Updated on 03.25.2019 – Please note: this article is part of a series of pieces about delay stompboxes, and only lists analog and mono circuits without tap tempo, i.e. “basic delay pedals.” We published four other articles in the series, one focused on multi-mode digital delay pedals, one on mini delay and echo pedals, one on pedals emulating the Binson Echorec delay and another one about the best used and affordable delay pedals on the market (based on a video by JHS). Look out for more articles about delay coming out in the next few months!
Delay has become one of the most common effects on guitarists’ pedalboards, even if it is available in an uncommonly diverse number of flavors. Not only are there dozens of pedals to choose from, but the range of features on offer can be overwhelming: everything from simple analog echo boxes to advanced boxes that offer multiple types of vintage and modern delay.
Many guitarists are looking for a delay to help them beef up their tone or create simple “echo-y” effects, and you may be one of them. If you don’t need tap tempo, stereo or other frills—just a basic analog, mono delay pedal that can deliver a wide array of delays for styles ranging from rockabilly to reggae to hard rock, this might be the right article for you.
You’ll be happy to know there are plenty of pedals out there that can fulfill your requirements: they are all based on Bucket Brigade chips; most feature three or four knobs, and some add an optional modulation feature designed to emulate the slow flutter created by the original tape delays.
Here are some of the most popular according to our online research.
MXR Carbon Copy
$119 – A very popular, rich sounding, three knob analog delay based on the classic bucket brigade technology. It features up to 600ms of delay time with optional modulation controlled by two internal trim pots for width and rate.
Boss DM 2W Waza Craft
$119 – Based on the vintage Boss DM-2, the 2W introduces switchable sound modes and greater versatility, with Custom mode offering a cleaner analog tone with over twice the available delay time (800ms). It features an expression pedal input to control the rate and a direct out.
Ibanez Analog Delay Mini Pedal
$119 – Features two smaller knobs for Repeat and Blend, and a significantly larger Delay Time knob in the middle. The range of delay time is 20ms to 600ms. True bypass switching provides the shortest, most direct signal path, as well as the cleanest tone. 100% Analog Circuitry allows for the warmth of tone that players desire from analog delays. – see other Mini Delay pedals here.
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail
$179 – This is the only delay in this list to feature a modulation that can be controlled through the two smaller knobs (rate and depth). It also has an effect loop in/out that can be used to connect other pedals or to send the signal to two different amps. Its Bucket Brigade chip gives you the usual rich, vintage-y tone with up to 600ms of delay.
Electro-Harmonix Memory Toy
$89 – An affordable, streamlined version of the legendary Memory Man, this is a delay with lush sound and basic controls that also includes a modulation mode which adds a touch of chorus. Up to 550ms of delay, among the shortest in this list.
Maxon AD-999 Delay
$279 – A great sounding delay, but not the most affordable option out there, maybe because it features eight custom Bucket Brigade IC’s for 900ms of warm, organic analog tone. Its repeats feature a slightly overdriven tonality that sits perfectly behind dirty tones and adds depth and dimension to clean sounds.
Moog Minifooger MF Delay
$300+ used – Now discontinued, this is an analog delay taken from Moog’s own Sub 37 synth, providing 35mS-700ms of rich, blooming analog repeats, with an added “Drive” knob to get things fatter and warmer. Lives up to the reputation in online reviews, which is why it’s getting pricey.
Way Huge Aqua-Puss Mini
$149 – With its original, bigger brother selling used for around one grand (!), this mini version could be considered a bargain, although the delay time is only 300ms. It definitely does the job of adding depth and dimension to your tone.
Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Analog Delay
$265 – A truly boutique, hand made, dual analog delay by a pioneer in the guitar pedal world, the ARDX20 features controls for delay time, feedback, and delay level, and features effects loop and expression pedal jack for delay time. An expansion called AMAZEO gives it external tap tempo, modulation, and presets. It delivers up to 600ms of delay.
Jam Pedal Delay Lama
$239 – A truly boutique, hand made pedal, this effect features a straightforward design and delivers up to 600ms of delay. It’s particularly loved by musicians for its slapback effect.
TC Electronic Echobrain
$69 – The most affordable bucket brigade delay on the market, this stompbox gets the job done with three knobs (Time, Repeats and Mix) and up to 300ms of delay, but gets mixed online reviews.
Deadbeat Sound DELAY LAY LAY
$55 – California based Deadbeat offers well-built yet super affordable non-hand made pedals. This basic delay is smaller than your average stompbox and offers between 140ms and 360ms of delay, with controls for Mix, Time and Rate.