Delay, Reverb or both for rockabilly?

Jelly Roll Horton

Country Gent
Nov 10, 2017
1,852
Portland, OR
Go ahead… cross the two energy streams n see what happens.. My eyebrows still haven’t grown back!!
Ah. Thank you. But seriously, what really happens? Potentially fatal? I don’t mind admitting I am completely ignorant about electicity. If there is a serious danger here there needs to be a serious discussion.
 
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SLICKFASTER

Country Gent
Dec 29, 2009
1,303
USA
Haha…I just don’t dig the Surf instrumental stuff and they slather that stuff in reverb.. Slap back delay is just sooo Rockabilly cool and since rockabilly rules I don’t have a need for drip drip splash… just seems like two different camps that I like to keep apart.. kinda like patchouly oil and grease don’t mix…. It’s soo easy without complexity
And I’m a hater….
 

dswo

Gretschie
Apr 8, 2017
105
East Carolina
Fender's Marine Layer reverb has a room setting that's good for the Sun City sound. I like this pedal better than the Oceans 11, which sounds "grainy" to me in most settings. (It does have a good spring setting, which the Marine Layer lacks.)
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,110
uk
Sheesh, not all rockabilly from back in the day had slapback tape echo. Some of it was just the room ambience, corridors, toilets, water tanks or whatever. Some of the great Chess recordings were without echo. Sometimes I find its a relief to leave echo off and use a bit of reverb from the El Pescador....not all reverb is surf either
 

S.R.Cash

Gretschie
Aug 29, 2019
410
Ontario, Canada
Both! No spring though, for the time of real Rockabilly that wasn't even a thing. I like a crisp digital delay, I use a DD3, set about 60% of the dry volume (enough to be heard but not enough to overwhelm), and a good echo-y room reverb. Room is great with the echo up fairly high and the trail cut really short, about as long as the delay which I use about 110ms. This way your delay is crisp and there's the 'Echo' that makes a good Rockabilly tone. Basically it's what the my Keely Sun pedal was trying to do, but I found it to fail miserably. The problem is all the pedals going for the chorus-y 'warn' tape thing (to me anyway).
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,256
Tucson
Sheesh, not all rockabilly from back in the day had slapback tape echo. Some of it was just the room ambience, corridors, toilets, water tanks or whatever. Some of the great Chess recordings were without echo. Sometimes I find its a relief to leave echo off and use a bit of reverb from the El Pescador....not all reverb is surf either
That’s a great point. In listening to an old recording, there’s no telling what the engineer had at his disposal, and sometimes it was and ad-hoc arrangement that was never duplicated.
Both! No spring though, for the time of real Rockabilly that wasn't even a thing. I like a crisp digital delay, I use a DD3, set about 60% of the dry volume (enough to be heard but not enough to overwhelm), and a good echo-y room reverb. Room is great with the echo up fairly high and the trail cut really short, about as long as the delay which I use about 110ms. This way your delay is crisp and there's the 'Echo' that makes a good Rockabilly tone. Basically it's what the my Keely Sun pedal was trying to do, but I found it to fail miserably. The problem is all the pedals going for the chorus-y 'warn' tape thing (to me anyway).
I’ve seen the same thing; pedals that involve a canned emulation of a tape delay that involved worn tape. I had one pedal that basically combined delay with switchable tape effects which amounted to a shallow phase shift.

I’ve used a digital delay with great success, although I have found that the Boss DM-2W suits my tastes perfectly. Thankfully it is very straightforward and easy to use and lacks the gimmickry found on some pedals.
 

MIke M

Electromatic
Jul 28, 2021
95
07040
Hahaha! The tiger in a thread about rockabilly was an immediate association for me with Tiger Army.

If I’m playing out, there’s also the room to factor in, to a certain extent, so I get the “do not mix” approach… mix in too much additional reverb on top of your slapback delay, and things can get soupy and bad. On the other hand, if I’m practicing at home in headphones, I’d usually combine a subtle plate reverb with my slapback to make me feel like I’m in a room… and pretend I’m playing out, haha.

Related… any Strymon Deco owners here? I’ve never owned one but kind of assumed it’s probably one of best-ever pedals for rockabilly, and that’s immediately where my mind went when I saw the OPs question. I have an El Capistan and I love it for rockabilly - tape delay is the main event, and then you can dial in that tiny bit of reverb for things like the aforementioned headphone practice. But always has the impression the Deco was really designed with genres like Rockabilly in mind.

Have the Deco, has a great Slap back sound

And I agree in dialing in just a touch of Reverb
 

Ian Jordan

Gretschie
Oct 14, 2012
122
Coggeshall England
As others on this thread have said, judge the sound with your ears. I use a single slapback delay, and a bit of reverb at most gigs, but if I fancy a different sound at my next gig, I use a double slapback sound and loads of reverb, or sometimes hardly any reverb at all. Go with your "guitar mood" ears.
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
6,953
Atlanta
Slapback delay plus spring reverb is a great combo. But I do tend to dial back the reverb when I'm using both as it can get a bit too much otherwise.
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
6,953
Atlanta
It’s all a matter of degrees. My default sound is a bit of Plate reverb and a bit of Delay. I use a Boss DM-2W, analog delay and it works perfectly for my needs. Experimentation is the key.

Can't say enough good about the DM-2W. It's just so easy to get the right settings and it just sounds good. Simple, effective.
 

Shadowy_Man

Synchromatic
May 18, 2020
513
Chicago
I find myself using slapback only. Somehow reverb on top of that is too much. A nice slapback gives me all the sense of space and rhythm I want.

Of course surf music is a different story!
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,110
uk
Very hard to play without it though, either echo or reverb gives a bit of ambience, especially when in a room that is acoustically dead. Yeah, take away the atmosphere and add it later synthetically. Weird world.
 

NJDevil

Country Gent
Jul 9, 2014
1,415
Commack, NY
I

I agree. My advice to young sound engineers: don't look at the settings, just adjust the knobs until it sounds best to you, then look at the settings. The best sounds are obtained using your ears, not your eyes.
So true. Listen, like and apply. Not sure where the sound is coming from? Search for it and one will find.,,,,,all of my pedal purchases have been winners the past 16 months and not because I "needed" anything but rather I wanted a tone or sounds I heard, wanted to apply to my playing, looked for the solution and the purchase was made. And noooooooooo........tone is NOT in the fingers, but rather in the equipment. Style is what we bring to the table.

Hey, Stevie Vai loved his Gretsch 6118t but didn't have a use for it, until.......a melody and chord progression popped in his head and he recorded this: yes, the recording is actually a Gretsch even if this video is not.

 


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