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Guitar Effects: Using your delay pedal

Kategori: Guitar Effects

I've assembled some great tips for the guitarist that wants to explore and make the most of the delay pedal. I'm going to start off with some explanation of the controls (at least the ones which appears on nearly every unit) on these pedals:
Level: This knob controls the volume of the repeats coming out of your pedal. When set to the lowest value you won't hear it at all, when it's all the way up to the max the repeats will be as loud as your original signal.
Feedback: This knob controls the amount of repetitions. The lowest value is just one single repeat of the note you play. To increase the amount of repeats, simply twist the knob further to the right.
Time: This knob controls the time between every repetition of two notes. Almost every unit measures this in milliseconds (MS). If you've got a pedal where you can write in the numbers it's easy to control exact how many milliseconds will pass between each repetition, but chances are that your pedal won't have this feature. Most pedals don't, actually. Instead they mark out a few guiding numbers, like 50, 200 and 800 MS (these are the exact numbers of the Boss DD-3, for instance) and you have to turn the knob to a value somewhere in between and then adjusting it a bit. Some pedals, like the Boss DD-7, have something called tap tempo. This is a feature where you push the pedal switch four times in the same rhythm as the music, and the pedal will react to this, making the delay adjusted to your rhythm. A great feature!
Next up: how to make a tight, repeated rhythm against the tempo of the song:
If you've got a song in a certain tempo you might want to use the delay in a way where it locks in really tightly with the beat. To do this, first make sure you know how many beats per minute (BPM) the song is in. A standard for the average pop song is 120 BPM (a heart often lies around 60 BPM when it's rested - at least if the people carrying it is pretty healthy - so therefore it is easy to feel a song in the double tempo of your heart. A trick used by hitmakers every day), a rock song might go faster and a doom or stoner metal song often is slower. What's important is that the song is locked in tight with this BPM and preferrably recorded with the aid of a metronome. 
The only problem is that delay pedals mostly uses another system, milliseconds (MS), to set the time of how fast they will operate. So that's why you need to do your math homework. Too late? I'll help you out. With the assistance of some simple formulas you will know where to set the controls on your delay pedal. We'll start with quarter notes, as they often are the slowest echo you desire from your delay. Use this formula to figure out how many milliseconds you need for your beats per minute:
Quarter notes: 60000/BPM
So if the tempo of your song is 120 BPM then divide 60000 into 120. The result is 500 MS, so that's where you should put your delay pedal at. If the tempo is 100 BPM, use the same formula again: 60000/100=600. Easy, huh? But what if you want your delay pedal to play eighth notes or sixteenth notes? Then I've got two new formulas:
Eighth notes: 30000/BPM
Sixteenth notes: 15000/BPM

Do you see the pattern? For each step, take the original number (60000) and divide it into two. So if you want to go the other way, making the delay pedal create half notes, then use 120000/BPM to get the amount of milliseconds.
For triplets you have to make a new formula, as they are another rhythmic pattern than standard notes. Use this formula for quarter note triplets:
Quarter note triplets: 40000/BPM
And just as before, if you want faster triplets, use the half of the original number in the formula:
Eighth note tripets: 20000/BPM
Sixteenth note triplets: 10000/BPM

Now go ahead and look up the BPM of your own, or your favourite, songs. Do the math, set the controls on your delay pedal and fire away some really cool licks.
To finish this off I'm going to share some settings to get some classic sounds from your delay pedal. I've made the basic pictures from the layout on a Boss DD-3, but you can alter them and use the settings on other units as well:
Slapback echo: I've mentioned this setting before and by twisting your knobs to look like this you'll achieve this classic sound fom the fifties:
Doubling: If you use these settings you'll create a very subtle delay which is so close to the original signal that it will sound as if another guitarist doubles what you're playing. A great tool when you want a richer, fatter tone:
Dotted eighth note rhythm: Guitarists like David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen was early users of this setting, but it was The Edge of U2 who popularized it. This setting fools the listener that you're really playing more notes than you do, giving your original signal an echo that builds up an illusion of a fast, intricate rhythm. Have you tried to find the setting for "Where The Streets Have No Name", but still haven't found what you're looking for (pun intended)? Play a steady eighth note pattern with this setting and turn yourself into The Edge-mode:
And the formula for moving around this delay setting to different beats per minutes? Try this one: 45000/BPM.
Now, have some fun with your delay pedal and create your own settings. Here's an empty template that you can use to remember your settings:

Guitar Effects: Delay

Kategori: Guitar Effects

What is delay?
Delay is an effect that records what's played, stores it and plays it back after a certain amount of time. This creates an echo to the original source, so what you play on your guitar is mimicked by a delay pedal which can be set to different time and amount of delay. There are two types of delay: analog and digital. Analog delay uses the old fashioned way, recording your sound on either a tape or a rotating magnetic drum (which endures the test of time much better than a tape, which wears out pretty fast) or on a bucket brigade device. A digital delay takes your signal and passes it on through a series of digital signal processors that records it into a storage buffer and later plays it back, everything set to your parameters.
Any good examples?
Delay must be one of the most used effects in the world of electric guitars so there's of course lots of them. For instance, a lot of old rock songs has the slapback echo (a long delay, somewhere between 75 and 250 milliseconds), especially those produced by Sam Phillips on Sun Records. He noticed that no live sound could ever be heard wihout an echo and therefore he used this effect to add realism to his recordings. The result is a nice sound with much depth which can be heard on a lot of Elvis Presley songs like "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" or "Heartbreak Hotel". Hank Marvin of The Shadows is another player who's famous for this kind of delay, listen to "Peace Pipe" for an example. A more modern example is The Edge of U2, who most people tend to think of when they say delay. He has really integrated the delay into his sound and many of his guitar figures builds around this, listen to "Where The Streets Have No Name" for a distinct example. Delay is also used in classic and hard rock, listen to "Brighton Rock" by Queen or the intro to "Welcome To The Jungle" by Guns N' Roses for conviction. Another classic track, "Every Breath You Take", also features a delay pedal on the guitar played by Andy Sumners of The Police 
Which pedal should I get?
To start with the analog choices and a guitar hero, Randy Rhoads relied on the tape-based Roland Space Echo RE-201 (which is not a pedal but a large box). Other choices includes the Boss DM-2, the Aqua Puss Way Huge, Mooer Echolizer and the MXR Carbon Copy. Moving on to digital delays the first foot pedal unit ever produced was the Boss DD-2. Today, pedals like DD-3 and DD-7 (which even has an analog mode, and a backwards effect) is business standards. Other great digital delay pedals are the Strymon Timeline, the Boss RE-20 Space Echo (which digitally modulates an analog Space Echo RE-201), the extremely versatilite TC Electronics Flashback X4, the Strymon El Capistan (which also digitally modulates an analog tape delay) and the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man. Also, not so long ago Korg started to make their SDD 3000 as a pedal unit (before it was just a rack effect that was both expensive and hard to find - maybe because The Edge bought them all?). This is a great machine with fantastic delay and more options than you could dream of. The prize? Well, quality costs...

Guitar Effects: Compressor

Kategori: Guitar Effects

What is a compressor?
A compressor takes the signal from your guitar and kind of squishes it together, making your sound more even by flattening out the difference between the quiet and the loud frequences from your instrument. It shapes the sound and can be used in many ways - to level a signal, for more sustain or to alter the envelope. The compressor is often used when mixing a recording or on vocals on a live show and it is an essential tool for most musicians.
Any good example?
One of the most famous compressor users among guitarists, and one that is really easy to hear, is David Gilmour of Pink Floyd who uses his compressor everywhere. His fat, rich and well sustained sound depends not only on his great guitar hands but also very much on his compressor. Oterherwise you can hear a compressor everywhere, you may just not notice it. Whenever you hear a very even sound, like a picked figure on a chord where every note ssounds equal in attack, there´s probably a compressor working somewhere in the chain.
Which pedal should I get?
There are many great choices. David Gilmour uses the classic MXR Dyna Comp and so does the Edge of U2 and Pete Townsend of The Who. Roger McQuinn of The Byrds relies on a Janglebox for his jangly, trebly sound. Another classic pedal is the Diamond CPR-1, a cheaper (and smaller, which is great for the crammed pedal board) unit is the pretty similar sounding Mooer Yellow Comp. There's also the Mad Professor Forest Green, which is a neat choice, or the Keeley 4-Knob Compressor. Check them out!