A Guitarist’s Answers to Life’s Questions

Q: “Hey how long have you been playing guitar?”
A: “I have been playing guitar this many delay pedals.”

Q: “What kind of amp is that?”
A: “I have the Strymon Blue Sky.”

Q: “Did you play the IV chord?”
A: “I played the reverb.”

Q: “Can you turn your amp down? We’re pushing 105 db’s.”
A: “Can’t you just turn the house mix down?”

Q: “Is it too loud in here?”
A: “It only sounds that way.”

Q: “Can we all stop a second and tune?”
A: “I have so much modulation on, it wouldn’t matter anyway.”

Q: “How do you like that guitar?”
A: “The internet says it’s amazing.”

Q: “How does that pedal sound?”
A: “It says Eventide on it.”

Q: “Does that sound better than a Boss pedal?”
A: “Yes.”
Q: “How does it compare to a Boss pedal?”
A: “I don’t know.”

Q: “Do you really know what all those pedals do?”
A: “No.”

Q: “Do you really need a board that big?”
A: “How else am I going to fit six reverbs on it?”

Q: “Can you launch a rocket with that board?”
A: “Did someone say Rockett Pedals? What?”

Q: “Are you hearing the tempo right?”
A: “I am not hearing a tempo. So yes.”

Q: “Why are we here?”
A: “Did you just ask me to turn up?”

Q: “Who are we?”
A: “Yep, I read ya. Turning up.”

Q: “Do you have me in your in-ears?”
A: “Yes. And by you, you mean me, right?”

Q: “Who just missed that note?”
A: “Well, it couldn’t have been me because my delay rings out so long that I was literally playing all the notes.”

Q: “Are you an actual guitarist?”
A: “Well I should say so sir! Look at the pedalboard!”

And scene.


P.S. (Don’t ask me to divulge how many times I’ve actually said some of these. 😉 )

History of the Delay (well, at least for me)

Well, as per request, I am going to attempt right now to make a list of all the delay pedals I have owned, and why I no longer own some of them. I’m a bit frightened, as I have never seen all my delay pedals listed consecutively. But hopefully this will serve as a quick list of opinions on these pedals for anyone trying to decide which delay to buy. And a * next to a pedal name, means that I still own that exact pedal. So, here it goes!


(These are not my delay pedals. But I sometimes feel almost as sick as this person. If I had the money, I’m sure my closet would look like this. Mmmm…..happiness.)

1. Crate GFX guitar amp.

–Ya, I know, I know! Not a delay pedal. But here’s the deal: up until I got this amp, I thought that effects were cheating. That you should be able to sound good with just your hands without using any other musical tools. Of course, I hadn’t quite thought through the fact that even a guitar is a tool, and if you want to be technical about using only your own body, then only the voice is considered a real instrument. But my maturity level had not gone that far yet. So, anyway, when I got this amp, one day I accidentally bumped the reverb/delay knob to the ‘guitar solo’ setting. Oh, and even today I remember the tears that fell from my eyes as those notes were delayed. I could probably only play three notes consecutively at the time, but they were delayed!!!! Loveliness.

2. Boss GT-6 multi-effects pedal

–I know, I know! Still not a delay pedal!! But this is where my journey of ultimate tone was taking me. (Oh, those were the days…..when I paid for a pedal with 100 effects what I now pay for a pedal with one effect. *Sigh*) So, after hearing the glories of delay from the Crate amp, I now needed to take it to the next level. Now, my ear for tone was pretty bad back then, but I do remember thinking the delayed sounds were fairly good. Very digital, if I remember correctly, but not as sterile as you would think. hehe I also remember setting the delay to dotted eighths because I read that that was what Edge from U2 did. Then I thought my GT-6 was broken, because the delay came out at a different tempo than what I tapped in. Yep. I really did….and I think I even posted bad reviews online of how the delay did not work on GT-6’s. Wow, honesty hurts.

3. Arion SAD-1 analog delay (vintage)

–First actual stompbox delay!!! Vintage 3 knob style analog delay from the ’80’s. Got it at Guitar Center Ontario for fairly cheap in their used case. I still have fond memories of this pedal. Sounded fantastic (I still have one on my board), but I sold it to a friend because he needed a delay. Aren’t I nice? Well, and I also needed a Memory Lane. So….ya, not that nice. 🙂

4. Arion SAD-1 analog delay (vintage)*

–Ya, I have problems with moderation. When I hate something, I hate it 100%. When I start to like something, watch out because I smother it. And then when I can’t smother it enough, I buy another one. There’s not much middle ground with me. So, after hearing the Arion SAD-1, I was like, ‘Wow, it sounds so good when I click my delay on. Wait…… what if I had delay on all the time??!! (Remember what I said about problems with moderation? Yep.) So I went two days without eating on a roadtrip (I’m being serious), so that in my mind I saved enough money by not eating so that I could spend the money I saved on another Arion SAD-1, but this one would be at a low setting to keep on all the time. (Isn’t it great the things we can tell ourselves in our minds?) I stopped at Future Music (again, RIP) in Hollywood on the way back from the roadtrip, and picked it up for 60 bucks. And actually, I still have this one, although I use it sparingly now for ambient sounds. Now you’re thinking, ‘Thank goodness. He grew out of the mindset of having delay always on.’ Ya………..nope. I moved this pedal to an ambient place in my rig, and bought a second Memory Lane to be on all the time. Ya, so………still delay on all the time, and still no moderation.

5. DOD 680 analog delay (vintage) (the big blue box one)

–So, at one time, I was running the second out of my always on Arion SAD-1 delay into a whole ‘nother board of effects and into another amp. I had all delays and phasers on this second board, and they were all set to extremely wet settings. And then the amp was set low. In this way, I had some ambient, washy, watery sounds underneath everything I played. I still think it was a good idea, I just didn’t know how to do it properly at the time. If I ever played somewhere professionally, I’d probably do it again, but using a little thing we like to call ‘the correct way’. At the time, I stopped doing this because I realized that I didn’t have the money to buy the right effects and switching systems to make it sound proper, and also because the sound techs had no clue what to do with this ‘second rig.’ So, the DOD 680 was one of three analog delays in the wet rig. Still quite possibly one of the best delays I’ve heard….if I rememeber correctly, it seemd to color the sound in a really, really nice way. Completely organic. I sold it when I realized that by selling all the pedals on this second board, I could afford to buy a delay with a dotted eighth setting, which was way more important at that time than a second rig that was always muted in the house because the sound techs didn’t know what to do with it.

6. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man (vintage) 

–The second delay on that ambient board. Sounded good….Memory Man’s are good pedals. Had a bit of a problem filtering out the high artifacts, though. I think the chips might have been dying. Sold it for the same reason as above (getting rid of the ambient board for a U2-style delay).

7. Omnifex analog delay (vintage?)

–Yep. Bet you’ve never heard of this one. Some Japanese clone from the ’80’s Actually sounded pretty good. Did color the sound a bit. The third and final analog delay on my now defunct wet board. (Ya….you thought I was kidding around when I said I loved delay. At one time I think I had 8 delays in my rig, all on at once. Scary. And didn’t sound so good either….although at the time, I thought it sounded great. Hmm.) Sold it with the above two pedals to get my dotted eighth/U2-style delay.

8. Arion SAD-1 (vintage, grey box version)

–I know, I know, I know! You don’t have to say it. I have issues with moderation. And yes, at one time, I had three of these on my board at one time. The grey box versions of these are pretty spectacular, though. They maintain the warmth, but have a bit more high end sparkle than the black boxes. I used it for crisper delays back when I still thought digitial was the devil. Sold it to add even more dollars to getting a dotted eighth style delay.

9. Morley Emerald Echo

–Bought it on a whim out of the used case at Guitar Center San Marcos. (It was green, and I needed more green on my board at the time. Pathetic, I know.) Brought it to a friend’s house and we tried it out. Distorted the repeats. Put it on e-bay the same day.

10. DOD FX90 analog delay (’90’s)

–At the time, these were being talked up on gearpage. (If you post on gearpage, you know that pedals go through flavor-of-the-month fads over there routinely.) Got it thrown in on a deal for other pedals from some guy in Mission Viejo, tried it, and was thoroughly unimpressed. On e-bay within a couple days.

11. Diamond Memory Lane

–Ah, the leap into boutique pedals. I remember it with joy……..and the sudden absence of any extra money. I bought this one at Analogue Haven in Pomona. I paid full price. Ya, I couldn’t wait two weeks until they were being sold on gearpage for used price. It was like Christmas as kid. I mean, analog delay but with tap tempo! The first one ever! Seriously, if you were a kid, and Christmas was two weeks away, but someone told you that if you drove to Pomona, it was already Christmas, can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t go to Pomona for early Christmas? Ya, that’s what I thought. I still adore this pedal. I have yet to find a delay pedal that sounds as lush, organic, and dynamic. Although I did end up selling this particular one to pay for another Memory Lane, but one with the dotted eighth mod. 

12. Diamond Memory Lane*

–Yep. Not a typo. I had to buy another one for the ‘always on’ delay sound. Still have it. It’s on 95% of the time. Mmmm……delay. It’s still on the board, and almost always on at a low setting.

13. T-Rex Replica

–Sold, like, 4 of the above-mentioned vintage analog delay pedals to get this one because it was digital/analog hybrid and had the dotted eighth switch so you could tap in quarter notes, but get U2-style dotted eighth delays out of it. One of my favorite pedals for a good long time. Best sounding digital delay I had heard until I heard the Damage Control Timeline. And still, I think there are a couple sounds this pedal can do that even the Timeline can’t do. Maybe. This pedal actually ended up breaking, so I shipped it back to its original country of Denmark for repair. It was beyond repair, so T-Rex sent me another one:

14. T-Rex Replica

–The replacement one T-Rex sent to me to replace my broken one. They did it for free, too. Pretty cool company. Ended up selling it to get a Damage Control Timeline.

15. T-Rex Replica

–Bought it to play while mine was being sent to Denmark for a replacement one. Ya, I can’t live without delay. Sold it as soon as my new one came in. Pitiful……yes.

16. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man* 

–Actually, I bought this one for the chorus setting. I’m totally in the minority, but I have yet to find a chorus I like better than the chorus setting on this delay pedal. So over-the-top, spacious, and Cure-sounding. Bought it from some guy in the deep bowels of LA. I still ahve no idea what town that was. Still own the pedal.

17. Ibanez AD99 analog delay

–Got it in a trade with a friend. Not a bad delay. Colored the sound a bit…had to run off it’s own a adapter…and very large for being a 3 knob/300ms delay. Sold it on e-bay after a week or so.

18. Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man (vintage)

–Bought it on e-bay because it was broken. I have no idea how to fix a delay pedal. Yet when I see them for cheap because they are broken, I somehow convince myself that I can fix it. I don’t know how I can fix it…..magic, maybe. But I convince myself and buy the pedal……and then the pedal comes in and I open it up and go, ‘Wait. I have no idea how to fix this.’ But I ended up selling it as a broken pedal for a lot more than I paid for it. Probably some other guy thinking he’ll magically be able to fix it.

19. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man (vintage)*

–Same story as above. Bought it broken. Thought I could fix it or sell it. But what the e-bay seller forgot to mention was that by ‘broken’ he actually meant ‘I have the metal housing and a couple of knobs and chips from what was once a Memory Man.’ The pieces are still in my closet. And he did not get good e-bay feedback from me. That showed him. Ya……..probably not.

20. Diamond Memory Lane (custom with dotted eighth switch)

–So, I sold one of my Memory Lanes in order to buy this other Diamond Memory Lane that had a dotted eighth switch custom modded into it. A friend of mine custom ordered this pedal from Diamond. Still sounded great, but the dotted eighth setting didn’t really sound right in a pedal this warm and ambient. At least for me. For me, the dotted eighth setting works the best with clearer delays, and I don’t have the Memory Lane’s on my board for clear delays. So, I ended up selling this one. It took a while for me to want to sell it, because it was also in a custom blue color. And that was pretty. Plus, everyone knew I had a ‘special modded custom’ Memory Lane on my board. And that was fun. (Lame, I know.) But I ended up selling it, then buying another regular Memory Lane to replace it, and using the extra 100 dollar difference to pay for food that month, I think.

21. Diamond Memory Lane*

–The one I bought after selling the modded one. Bought it from some kid in Anaheim. Still have it. Beautiful sounding pedal. 

22. Boss DD20

–There was a time when I was leading worship for the main service, and then during the message I’d go down and lead for the youth group. So, I put together a smaller, less expensive youth group rig. For the money, the DD20 sounds good and has a ton of features. But I just seriously could not get into its digtal flavor of delay. I ended up selling it, and just toting my T-Rex back and forth from main service to youth group. The things we do for tone. 

23. T-Rex Replica

–So, my T-Rex Replica broke again. Sent it back to Denmark for replacement. So, I found, of all things, this one at Guitar Center in Hollywood. Will wonders never cease. Bought it to play while mine was getting repaired. Sold it when mine returned. 

24. Eventide Timefactor

–I was very intrigued by all the things this pedal could do, and by how good the clips online sounded. The T-Rex Replica was great, but I’d always been looking for something that sounded like the Replica, but with more functionality. I totally thought this pedal was it, and played it for about two weeks, before I realized that my recent dissatisfaction with my tone was because of this pedal. It changes your analog dry signal to digital, then back to analog again, which in my rig, completely took out tone and dynamics. The delays sounded great, but my dry signal was just so lacking. Sold it.

25. Boss DD20*

–I totally did not get into this pedal for guitar, although it is industry standard and it’s not terrible by any means. But for keyboards, that digital thing was great! So I bought this off of a friend to use in my keyboard rig, and for any guitarist at the church to borrow.

26. Eventide Timefactor

–Saw someone selling it for stupid cheap. So I bought it and then sold it for more money. Hey, times are tough! 🙂

27. Damage Control Timeline*

–Best sounding digital delay I have heard. Can do a ton of things, and you can hook a midi pedal to it and have access to 128 patches. Finally, after three years, I found the pedal that had the sound quality of the T-Rex Replica, but with a ton more functionality. And it possibly, possibly sounds just a tad better than the Replica. I’ll do a full review of this pedal soon. And, of course, as opposed to the Timefactor, it keeps your dry signal untouched and analog.

I’m sure there’s more, but I just can’t remember. I’m tired now. And if you just made it all the way to here, you should be tired, too.