Which pedals do I need to get started playing in worship band? Part Deux
Last time we looked at Tubescreamer overdrive pedals as part of a very basic set up to get you going in a modern worship band setting.
Now let’s look at the delay side of things. A good delay pedal is the real secret to playing in many modern worship song styles. Delays can do so many jobs, they can add jangle to chords, thicken lead sounds, add short reverb type sounds, provide huge sound scapes a bit like a keyboard pad sound and of massive rhythmic textures like the classic U2 sound. So learning to get the most out of your delay takes time and you could almost view it as an instrument in itself as it radically advances what you can do with an electric guitar. Before we get into the pedals themselves there is one golden rule, so repeat after me (no pun intended) I MUST SET THE DELAY SPEED TO BE IN TIME WITH THE MUSIC!!
Basically whatever the speed is determines whether the repeats are going to layer on top of what you played or just come back at you out of time. Too slow and it can just sound like a wall of sound and too fast feels like the repeats are running away from you.
Now not all delay pedals are the same so it’s worth investing in a good one to start with. If you’re not familiar with the different options available in many modern pedals then here is an overview. First there are three flavours of delay.
• Digital, which sounds pristine and gives you the most repeats
• Analogue, which is more lo-fi and sounds sound degrades nicely with each repeat
• Tape, which is taken from the old tape machine delays. When those machines started to play up the repeated sound would warble and flutter which sounded pretty good so many of the modern pedals try to replicate this, with differing degrees of authenticity.
As a general rule, cheaper pedals tend to be digital, which isn’t necessarily bad, older pedals can be analogue but often a, cost a fortune as they are now ‘vintage’, b, sometimes have weird power supply needs and c, although sound great don’t give you the multiple longer repeats that modern digital units can. Tape delays generally aren’t pedals but big boxes with proper tape reels inside them. They sound incredible but practically are for studio use only.
Some modern delays like the Line 6 DL4 (big green pedal that you’ve probably seen) are actually digital units but have modelling software that allows to emulate analogue and tape sounds. Some work better than others so it’s well worth listening to a few demos on YouTube before you buy.
Finally the last option worth talking about is tap tempo where you can literally tap in the beats to keep in time with your out of time drummer. But as we know that never happens in church so that option is probably useless to most of you…
Try to find pedals that use a standard negative tip 9v DC power supply like on the Boss pedals. There are a number of units that use 12 or 15 volt or even AC power supplies out there. Some of these differences are for very good reasons (e.g they just need more juice to sound better.) But, carrying lots of different power supplies is heavy, cumbersome and a pain to find extra power sockets for and plug and unplug etc. So here is a list of delay units, again from cheap to expensive. There are loads more I’ve not thought of too so if you have any others, please comment.
Boss DD3 – good quality basic digital delay in indestructible small pedal format – mainstay of pro players for years before the DL4 come along! Boss DD5 – an updated version of the DD3 with tap tempo Boss DD6 – DD5 + modulator (chorus) effect Boss DD7 – new model, DD6 + analogue simulation + looper Boss DD20 – double sized pedal with all of DD7 + presets and more Behringer DD600 – inexpensive boss copy digital delay Boss DM2 – classic analogue delay – if you can find one! MXR carbon copy – new analogue delay Maxon AD9 analogue delay – another DM2 type new alternative Electro harmonix memory man – classic analogue pedal still in production. warm sounds but large footprint Line 6 DL4 – big green pedal that almost every pro guitarists has used at one point. It models of classic delay uni ts and has loads of features including digital tape and analogue simulations, tap tempo and a loop function. Only problem is its quite big! Line 6 Echo Park – takes the main functions of the DL4 and puts it into a small Boss sized enclosure. Great sounds but the tap function is delicate and you need a separate power supply (or a Gigrig Virtual battery) to stop it humming if used with other pedals. Digitech X Series Digidelay – cheaper alternative to the DD7 and echo park. got to hold the single pedal switch to access tap function though. Digitech Hardwire DL8 – high quality boss sized pedal with digital, analog, tape, modulated, lo-fi, reverse, and loop functions – no tap tempo though! Vox Time Machine – this is brand new and worth checking out I think, tap tempo, vintage and modern switches, standard 9v power, self oscillation plus more in a simple package. TC Nova Delay – digital pedal with presets and analogue simulation. Brillant audio tap facility that you can set just by striking the guitar strings! needs its own proprietary power supply though T Rex Replica Delay – great quality analogue sounding digital delay with tap tempo Carl Martin – whole range of interesting delay pedals, many have 240 power and plug built in which may be cumbersome but all worth checking out Diamond Memory Lane – great sounding analogue delay with modulation and tap tempo. Not cheap and needs 15v power but you get what you pay for. Empress Super Delay – king of delays with loads of usable features. v expensive! Pigtronix Echolution – this pedal is crazy, features multiple switchable time ratios, analogue, tap + chorus and tremolo too! 15v power and similar price to the Empress Roland Space Echo Tape Delay – if you’ve ever played a real one of these then you know what all the fuss is about – sounds SO three dimensional but BIG, heavy and vintage pricing. Fulltone Tube Tape Echo– new proper genuine tape delay in a box and powered by real valves. Sounds amazing but not compact or cheap at all!
Plus many, many more but in truth I could be up all night listing them and I need sleep! So if you have others to add please do comment. Thanks.