Seymour Duncan’s Shape Shifter is a digitally controlled analog tremolo pedal capable of a number of classic sounds. From rounded Fender amp-style tremolo to the choppy oscillations of a Vox Repeat Percussion, Shape Shifter is an affordable option for those looking to model an array of vintage effects.
The pedal’s greatest strength lies in its but simple but powerful controls. Where most tremolo pedals allow you to toggle between sine or square wave modulation, the Shape Shifter offers a continuous blend between the two via the “wave” knob. Along with a “depth” (mix) and “shape” control, you can mold any number of sounds from subtle to severe and even access pseudo reverse effects. With its dedicated tap tempo footswitch, the Shape Shifter’s modulation speed can be dialed in on the fly or adjusted manually with the “rate” knob. This feature in particular makes the pedal extremely versatile for live performances or in recording when rhythmic accuracy is required.
The pedal is full of rich inspiring sounds. Compared to a Boss-TR2, the Shape Shifter’s tone was cleaner and more articulate. Alongside Line 6’s all digital MM4 Modeler, the Shape Shifter’s tremolo sounded crisper and with a more natural chime, (though there was a little less tweakability). When set on a mild sine wave setting, the Shape Shifter sounded very close to the warm tremolo on a Fender Vibrolux amp. Sonically, the only feature I would have liked to see was another output for stereo operation.
At $160, the Shape Shifter is a bit of an investment if you plan on using tremolo as an occasional effect. However, for those interested in Dream Pop, Britpop or a jangly 60’s guitar sound, it could easily be the building block for your regular tone. Check out Seymour Duncan’s website for more information and audio clips, or the video demo below for an example of its operation. –Ezra Tenenbaum