Guitar pedals inject your playing style with power, personality and texture. Delay pedals are one of the most popular supporting devices for electric lead guitars. You should regard them as mystical items that embellish your guitar sound. These pedals make your playing seem more impressive, by turning straightforward melodies into sophisticated compositions. All in all, delay pedals deliver a rich, professional and fuller sound and lead guitar tone.
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Choosing A Lead Guitar Delay Pedal
Here’s what to look for when choosing a best delay pedal for lead guitar.
The initial thing you should take into account is whether to purchase digital delay pedals or analog pedals. Guitarists tend to be divided in their opinions on this issue. Some of them opt for digital without thinking twice, whereas others can not be without analog pedals. Therefore, it is the same as any best type of delay effect equipment — neither model is definitively better than the other.
As far as the details go, analog pedals are devices that alter analog currents in a particular manner. The effect they have varies, based on your style of playing. Microprocessors are used on digital pedals to alter your signal. These are similar to those used on personal computers.
Digital Delay Pedals
Most digital effects delay sound less natural than their analog counterparts, however they offer more precise input reproductions. The responsiveness of analog is a big advantage, with fuzz and distortion pedals, however many guitarists like digital delays that they can adjust with more precision. Bear in mind that digital pedals are responsive to your guitar playing, just not to the same extent as analog pedals.
Certainly, precision is vital to produce delay effects that sound good and complement your track. With certain delay pedals, you can specify the delay time in milliseconds. This is helpful if you wish to use delay to produce different rhythms, hooks, riffs and licks. Although a tap tempo can do something similar (see below), it tends to produce effects that are out of sync. Other types of pedals provide you with an extra app to use on mobile devices, which can set the delay time. Also, there are inbuilt screens on some pedals, which enable you to program the precise delay time required.
As mentioned above, delay pedals have a feature known as Tap Tempo. This is a push switch that you can tap to program the effect’s ‘time’ parameter, to correspond with a particular beat per minute (BPM). For instance, if you wanted the delay to synchronize with the band’s rhythm, you just have to tap the switch when the band plays. This will put effect in sync with the other musicians. Sometimes, it is simpler to program the time parameter like this. Tap Tempo is not a vital feature, but if you want to use it, a footswitch is recommended. Undoubtedly, it is easier to use your foot to program the timer while you play, rather than trying to kneel down.
How do you set a delay on a guitar lead?
The primary controls for delay pedals are delay time, delay feedback and delay level. These enable you to operate the pedal’s fundamental features. As well as this, there are other variables to think about. For instance, speed, depth and filter are additional controls, which allow you to adjust the tone further. Delay pedals with the standard controls are more user friendly and sufficient for most guitarists. If you opt for extra controls, you are an advanced musician aiming for an intricate sound. Suffice to say, you need a fair amount of technical expertise to get the most out of these models.
Some delay pedals have an additional feature known as ‘true bypass’. Once this feature is activated, the pedals send the signal from the guitar straight to the amplifier, with no buffering effects, interference, noises or hums. Essentially, true bypass beautifies the sound, while avoiding the glitches commonly experienced with in between pedals.
Do I really need a delay pedal?
Finally, when choosing a delay pedal for lead guitar, you should examine the pedal’s best build quality. If you intend to transport your delay pedal to different gigs, and use it regularly in live performances, you need it to be made from high quality materials. Generally speaking, it is best to avoid pedals that have a plastic body, or that are notably inexpensive. This is particularly true, if the manufacturer is obscure and you have never heard of them. Metal cases are much better than plastic cases when playing live.