10 Awesome Delay Tricks for Electric Guitars

Delay is presumably the most resourceful effect for any guitarist’s armaments. If you are looking to get any sort of electric sound other than the default tone that comes out of your guitar, then you have to use delay – it is just simple as that.

Quite a lot of different and exciting sounds may be created from this effect. Starting from Reverb to Chorus, there are a lot of things that can be done by this effect.

Lots of other effects which we use, for example- Modulation, are basically delay effect customized just with a different name. So, in this article we will cover and get some basic idea on 10 awesome delay tricks that are used for electric guitars.

No matter where you are, it is a universal thing and it is always better to get a good understanding of how such a vital effect such as ‘Delay’ has become an integral part of our lives. Shall we begin then?

1. Stereo Spread

The first delay trick that we have here for you is known as ‘Stereo Spread’. This trick is very normal and with this the stereo spread can be amplified from a Mono sound. A stereo delay will be needed for this trick.

On one side there will be no delay, so we will need to set it in 0ms. As for the other side, there will be a low amount of delay, so we will have to set it in 1-20ms. There should not be any feedback and the effect must be 100% wet.

Now this way there will be an artificial stereo effect. Want to know how to get it done easily? Just set the Right Delay to 500 samples or around that.

2. ADT or Automated Double Tracking

In this particular example, we are going to reproduce an effect known as Double Tracking. So what measures we are required to take for that to happen? The answer is quite simple actually. We just have to begin by transferring the signal to a bus.

We have to manually adjust the dry signal and also the return of the delay which are to be panned by ourselves as well. The delay time on the delay tape needs to be adjusted to get this effect.

You can watch this video to understand more about ADT:

3. Chorus

Lot of people have this kind of misconception that that chorus is not a delay effect. But you know what? It actually it is! Delay times ranging from 20-40ms generate a contrast in the time and in the pitch, which make the chorus effect when the dry signal is mingled with it.

Sounds tough? Well, it is a bit actually – but when you are looking for ways to understand how something like a delay effect works, that is a pretty much how it is going to be. But nothing to be afraid of.

The bottom line of our trick number three is that chorus effect is actually a form of delay – just keep it in your mind and that will do!

4. Flange

Now what do we have here as our number four delay trick? Yes, it is the famous ‘flanging’! Flanging is a trick which is actually caused by oscillations in the time and in the pitch.

To get this effect the delay times must be lower like around 5-10ms. In this effect feedback is also very important. We have to set the feedback in a quite high range.

5. 16th Note Slap back

This trick was used on many Rockabilly and Rock’n’Roll tracks. This was the sounds of the 50’s tracks. The slap back delay can be gained when you are playing an 8th note part and simultaneously timing the delay to a 16th note. But there must not be any feedback.

This process radically doubles the play and make it sound almost twice as fast. If we want to get the full effect, then we need to adjust the return to quite high.

6. Dotted 8th

Dotted 8th is arguably the most essential trick. Among these tricks we hear the most about this one particular trick. The dotted 8th trick is almost in everywhere like in John Martin & Van Helen and to the famous David Gilmore.

This effect can increase the spiciness of even the dullest guitar and it is almost guaranteed. So how this effect works exactly? You have to play an 8th note in part and let the Dotted 8th (8th+16th) delay start bouncing between the gaps.

We can also get this effect when we add a Dotted 8th note delay at a quite high return. But if we adjust it at a lower return level on little divisions on guitar parts then we will get to an edge style sound.

We just have to add it to any sound and the output will be great. It is also useful for Solos too. As we can say that this effect is always a winner.

7. Harmonization

Remember Brian May from the famous band Queen? Mr. May actually had made this trick really prominent and popular. He could build up three part harmonies by using this effect.

First off, we have to understand that in order to create this effect successfully, two delays of long magnitude are needed. We have to set one delay at the double length than the other delay. Using a useful tool such as a delay designer can be helpful for this trick.

The 1st tap delay must be fixed to half-note while the 2nd tap must be adjusted to a full note. If minor scales are played in one fourth of a note, afterwards while reaching the 3rd note, the first delayed note will sound like a minor 3rd harmony.

So when we get to the 5th note of the scale which is actually on the whole note beat, the first tap is then playing the 3rd and the second tap is now doing the Root. At this moment what we are getting is a minor triad. If we follow through then these triads will reach up the scales.

8. The Resonant Effect

This is a very effective and exciting effect. It is exciting because it is a strange trick and people like it. To get this effect the delay time must be set very low like between 1-60 ms and an elevated feedback must be used.

When we set the delay it actually starts behaving similarly as an oscillator. This can produce some enthralling resonant effects. These can differ from Sitar-type effect to more Ring Modulation.

If we do experiments with different delay times, then we will find different pitches. We need to set at 30ms to produce a pitch close to C-scale. Also the feedback must be on the edge of self-deformation to work in a better way.

9. Reverse

Any kind of delay which is reversed is really good for reproducing a guitar solo in backwards. Anyway, it is not actually an alternative for slinging the over the tape, but it is really helpful for getting the effect in live environment.

Line6’s DL4 delay model is basically a better one for this. There is also another way to get this effect.

10. Washes

If we want to expand this effect’s uses, then we must need treating the delay returns with another FX. So if we are to create a delay wash (filtered), then we need to begin with a sound or tone that we thumped in Guitar Rigs.

It is almost a better and clean sound, but there is also some reverb, echo and chorus. At this moment, we need make it through to an effects bus and what we will get is pretty good. The starting link in this series is stereo delay.

One side is ¼ note and the other side is a Dotted eighth. As we have to set the feedback in a quite high range, so it will take some time to fade. Then we will need to make the delay run through a band pass filter.

This filter should be adjusted to high resonance. Then this will be produced with a gentle LFO. Since we set the feedback in a high range so we will be hearing the filter as it carries through. Then we will compress to even it out.

The result would create a nice ambient sound that is impossible to resist. This is how the ‘washes’ will come into play a vital role in delay effect.


So that is almost it. If we can be creative with those delays then it can lead us to all types of great effects. So hurry up and get those plugins as soon as possible and start creating.

May be what you will come up with will be a great one. This is nearly everything that can be described for using delay.

Click here to get information about How to Make Best Use of TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay Pedal

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Natalie Wilson

I've been an avid guitar fan for as long as I can remember and the day I embarked on my six-string journey at the young age of 5 truly defined the course of my entire life. I work as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher, and would like to use this blog as a personal outlet to share my six-string knowledge with the world. Welcome to MusicalAdvisors.com

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