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Delay & EQ Tricks

by Jose Mena

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  • Hello GMCers

    Lately I've seen some interest in the forums about improving the guitar tone. Your guitar tone can be shaped tremendously with the help of effects and eq. I thought it would be cool to do a lesson on using effects, in this case delay and eq.

    In this lesson I use 2 different sets of delay and eq setting when I go from rhythm to lead to demonstrate this principle.

    The delay and eq settings vary through out the lesson and it will be explained as we go along.

    First lets talk about the delay:

    One of the coolest effects you can use on guitar is delay, learning how to use it tastefully can improve your guitar sound greatly.

    So it is not a matter of simply turning it on and and letting it go, there are many parameters you can tweak to obtain different effects and sounds.

    The important ones are:

    Delay Time: How much the time the played note will be delayed from the moment you actually played it.

    Mix: It is the mix between the delayed sound and the original sound

    Feedback: As it names states it, this is the amount of the signal that is fed back to the delay, the more feedback the more repetitions you will get.

    In this lesson I will talk about setting these parameters for this particular tune, but this can be applied to different tunes with different tempos.

    This is a MenO tune called "It's too late" and when I was asked to do the guitars I saw a great opportunity to get creative with effects.

    I decided to set the delay so that it fills in between the notes that I play, if you've heard Yngwie Malmsteen's "Black Star" you hear this type of effect at the beginning of the tune, additionally he plays with the volume to create that violin like sound.

    I have used this same effect for a very short period of time during the solo, and my delay settings for the entire lesson are based on this effect.

    You need to set your delay time according to the tempo of the song, to the duration of a dotted 8th note, what will happen is that when you play 8th notes it will sound as if you were playing 16th notes (twice as fast).

    On today's effect boxes this is easy to do, most of them let you tap the tempo you want, and then you simply select the delay time to a dotted 8th note, but if you don't have this you might need to do some calculations.

    So a little math here helps:

    Let's say the tempo of the son is 100 bpm, first obtain the duration of a quarter note in milliseconds by dividing 60/100 = 0.6 seconds = 600 ms, now lets obtain the 8th note time duration dividing 600/2 = 300 ms and half of that would be a 16th note = 150ms, so the duration of a dotted 8th note will be 450 ms.

    For this kind of effect we want the delayed notes to be played just as loud as the original note so, we set the mix at 50%.

    And add some feedback for depth, if not it will sound very dry, I set it around 20%.

    Now if you start playing 8th notes at 100bpm, you will here 16th notes because in between the delayed notes will be playing.

    This is usually done for playing lead lines but here I used it for the rhythm guitar as well, watch the first three videos and listen to the cool effect the delay creates.

    Now a little bit about the eq:

    For the entire lesson I played with the neck pickup, this pickup on my guitar sounds very sweet for lead lines, however I feel it lacks a little brightness when playing rhythm parts, so I heavily changed the eq drastically I gave the treble and presence a boost and cut down the bass a little.

    Of course every amp will sound different, and it will also depend on the sound coming out of your guitar. Experiment with it until you obtain the desired sound.

    For the solo I go back to the original eq setting which was flat, every knob pointing up so BASS, MID, and TREBLE are at the same level.

    I chose this tune for its simplicity, which helps concentrate on the topic rather than learning complicated rhythm patterns or lead lines. For the whole time we will be playing in C Major.

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