Where to Put a Delay in Your Signal Chain

Where to Put a Delay in Your Signal ChainToday I just wanted to offer a few quick tips about where to put your delay pedal in your signal chain. As you know, a delay pedal can add tremendous character to your tone, giving it a 3-dimensional quality and sheen, but it can be also be used for less atmospheric effects to give you slap backs and rhythmic repeats.

Significantly, if you plan to use your delay in conjunction with other effect pedals, it is important to consider where to place these effects in your signal chain—especially if you’re using overdrive, distortion, or fuzz pedals.

The most common setup is to put your OD/distortion/fuzz before delay. This is important because it means you will be delaying the distorted signal as opposed to distorting a delayed signal, which sounds terrible!

Because a distortion pedal has the strongest impact on your fundamental tone, it’s typically placed early in the chain. A delay, on the other hand, is usually placed toward the end of the chain so it can produce repeats of all of the effects added to your guitar sound. Of course, part of the fun is experimenting to see how placing pedals in different sequences effect your tone.

If you are getting your distortion straight from your amp and adding the dirt-before-delay, then you will want to put your delay pedal into your amp’s effects loop (if it has one) so that it comes in the chain after the preamp gain.

There are hundreds of delay pedals on the market these days, some of them with mind-boggling effects. In fact, it can become a bit overwhelming even for experienced musicians. If you’re looking for an excellent delay to get started, you should definitely consider the Boss DD-7 Digital Delay.

Another one of my personal favorites is the MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay, which has a beautiful and distinct analog sound.

I’ve reviewed some of the most popular delay pedals here: DelayPedalReviews.com.

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