HELLO Hello hello hello...
That’s the stereotype of echo—a sound being repeated over and over, with each repeat getting weaker until the sound dissipates completely. This is different from reverb, which is more of a “wash” of sound (see the Gibson Guitar Effects Guide chapter on Reverb for more details).
But in recent years, echo has evolved into a whole family of sounds. We’ll look at basic delay controls, then some of the more esoteric variations that can definitely spice up your playing.
Delay time is the time between when you play a note and when you hear the first echo...which means if the delay is set up to produce successive echoes, this is also the time between the first echo and second echo, second echo and third echo, etc.
Feedback takes some of the output and feeds it back to the input, which is how you can end up with a series of echoes. If you feed back the output at a lower level, then there are fewer echoes, and successive echoes aren’t as loud. Combining really long delay times (several seconds) with lots of feedback lets you loop phrases over and over (and over!) while you overdub more lines on top of this repeating loop.
Feedback filter changes the tone of successive echoes. For example, with tape echo, each echo would sound a little “duller” than the previous one. Filtering out some high frequencies emulates this effect.
Mix (also called Blend or Balance) mixes the desired amount of delay sound into your main, unprocessed guitar sound.
Tap tempo lets you sync the delay time to a song’s rhythm by tapping along with the tempo. Tap tempo measures the time between taps, and converts that to delay time.
Delay mode gives you a bunch of different delay types, such as:
Get an instant “60s psychedelic sound” with reverse delay. Few guitar sounds scream “'60s music!” as much as backwards delay effects.
Use dual delay for dance grooves. Try a dotted half-note for one delay, and a half-note for the other delay—it will really propel your music.
Short delays can “fatten up” your sound. A single delay, without feedback, in the 20-35ms range can give a bigger, fatter sound when combined with a straight guitar sound.
Use delay modulation for “automatic double-tracking.” When you double-track a guitar part, you’ll have slight timing differences because no matter how good you are, you can’t play a guitar part exactly the same way twice in a row. You can simulate these subtle timing differences, and generate a pseudo-double-tracked part, by adding some delay modulation.
Use 75-90 milliseconds of delay for “rockabilly” tape echo effects. Back in the '50s, studios generated echo by recording into a recorder at the record head, then monitoring a delayed sound from the playback head. The space between these heads resulted in a delay of about 75-90 ms at a typical tape speed of 15 inches per second.