Tips for Choosing The Ideal Guitar Pedal

When it comes to guitar pedals, most people , especially beginner guitarists are not aware of the differences between Reverb and Delay pedals . Though there are many connections or similarities between the two, but the more differences between them you can detected, the better you can make your choice from the two.

What are Reverb and Delay ?

Reverberation ( or reverb), and delay, are two different methods of signal processing in Electric guitar, that are often closely related . Simply put, Reverberation can be regarded as multiple-blended sound images that are created from reflection.

Some of the commonest reverb effects that can be generated through the use of reverb pedals are; Reverb hall and reverb room.

A reverb hall, when generated will seem like playing an electric or acoustic guitar in a small gym , you will notice that the sound of the guitar will simply bounce around the room , and then reflected off the floors and walls of the room thus creating a new sound entirely.

On the other hand, Delay is also known as “Echo”, and it is characterized by one or more distinct sound creation.



The relationship between Reverb and delay

This is the situation where Reverb and delay are related; If you stand inside a room and yell “hey” , you will notice that the first sound you hear will simply be reflected off the walls as echo , and the echo will suddenly turn into a reverb especially with the reflection of the sound over the second , third and subsequent surfaces.

For this reason, you can say, delay is simply a single copy of a sound generated on the guitar .

Reverb can simply be regarded as a combination of many short delays. Reverb will produce a simulation of an acoustic space, but using too much of it will definitely smear the produced signal, and will definitely push the signal back into the mix and the final effect is that the guitar will sound more “Distant”.

If you apply a reverb pedal into a signal having numerous lows and highs, then the whole mix become smeared. High levels of the use of reverb may cause serious problems as regards intelligibility especially when it is applied to fast vocals.

Usefulness of Reverb and Delay pedals in electric and acoustic guitars

Reverb is mostly added to a voice, in order to fill it out. With the use of the reverb or talent pedal, it becomes quite easy to mask off all offending frequencies, and that means the Reverb pedal will give a fuller and richer sound to your guitar.

On the other hand, the Delay pedal is used in two main areas; To create guitar effects and in speaker placements.

When a place is so big that it requires numerous speakers in more than one location , especially from front to the back then a delay pedal will be used on the speakers and not in their fronts.

With this arrangement, the sounds generated from the speakers in different locations and depth will reach the listeners at the same time, even if echoes are generated.

For this reason, you should consider using a Delay guitar pedal to create effects that allows the guitar player to play less sound as if they are playing more.

Both Reverb and delay pedals are fantastic sound signal effect generators that can be used to adjust the sound to fit the specific need of the listeners and players.



Other points to note

You need to keep in mind that the simpler traditional delay pedal will not produce a realistic simulation of the acoustic space, however , the overall effect of the discrete echoes will definitely generate an illusion of space without causing any disruption or mess.

This situation can be illustrated with an example; drop a glass on the floor, it will create less mess if it breaks into few large pieces than when it shatters everywhere.

For this reason, you should try out the delay pedal if you want to keep the original sound generated much longer within a mix of sound, without losing the definition of the whole sounds.

You should also consider using a delay pedal when you are playing live in an environment that is already reverberant, for instance large halls, where the use of reverb pedals can become problematic.

It is possible to simulate reverb with delay pedal on your guitar, in this case you should try simulating between 100 and 500ms, if you simulate below 100ms, then you may develop smearing problem that you may get when using the true reverb.

When you simulate sound above 500ms, you will generate the repeats that will move away from the divorced signals and most of the illusions that you intend to create will be lost.

When it comes to whether you should use reverb or delay pedal, your aim should be ; to moderate the levels of feedback, and then try to roll off the high and low ends of the repeat , as your delay pedal allows.

You can generate more pseudo-reverb effects with the use of Analog delays that make use of limited bandwidths( especially analog delays found in Acoustic guitars).

When it comes to choosing between the reverb or delay pedal, you should consider your needs first. You don’t have to choose one over the other, as it is possible to make use of both, without compromising on the quality of sound effects that you want to achieve.

You are probably aware of the benefits each of the pedals offers, and the different situations for which they can be used. You can route a delay into a reverb if you want to generate huge sounds, without having to rely only on the reverb.

Incorporating both sounds into your overall sound can produce excellent ambience to your final sound but such mix can be overwhelming , therefore, you still need to study your situation or environment first before creating that mix.

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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

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