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Ewan Dobson And Albert Lee. The Cascading Delay Trick.

Posted 2014-01-09T21:23:38.0Z (edited 2014-01-09T21:27:41.0Z) by Jeff E13,506
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We recently posted a video of the day showing Ewan Dobson playing a song on the guitar that is truly unbelievable. While his use of this effect is unique, the trick behind it has a long history, particularly in country music.  The great country guitarist Albert Lee is the artist probably most often associated with this trick. 

Here's a cool interview with Albert where he talks about it:

This trick has been used by many guitarists to produce some very memorable solos. Check out Elton John's guitarist John Jorgensen's solo with the Helecasters on The Orange Bolssom Special:

The trick to this technique is using a very specific delay setting with a specific tempo.

First set the delay so it produces only 1 repeat. On many pedals this might mean dialing the feedback to 0%. Next set it so that the volume of the 1 repeat is equal to the plucked note. This might be setting "delay" to 100%.  Now we need to do just a little math to set the rate.  Divide the tempo of the song by 45 and that equals the rate in seconds. As an example, if your tempo is 120,  divide 45 by 120 and your rate is 0.375 seconds or 375 milliseconds. This is of course easiest with a delay unit that allows you to set your rate in milliseconds, but once you have the sound in your head you can use a pedal without this and learn to estimate. This is one technique where a metronome or drum machine is critical. If your tempo starts to drift at all, the delayed notes won't line up, and you'll have a mess!

Have fun! 





  • Is there a way to tap the tempo? My delay pedal only has dials and I'm not able to follow a pre-defined tempo.JP 2014-02-15T04:24:18.0Z
  • That's a tough one...If you are playing by your self without a metronome or drum machine you can just learn to "feel it" and play along with the the delay setting. I should add that if you are using the above method with a live drummer, they will need to be playing to a click track, or any variation on their part will cause your delay setting to get out of sync.Jeff E 2014-02-20T18:05:38.0Z

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  • 4,818
  • 2014-01-09T21:23:38.0Z
  • 2014-02-20T18:05:38.0Z
  • 2014-01-09T21:27:41.0Z

  • Community Public Forum

  • Albert Lee,Delay,Ewan Dobson,Guitar

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