WHAT IS DELAY?
A delay pedal is an effect used with guitar and other musical instruments to create repetitive echoes or delays of the original sound. It is one of the most popular and widely used guitar effects, valued for its ability to add depth, spaciousness, and rhythmic interest to a player's sound.
The primary function of a delay pedal is to take the incoming audio signal and repeat it after a short amount of time, creating a series of delayed repeats. These repeats can range from a subtle and natural echo to longer and more pronounced repeats, depending on the settings of the pedal.
Delay pedals typically offer several controls that allow musicians to shape the delay to suit their preferences. The most common controls found on a delay pedal include:
- Delay Time: This control adjusts the length of the delay time, determining how long it takes for the echoed signal to be heard after the original note or sound is played. Short delay times (in milliseconds) produce a subtle echo, while longer delay times can create pronounced and distinct repeats.
- Feedback/Regen: The feedback or regeneration control determines the number of repeats/echoes produced by the delay pedal. Increasing the feedback level creates more repetitions, which can lead to self-oscillation if turned up high.
- Level/Mix: This control adjusts the volume level of the delayed signal relative to the original signal. It allows you to blend the amount of delay effect with the dry (unaffected) signal. Lower settings create a more subtle and blended effect, while higher settings emphasize the echoes.
- Tone/EQ: Some delay pedals feature a tone or EQ control that allows you to shape the frequency response of the delay effect. It enables you to darken or brighten the tone of the echoes, matching them to your desired sound.
You can hear short delays (echo) in a lot of rock 'n' roll, like Scotty Moore and Elvis. Players such as The Edge from U2 and Hank Marvin of the Shadows are creative users of multi-head delay. And you'll hear longer delays all over rock and pop music since the 1970's.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DELAY?
YES! There are various types of delay effects, such as analog delay, digital delay, tape delay, and modulated delay. Each type produces its own distinct character and sound, ranging from warm and vintage-sounding repeats to pristine and precise digital echoes.
Watch our video below to hear these different types of delay in action!
Not sure where to start with delay pedals...we've got you covered...
And here's some great ways to use delay pedals...
The Ultimate DIY Delay Pedal?
In this show Dan is expanding on an idea that began when we were exploring multi-head tape delays back in July 2020.
As we were explaining what happens in a multi-head tape delay, Dan put together a ‘Frankenstein’ version of a dual-head delay, using single pedals replicating each component.
In this video he’s expanded on that and returned with a 4-head behemoth to see what’s what. Why would you do this? Well, you probably wouldn’t, but we hope it opens up some understanding of what’s happening in a delay pedal in order to help you decide on the kind of sounds and features you like more, and like less.