The mechanics behind basic delay are simple: Play a note or chord into an audio-storage medium, then get that device to play that sound back to you — either once or multiple times — after whatever amount of time makes you happy. Of course, people have improved upon this simple formula, taking delay to new depths and heights, and often including an infinite assortment of types and combinations in one pedal.
You don't have to be surf-rock legend Dick Dale to appreciate a touch of reverb on your guitar's signal. Even a smattering of reverb adds character and generally makes things sound warmer, friendlier and twangier, all while fooling your poor brain into thinking you're rocking out in a fan-packed stadium.
Looping pedals are great for rehearsing alone, working out solos over your rhythm parts and even composing. Onstage, they can make you a show-stopping one-man band, building complex loops that can impress your fans. But loopers can be fidgety to use, and the more features they pack in, the more difficult they are to use intuitively and on the fly.
Here's a Guitar World video from the 2013 Winter NAMM Show, which took place January 24 to 27 in Anaheim, California. During the gear- and rain-filled weekend, we paid a visit to the gang at TC Electronic to check out some new pedals. This video profiles the company's hot new Ditto Looper, Flashback X4 Delay and TonePrint Editor.
Lately, it seems like the stomp-box world has focused on building a better delay pedal, with dozens of contenders offering powerful new effects. While a few traditionalists have steadfastly clung to the analog realm, the most significant progress has taken place in the digital-modeling world with delay units that offer accurate reproductions of tape, analog and digital delay effects, and much more.