Tips for Using Reverb and Delay Pedals on Guitar

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My name’s Natalie Wilson and I’m an avid music lover and guitar player who has dedicated my life to sharing what I know on my blog. You’ll find a wide range of topics on my blog, including reviews, tutorials, and tips for musicians.

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Effect pedals are an excellent way to enhance your sound. Whether you want to give yourself more presence during a guitar solo or create more ambiance in your music, effect pedals are the way to go. Ever since the 1950s, musicians have been hooked on this technology ever since, and it only continues to grow and expand every day.

close-up of a Guitar synthesizer on color

Reverb and delay pedals share many common characteristics, but also differ in significant ways. It’s important to understand how these pedals work, and then take advantage of their capabilities. Let’s take a look at what both of these pedals do, followed by some tips for using reverb and delay pedals on guitar:

 

 

Alien Echo Tape Delay Pedal

Delay Pedals

Delay pedals will take your audio signal and repeat it back to you. Depending on your settings, delay pedals can create cave-like effects and are an excellent investment if you want to create more presence in your sound. Delay pedals will usually have three knobs. Your feedback knob will allow you to control how many repeats you hear, your time knob will allow you to control how much time elapses between those repeats, and the level knob will allow you to adjust the volume.

 

Boing Spring Reverb guitar pedal

Reverb Pedals

While reverb pedals also create echo effects, the approach they take a different approach to affecting your sound. Reverb pedals are all about creating a specific setting. With a delay pedal, you’ll be thinking much more about the characteristic of your echo rather than the acoustic space you envision playing in. This is why reverb pedals have features that correspond with different acoustic settings, such as Hall, Cathedral, Room, and Gated

Tips for Delay Pedals

Thickening your sound

“Doubling”, or fattening your sound by creating a really subtle delay effect is great for musicians who don’t want a noticeable echo to take advantage of their pedal. In order to double your sound, you’ll want to choose lower settings. Few repeats and time between those repeats are ideal. I’d recommend turning your time knob between 0-60 ms and turning your feedback to one repeat.

Slapback

You might have also heard of the term “slapback,” which refers to one short repeat. The effect is excellent for rockabilly genres, but you’ll be able to incorporate it into any rock genre if done correctly. Your time setting will also be short for this technique, at around 80-160 ms. This technique requires your feedback setting to be set to zero.

False Reverb

You can also create a more engulfing echo effect with your delay pedal. To create this effect, you’ll want to turn your settings up from the slapback settings. Your time knob should be set to at least 100 ms, and your feedback knob will be set to produce around five repeats. If you want your effect to be more reverberant, simply increase the time and feedback knobs until you’re happy with the sound.

Tips for Reverb Pedals

Start with your setting

Since reverb pedals are primarily used to create the illusion of an acoustic space, it’s important to choose your ideal setting before you fine tune the effect. The most reverberant setting is Cathedral or Church. Medium reverb settings involve Room and Hall, and the least reverberant setting is Spring. Plated settings will produce an awesome metallic effect, especially when used with a long decay.

Fine tune

Typically, reverb pedals will also have knobs to fine tune the sound. An “FX” or “Reverb” knob will allow you to control how wet or dry your signal is. The higher the setting, the more intense the reverb will be. You might also have a tone knob on your reverb pedal. This is a great tool to control the warmth of your sound. Try turning your tone knob all the way up to create an intimate, ambient atmosphere.

If you have a decay knob, use it to adjust how quickly your sound dissipates. Quick decays will work well with settings such as “Room”, and not as well with more reverberant settings, like “Cathedral”. A longer decay time will create a more reverberant effect, so adjust accordingly to suit the setting you decided on in the above step.

If you want a clipped sound, make sure you adjust your pedal to end the signal quickly. For a metallic stutter-like effect, I’d suggest using a spring or plated setting, adjusting your settings to produce a short decay, and creating a cold tone using the tone knob. Experimenting with these settings are the first step to becoming a pedal guru, but remember to think outside of the box. You might even start a new trend.

Electric bass guitar player on a stage with set of distortion effect pedals under his foot. Selective focus

In Conclusion

Hopefully, you found this article tips for using reverb and delay pedals on guitar helpful. Remember to learn the basics of your pedal first, and then experiment with different settings to produce your ideal effect. Delay and reverb pedals will open up a world of endless musical possibilities, so enjoy getting to know all of their nuances!

Chris Van Tassel