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Maestro Discoverer Delay review

Revived and reimagined by Gibson, the Maestro brand debuts an analog delay with modulation that arrives on-trend with BBD chips and generous delay time

Maestro Discoverer Delay
(Image: © Future / Adam Gasson)

Our Verdict

The Discoverer won’t suit tap tempo freaks but it can hold its own in the ‘analog delay with modulation’ genre, with sounds ranging from pseudo 'verb and slapback to rhythmic and spacey repeats.

For

  • Quality sounds.
  • Wide range of uses.
  • Easy to use.

Against

  • Like the others in the series, a little bulky.
  • No tap tempo.

It may have been seen as old and tired technology when digital delay was the new thing many years ago, but these days guitar players can’t seem to get enough of analog delay, judging by the amount of new pedals out there using BBD chips. 

The Discoverer is of that ilk and clocks in with a delay time range that runs from 20ms up to 600ms, allowing you to use it in many ways. 

At the lower end of the delay knob travel you’ll find rough reverb, turn it up a bit more for a doubling effect and then to around it’s 9-o’clock position for some cool rockabilly slapback. Beyond that, you can dial in delays to add spacey depth behind your playing or create some prominent rhythmic repeats in true Edge style. 

There’s no tone knob here to alter the sound of the repeats, but the tonal balance is just right, sitting snugly with your dry tone and becoming more dissolute and breaking up as the tail progresses. The Sustain knob adjusts the feedback from a single repeat to a long trail and has plenty of travel before you get into self-oscillation territory where the repeats take off on their own.

In the EHX Deluxe Memory Man tradition, modulation is the switchable facility here. There’s just the toggle switch to bring it in, but you get internal trim pots to adjust the rate and width. 

As shipped, the modulation is a floaty otherworldly sound that combines well with the delay. It’s not unlike a rotary speaker effect, but the trimpots will let you tone that down to something more subtle like mild chorus or an even more obvious detuned warble effect with wayward pitch-shifting. No bells and whistles, just simplicity of use combined with quality sound.

Maestro Discoverer Delay

(Image credit: Future / Adam Gasson)

Specs

  • PRICE: $159 / £149
  • FEATURES: True bypass, 20 to 600ms delay range, modulation
  • CONTROLS: Delay, Mix, Sustain, Mod On/Off switch, Bypass footswitch, internal trim pots for modulation rate and width
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V battery or 9-12V DC adaptor
  • DIMENSIONS: 84mm (w) x 126mm (d) x 60 mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Gibson (opens in new tab)

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.