Best Guitar Delay / Reverb Pedal
Whether it’s being used on stage or in the studio, the right delay/reverb pedal can be an essential tool for guitarists in every genre of music. With the right settings dialed in, a guitar part can sound huge, have a shimmering cave-like delay, or be steeped in a complex polyrhythmic echo. The effect can subtly color the tone of a performance, or it can be used as a driving force behind a songs composition and sound. There are many different options on the market to choose from, so be sure to check out our buyer’s guide listed below for additional guidance.
Best Guitar Reverb Pedal:
The guitar reverb pedal does exactly what its name indicates, providing reverberations of the sound coming out of the instrument which results in an echoing effect. The effect approximates what it’s like to hear someone clap in a large hall the way in which the environment alters that sound is reverb in its natural form. These pedals allow players to control the amount of reverb, the type, tone, and decay time. We've chosen the best guitar reverb pedals and each one here is equipped with a variety of tone controls which allow you to customize your reverb sounds, they can be powered by both battery or external power supply, and they're all contained in durable housing designed to hold up to years of dedicated use both onstage and in the studio.
Building upon the foundation of its classic Holy Grail pedal, Electro-Harmonix’s Holy Grail Plus reverb pedal adds more to the mix, including a more hands-on approach to controlling the parameters of the effect. If you’re looking for a spiritual experience in a reverb pedal, this one is it. Read Full Review
It’s been said that in space, no one can hear you scream; but Eventide makes a strong case for the argument that your screams wouldn’t just be heard, but would sound gloriously big and wide, thanks to the company’s Space reverb pedal. This stompbox offers superior quality sound which can be accessed either through the presets or summoned by the expansive control parameters on the pedal. Read Full Review
The sky is the limit with Strymon’s BigSky reverb pedal. More than 300 sound presets are at your disposal with this piece of gear, but you’ll also have plenty of room to experiment and create your own reverb sounds with the various parameter controls in this pedal. Read Full Review
Strymon’s blueSky offers a more compact and price-friendly edition of the company’s decked-out BigSky reverb pedal. Just like its bigger brother, the blueSky is equipped with controls to allow you to endlessly tweak your sound, along with with a variety of reverb types and modes. Read Full Review
A joint effort between BOSS and Fender, the FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb guitar pedal encapsulates a classic tone into one compact stompbox. Easy to control and durable enough to use without being overly gentle, this is a direct line into vintage tube-driven reverb tone. Read Full Review
Best Guitar Digital Delay Pedal:
The notion of adding a delay effect to a guitar signal was one that revolutionized the sounds that a single axe was able to make – and it was only a matter of time before that process was expanded even further thanks to digital innovations in gear and technology. Digital delay pedals take the same concept of their analog brethren, but add a whole slew of processing possibilities to the mix, giving players the option to color and alter their sound far beyond what one could do simply using analog gear. This can make the sound wider, or more complex, thanks to the added polyrhythmic feel of the delayed signal. Here are the best digital delay pedals, with each one we've chosen featuring multiple preset effects for quick and easy use, a tap tempo function that allows you to set the rate of the effect hands-free while you play, and they also all feature parameter knobs that allow you to create your own sounds and variations on the preset effects.
Strymon has always raised the bar with the full breadth and sound quality of its products. With the Timeline digital delay pedal, players have hundreds of ready-to-go sounds on deck, as well as the ability to truly craft their own tone using the multiple foot switches and knobs. Read Full Review
Providing 16 delay models and a looper with reverse and half-speed options, Line 6’s DL4 digital delay pedal gives guitarists the ability to truly transform their sound with ease and convenience. There’s definitely a reason why this rugged, bright green pedal has found a home on so many guitar player’s pedalboards. Read Full Review
Eventide’s TimeFactor brings the company’s legendary studio delay effects into a guitar pedal that features nine delay effects plus a looper. It’s bright display and easy to navigate controls make using this digital delay pedal extremely intuitive and fun. Read Full Review
The TC Electronic Flashback X4 is something of a blast from the past, in both tone and appearance. But it also has a foot firmly placed in the future, thanks to its seamless sound updating and use of the company’s TonePrint signature effects. Read Full Review
The BOSS RE-20 Space Echo digital delay pedal is directly modeled after Roland’s classic RE-201 Space Echo. They implemented many of the same design and build details to ensure that the sound this pedal provides capture the character and nuance of the original to a tee. Read Full Review
Best Guitar Analog Delay Pedal:
The delay pedal can be a guitarist’s best friend – especially if they are using it to just jam by themselves. By emulating the tape effect that was created by running a signal through a reel-to-reel recorder, copying it, and playing it back a specific amount of time after the original sound, delay results in poly-rhythmic repeats that make a guitar sound bigger or more complex than what was actually played. Analog delay pedals are considered to be the more true approximation of the tape effect, providing a warmer tone with greater character. Here are the best analog delay guitar pedals, with each one we've chosen being a true bypass, meaning your tone won’t be negatively affected when the pedal is not in use. These picks also offer multiple controls to modify the rate and tonal elements of the processed signal, and all can be run off a 9 volt power adapter.
MXR’s Carbon Copy provides an analog delay audio path in an extremely compact package. Versatile and easy to use, this is the perfect tool to capture some sounds reminiscent of the past as well as the type of tonal possibilities that can push the envelope forward. Read Full Review
Moog is a company that has built its name on fine craftsmanship and unparalleled control over their sounds and effects, and the MF-104M Analog Delay pedal does a fine job in upholding their reputation. Featuring the same vintage delay chips that were used in their classic MF-104 delay pedal, this unit oozes warm, analog delay with tons of adjustable parameters. Read Full Review
Small but full of sonic possibilities, Seymour Duncan’s Vapor Trail analog delay guitar pedal features a relatively simple interface that makes creating a wall of sound easy to work with. An added effects loop function allows players to further temper their signal with some of their other favorite pedals. Read Full Review
With a name like Aqua-Puss, Way Huge’s analog delay pedal instantly identifies as having a bold sound, and one that harkens back to the vintage sounds of the past. This pedal produces both analog and tape delay echo, and offers anywhere between 20ms to 300ms of delay. Read Full Review
The roar of the panther can be all the more affective when multiplied and extended, and that’s exactly what players can expect with JHS Pedals’ Panther Cub analog delay pedal. This small unit gives guitarists a variety of ways to control their delay and modify the signal to create some interesting, complex sounds. Read Full Review
Guitar Delay/Reverb Pedal Buyer's Guide
Because using pedal effects is such an integral part of the creative process for guitarists, the ideal way to find the most suitable delay/reverb pedal is to try them out yourself. Product reviews and online demos can also be a great resource in learning what a specific pedal is capable of and how it might best fit into your effects rig. There are, however, some important factors to consider when making your decision.
Reverb does exactly what its name indicates, providing reverberations of the sound coming out of the instrument which results in an echoing effect. If you’ve ever been in a large hall and noticed the way in which the environment alters the sound of someone speaking out loud, you have experienced reverb in its natural form.
Reverb/echo settings in modern guitar pedals emulate the classic methods of reverb from the early days of studio recording and engineering when sounds were routed through plates and springs to produce a warm tone. What you’re getting in your guitar pedal is the same, albeit a much more compact operation which allows for far greater sound control.
Most reverb effects will let you control the reverbs type, tone, amount, and decay time. Some pedals also combine different reverb effects at once, allowing guitarists to tweak the minutiae of the settings and develop their own unique sounds.
The origins of delay as a processed effect go back to when a signal was sent through a reel-to-reel recorder, copied, and then played back a specific amount of time through a complex tape machine set-up after the original sound was played. Fortunately, there are now guitar pedals emulating this effect, providing guitarists greater control over their sounds and eliminating the need for massive audio setups.
With a delay effect, guitarists can accompany themselves and set up poly-rhythmic repeats ranging from bouncy melodic to dissonantly chaotic. You can also manipulate the amount of delay, length of delay, speed of the sound’s playback, and the mix between the dry “no effect” and wet “with effect” signals, so players can dial in a sound perfectly fitted to a specific song.
Analog Delay vs. Digital Delay
Analog delay obviously came first, providing what many consider to be a warmer tone with greater character. Modeled after its analog predecessor, digital delay has been accused of being “too clean” as the audio signal is run through digital processors before coming back out through the pedal.
If all of this sounds like it’s splitting hairs, these nuances are typically only noticeable to audiophiles or guitarists truly attuned to their sound; luckily, over the last few decades digital delay pedals have developed enough to come significantly closer in capturing the “imperfect” sound of analog delays. This is a good thing because as analog pedals and the parts required for their operation become scarce, their price tag will continue to rise significantly.
Taking the concept of delay one step further, many guitar delay/reverb pedals also feature a looping function which sets up a permanent repeated delay. This effect truly brings the “one man band” concept to life, as guitarists can build intricate layers of sound in real-time, stacking tracks to achieve a wall of sound, and can be a useful way to thicken up a guitar part.
While several effects companies offer exclusive pedals for handling looping, the ability to create this unique effect still falls into the category of delay and reverb. Guitarists can lay a subtle, repeated loop as a foundation for a piece or use the looping for a more abrasive and ear-splitting effect.
Durability is definitely a factor to take into consideration when selecting a pedal, especially if it will used continually for live performance. Traveling on the road presents risks for effects pedals even when they are being properly transported. Alternately, if a guitarist intends on using a pedal strictly for studio work, this opens up more options, as the pedal will more than likely experience far less wear and tear.
Deciding on intended use for your new pedal will make finding the right one immensely easier. While many pedals offer complex sound switching and manipulation, these options should be quickly accessible in a live setting, especially considering the guitarist will likely make these changes using only their feet!
Just because a pedal offers deeply expansive editing capabilities doesn’t necessarily peg it as a bad choice for live use since some models offer programmable presets or auxiliary components for easy selection of favored settings. While some pedals may not offer the ideal ability to switch settings during a live stage performance, that’s something of little concern for guitarists looking for something to use solely for recording purposes.