Best Univibe Pedals 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Univibe pedals are among the most unique sounding effects guitar pedals ever created; a combination of phaser, chorus, vibrato and flanger all rolled into one that creates a sound that isn’t readily identifiable as being any of these things.

So, why should you be putting up the money to get one?

If you grew up listening to Hendrix, you’ll be very familiar with the sound. Of course, plenty of other guitarists used a Univibe pedal, although not as heavily.

If you really want to recreate the true Hendrix sound though, you’ll need one of these pedals. Fortunately for you, this article reviews the best Univibe pedals on the market. 

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Univibe Pedals On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: Other things to look for in a Univibe pedal?

  • Like with any other pedal, analog Univibes have a warmer tone compared to their digital counterparts, but you also get more precise control with digital pedals.
  • Do you want a Univibe pedal that captures the vintage Hendrix sound, or are you trying to get something all of your own? If that’s the case, you’ve got a bit more freedom of choice.
  • Is it robust enough for long-term and travelling use? A poorly made pedal won’t stand up to getting wet, bashed around or an electrical surge.
  • What additional features does it have? Not many Univibe pedals do much more than offer the basics, so things like on-board expression pedals might be worth splashing out a little more for the extra benefits.​
  • How easy is it to adjust the settings when you’re playing live? All the controls should be large enough to easily adjust with your feet, and settings should be easily read at a glance from more than five feet away.
  • Finally, can you afford it? The perfect Univibe pedal can easily shoot up in price, but sacrificing your standards just a tiny amount can land you with a damn good pedal for a much lower investment.

5 Best Univibe Pedals 

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action.

So without further ado, let’s take a look...

1. Moen Shaky Jimi Vibe Pedal (Budget Choice)

Shaky Jimi Vibe

One of the cheapest possible vibe pedals, and yet the sound produced by it is easily comparable to the more expensive models on the list. Interestingly, it uses the photocells like in the original Univibe pedal created in the 60’s, so the low price isn’t even due to skimping out on the circuitry! This is easily one of the best Univibe pedals for your money when you see how little they cost and hear how great they sound.

  • Dirt cheap and gives off an authentic Hendrix / Trowers sound, and although it’s easily comparable to more mid-range pedals it won’t beat out the top of the range models
  • Very sturdy, able to take a lot of punishment
  • Has a nice range of tones thanks to its three control knobs and has a true bypass on/off switch, and also a vibrato/chorus switch.
  • Hard to adjust with your foot
  • The knobs are the only indication of the settings selected, other Univibes include flashing LED’s for the speed/rate settings
  • Quite large and can end up taking more than its fair share of space on a pedal board

Let's take a look at this product...

2. Fulltone Custom Shop MDV-3 Vintage Rotary Pedal

Fulltone Custom Shop MDV-3 Mini DejaVibe 3 Vintage Rotary Pedal

Fulltone Univibes are the closest you can get to the original Univibes. Although expensive when compared to the Shaky Jimi, the quality is unbeatable.

  • Integrated expression pedal
  • Well thought out design, giving more controls than other models so you can switch between modern and vintage sounds, control the speed on the fly and a volume knob for extra control over the strength of the effect.
  • The speed has a nice flashing LED which makes it easy to know even if you’re playing in the darkest smoke filled bar in your town.
  • Much more expensive than the Shaky Jimi, although it has added functionality and easier to operate in live settings
  • The expression pedal is the weak point in the design, and if damage occurs it will likely be here.
  • The placement of the on/off switch can make it easy to accidentally knock the pedal off when using the expression pedal if you aren’t careful.

Let's take a look at this product...

3. TC Electronics Viscous Vibe (Editor's Choice)

TC Electronic Viscous Vibe Pedal

For a Univibe pedal that not only captures the sound of the original but places an emphasis on the unique needs of you as a musician, you’ll be pleased to find the Viscous Vibe offers a level of customisation that simply isn’t available in other Univibe pedals.

  • Uses TC Electronic’s (free!) Tone Print software that lets you completely change the tone of this pedal, and it integrates with your smartphone so you can quickly test out new tones for free by transmitting it directly through your guitar’s pickups
  • An extremely accurate recreation of the original Univibe pedal
  • Has a stereo input and outputs
  • Although the speed and bypass switches are a decent size, the compact design can make the rest of the settings harder to adjust as you’re playing.
  • If you’re only after a Hendrix vibe, then the added functionality of this pedal won’t really assist you in getting there and you’d better off with a simpler design.
  • The range of premade tones through Tone Print are somewhat lacking in variety, and to get the most out of the technology you will have to be prepared to create your own with the editor.

Let's take a look at this product...

4. Electro Harmonix Good Vibes Modulator

Electro-Harmonix Good Vibes Modulator Pedal

A reasonably priced Univibe clone without much in the way of clutter. It’s simple to use and it captures the authentic tone quite well for it’s price range.

  • A switch allows an expression pedal to control either the intensity or the speed setting
  • Has a flashing LED to easily monitor the speed
  • One of the more robust designs, it holds up well under all conditions and doesn’t take up too much space on a board.
  • The knobs are very close together, so any hope of fine-tuning with your feet goes out the window.
  • There isn’t an integrated expression pedal, so you will either need to already own one or make an extra purchase if you want to make the most of this pedal.
  • The intensity/speed switch is very small, so again isn’t ideal for live playing.

Let's take a look at this product...

5. The Depths EarthQuaker Device

EarthQuaker Devices The Depths Optical Vibe Circuit Effects Pedal

A more unusual Univibe pedal that makes an effort to try something new and break away from the typical Univibe sound that everybody else is trying to emulate.

  • Two additional knobs for Voice and Throb allow a bit of subtle tweaking and some very radical changes to the tone that wouldn’t normally be found within a Univibe pedal’s capabilities.
  • One of the best looking Univibe pedals thanks to the tentacled sea monster design. It’s hard not to turn this on and proudly declare that you’ve unleashed the Kraken.
  • This pedal uses analog bypass so that the signal is never altered or distorted when not in use.
  • The EarthQuaker device has a higher price than many of the others
  • Throb effect is so subtle it may not even be noticeable depending on how the other settings are arranged and it may seem superfluous.
  • Nothing on this pedal is ideal for on the fly adjustments, and is more a set and forget piece of gear

Let's take a look at this product...

So which pedal should I choose?

Trying to decide which Univibe pedal is the best for your money can be quite difficult since in many ways they are all the same.

It’s tempting to immediately declare the Shaky Jimi as the best for the money, since it’s by far the cheapest available and does a pretty good job of producing the Univibe sound. However, if you can afford to stretch further, the Fulltone MDV-3 easily has the closest sound to the original Univibe (and doesn’t cost thousands of dollars like the originals do!).

However, let’s consider what else there is to offer. The TC Electronic Viscous Vibe offers a level of customisability in the tones that simply isn’t available in any other Univibe pedal, so if you want a sound that’s totally yours in the same way that people associate the original Univibe with Hendrix, then it’s definitely worth taking a look at this one - especially if you’re excited by the prospect of developing something yourself from scratch rather than using premade tones.

Wrapping it up

The particular sound created by these pedals gives you a lot of creative freedom to work with if you’re writing original music, and they are useful in all sorts of styles.

Of course, no pedal can be understood properly just by reading about it, so I’d also recommend you give some classic Hendrix a listen, starting with Machine Gun here:

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

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