Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Guitar Gear for Beginners - Part 7 - Time Effects

Time based effects are those that elongate, or repeat our sounds.  Here are 3 types of effects that fall into this category.

Delay

Delay is an echo effect. Depending on the unit we are using, we will set a delay time (how fast does it echo) and a regeneration factor (how quickly does it get quieter with each echo) and a count of how many echos we want. Some examples of delay effects are the Boss DD-3 which is a pretty simple delay pedal, or the Boss DD-7 which is the same pedal as the DD-3 but has a few more delay styles as well as the option for an external 'tap tempo' which will allow you to set your delay speed by clicking a separate pedal. One Delay pedal that I have not had the opportunity to play, but have heard great things about is the Line 6 DL4. This unit has 3 programmable presets (so you don't have to tweak settings while you are playing) and a dedicated tap tempo button.

Reverb

Reverb is an effect that lets a sound trail off as if it were in a room where the echo time was very short. Or as Wikipedia puts it "Reverbration, or "reverb", is the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound is removed. "  A lot of amps have an reverb unit built in. If you have ever moved an amp and gotten a loud sound come out of it that sounded like giant springs, that would be the spring reverb unit in the amp. There are some pedal based reverb units as well if you want more control of your reverb sounds. The Boss RV-5 is one example or the Line 6 Verbzilla which has 11 different types of reverb built it.

Looping

Loopers are a similar idea to delay except that they let you store more than 1 "sample" and then layer them on top of one another.  One major difference between a delay pedal and a looper is that most delay pedals will only let you take a sample of up to maybe 2 seconds, where a looper will provide much longer samples. Here is an example of a guy playing with a looper. Boss make a looper in simple pedal, the Boss RC-2 Loop Station as well as a more complex and larger unit, the Boss RC-20XL Loop Station, Line 6 and Digitech also have offerings in this area as well.

What do I use?

Personally, I use the built in reverb in my Crate V33-212 amp and a Boss DD-6 which from what I can tell has been discontinued in favor of the DD-7. One of these days I need to get my hands on a looper, but it is not really high on my priorities list right now. 

So what time based effects do you use? Sound off in the comments section. 
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