REVIEW: As a player of the acoustic guitar for over 35 years, I tend to need some variation in my sound to maintain my interest as a performer and be challenged as a composer.

Using effects can be part of the continuous creative process as a player’s signature voice is discovered and then sustained. Despite having a rather extensive repertoire (I believe its running time is about 84 tunes and 5 hours at this point), I still like to flavor entire tunes or segments of a piece during a performance with a slight touch of different sounds. And it is also a bit of fun to experiment.

Throughout my career I have experimented with different types of special effects from flange and chorus pedals to various reverb settings. I have arrived at a point where I periodically mix in a delay setting, as part of the design of a particular piece. The intensity of the effect varies from tune to tune, as well as its location within, when used for certain phrases.

Generally I prefer a somewhat subtle setting, sometimes so subtle that it is barely noticeable, with the delay effect functioning almost ghost-like within the tune.

Recently I have been using a Fishman unit, the AFX Delay Acoustic Effects Pedal. Admittedly I am still on the front end of discovering all the sound options, but I already have some favorite features. One is the sturdiness of the pedal unit since it is holding up well from the rigors of touring, including an overseas flight to Frankfurt, Germany. The tap delay feature lets me accurately select a proper time delay and the time delay control, ranging up to 2.9 seconds, works well for delay settings that might vary from piece to piece. There are eight option settings including short, medium, long, and pong under the classic or modern categories. The 32-bit processor uses the modern delay setting for a clean sound and the classic delay offers an analog echo effect.

After testing the AFX Delay unit on multiple sound systems in a variety of settings and working with countless soundmen and an audience member or two, I believe the modern selection and medium setting works best for my style of playing, repertoire, and playing attack. I also prefer a single delay repeat with a very subtle level setting to ensure that the music is not buried by the effect. (Sort of like not wanting to put too many sprinkles on your ice cream.) And, I have to agree with Fishman’s claim that your instrument’s sound will not be over-flavored and it “allows the instrument’s natural voice to shine through”.

The unit has a 9-volt battery and adapter power along with the ability to handle stereo with 1/4" ins and outs. I rate this AFX Delay Acoustic Effect very high, recommend it, and personally look forward to finding new uses for the many effects available that I am sure I have not yet tapped into. Just remember using effects really comes down to a matter of taste; and hopefully in the end for the audience sake – good taste!

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Originally posted 2010-05-25 12:37:54.