One great way to liven up your guitar playing is with a delay pedal. Whether it be a short slap delay, a rhythmic dotted-eight delay, or a long and subtle delay sound to fill out solos, a delay pedal can be magical. With all of the delay pedals out there on the market, it can seem daunting to begin the process of buying one. Here are three of our favorites that might give you a good idea of where to begin!
MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay
Let’s start with something simple, yet powerful. At $149.99, the sleek looking MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay has everything you need to get started. It includes three knobs: Delay, Regen, and Mix. The delay knob controls the delay time, ranging from 1 to 600ms. Regen sets the number of repeats; you can think of this as a feedback knob. The mix, of course, adjusts the overall level of the delay. Finally, there is also a MOD button included on the unit for modulated repeats. This is an impressive feature that enables plenty of room for tender sounding guitar tones. Being a true analog delay circuit, the Carbon Copy uses bucket-brigade technology to create a very warm sounding delay. This gives the pedal a natural fit into the mix with your unaffected guitar sound. A fun perk of owning an analog delay is that you can create really cool sounding oscillations by cranking the regen knob. In other words, you are delaying the already delayed signal again and again, thus allowing it to break up and distort over time. If you want to get really wild, you can move the delay knob once the regen knob is all the way up to alter the pitch of the oscillations. Be careful though, this is how mankind communicates with aliens. This pedal is always a great asset to any board whether it be used alone or along with other delays. You won’t regret purchasing this pedal. Definitely check it out!
Boss DD-7 Digital Delay
You can’t really ever go wrong with a Boss pedal, not to mention a Boss delay pedal. At $159.99, the DD-7 is a very useful stereo delay pedal with plenty of features to keep you more than satisfied. It can be controlled with four knobs, an external tap tempo or expression pedal, and the toggle switch. It works great as a stereo delay with two stereo modes known as “Panning,” which is a ping pong delay, and “Effect + Direct.” This pedal offers up to 6 seconds of delay with other cool modes such as analog, reverse, modulate, and sound-on-sound (looping). Delay time can be set in real-time via an external tap tempo or by tapping the toggle switch after it has been held down for two seconds. Be sure to check out the manual to see how the different time modes change functionality to control the subdivisions of your tapping. For example, once in tap tempo mode, 800ms becomes the dotted-eighth subdivision of your tempo. To pack so many features in such a small box, you will find that there are plenty of dual functions within this pedal. Who knew four knobs and a switch could do so much? Overall, if you need a reliable and affordable digital delay pedal with tap-tempo features, this is your guy.
If you want more features and accessibility than you could ever imagine in your delay pedal, then the Strymon Timeline is the one for you. For $449.00, you get 12 unique delay machines, 200 presets, midi capabilities, stereo ins/outs, and a feedback loop for external effects in the delay path. There are so many sounds available in this unit that it may seem overwhelming. But, if your one who loves chasing sounds, then there is no need to worry, this pedal has your back. Initially, with just the pedal’s filter and grit knobs alone, it’s easy to warm up your delay sounds and have them fit nicely into any mix. It’s always nice to be able to EQ essentially all of the sounds you can get out of the Timeline. This pedal is no stranger to the ambient-worship guitar pedal board with all of its ambient sounding delay features. In fact, one of our favorite delay machines is ICE, which includes all kinds of highly tweakable shimmer effects and more. It’s easy to get caught up with exploring this feature alone for hours upon hours. Moreover, this seems to be the case with just about every delay machine included on the pedal. It’s difficult to not stay stuck investigating one delay mode for substantial amounts of time. While some delay machines on the Timeline serve to give rudimentary digital delay type sounds, others serve to simulate classic analog delays such as dTape and dBucket, or to give delay sounds unique to the Strymon hallmark such as Duck, Swell, Trem, and so on. The possibilities are endless. If you can afford the large price tag, the board real estate, and the hours you will spend exploring all that is available on the pedal, then give this pedal a try.