The delay pedal repeats the notes you’re playing on your guitar once or more times. Imagine when you shout in a cave or a valley, you will get a similar effect. A delay pedal can add dimensions to your sound, from extra texture to the illusion of a whole other guitar player.
If you’re a novice, chances are, you might not want to spend a fortune on your first delay pedal. A good recommendation is to read the best cheap delay pedal reviews.
To be able to choose and purchase the most suitable type of delay pedals for yourself, you need to have an overall understanding of what types of delay pedals are and their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at all types of guitar delay pedals.
Tape delay is actually the original echo box. When talking about tape delays, it usually means the very familiar name the Les Paul and the classic Maestro Echoplex series or other similar tape delays around that era. They were really famous during the 50s and 60s.
Just like its name, the tape delay pedal is a tape that records the guitar signal or a certain period of time then plays it back automatically creating the echo effect.
- Guitarists can adjust delay times widely and the echo’s reproduction is quite good. The tape delay sounds the most organic out of all delays.
- Tape delay pedals need to be cleaned and demagnetized regularly. They also wear out requiring to be replaced once in a while.
Tape delay pedals are used in studio for a more vintage sound.
You can shop for a tape delay on Ebay or music shops. Vintage delay units can cost a bit more.
They were introduced in the 70s. Analog delays are more easily transportable, cost effective, and more practical. An analog delay pedal relies on the fame Bucket Brigade device chip (BBD). The chip feeds the original sound from the guitar back to the signal chain at timed intervals.
Each repetition tends to get a bit more diffuse, darker, and warmer which is a very particular sonic signature.
- Many guitarists prefer this warm tone produced by analog delay.
- Analog delay pedals normally provide shorter maximum delay times compared to digital delays. They are also a lot less flexible when it comes to creating different delay patterns.
Digital delay pedals were very popular back in the 80s, with longer delay times that exceeded any analog delay pedal.
Digital delay pedals create their echo effects using digital signal processing chips (DSP). They convert your guitar’s signal to zeros and ones to create a perfect replica of each note. That means, the repeats are basically identical to the original input.
- Digital delays are the best option for guitarists who want to create long loops. Sometimes, digital delay pedals offer delay times longer than a minute. It’s also great for creating new rhythmic patterns with echo; some even allow you to structure your echoes to fit the song that you’re playing.
- The sound of the echoes is very clean and precise but this supreme accuracy tends to sound not natural and less musical without further processing.
Modeling delay is actually a digital delay pedal which has programming within it. The programming will replicate tape delay and analog models as well as creating digital delays.
The modeling delay will offer degradation of signal but tends to be focused on the higher ranges and be a bit sharper as inherent in digital music.
If you’re interested in exploring the flavors of all kinds of delay pedals (tape delay, analog delay, and digital delays), modeling delay pedal is a great choice for you. They might not sound as accurate or dramatic as the true effect, but they’re still close to some extent.
You can purchase a modeling delay unit at almost every music store nowadays.
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as the best delay pedal, nothing is better than another; it’s all a matter of preference. Each delay pedal has its strengths such as while analog delay pedals offer pleasant and extremely musical sound, digital delay pedals offer more flexibility.
If you want to buy the most suitable delay pedal for yourself, try identifying your needs and requirements first. If you can’t do that, you’ll probably end up buying the wrong one. Different people have different priorities; some care the most about the prices, some care about the delay times, some pay more attention to the tone produced (warmer, darker or lighter…)… In a nutshell, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a delay pedal.
And if it’s too hard for you to choose one, why choose? Trying different guitar delay pedals isn’t a bad idea at all. Even the differences might be subtle; they can help inspire you musically.
Hi all, My name’s James Parker. I’m a professional guitarist from MusicalStudy Team. Our blog is an online resource center dedicated to providing knowledge about music and musical instruments. It aims to help people choose the style of music that suits them, learn and express it the best possible way.