Acoustic fingerstyle guitar players use delay pedals to expand their sound and create unique sonic atmospheres. As with all guitar effects for acoustic guitar, a little goes a long way. But that little bit can be magical.
Just to set the stage, the definition of “delay” in music (straight out of wikipedia) is:
…an audio effect and an effects unit which records an input signal to an audio storage medium, and then plays it back after a period of time.
In the world of guitar, delay is often applied via foot pedals, with a variety of settings for number of echoes, volume, decay, and more.
Some of the great acoustic fingerstyle players use these types of delay foot pedals to augment their sound, including folks like Mike Daws, Jon Gomm, and more.
So we took a look at the rigs of top acoustic fingerstyle guitar players, and zeroed in on the delay pedals. Listed below are the results: five great delay pedals that these artists use to get their sound, and that you can use to build your acoustic fingerstyle guitar voice, too.
1. Strymon TimeLine Delay Pedal
Product Description: The Strymon TimeLine provides you with twelve unique delay
Used By: Mike Dawes, the virtuosic fingerstyle player who repeatedly tops the “Best Acoustic Guitarist” polls.
2. Boss DD-7 Digital Delay PedalImage
Product Description: Even with the best-selling delays in compact-pedal history, BOSS continues to push the envelope and innovate. The new DD-7 takes the best features from its predecessors and expands the creative potential with Modulation Delay mode, classic modeled Analog Delay mode, External pedal control options, longer delay time, and more.
Used By: Jon Gomm, the amazing singer/songwriter/fingerstyle player.
3. Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Pedal
Product Description: This compact pedal provides a digital delay effect with outstanding quality equivalent to that of a dedicated rackmount delay unit, all with simple stompbox-style control.
Used By: Kaki King, who definitely pushes the sonic limits of fingerstyle acoustic with videos like this.
4. Line 6 DL4 Stompbox Delay Pedal
Product Description: The DL4 Delay Modeler offers you an incredible array of sounds, from a tube driven, tape loop echo (complete with adjustable wow and flutter), through 24 bit squeaky clean digital echo, to real-time reverse delay. Not only that, but you’ve got complete programmable control over all aspects of the sound in the studio and on the stage. Incredibly simple to use, it’s an amazingly powerful tool offering you delay effects never before available in a single box.
Used By: Phil Keaggy. I’ve always got a soft spot for Keaggy – he’s been playing amazing guitar for so long, and consistently stays classy and non-controversial.
5. Digitech X-Series DigiDelay
Product Description: With up to 4 seconds of delay, which is more than most studio processors, your creativeness will have no limits! The DigiDelay pedal gives you 7 different types of delay to choose from which include tape, modulated, reverse, and a looper that will allow for an infinite amount of
Used By: Don Ross. Ross is an amazing player and very pure in his songwriting and playing. He’s a great example of using effects (like delay) in a subtle way for maximum effect.
If you like scavenging for a pedal no longer available, the Seymour Duncan Deja Vu is a great acoustic delay that doesn’t mess with (change) your acoustic tone. My favorite feature is knob that allows you to blend a digital delay and an analog delay signal to get a perfect tone. I find pure digital delay is too bright and analog is too dark but blend the two at about 70% digital and 30% analog and it is perfect! Includes a tap tempo and other nice features.