Trying to figure out how to use guitar delay can sometimes feel like trying to teach yourself a foreign language. Delay pedals are covered with jargon but filled with good times, if you you take the time to learn how to use guitar delay correctly.
To use guitar delay, you will need:
- An electric guitar
- A delay pedal
- Nine-volt batteries or an adapter
- Patch cables
- Consult the manual. Browse through the manual before trying to operate your delay pedal. It never hurts to familiarize yourself with the exact features of your pedal. All delay pedals are different, but if if you know exactly what all of the features are, it will make it easier to learn how to use guitar delay.
- Connect the pedals power supply. Nine-volt batteries are pretty standard for guitar effects, but try using an adapter to cut down on your power costs and landfill participation. If you chose to use batteries, keep some extra on hand because you can't learn how to use guitar delay if the pedal doesn't have power.
- Use the 1/4" cables to add the pedal to your signal chain. There are two ways to add the pedal to your chain; by adding the pedal directly to the chain between the guitar and amp, or by adding the pedal to your amps effects loop. Run the pedal through an effects loop to reduce unwanted volume swells, which the cloud the overall sound of the amp. Connect the input to either the send jack, or directly to your guitar. Run a separate cable from the output jack to the amps input, or effects loop return.
- Activate the delay pedal. Step on the switch to activate the pedal. Most delay pedals have LED indicator lights that notify when the pedal is engaged,
- Set the pedal to the right tempo. Adjusting the delay pedals tempo will ensure that your delayed sounds play at the right times. Pedals often refer to the tempo as time, tempo, or delay.
- Dial in your desired number of repeats. Use the repeats, or regen, knob to set the number of times each note will repeat. Dialing in the desired amount of repeats is where most of the sound customization comes from when using guitar delay, so take the time to play with various repeat amounts until you find the perfect sound.
- Mix in the effects volume. Use the knob that controls the pedals volume mix to set the delay volume to a comfortable level. Set the pedals volume low to add light repeats, but crank the delay to thicken up sounds. Don't be afraid to get aggressive with the mix dial while you get acquainted with the pedal.
Guitar delay pedals come in various formats; but being familiar with tempos, repeats, and volume control, will give you the ability to operate any guitar delay pedals basic features.