed in the Popular Electronics December 1957 issue. We've taken all text and re-typed it and provided good resolution scans of all schematics.  Everything is compiled in one PDF document below.  Download and print out.

Have comments?  Add them below.  If you build one of these, we want to see and hear it!  Post videos.

See also:

You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Email me when people reply –



    This is a great place to find easy to build solid state effects that run off of 9volt batteries or walwarts and they have a nice Tremolo pedal.

  • I'd love to hear one of these things up and running but anyone trying to build one should take care.  Valve circuits carry high voltages - not to be messed with unless you know what you're doing.

    Thanks for posting the plans - they are a great insight into the DIY past.  My father built all of his own valve hifi back in the '50s and '60s, so I grew up with the stuff :-)

    • Very true however there is something called the "starved cathode mode" for using valves which will happily work at 9 - 12 v. Commonly referred to as the "Matsumin Valvecaster".

      A quick google or youtube will get you into another world of trouble as you start obsessing over DIY effects to go with your CBG. I'm planning to make one (including trem') will post if I succeed.

  • Great plans for the effect and guitar. I like seeing the plans for this stuff. A great resource.

  • Ohh, that's what they called those Throbbing things back then.

    Sorry, couldn't resist after seeing that advertisement.

    • Actually... that's not really a vibrato. It's a tremolo. 

      A temolo varies amplitude.

      A vibrato varies frequency.

      The "tremolo" arm on a guitar... is actually a vibrato...

      Confusing, huh?

    • I got one of those Tremolo circuits in my old Silvertone tube amp. Works great and you get a lot of sounds out of it with different settings. Without these we wouldn't have Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, WahWah or Delay. You can get all these(to some extent) with a Tremolo effect and spending a lot of time working on the settings.

This reply was deleted.