Delay Effects

Here's a very informative post from a new contributor, Ronald, from Holland, on tweaking your delay. The portion on the United Live guitarist's delay is also very useful, and saves you the trouble of alternate picking songs like An Introduction and Take it All.

By Ronald

I want to give you a lesson about using delay in your sound. The things I’m going to tell you are things I use in my playing.

First of all I’m using the Line6 guitarport computer based software to play through. I just plug it in to the mixing consule and play. I have made a custom pedal board to switch between the different patches.

That’s about that. Now for the delay. I have a digital, analog and tube delay to choose from. I like the first to most. Very important with the delay is the time setting.

I can set the time of my delay through:

Tempo of the song vs. the length of notes.

So in formula form that is: 60 / bpm x length of note

Length of note values:
Whole note = 4
Half note = 2
Quarter note = 1
Dotted eight note = 0.75
Eight note = 0.5

So if a song is in 100 bpm and I want to use a dotted eight note this gives me:
60 / 100 x 0.75 = 450ms

No I don’t have to do this. My program does this for me, but if u use a simple delay pedal u can use this formula.

The Line6 products and Boss DD2 have both functions on it where you can set the length of the note by tapping the beat of the song on a pedal (tap tempo).

Next is which kind of situations, you can use the different note length of notes in.

Dotted eight note
I use the dotted eight note setting most of the time. This is also the most used setting of the Edge of U2 (Where the streets have no name) and Bad (both stereo delays but with this setting).

Michael Guy Chisllet also uses this setting on almost every song,from songs like “an introduction – The time has come” to “Fire fall down”.

U can use this setting on song where you play straight eight or sixteen notes. This setting fills up the spaces between the notes u play. So you get a very full drowning sound. Be careful with the repeats. 1 or 2 are just fine.

Quarter note
This is a setting you can use when playing sparse riffs or licks. Or just single chords. 2 or more repeats will do fine with this setting.

Eight note.
This is a setting I don’t use much. I mostly use it on busy songs, where a lot is happening. For solo’s it’s also a very safe setting. 3 or more repeats will do on this one.

Quarter note + Eight note triplet.
This is the Nigel Hendroff setting. You have to have 2 delays and stack them on top of each other. He uses this very much with songs like Salvation is here, Higher and Mighty to save. A couple of repeats will do just fine.

When you don’t have 2 delays just use the Eight note triplet setting. It will do just fine and it sounds nice.

Well that all for now. If you want to no more about delays feel free to ask. I leave you with just one quote of the Edge on effects and delays.

"I've found so many guitar parts from using the echo - it's limitless. The biggest difference between me and other players is that I don't use effects to color my parts. I create guitar parts using effects. They're a crucial element of what I do so I don't consider them a crutch... They're a part of the art." - Edge, 'Total Guitar', 2005


smallbudster said...

Hey what're your comments on the line6 DL4? How do you use it?

bilt2spl said...

is eight not triplet the dotted eight note or is it different?
same with the person up there
i use dl4 any suggestions on settings...
and boss dd-5

Anonymous said...

Hi Smallbudster,

I do not use the DL4. But it's a great device. You can also record loops with it. I saw the guitarist of Reuben Morgan play with it. Also Micheal Guy Chislet uses it on the new record. I has ton's of delay effects.

Hi Bilt2spl.

The tripplet setting is differant from the dotted eight note setting. The tripplet setting will give you a galloping feel. The dotted eight not setting is actualy a 3/16 note. So that means when you play a 1/8 note or 2/16 note the dotted eight note delay(3/16) will fill the space between the 2 played 1/8 notes.

For the record. I'm going to extend the lesson on delay so i will try to give you some tips on both devices on how to use them and also the differant delay settings.

Bye Ronald

Anonymous said...

Hey I was wondering if you could show how to get a dotted eight note delay, and the quarter note + eight note triplet on the boss dd-5 and/or dd-6, with a picture or vid, I just bought these two pedals and I'm still learning how to use them, thanks for the these mini lesson you hvae posted, they have been a great blessing!!! God Bless Kenny!!

kenny said...

Unfortunately I've never used those pedals, and I don't know how to set the tempo for them.. why not try your luck in the forum?

byang said...

ive been debating which one to get a dd-5 or a dd-6, which one do u recommend or even a dd-3

Anonymous said...

Both the DD-5 and DD-6 have tap tempo and you can do dotted eight notes with them. The only problem is that the DD-5 needs an external footswitch for you to tap on the tempo you want to use, with the DD-6, you just have to step on the pedal for about 2 seconds then you can step on it again to set the tempo you want.

I have a Line 6 Echo Park and it gives ma more options to use. I personally like it and I can also create Edge-like sounds with this (Echo Park) pedal.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Hey kenny, I have a bass effects pedal but i use it both for guitar and bass,mostly for guitar. It is a zoom B1/B1X. You can check the site,, for it. I was wonder, how can i use the delay formula for it. Also, how do i find the bpm of a song and how do i find the length of the note?
GoD bless man! hope to hear from you!

musikero said...

can i ask question ronald?? if you have a line6 guitarport computer based software can you email me on thnx and Godbless, pls send me if it is ok??

Jonathan said...

Hey I got a dd-7 wondering if you got any tips?

Anonymous said...

Hello Jonathan,
What tips do you need?
The best thing to learn to play with taptempo is to get a metronome and just practice.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

god bless

Anonymous said...

hey, i think with the Boss Delay models you really just have to play around with them and figure it out. It's not too bad after you learn how to do it. Just palm mute one note and play it repeatedly in a constant beat and start setting your delay as you play.
hopefully that made some sense somehow.
God Bless

philips said...

hola: Soy de méxico pero todo el material que han subido me ha sido de gran bendicion, yo tengo un Digitech Rp350 creo no es de los mejores pero me da buen sonido aunque apenas estoy eprendiendo a crear mis propios presets.

edwinsagun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edwinsagun said...


whole note=2400ms or 2.4 seconds= 4

half note=1200ms or 1.2 seconds= 2

quareter note=600ms= 1

eighth note=300ms= .5

sixteenth note=150ms= .25

formula: 600m/s(quarter note) x the percentage value.


to get a dotted eighth note you need to calculate these numbers

Q(value of the beat)=X

lol its turning to math :(

you guys probably could've figured that out, but just in case... lol

John said...

I have recently been Delay hunting and have tried many many pedals. As far as I go I would always side with Boss over Line6. Line6 products tend to sound very artificial and soul less whereas the Boss ones (especially Delay) have more life and colour to them.

With regards to Boss Pedals I have been using the Delay on the ME-50 for a while but found it very limiting (hence my quest for a new delay). After much hunting I decided that the DD-20 was just truly amazing. It has two pedals on it which means that tapping in a tempo is a piece of cake and you don't risk turning the thing off! If you can get your hands on one (and don't mind forking out a little more cash) I would seriously consider getting one as they are unparalleled. The only downside is that they are not true bypass which means the sound coming out of the pedal is only 98% of that going in, but to be fair, you can't tell the difference.

God Bless,

Michael Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Robert said...

I use an analog Brian Wampler echo delay and its great! sorry but I dislike the digital stuff!! I think Line-6 is very overrated! and I do own a Boss DD-3 and DD-5! I always choose the Wampler over them! its warm and organic! doesn't have that cold sound. Some brag about the Boss DD-7? it can do 5 secs of delay or something?? someone please tell me who really uses 5 secs of delay when playing live?? LOL!

Michael Robert said...

Theres always T-Rex, Wampler, build your own clone delay, GGG pedals (kits you build yourself at half the price of a mainstream delay pedal) these pedals don't suck your tone.

Michael Robert said...

My choice is the Wampler Echo Delay, check out this pedal on youtube and read up reviews of it! its true bypass! its analog! its built with top notch parts! HANDMADE!! no cheap chinese factory stuff going on. and it costs the same as buying a Boss DD-7! it has 600ms of delay and a tone control which is cool! doesn't do all the fancy ping pong, stereo, 5 secs of pedal etc like the DD-7 but it beats it on sound quailty big time! and doesn't suck your tone :) if you like those early analog U2 delay sounds! the Wampler will do this for you

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