5 Great Delay Pedal Choices

Updated 6/7/16

A great delay pedal is an essential of any guitar effects board – here are our top 5

best delay pedals strymon timeline

A good delay pedal is an incredibly versatile addition to your effects arsenal. From simple slapbacks, to complex panning delays, to dub-style feedback loops and crazy modulation-type effects, the delay can add huge amounts to your tone and really add a new dimension to your playing. whether you want deep shoegaze style freakouts or a stadium rock lead tone that really pushes your sound further, the delay pedal is a vital tool for guitarists of all genres.

But, with so many pedals out there, which should you go for? Here are our top 5 best delays pedals, that should be on your “must try” list.

Boss DM-2W Waza Craft Custom Delay Effects Pedal

Boss DM-2W Waza Craft Custom Delay

Boss pedals are heralded as industry standards when it comes to guitar pedals. Why? Boss pedals are simply built to last and they will never let you down thanks to decades of research that goes into crafting these things – they’re built like a tank and do everything they say they will. In fact, you’ll see a few Boss delay pedals pop up in this blog, as the brand is actually responsible for creating the first digital delay pedal ever – a pretty good claim to fame. Perhaps one of their most loved pedals was the famous DM-2 delay pedal which was discontinued in the early eighties, much to the dismay of analogue delay fanatics the world over. The Boss DM-2W delay pedal is a faithful reproduction of this coveted pedal designed by Boss’s master engineers from their base in Japan. The DM-2W utilises the 100-percent analogue circuitry seen in the DM-2 whilst adding a custom mode switch that that delay fans will absolutely love.

You can flick between the standard (S) mode and achieve beautiful delays of 20-300 ms, the same as the DM-2 or engage Custom mode (C) and enjoy a cleaner analogue tone with 2x the amount of delay to play with. The word “Waza” is the term for art and technique, in Japan, and when you play this thing you’ll realise the sheer amount of effort that has gone into creating a gorgeous analogue delay pedal that sounds and feels superior – it’s a sonic work of art.


Delay Pedal - Boss RE-20 Space Echo

Boss RE-20 Space Echo

The original Roland Space Echo is one of the most desirable vintage effects of all time. The Boss RE-20 manages to model all of the unique sonic traits of the original tape delay, but without having to worry about reels of tape, head cleaning and demagnetisation, and all of the other things that made tape delays such a faff.

Instead, this dual pedal design offers the wow and flutter of the original, saturated tape tone, and everything you’d expect from the original, but with modern convenience.

A display LED shows delay rate, whilst a jack input allows delay time to be set via tap input. In addition, delay times are extended beyond the capabilities of a tape delay

For those who want to get a bit more experimental, an expression pedal can be hooked up to control effects parameters whilst playing.

 Dr Tone DLY101 Analog Delay Pedal

Dr. Tone DLY101 Delay

The delay pedal is seldom a cheap addition to a pedal board. However, the Dr. Tone bucks this trend with a unit that is ludicrously inexpensive.

This retro-styled compact has the familiar, heavy-duty stomp-box button switch you might expect on a vintage unit, with graphics to match.

This isn’t a stereo unit, like those above- but hey, it’s under £30. Three controls (repeat, time and level) give you plenty of tonal options.

For those who like to keep things simple, with a decidedly vintage vibe, the DLY101 delay pedal will be just the ticket.

Delay Pedal - Boss DD-7

Boss DD-7 Digital Delay

Boss produced the very first digital delay in guitar pedal format, so it stands to reason that it knows a thing or two about them.

The DD-7 is the current evolution of this technology and pretty much an industry standard that you’ll find on a vast majority of pedal boards. With eight different delay modes, there are plenty of tonal options. Among these are a classic analogue mode, reverse, and a modulation for adding some chorus-like sheen.

For those who like to get a bit more experimental, an expression pedal can be attached to control feedback, delay time and other parameters on the fly.

In addition, the DD-7 is not just a delay pedal: it will also operate as a 40-second looper pedal.

Oh and there’s also that legendary Boss compact build quality. I’ve probably said this elsewhere before, but if humanity is ever wiped out due to a nuclear disaster, two things will remain- cockroaches and Boss compact. Yes, they are that tough. Honourable mention goes to the awesome Boss DD-3 – another great delay pedal that you need to try.

strymon timeline delay

Strymon Timeline Delay

Since Strymon pedals burst onto the scene, they have quickly become one of the go to brands for guitarists and musicians who want a variety of options or more specifically in the case of the Strymon Timeline, a variety of delay options in one package.

If you want an almost infinite amount of control when it comes to your delay pedals, this is the one for you. You have seven tone-shaping knobs and menu-driven parameters to get your unique sound, plus a routable 30 second looper which will allow you to jam out any riffs or chord progressions you’re working on. In addition you have 200 preset slots to store your individual sounds and delay settings – perfect for calling up specific settings when you’re playing gigs or rehearsing, especially due to the fact you can actually name each setting. Choose from a vast array of delay types including Digital, Dual, Pattern, Reverse, Ice, Duck, Swell, Trem, Filter, Lo-fi, dTape, and dBucket and model each one to your specific sonic needs.

View a complete range of guitar effects pedals at the Dawsons website.