A staple of Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Steve Lukather’s ‘80s live rigs, the Roland SDE-3000 was a game-changer for digital delay

Roland SDE-3000
(Image credit: Future)

Digital technology for musicians has advanced significantly since the first relatively affordable digital delays emerged in the early ’80s. So why have so many studios and guitarists refused to give up their Roland SDE-3000 rackmount units, which came out 40 years ago in 1983? 

The SDE-3000 remained a permanent fixture in the stage racks of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai from 1985 onwards, and it instantly became a legendary effect found in Bob Bradshaw racks built for studio guitarists Steve Lukather, Michael Landau and Dann Huff. 

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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.