Delay, Reverb or both for rockabilly?

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,236
Firenze, Italy
I like it Luther Perkins style. If there’s some reverb, it has to be the room. Everything else it would sound too much.
I like it when the slap back adds another dimension and enable you to play with the repetition, but the guitar should stay dry and clean.
That’s rockabilly to me. :)
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,308
Sandy Eggo
Just wondering what you‘re using for a rockabilly sound. I know slapback is „the sound“ but I found also a nice Reverb often does the trick. What are your preferences?

depends.. what kind of Rockabilly?

Pre Elvis era- live it was double picking technique from the hands, otherwise one could gain ambience from a studio recording.
Bill Haley and the Saddlemen supposedly recorded the first rockabilly song "Rocket 88" and you can catch the room reflection of the amp, in the room mic for some basic reverb. (jackie breston did it early on chess but the guitar is barely in the recording until the last few seconds as its dry as can be)




Elvis era rockabilly - no echo effects or reverb effects were available. You could achieve room echo and chamber reverbs as a recording engineer but nothing specifically for a guitarist. Bill putnam was placing mics in bathrooms at universal, and later showed Leonard Chess how to run a speaker down to the basement and a mic through a drain pipe for reverbs (later importing an EMT 140 plate reverb ).
Sam Phillips achieved a slapback echo with the Ampex tape machines at Sun.
Ray Butts created the first tape echo in an amp and Scotty Moore was thus able to take the Sun Studios echo on the road. But no one
could take reverb on the road until 1961 when Leo made spring tanks portable.

or Neo rockabilly? Mixing reverb on amps and echoplexes or echo pedals.. straycats early era was no reverb, just pre deluxe/ memory man by EHX, and Boss DM-2. then RE-301 roland space echo and f3nder 6G15 reverb tank. vibrato and trem added to boot
 

LivCo

Electromatic
Sep 10, 2015
31
Chicago
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.

I have a Deco. It rules. My band is sort of a trashy garage thing, so I use the saturation side of the Deco into my SF deluxe reverb. Verb at 3, Saturation at 2 o’clock-ish. Lately mainly my 6139 silver falcon w/ powertrons but also my jazzmaster.

It’s also great for a stray cats style rockabilly.

that said, I also got a mystery brain in trade last year, and when someone recently said in a different thread that it’s rockabilly in a box, I couldn’t agree more.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,248
Tucson
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.
It can definitely drown the signal if you get too much reverb trail and if you have delay and reverb on at the same time, it can get very messy.

Recently, I bought a JHS Spring Reverb Tank pedal, which has Length and Depth controls, which allow you to fine tune the reverb in a different manner than the typical Dwell and Mix controls (or similar function, but with different names). The JHS has a Boost control (basically a preamp), a Tone (for the wet signal), the aforementioned Length and Depth controls, and the Tank 1 and Tank 2 controls, which are presets to allow you to foot-switch between two reverb levels. The Tank 1 and Tank 2 controls strike me as basically serving the same function as the Dwell control on a real tank. The only reservation I have about the JHS Tank is that it seems like it's sort of an all or nothing proposition, You can whip up a great Surf reverb, but finding an intermediate setting (think reverb-drenched Country) seems to be a knife-edge proposition.

I mention all of this, because the JHS Spring Tank is a great sounding pedal and offers a great control set. If you are willing to experiment with some settings, you could really integrate one of these with a DM-2W, just keep your expectations regarding the Tank 1/Tank 2 switching near to the ground, and I still think that the Catalinbread Topanga is a better overall Surf pedal.
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.
Agreed! I have a lot of Delay pedals and have learned to appreciate their respective strengths, but the DM-2W strikes me as a sweet spot. I found a setting for a subtle slapback, when I first got it, and that sound works for almost every situation that calls for delay.

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!
I occasionally will use just delay, and no reverb, when I want to mix things up a bit on a gig. If you listen to the Shadows, delay was all they had, and they got a wonderful sound, using delay technologies which were available in the early '60s. I have a Stanley Blue Nebula pedal, which is designed to emulate many of the original Shadows delays, along with having great Plate reverb and quite a variety of effects. If I'm not using my DM-2W, I'm using the Blue Nebula.

Surf; it's a different world. Some of the newer Surf bands overdo the reverb, IMO, turning it into a caricature of what the First Wave Surf bands of the early '60s used. I use a Catalinbread Topanga most of the time, and I feel that gets as close to a 6G15 as any reverb pedal I've tried. IMHO, it sounds at least as good as my Fender '63 Tube Reverb RI. The JHS Spring Tank Pedal sounds great, as well, but seems to have a somewhat different texture than the Topanga.
 

sgarnett

Synchromatic
Apr 14, 2020
896
Kentucky
I’m no authority on rockabilly, but I often set delay to sound almost like a plate or hall reverb instead of slap back.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,236
Firenze, Italy
depends.. what kind of Rockabilly?

Pre Elvis era- live it was double picking technique from the hands, otherwise one could gain ambience from a studio recording.
Bill Haley and the Saddlemen supposedly recorded the first rockabilly song "Rocket 88" and you can catch the room reflection of the amp, in the room mic for some basic reverb. (jackie breston did it early on chess but the guitar is barely in the recording until the last few seconds as its dry as can be)




Elvis era rockabilly - no echo effects or reverb effects were available. You could achieve room echo and chamber reverbs as a recording engineer but nothing specifically for a guitarist. Bill putnam was placing mics in bathrooms at universal, and later showed Leonard Chess how to run a speaker down to the basement and a mic through a drain pipe for reverbs (later importing an EMT 140 plate reverb ).
Sam Phillips achieved a slapback echo with the Ampex tape machines at Sun.
Ray Butts created the first tape echo in an amp and Scotty Moore was thus able to take the Sun Studios echo on the road. But no one
could take reverb on the road until 1961 when Leo made spring tanks portable.

or Neo rockabilly? Mixing reverb on amps and echoplexes or echo pedals.. straycats early era was no reverb, just pre deluxe/ memory man by EHX, and Boss DM-2. then RE-301 roland space echo and f3nder 6G15 reverb tank. vibrato and trem added to boot


That's almost it for me. :D
 

j.s.c

Country Gent
Aug 19, 2008
3,587
france
I have a strange amp which is multi-instrument amp called Hohner Orgaphon (it has been made famous by Stevie Wonder who love them). They have a strange tremolo, reverb system where you can dial : dry signal or trem on guitar signal, then reverb on/off, then both, ... OK but also trem on reverb = you have the guitar dry signal + the reverb into the tremolo. You know what it sounds close to vintage echo / leslie's tone! kind of cool.


Orgaphon-Front.jpg
 
Last edited:

Merc

Friend of Fred
May 6, 2017
5,424
Florida
depends.. what kind of Rockabilly?

Pre Elvis era- live it was double picking technique from the hands, otherwise one could gain ambience from a studio recording.
Bill Haley and the Saddlemen supposedly recorded the first rockabilly song "Rocket 88" and you can catch the room reflection of the amp, in the room mic for some basic reverb. (jackie breston did it early on chess but the guitar is barely in the recording until the last few seconds as its dry as can be)




Elvis era rockabilly - no echo effects or reverb effects were available. You could achieve room echo and chamber reverbs as a recording engineer but nothing specifically for a guitarist. Bill putnam was placing mics in bathrooms at universal, and later showed Leonard Chess how to run a speaker down to the basement and a mic through a drain pipe for reverbs (later importing an EMT 140 plate reverb ).
Sam Phillips achieved a slapback echo with the Ampex tape machines at Sun.
Ray Butts created the first tape echo in an amp and Scotty Moore was thus able to take the Sun Studios echo on the road. But no one
could take reverb on the road until 1961 when Leo made spring tanks portable.

or Neo rockabilly? Mixing reverb on amps and echoplexes or echo pedals.. straycats early era was no reverb, just pre deluxe/ memory man by EHX, and Boss DM-2. then RE-301 roland space echo and f3nder 6G15 reverb tank. vibrato and trem added to boot


That green Rocket looks wicked good. I actually had no idea Rocket 88 came out in 1951. I definitely pick up some jump and western sounds in there. Enjoyed it fully, thanks.
 

MIke M

Electromatic
Jul 28, 2021
94
07040
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.

Love the DM-2W as well. When I use the Deco for ADT, I use the DM-2W for slapback.

Curious, how do you set it for slap?

I was initially using the "S" (standard setting) with the knobs around noonish, but have been trying out the "C" (custom) setting with Repeat rate around 3pm on dial, and Intensity all the way to the left, and mix about 11.

Just curious how you set yours?
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
6,949
Atlanta
Love the DM-2W as well. When I use the Deco for ADT, I use the DM-2W for slapback.

Curious, how do you set it for slap?

I was initially using the "S" (standard setting) with the knobs around noonish, but have been trying out the "C" (custom) setting with Repeat rate around 3pm on dial, and Intensity all the way to the left, and mix about 11.

Just curious how you set yours?

For me too - generally start at noon for all three and tweek slightly depending on taste. I like the custom setting too. I also have a Flashbak which is a great pedal, but I hardly use it. For some reason, simple and effective wins over complex and full featured.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,248
Tucson
For me too - generally start at noon for all three and tweek slightly depending on taste. I like the custom setting too. I also have a Flashbak which is a great pedal, but I hardly use it. For some reason, simple and effective wins over complex and full featured.
I find that I stay pretty close to noon, myself.
 

AndreasG

Electromatic
Dec 20, 2021
22
Italy
Love the DM-2W as well. When I use the Deco for ADT, I use the DM-2W for slapback.

Curious, how do you set it for slap?

I was initially using the "S" (standard setting) with the knobs around noonish, but have been trying out the "C" (custom) setting with Repeat rate around 3pm on dial, and Intensity all the way to the left, and mix about 11.

Just curious how you set yours?

I set my DM3 for slapback similar, repeats all the way to the left, mix about 10 o clock and rate at abou 2 o clock
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,236
Firenze, Italy
All this talking about rockabilly settings is making me want to pick up my guitar and play.:)
I still have my Boss RE-20 somewhere. I may take my little Jet out for a ride…:D
 

kpnash

Electromatic
Jul 31, 2020
62
Germany, Karlsruhe Area
Delay.

Mix knob to taste, so that it can be truly heard in the mix but doesn't yet get muddy (that's 1-2 o'clock on most pedals).

Feedback all the way down, one single repeat without any other artifacts.

Time about 120 millis. Play Mistery Train together with Elvis' recording. Adjust the time so that it plays straight 8th notes. Seal the knob with epoxy ;)

That's the 50s rockabilly sound, at least for me (reference point: Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut). For the most part, no reverb.
 
Last edited:


Latest posts

Top