The Fulltone ST-1 Supa (the 'ST' stands for 'Supa-Trem') is an excellent tremolo pedal for any guitarist. Sure, the price can be a little high for some, but the stompbox itself is worth the money.
It is a simple system to use, and it has excellent features and a well-thought-out design. At first glance, this pedal may seem a bit boring in terms of appearance. After all, it has some large knobs, for controlling the volume and rate, and a footswitch for controlling speed. That's all you see when you look at it.
However, after taking a closer look, you will find that this simple looking pedal has a lot to offer. In this review, we'll take a close look at what the Fulltone ST-1 Supa can do.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Tremolo Pedal
What is a tremolo pedal? It provides one of those effects that guitarists don't even think about using until the first time they hear someone else use it, and then they can't think about anything else. This effect can turn the plainest guitar tone into a unique and vibrant sound that stands out in any performance. It's also a versatile effect because you can turn it on and off and play it in many different variations.
While some tremolo pedals, such as the Fulltone Supa, can be rather pricey, you're going to have a hard time keeping your foot off them once you start using them.
At the very least, a tremolo pedal should have three kinds of controls: A rate/speed control, depth control, and wave control. With just three controls, you should be able to emulate just about any tremolo sound you hear in a song. Some pedals will give you more controls to work with, but any additional knobs are not necessary.
If you're only going to use a tremolo pedal occasionally, and in the most basic way, especially if you're still a beginner, don't spend too much on something fancy. Get a basic pedal and make the most of it.
If, on the other hand, the tremolo effect will be a core part of your signature sound, or you're looking to do lots of experimenting, look for a pedal that gives you as much control as possible. The tremolo effect itself is relatively old and basic. However, with the right pedal, you can make audio magic.
Features and Benefits
There are many features in this pedal. First, the footswitch, which you use to set the speed at either half speed or full speed, is a unique feature that allows you to double the speed or cut it in half without altering the rate of the tremolo.
The footswitch also has a wave selector, which allows you to switch between hard and soft sounds. The hard mode gives off a square wave with a helicopter-like sound. The soft mode gives a smoother wave sound.
Next, there are two large knobs for controlling the volume and rate. The volume knob is handy for using the pedal to control the overall volume. There's also a red LED light that indicates the speed when you're playing your tremolo, so you'll always know what settings you're using. Finally, there is a true bypass on the Fulltone ST-1 Supa. You control it with a blue on/off LED switch.
In terms of music and performance, the ST-1 has a warm and rich tone. Some guitarists have even labeled it "creamy" due to its smooth nature.
This quality means that the pedal can enhance any guitar tone. This ability is rare among cheaper, lower quality pedals. The ST-1 Supa provides excellent value with its mix of quality and reasonable pricing.
The soft and hard modes are also great features as they give you more room to be creative with the tremolo. I had lots of fun playing around with them.
In particular, the soft mode is excellent for when you're playing soulful music and need a sweet-sounding tremolo. The hard mode gives a helicopter sound, though it is also pleasant.
Rate & mix knobs
The largest knobs on the Fulltone ST-1 are the rate and mix knobs, which are also fun for experimenting. These allow you to set the rate of the wave sound and mix more than one setting. They add a lot of control to ST-1 users and provide plenty of room to exercise your creativity.
As mentioned above, the ST-1 is also great for clean boosting (making the guitar sound louder).
It used to be that you had to turn the mix knob down while you turn the internal volume up. Fulltone made it easier in the ST-1 by putting the volume knob right on the pedal. Now, to get a volume boost out of your ST-1, all you have to do is switch to soft mode. You need to ensure that the mix at its lowest and the volume knob at its highest.
Another great thing about the ST-1 is that it doesn't have the volume drops that other tremolo pedals seem to have. In other pedals, the tone gets softened, and the volume seems to drop. The ST-1 doesn't have that issue. With the addition of a volume knob, you have full control over the level of volume.
Overall the ST-1 has an authentic tremolo sound that sounds like the American tube amps of the 1960s. There are no hisses or clicking sounds, and the level of control is excellent.
Social Proof of the Pedal
There is plenty of love online for this tremolo pedal, with many users praising the rich quality of its sound and its versatility. It also gets high marks for its durability. In short, the Fulltone ST-1 Supa is popular among guitar enthusiasts, and they don’t mind recommending it to others online.
The simplicity and ease of use that this pedal provides is another reason that it earned high praise online.
Negative opinions are few and far between. Those that exist seem to focus more on manufacturer defects than any general problem in the product itself. Fulltone has a great reputation, so most users seem ready to give them the benefit of the doubt when something doesn’t work quite right.
The Fulltone ST-1 Supa is an excellent product with a lot to offer. It's not the cheapest tremolo pedal on the market, or even the smallest, or the one with the most controls. However, the richness of tone and range of versatility it offers more than make up for any shortcomings. I think that guitarists who try this pedal will realize that simpler is better when it comes to products like the ST-1 Supa.
This pedal is undoubtedly going to enhance your guitar's sounds. Because of the way the controls work, you will likely discover interesting new variations on the tremolo effect for years to come.
Finally, this product offers, in my opinion, one of the best values for tremolo pedals on the market. It is not the cheapest, but it does provide one of the best values, and, I think you get more than you pay for with this pedal.