Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Swamp Thang Tremolo Pedals #11 and #147 (UPDATED June'08 and Dec. '08)
When I first started this blog the theme was, "Man, I wish I had that one back!" As I kept writing stories I came across some guitars that I didn't really want back all that much. There was a bass I wouldn't take back if you paid me. Well, depends on how much you paid me. Anyway, I've covered basses and guitars and a guest column about a reverb tank. But, I haven't gotten into an item that you can really rely on for your sound...pedals.
Technically, I'm actually covering two pedals. They are both Swamp Thang tremolo pedals by Monster Effects and MAN, I WISH I HAD EITHER OF THEM BACK. I will be completely honest and say that both times I have owned Swamp Thang pedals I got a good deal and made a profit, but that was never the intention. The intention both times was to keep the damn pedal. I am a big fan of tremelo as an effect and I have tried a number of pedals and processors. None of them compare (in my less than humble opinion) to the Swamp Thang. A number of years ago I owned an early '60s blonde Fender Tremolux amp and 2 x 10 cab. I loved this amp very much, but I started running into issues. It was old and had ground problems in certain clubs I played in. Once I stepped up to the mic to sing the first word of the first song of the night and I got JOLTED backwards from the electrical shock I got when my lips touched the mic.
I had a small burn on my lip for a week.
So, I reluctantly sold the amp and went a little more modern...moved all the way up to the '70s with a nice old Music Man 410 Sixty-Five. Hey, can I get all of these back please?
Anyway, the real point of all this is that the tremolo on that old Tremolux is impossible to beat and is "often imitated but never duplicated." However, the very best thing I've found to compare with the old blond Tremolux is the Swamp Thang. Love it. Need another one. Keeping my eye out daily on eBay. I don't know how they do it at Monster Effects, but they seem to get that brown saturation like a real Fender. I could go on and on, but I'll just say that this is one pedal I will definitely be replacing when I can afford another one.
Over the years I have shrunk my electric rig down to "living room" size and I have narrowed my needs to four things. 1.) A Fender Telecaster (just got my eleventy millionth one today), 2) A Fender tube amp with reverb (currently a Blues Junior for size restrictions), 3) an Ibanez Tubescreamer ('nuff said), and 4) a Swamp Thang tremelo pedal. That's it. I can do without a chorus, a phaser, a flanger, anything made by Z Vex, and all that crap. I would have to consider a Crybaby wah if I added a fifth item, but basically I can get by with the four.
If you have a Swamp Thang and want to part with it, particularly the early brown large box models, let me know. I'm gonna need one.
UPDATE: June 9, 2008 - I got another Swamp Thang. I battled long and hard on the eBay for it and shelled out more for this one than for either of the other two ($163). This one won't be getting away. It's one of the original "large box" versions, #81 to be exact. This one stays put. Don't even try. Go ahead, call me "sucker" to my face. I dare ya!
UPDATE 2: Dec. 23, 2008 - I got #147 back. I got an email from a guy who had read this story and he said, "Hey, I think I'm the guy that bought Swamp Thang #147 from you on eBay...do you want to buy it back?" He made me a great deal and I bought it back. Since I already had found one for myself (see above), I decided to get this one and give it as a Christmas gift to my good friend and band mate Oliver. It's now in his hands and I don't think it will ever leave. That one is out of circulation.