The battle between analog delays and digital delays has been raging for decades now. I have summarized the argument as briefly and inaccurately as possible in the following flow chart. My contribution to the argument is in purple.
This ground has been tread a number of times. The grass is dead, and it is starting to get really dusty. To prevent any respiratory issues I’m going to travel to a green pasture of weirdness.
There are A LOT of delay pedals out there, from simple three knob analog delays up to an 8 knob, 12 mode, 3 footswitch digital foot-computers. I am going to experiment with two entry-level delay pedals. Say hello to the Boss DD-3 (digital) and MXR Carbon Copy (analog), each can be found on the used market for $100 or less.
Analog delays that use BBD (bucket-brigade device) can often self-oscillate at higher repeat settings. The result is loud and chaotic repetition and degradation of the guitar signal. Digital delay pedals make a digital copy of your signal, which also allow them to loop your playing. The DD-3 has a hold feature that can capture a moment and then repeat it. We’ll see what nonsense these pedals can create on their own, or gasp even together? A T.C. Electronic Ditto is used to loop the oscillation and hold sounds, this increases the utility of these often weird, and commonly unpleasant sounds.
We will start with the Carbon Copy on the edge of self-oscillation and then dive in.
I hope you have found this video both informative and distressing. Both delays can produce some incredible textures. My favorite usage for both these pedals is to create a melodic passage that can repeat and function as backing rhythm. I then use that as a base for additional looping, re-sampling and melody. When you dig deep into these pedals there's so much more to offer than just the tone of the repeats. There’s glitchy, alien, destructive, abrasive and beautiful sounds under the hood. The green pastures of weird await your arrival.
Artists who use these pedals
Jonny Buckland, Kelly Jones, Matthew Bellamy, Russell Lissack, Dan Auerbach, Dave Grohl, Brian Aubert, Josh Klinghoffer, Joe Satriani, Dave Keuning, Slash, Vince Gill, Joe Bonamassa, Thom Yorke, Ean Golden, Ted Nugent, César Rosas, Albert Hammond Jr, Dave Amato, Paul Gilbert, Brad Paisley, Yannis Philippakis, Adam Zindani, Chris Wolstenholme, Dave Navarro, Kele Okereke, Isaiah Ikey Owens, Yngwie Malmsteen, Reb Beach, Paul Leary, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Andy Bell, Billy Duffy, Neil Finn, Tim Bogert, Dave Kushner, Lucio Maia, Joe Walsh, Daron Malakian, Graham Coxon, Will Lee, Tom Morello, Kim Gordon, Jimmy Smith, Wes Borland, Matthew Healy, Jamie xx, Shaun Morgan, Ezra Koenig, Tony Rombola, Kurt Vile, Dominic Simper, Aaron Dessner, Juanes, Romy Madley Croft, Juan Manuel Latorre, Andy Williams, James Shaffer, William Cashion, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor, Lindsey Buckingham, Buckethead, Bradley Nowell, Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Nuno Bettencourt, Les Paul, Jon Fratelli, Nels Cline, Joshua Hayward, Brendon Small, Prince, Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor, Tom Chapman, Mike Sullivan, Paul Waggoner, Dustie Waring, Dan Briggs, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Scott, Nile Rodgers, Peter Steele, Michael Schenker, Patterson Hood, Peter Broderick, John Martyn, Steven Drozd, Jamie Hince, Laura-Mary Carter, Jez Williams, Mickey Melchiondo, Kip Berman, Dante DeCaro, Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, Zachary Cole Smith, Matt Skiba, Geoff Farina, Mike Rutherford, Jody Porter, Grant Nicholas, Aaron North, William Reid, Cameron Muncey, Adam Franklin, Louise Post, Peter Visser, Josh McClorey, Chris Cheney, Lita Ford, Nicholaus Arson, Bryan Beller, Dan Deacon, Mike Stern, John Dwyer, David Grissom, Neil Halstead, Jeff Owen, Lincoln Brewster, Peter "Blackie" Black, Batuhan Mutlugil, Bobby Hambel, Simon Gallup, Tim Collis, Neige, Tom Maxwell, Wayne Lozinak, Tara McLeod, Bill Laswell, John Dyer Baizley, Nick Harper, Courtney Cox, Liam Clewlow, Ricky Olson, Justin Aufdemkampe, Thomas Erak, Joseph Andreoli, Palo Pandolfo, Dustin Payseur, Brian Molko, Claudio Narea, Sergio Chotsourián, Rival Consoles, Benge, Nathan Goodman, Van Mccann, Wayne Krantz, Marty Schwartz, Wyatt Shears, Stu Mackenzie, Mike Vennart, Ophir- Fishman, Buzz Osborne, Hot Since 82, Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan, Douglas Castle, Ben Biss, caloncho, Jack Fowler, Gus G., Anders Osborne, Adam Rogers, Richard Oakes, Robert Friedrich, Johnny Hiland, Noodle, Kevin Armstrong, Alejandro Marcovich, Mauricio Durán, Francisco Durán, Gonzalo López, Kebu, Kaki King, santiago casillas, Iwan Gronow, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Connor Kennedy, Anonymous Animal, Tricot, Philip Jamieson, Richard Bona, Dean Brown, Roger Franco, Reggie Young Jr, Dado Villa-Lobos, Jacky Vincent, Niklas Almqvist, Jake Ewald, Tommy Davidson, Garet Camella, Hamish Reilly, Sglir, Boogarins, Christoph Hahn, Steve Onotera, Euronymous, Tanner Pare, Takaakira "Taka" Goto, Hideki "Yoda" Suematsu, Kenneth William, Yvette Young, Ocean Alley, Gliy, Kody Havoc, Dominic McGuinness, Jose Salazar, Jose º Pepe º Salazar, Nathan Latona, Marc Dorendorf, Roman Miroshnichenko, Miki Berenyi, Nick Hamm, James Bell X, Pat Cassidy, Nick Stratton, Greg Gonzalez, Christian Savill, Miaoux Miaoux, Niek Leenders, Frankie Broyles, Tyler Bates, Brandon Welchez, Mike Cunniff, Joseph Kane, Közi, Mike Krol, Dave Knox
John Mayer, Billie Joe Armstrong, The Edge, Wayne Sermon, Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Mike McCready, Jeff Beck, Synyster Gates, Paul Banks, Scott Ian, Zakk Wylde, Mikael Akerfeldt, Paul Gilbert, Troy Van Leeuwen, Brad Paisley, Tosin Abasi, Juan Alderete, Devin Townsend, Emily Kokal, Brad Whitford, Eddie Vedder, Zacky Vengeance, Andreas Kisser, Peter Mengede, Chris Wyse, Alex Skolnick, Monte Pittman, Leors Dimants, Rex Brown, Elliot Easton, Joe Walsh, Frank Iero, Dave Matthews, Jeordie White, Fredrik Åkesson, Scott Holiday, Jim Root, Mick Thomson, Tim McIlrath, Zach Blair, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Richie Faulkner, Kurt Vile, Kevin Parker, Tito Fuentes, Jesse F. Keeler, Melissa Auf der Maur, Ed Droste, Larry "Ler" LaLonde, Todd Gummerman, Vinnie Moore, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, J Mascis, Ian O'Neil, Misha Mansoor, Russ Parrish, Stephen Carpenter, Chino Moreno, Mark Morton, Avi Bortnick, Mike Sullivan, G. E. Smith, Josh Rand, Phil Campbell, Björn Gelotte, Jake E. Lee, Joe Duplantier, Dan Hawkins, Angus Andrew, Keith Murray, Laura-Mary Carter, Mickey Melchiondo, James Petralli, James Bay, Stephen Laurenson, Dallas Green, Bert Lams, Luke Reynolds, Terry Corso, Jonathan Wilson, Scott Lucas, Richard Zven Kruspe, Nick Hexum, Andy Timmons, Akira Takasaki, Uli Jon Roth, Aaron Freeman, Mac DeMarco, Hanni El Khatib, Becky Black, Paul Ritchie, Dorian Sorriaux, Ana Popovic, Adam Smirnoff, Jonathan Steingard, Ethan Luck, Dave Wyndorf, Nathan East, Matt Pike, Laura Jane Grace, Dave Nassie, Todd Beene, Neck Deep, Nick Steinborn, Alan Day, Greg Barnett, Clayton Stevens, Stuart Smith, Steve von Till, Courtney Barnett, Wayne Lozinak, Kirk Windstein, Kieran Shudall, Michael League, Chris McQueen, Mark Lettieri, Nameless Ghoul, Kevin Skaff, Eric Lambert, Jeremy DePoyster, Mike Hranica, Grant Brandell, Nathan Williams, Johnny Aries, Steve Brooks, Dustin Payseur, Marcelo Corvalán, Rob Chapman, Peter Sagar, Stuart Braithwaite, John Cummings, Paul Bander, Andy Othling, Stu Mackenzie, Fernando Kabusacki, Kevin Ray, Daniel Christiansen, Leon Bridges, Wil Wagner, Jack Fowler, Jon Poulin, Max Becker, Andy White, Elena Tonra, Joel Plaskett, Alec O'Hanley, Chase Bryant, J. D. Cronise, Lucas Hamming, Brooks Betts, Marilina Bertoldi, Alejandro Marcovich, Johnny Stevens, Mauricio Durán, Steve Gunn, Adam Slack, JD McPherson, Ryan Bruce, Charlie parra Del Riego, Josh Boyken, Siouxsie Medley, Primitive World, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, John Barrett, Ben Monder, Juan Gigena Abalos, Scott LePage, Liberty Ellman, Kaleo, FewJar, HOMESHAKE, Andy Shauf, Joshua Hodges, Rome Ramirez, Pat Sheridan, Matthew (Matt) Taylor, Brendan Lukens, Finn Dalbeth, Jeremy MacDonnell, Paul Klein, Tyler Larson, Sam Bowden, Ryan Frailich, Mike Moya, Dylan LeBlanc, Clay Frankel, Sergio Medina, Molly Rankin, Kvelertak, Carley Wolf, fuller's bridge, Rafael Martinss, Syu, Kevin McDonald (Atsuko Chiba), Cadien Lake James, Will Fiore, Jessica Moss, Jon Kuenning, Ill Spector, Henri Cash, Samantha Fish, Lee Anderton, Dean Ween, Erol Sevik, Zach Holtzer, Cloudkicker, Peter Honoré, José P. García, Domhnaill Corrigan, Adam Hopless, Naia Izumi, Sjors van Reeuwijk
Joe Perry, Paul Banks, Chris Martin, Paul Gilbert, James Valentine, Doug Aldrich, Brad Whitford, Taylor York, Alex Skolnick, Steven Wilson, Andy Summers, Guthrie Govan, Brendan Canning, Kryz Reid, A.J. Dunning, Tim Mahoney, Felipe Andreoli, Esteban Serniotti, Mike Stern, John Dwyer, Jordan Smith, James Vincent McMorrow, Reeves Gabrels, Nathan East, Jona Weinhofen, David Ryan Harris, Mark Lettieri, Gino Matteo, Ray Riendeau, Tom Searle, Mike Hranica, Nick Beggs, Rival Consoles, Rob Scallon, Ruban Nielson, Fernando Kabusacki, Isaiah Mitchell, Ida Kristine Nielsen, James Duke, Roger Franco, Matt McCormack, Tony Grey, Miguel Fonseca, Olly Clifton, Boz Boorer, Mateus Asato, Mark King Level 42, john zubia, Nick Granville, Sleepy dog, Luke Gruntz, Peter Honoré, Jackson Hunter