Unveiled at NAMM 2016 and taking home Best In Show, FOMOfx’s Virtual Jeff promised an digital pitch-shifting revolution for both electric and acoustic guitar, with its easy-mount tremolo arm unit a universal solution for adding a whammy bar to your instrument.
Fast-forward five years and FOMOfx has given Virtual Jeff a real-world upgrade with a new two-channel stompbox that allows you to access a variety of pitch-shifting effects, including a virtual capo, plus Blend and Hold modes.
As ever, the Virtual Jeff tremolo unit is attached to the surface of your guitar using a rubber-based glue that won’t bind with your finish as an acrylic-based adhesive would, and it can be mounted in just 10 seconds.
Simply find a place that is convenient and above all comfortable, and off you go. The tremolo unit can be paired with the Virtual Jeff Pro stompbox via cable but once you charge the Mini-Link adaptor pack you can go wireless.
Designed by Peter Walker and Ian Moss, the Virtual Jeff Pro has AI-powered SmartPitch tech for ultra-low latency and accurate pitch processing, and it gets around the regular issues we might have when retro-fitting a vibrato unit on our guitars – namely tuning stability, which Walker says is not an issue as it is on popular hardware options such as the Bigsby or Floyd Rose.
“They all have great sounds, and they all enabled artists to come out with lots of new tricks and exciting new innovations,” says Walker. “But there is a price to pay. Your guitar tends to go out of tune pretty easily.
“You have to replace nuts and saddles because they get worn out, and it’s pretty hard or impossible to put on on an acoustic guitar for example, so it seemed to me that a digital version would actually be a helluva lot of fun… Finally, I had a whammy bar I could put on my ’66 [ES-] 335 without doing any damage.”
The Virtual Jeff Pro is is fully transparent, and designed to be left always on without affecting your your guitar’s dynamics or tone. Using a studio-quality buffer, the stompbox is designed to be placed first in your signal path, and presents you with two channels of independent whammy, with LEDs to mark out the semi-tones of pitch increases/decreases that the whammy bar will perform.
There are three footswitches on the enclosure. One switches the effect on and off, the middle footswitch toggles between whammy channels A and B, while the third footswitch accesses the virtual capo mode, which can be used for downtuning your guitar or as you would a conventional guitar capo.
There are inputs for an additional Hold/Blend footswitch (sold separately), allowing you to access the new modes. Hold does just that, holding your pitch-shifted whammy sounds in place, while Blend allows for more complex pitch processing effects such as harmonies and subtle chorusing.
The two whammy channels have plenty of range on them, and can take move your signal from one to 24 semitones in either direction, and when FOMOfx says the unit will fit any guitar it means it. Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and 7-string guitars; all are welcome.
The Virtual Jeff Pro ships with a carry case, a charging cable for the Mini-Link wireless adaptor, a 13ft wired cable, two mounts and two sets of adhesive tape, a Mini-Link 2.4GHz transmitter and strap clip, and a 9V power supply.
Priced $499, the Virtual Jeff Pro is available now. See FOMOfx for more details.