Why the Maestro Echoplex EP-3 remains one of the most iconic guitar effects of all time

Maestro Echoplex EP-3
(Image credit: Future)

Conventional bias in the electric guitar universe dictates that tubes are always better than solid state. However, when it comes to the differences between the tube-driven Maestro Echoplex EP-2 tape echo produced in the ’60s and the solid-state EP-3 model introduced in 1970, it’s really more a matter of preference than any blatantly obvious sonic superiority. 

While the EP-2’s tube-driven preamp delivers echo effects with a distinct warm, dark and sometimes even murky character that can sound hypnotic with clean guitar/amp tones, the EP-3 is more often favored by players who want more clarity and definition from the echo repeats – particularly by guitarists who plug directly into the input of an amp driven to distortion.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.