Tone Report Weekly 194 - Page 15

Tap tempo or no? Do you really need tap tempo? Though this feature is currently ubiquitous and many players do feel that it is an absolute necessity, at least for digital delays, it wasn’t always this way. Tap tempo really didn’t really become a normal thing for pedals until the 2000s, when the Line 6 DL4 sparked something of a revolution with its digitally modeled analog tones and handy tap tempo button. Prior to this, matching one’s delay times precisely to the song’s tempo was rarely considered necessary. It is worth noting, however, that these were different times, and delay effects tended to be used differently in the past than they often are now. Back in the analog days, delay effects were used more as a sonic coloration or enhancement than a real effect. They added ambience and liveliness, but because delay times were typically pretty short (think slapback echo), not much more than that. As digital delay units became more common, players began experimenting with longer times and more prominent repeats, essentially playing the delay like an instrument to create harmony lines and rhythmic accompaniments. This type of application tends to require more careful tempo matching. When trying to find your delay style, ask yourself how you use delay. Are you more of a set-it-and-forget-it, slapback kind of player, or are you seeking a symphony of rhythmic echoes that would make the Edge cream in his jeans? If you are the latter, then you will want to keep tap tempo in mind as a must-have feature. If you prefer shorter delay times and analog-voiced tones, then you can probably just go on living your life like tap tempo doesn’t exist. “. . . essentially playing the delay like an instrument to create harmony...” 15