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Guitar Looper Fade Out and Tremolo... for Free!

Once upon a time, when electric guitar had to sound like a guitar and every deviation was called unwanted distortion, there were no guitar effects except… your friend and the potentiometer, working together!

Practically while you were playing, your friend was energetically moving up and down the volume generating the universally named Tremolo effect (well, not universally: Mr. Fender confused Tremolo with Vibrato and vice versa!).

I started this project with the simple intention to add the feature of FADE to my Boss RC-1 Looper Station: I like to play some simple riff and improvise on (…I hate play on MIDI bases or pre-recorded materials!) but some tunes can be stopped very nicely synchronised with your playing, some are better if faded away.

The option of FADE is not really very common on Looper. I have the DITTO x4 but my experience with its lack of reliability has forced me to go back to my Boss RC-1!

So I have designed a simple digital potentiometer that progressively reduce the volume and I have inserted this little device (Arduino nano and few other components) in my Boss VE-8 that has a Looper function embedded.

Then I thought: a potentiometer can do two things. Fade and Tremolo.

So I modified the little device to generate the Tremolo effect and, while there, to add the option of Stop the Looper!

Ultimately with this project you can:

Fade the output of the Looper (any Looper)
Generate a Tremolo
Control the Stop/Undo/Redo of your Boss RC-1 (or similar)
…a fancy name for the device could be FAD3!

Ps.: in my old romantic days the musical notation fade-out was called “finisce sfumando”… and it was the most sweet way to end a languid song!

Ps. Ps.: for this project I only used components that I had available, please some mercy for the execution!

Arduino nano
MCP42100 (digital potentiometer)
.1uF ceramic capacitor
7 segments display - Common Anode
560 Ohm Resistor
reed relays SIP-1 A05 (x2)
concentric potentiometer 50K (or 2 potentiometers)
footswitches (x2)
stereo female jack (x3)
box (metallic)”

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