Australian Guitar looks at eight different delay pedals with eight different personalities. 

This is a four-part series, and it's all online! Check out part two here, three here and four here.

While reverb has the capability to simulate actual acoustic environments, delay is something different. Whether it’s a 100% accurate digital repeat of the original signal; or a warm, funky, dirty and gritty analog reproduction; or a modulated, filtered, pitch-shifted reimagining, delay is not something that happens ‘to’ your guitar signal so much as something that happens ‘because of’ it. You can use delay as a simple echo effect, or as a complex rhythmic one - for vintage rockabilly-style slapback echo or for modern progressive metal glittery soundscapes. Here are eight different delays which all bring their own thing to the table. 


The reigning king of analog delay pedals - as far as many players are concerned - the Carbon Copy excels at slightly muffled and warm echo repeats. It uses bucket brigade technology to give you up to 600ms of delay time, and although the controls are simple (Delay, Mix and Regeneration), you can find a heck of a lot of different sounds within this pedal’s sparkly green enclosure. There’s also a Modulation button which kicks in a wavery, watery, chorus-like texture, with Width and Rate controls hidden inside the unit. MXR also offers the Carbon Copy Bright, which is tuned for crisper-sounding echoes. 

The Carbon Copy is great for vintage-style effects - especially with the Modulation control engaged for vintage tape-delay sounds with a little touch of warble. It’s very happy following gritty fuzz boxes or for bright-sounding guitars, where its warm, mellow textures add a little more body and fullness. And if you’re into making wild ray-gun-and-UFO-landing noises, the Carbon Copy can self-oscillate like nobody’s business.


The Flashback X4 takes the basic feature set of the regular Flashback pedal and beefs it up with several extra modes, four downloadable TonePrint locations instead of one, up to 40 seconds of looping, and so much more. There are twelve delay types: Tape, Tube, Space (based on the old Roland Space Echo), Analog, Analog with Modulation, Reverse, Dynamic (otherwise known as “ducking delay”, which fades the repeats down while you’re playing and mixes them up with you’re not), 2290 (based on the classic TC Electronic 2290 delay), 2290 with Modulation (more of a flanger-type modulation compared to the Analog/Mod mode), Slap, LoFi, Ping Pong, and four stock artist TonePrints designed by Steve Morse, Doug Aldrich, Bumblefoot and Korn’s James ‘Munky’ Shaffer, which you can keep or replace with other TonePrints at any time - even your own. 

Space is great for Devin Townsend-style ambience. Reverse is killer for psychedelic experimentation, and if you turn the Feedback control all the way down, you get just the backmasked sound. 2290 is a very pure, ‘honest’ repeat, and the Munky TonePrint stalks your guitar signal with a big, greasy, modulated echo. The looper is intuitive and powerful, and it’s easy to layer sounds and create ambient soundscapes or rhythmic undercurrents. And because there’s so much looping time available, you can record a part and then play it back while you perform a harmony over the top.