Why the original Boss VB-2 pedal wasn’t a commercial success during its initial run between 1982 and 1986 is a mystery.
However, a few years after Boss discontinued the VB-2 its price shot up rather quickly on the used market, and it soon became a highly desirable rarity. The reason why is because there have only been a handful of stomp boxes that provide true vibrato (i.e. pitch modulation) effects in comparison to the much more popular tremolo (volume modulation) pedals and the VB-2 in particular truly had its own distinctive sound.
Fortunately Boss’s wonderful wizards at Waza Craft have brought the VB-2 back to life with the Boss Waza Craft VB-2w Vibrato pedal, which, like previous Waza Craft pedals, revives all of the original sounds and adds a new custom mode and other features as well.
The Waza Craft VB-2w looks almost identical to the original VB-2 with two exceptions—the S/C (standard/custom) mini toggle switch located beneath the control knobs and the 1/4-inch Depth jack located beneath the Input jack for using an optional expression pedal to manually control depth settings. Beyond that, the controls are identical, including the rotary Rate, Depth and Rise Time control knobs, the switch for selecting Latch, Bypass, or Unilatch modes, the mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks and the jack for a nine-volt Boss PSA adaptor.
The Rate control adjusts the modulation speed, while the Depth control allows users to dial in anything from a subtle warble to a dramatic wobble. Rise Time is a subtle effect that only works in Unilatch mode to vary the amount of time for the vibrato effect to rise to the full selected depth. In Latch mode the switch operates like a normal on/off switch going from one setting to the other each time the switch is engaged. Bypass mode operates the same, but the chip that generates the vibrato effect is bypassed in the signal chain when the effect is turned off. Unilatch mode turns the switch into a momentary switch that only turns the effect on for as long as the pedal is depressed and held down.
The Waza Craft VB-2w sounds unmistakably identical to the VB-2 in standard mode, but I actually prefer the sound of custom mode, which adds body and punch that makes the overall effect more deep and dramatic. Whereas most vibrato effects are really glorified phase shifters, the VB-2w produces more of an organ-like warble than a psychedelic swirl.
LIST PRICE: $299
MANUFACTURER: Roland Corporation, rolandus.com
• Offers identical controls and modes to the original Boss VB-2 Vibrato pedal produced by Boss in the Eighties.
• New features include a standard/custom mode switch and a 1/4-inch Depth jack for controlling the Depth setting with an optional expression pedal.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The wonderful warble of true vibrato effects lives on once again thanks to the Boss Waza Craft VB-2w, which accurately reproduces the original VB-2 sounds while adding cool new features and improved sound quality.