The Echoplex® EP-3 tape machine was the secret ingredient in some of the most iconic tonal recipes from the ’60s and ’70s. Top guitar players loved its deliciously warm, organic modulation and sweet musical voice of the preamp so much that they’d use it as a tone-sweetener with the delay effect turned off.
The problem for modern players is that the original EP-3 machines are expensive, temperamental, and larger than a VCR. They require a ton of maintenance, and it’s increasingly difficult to find the correct tape cartridges. So even if you can find and afford a perfectly running EP-3, a single gig can take quite a toll on the machine as well as wear out your precious tape.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the EP-3’s sonic mojo for yourself. We created the Echoplex line of pedals to give you that sound in a convenient, pedalboard-friendly form that you can take on the road. Last year, we came out with the Echoplex Preamp. This year, we’re releasing the second component of the EP-3’s signature sound in the form of the Echoplex Delay. Like the Echoplex Preamp, it’s the size of a Phase 90, and it delivers the EP-3’s legendary tones with a simple control interface and a hi-fi all-analog dry path.
If you’re not an advanced tonechaser, you may never have heard of the Echoplex EP-3. But you’ve definitely heard what it can do. Eddie Van Halen is known to have used them religiously in the early days, even taking his units on tour. Jimmy Page, who originally used the Echoplex EP-2 unit, switched over to the EP-3 as soon as it came out, and it remains an essential part of his rig. Brian May had his EP-3s modified to extend delay time. Eric Johnson has used them for years, even putting them directly on his pedalboard on occasion. And that’s just to name a few.
To get at what made the EP-3 so appealing to these and other guitar greats, we had to focus on the EP-3 in two separate elements: the preamp and the delay effect.
There’s nothing transparent about the EP-3. If your signal goes through it, your tone changes—even if you don’t use the delay effect. Turned out some guitar players loved that tonal seasoning. It’s all thanks to EP-3’s preamp.
The Echoplex EP-1 and EP-2 machines sounded rich and warm thanks to the tubes in their preamp sections, but their repeats tended toward muddiness. The EP-3, on the other had, uses a solid-state preamp—providing much needed clarity—with a Field Effect Transistor (FET) supplying depth and warmth in place of tubes.
The Echoplex Preamp sweetens up your sound in the same way. Its circuitry follows the exact same signal path as the EP-3, including the FET circuit, so when you kick it on, you’re adding the same secret ingredient to your tonal recipe that was favored by the aforementioned guitar greats. The Preamp’s single Gain control sets the pedal’s volume and can boost your signal up to +11dB. At higher settings, you’ll hear slight asymmetrical clipping for some very smooth and organic grit.
The charm of the EP-3’s delay effect is that each repetition is unique. When you play a note, it’s recorded onto the tape and played back. The first repeat is clear, but because of the slight pitch changes inherent to tape machines that are imparted onto the signal, it’s not identical. That slightly imperfect first repeat is itself recorded for the second repeat, which now includes new imperfections in addition to the old ones.
We created the Echoplex Delay pedal to provide that same charming “copy of a copy” magic and more. Rather than just recreate the sound of a pristine EP-3, we wanted this pedal to give players the full range of tones available from an EP-3 machine throughout its lifetime.
To start, we gathered up seven different EP-3 units. These machines are 40 or so years old by now, so quality and condition are all over the place, and we wanted to be sure we had a good selection of units to evaluate. We chose five of them to be serviced and calibrated, and then we picked the best sounding one—the one with the least wow and flutter—to be the default sound.
We used the other machines to dial in the range of sounds for the Age control, which allows you to “age” the delay signal from clean and clear to dark and distorted. Tape echo machines have a lot of moving parts, and over the years, they lose functionality and break down. This can add gain, distortion, and wow and flutter while darkening up the tone—characteristics that many guitar players have come to love about their maturing EP-3s. We simulated those changes so you can use the Age control to make your repeats sound like a brand new EP-3 or one that’s been sitting in your garage for a few decades. Taking the Age control fully clockwise can take you into freakout territory, beyond the aging effects found in any of the units we worked with.
With the Delay control, you can set the time between repeats to anywhere from 40ms to 750ms, but the Echoplex Delay can be connected to an MXR Tap Tempo Switch to set delay time up to 4 seconds.
COMBINING THE ECHOPLEX PREAMP AND ECHOPLEX DELAY
Combining the Echoplex Preamp and the Echoplex Delay pedals allows you to condition your guitar tone as an “always on” effect with the preamp and kick on the delay effect as you need it.
All you need to do is put the Echoplex Preamp in front of the Echoplex Delay in your signal chain. While the Echoplex Delay’s effect signal is already conditioned with the tonality of the Preamp, putting the Preamp in front of the Delay ensures that the “dry” signal going through the Delay is also sweetened up by the Preamp.
It’s like having the full EP-3 on your pedalboard, but instead of having to dial the delay function up or down with a knob, you can step in and out of it with a footswitch.
Since we came out with the Cry Baby® 105Q Bass Wah, it’s been the #1 choice for bass players who want to sweeten up their grooves with the rich expressiveness that only a a Cry Baby Wah can deliver. With a specially designed potentiometer and custom EQ circuitry, the 105Q applies the wah effect to the mids and highs only, leaving your low end big, full, and round.
We took all that funk and functionality that made the 105Q the go-to for the world’s top bass players, and we put it into a housing that’s half the size and made from lightweight-but-sturdy-aluminum.
The Cry Baby Bass Mini Wah may be small, but it doesn’t skip on a single detail. Just like the 105Q, the Bass Mini Wah has Volume and Q controls to fine-tune your wah sound. Stepping in and out of the wah effect to sweeten up fills and solos is simple and seamless thanks to convenient auto-return switching. Players of downtuned and extended range guitars, take note—this little beast will sound great with your rig, too.
With such a small footprint, the Cry Baby Bass Mini Wah will fit nicely on your downsized travel board. Take a look…
We picked out four effects to stick on this Pedaltrain Nano board—the MXR Bass Octave Deluxe, the Cry Baby Bass Mini Wah, the MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe, and the MXR Bass Preamp—that will cover your tonal and utilitarian needs while still allowing you to travel light. The first three effects take you all over the musical landscape, from funk and R&B to hard rock and heavy metal, while the Bass Preamp lets you shape your overall sound and run your signal direct to FOH.
Pick up a Cry Baby Bass Mini Wah at your favorite online or brick-and-mortar retailer today. Travel light and groove heavy.
The John Petrucci Primetone® Jazz III Pick is a whole new take on one of our most popular pick designs: the Jazz III. As the man himself describes it, “this pick’s custom bevel is based on the edge of one of my own well-worn picks. It’ll glide off your strings like glass with a loud, bold sound thanks to its super durable Ultex® material. The Jazz III tip provides precision and clarity, while the custom grip ensures ultimate control.” John’s new pick comes in two colors: tried-and-true Black and the new and appropriately badass Oxblood.
In order to to get this pick right, we had to build on John’s preferred shape and material. “I’ve always found the original black nylon Dunlop Jazz III size and shape to be perfect for getting the most clarity and articulation out of my playing,” John says. “That’s why it was important to me that we began with that proven design when creating my second signature Dunlop pick. Several years ago, I discovered that picks made from Ultex had a louder sound, a smoother attack, and a greater level of stiffness than a nylon pick, as well as a more precise pick response.”
Armed with John’s preferences, we started out by making him a black version of our Ultex Jazz III pick, but John wanted to check out our newly released Primetone Jazz III. Primetone Sculpted Plectra feature bevels sculpted onto the pick’s tip for increased speed and accuracy when playing fast rhythms and solos. We sent him some samples, and he immediately fell in love. But we wanted to take that a step further for John. We asked him to wear out a pick while on tour so that we could copy that natural bevel onto his new pick.
It ain’t easy holding onto one pick through all the moving between hotels and venues and playing onstage for a whole tour, but John pulled it off. He used a single pick for four weeks, providing us with exactly what we needed to make him the perfect customized pick. “This unique bevel,” he says, “is a result of my forward and downward angled picking technique and really adds to an effortless picking experience with no drag felt on the strings.”
The custom bevel is a bit steeper than that of the standard Primetone Jazz III pick, but the result is even greater speed and precision. Shredders usually hold their pick at a steeper angle in order to reduce drag as much as possible—the steeper the angle, the less drag you experience. But too much angle can trip you up, and it takes years of experience to find the right balance. Thankfully, John did all that work for us.
The next issue was the grip. John tried a variety of types, from Max Grip and Primetone to the standard raised lettering found on the Ultex Jazz III picks. After some experimentation, John felt most comfortable with the raised lettering. He feels that it’s the perfect balance between having a solid grip while being able to move the pick around if needed.
John Petrucci Primetone Jazz III Picks are available now. Go get yourself a pack. Shred on.
One of the coolest things about using effects is all the different ways you can combine them to create entirely different tonal palettes, so we put together a handful of our favorite MXR Bass Innovations combos. We’ve given our preferred order for these combinations, but your mileage may vary, so feel free to experiment.
Bass Compressor + Bass Octave Deluxe
Running the Bass Compressor into the Bass Octave Deluxe makes for a tighter, more focused octave effect with an even thicker sounding thump. We can’t say for sure, but a lot of bass players are convinced that Pino Palladino used the compressor+octave combination to get his iconic tone for Paul Young’s “Tear Your Playhouse Down.”
Bass Octave Deluxe + Bass Envelope Filter
Combining these two pedals is the perfect way to get funky synth sounds without having to double up on keys. Run the Bass Octave Deluxe into the Bass Envelope Filter for best results. Check out this clip of the great Tim Lefebvre demonstrating the great range of deep, expressive tones these pedals are capable of when paired:
Bootsy Collins used this effect combination quite often—listen to the song “Bootzilla” for another great example.
Bass Octave Deluxe + Bass Fuzz Deluxe
Combining the Bass Octave Deluxe and the Bass Fuzz Deluxe is all about subterranean chainsaw grind. Putting the octave pedal in front of the fuzz pedal can fill out the sonic space, fattening up and adding some depth to your signal. Check out “All the Love in the World” from Nine Inch Nails or “No Hassle Night” by the Dead Weather to hear how the octave/fuzz combination sounds when done right.
Bass Envelope Filter + Bass Fuzz Deluxe
This combo is all about liquid, percolating funk with a more aggressive attitude. Just run the Bass Envelope Filter into the Bass Fuzz Deluxe and pluck away. Bootsy Collins liked to use this combination a lot, as does Les Claypool.
Bass Octave Deluxe + Bass Envelope Filter + Bass Fuzz Deluxe
This combination gives you thick, funky synth-like tones that cut through with hard-charging authority and dynamic expression. Just run the Bass Octave Deluxe into the Bass Envelope Filter into the Bass Fuzz Deluxe. Bootsy strikes again with this one, just listen to “What’s the Name of this Town.”
Bass Distortion + Bass Chorus Deluxe
Combining these two pedals—Bass Distortion into the Bass Chorus Deluxe—gives you the dark, spectral sounds chorus pedals are known for, but the distortion adds a whole ’nother level of texture and attitude. For a subtle but effective use of this effect, listen to Puscifer’s “Galileo.” Type O Negative’s “IYDKMIGHTKY (Gimme That)” has a more obvious example.
There’s a ton of other effects combinations available to bass players, but we feel these are the the most basic, foundational combos you should get to know as a bass player. Line ’em up and dig in.
Reverb is that sense of place and depth you hear when sound is reflected off of solid surfaces. Architects have been designing concert halls and other enclosed spaces to enhance this effect with live music for more than a hundred years. Recorded music, however, can sound flat and unnatural if it doesn’t sound as if it actually exists in a physical space, so musicians and producers have relied on a number of methods to recreate the sonic characteristics of playing in acoustically rich environments.
The MXR Reverb offers players the history of these methods and then some in a standard MXR box, featuring six distinct high end styles exquisitely crafted and tuned by the award-winning MXR design team. It’s got a simple three-knob setup, a hi-fi analog dry path, and a massive 20 volts of headroom thanks to our Constant Headroom Technology™ so that it plays exceptionally well with distortion, modulation, and other effects.
Musicians have a number of utilitarian and creative needs that the MXR Reverb handily addresses. If your recorded signal sounds dull and flat, for example, the MXR Reverb can give it a sense of place and atmosphere, making it sound more natural and alive. The same goes for an acoustically dead venue—adding some reverb can open up a room and breathe some life back into your signal. The MXR Reverb also adds a whole new range of tone-shaping options, whether binding the different elements of your sound together or creating atmospheric, otherworldly environments for your compositions to move and breathe within.
The MXR Reverb’s six different styles can help with all of these uses and more. We encourage you to experiment with all of them, but here’s a quick explanation of what each can bring to your sound.
With the advent of recorded music, one of the first solutions to the “flat sound” problem was to play music inside of an enclosed space with a microphone sending the signal to a mixing board. The first of these “reverb chambers” was a bathroom, but specially designed rooms were eventually built into the recording studios themselves.
The Room setting captures the sound of those reverb chambers, adding subtle body and projection to your guitar tone at shorter decay times while longer decay times yield rich organic space that doesn’t wash out. Think old blues and jazz recordings. This setting is also great for livening up a dead recording sound.
Plate-based reverb—which creates its effect through the vibration of large, thin metal plates—was the next step in studio reverb evolution. It became the standard for recording studios because of its clean, bright sound, and, while quite heavy, they could actually be moved around.
The Plate setting provides a shimmering smooth wash of space that’s a go-to choice from the studio recording world. Use this setting to give your signal a classically lush, “hi-fi” sound, make up for dead venue acoustics when playing onstage, liven up a flat recorded sound, or bind all of the elements of your tone together.
Spring-based reverb as we know it today uses a transducer to vibrate one or more springs while a pickup transmits the generated sounds. Whereas plate units were large and expensive, spring units were small enough to put into amplifiers, and their low cost meant that the average guitar player could afford them. This style became a crucial component of old school surf rock tone.
Use this setting to recreate the classic bounce and twang of classic amp-style reverb. Like the Room and Plate styles, Spring style is great for revitalizing a flat recorded sound, and like the Plate style, works great as a “tone binder.”
The Epic setting sounds like you’re playing in a large, voluminous space such as a cathedral or a cavern. Think Pink Floyd. This setting is perfect for creating atmospheric, otherworldly environments.
The Mod setting combines smooth plate reverb with richly organic modulation in the feedback path. Use this setting to get classic shoegazer tones, liven up a dead recording, or create fluid, ethereal textures.
The Pad setting generates long synth sounds with a unique combination of sub-octave and octave-up with echoes mixed with synth/organ modulation and reverb, unlocking an expressive tonal palette that’s perfect for creating rich, arresting soundscapes.
Look for the MXR Reverb to hit stores in April—check with your favorite retailer to see if you can preorder yours now.
The JP95 John Petrucci Cry Baby® Wah provides unprecedented tonal tweakability. With its huge and expressive sound, this pedal is the culmination of legendary shredder John Petrucci‘s years-long quest to hone and fine-tune his perfect wah sound. John sat down with us to talk about the tonechasing that led to the JP95’s creation as well as his introduction to the wah effect and how it fits into his songwriting process. Check it out.
How were you introduced to the wah, and who influenced your use of it?
John Petrucci: My introduction to the wah was gradual. I kept hearing it on all these songs, and I couldn’t help wanting to find out what it was when I was learning to play as a teenager. At that time, I was a big fan of Iron Maiden, and I’d listen to how Dave Murray used the wah.
But it was Joe Satriani’s Surfing with the Alien that really changed everything for me, though. The way that he uses it as an extension of the expression of his playing, and the way he shapes the notes to make them envelope or be more mellow or more open or sustain or get feedback—that’s probably the biggest influence on the way that I use the wah today.
How do you incorporate the wah into your own playing?
JP: Using the Cry Baby Wah is like bending, or sliding, or using vibrato on your guitar. It’s a way to add more expression and dynamics to what you’re playing. If you get the hang of it, you can really control where the note blossoms. Generally, I use that expressive character to shape my leads, but there are certain situation where it does become an integral component of the songwriting.
I remember when the 535Q first came out, with the adjustable Q and frequency range, when we were writing the Scenes from Memory album. I dialed in the perfect sound with that pedal, one I’d never really heard before. We wrote this song “Home,” which has this big wah riff to it. The wah simply accentuates the riff, but it created a unique sound that’s crucial to the impact of the song. If you play that riff without the wah, it just doesn’t sound the same.
Another way I like to use my Cry Baby Wah is to take an aggressive lick to the next level, opening up the notes and getting them to scream and feedback. The combination of playing hard, playing fast, and stepping on the wah really sets the whole thing on fire.
How did you refine your Cry Baby sound over the years?
JP: I’ve tried many different wahs over the years, all of them Dunlop Cry Baby Wahs—I’ve never played anything else. It was the 535Q that really got me fine-tuning and honing my Cry Baby sound. I had never heard that kind of depth in a wah before, and I was immediately able to lock into a sound that I knew I would use a lot.
But because of the types of venues we play, I try to put any front end pedals in the rig and then manage them onstage with a controller. That way, the audio signal only travels a short distance. That’s how I got turned on to the Cry Baby Rack Wah. It has so many options, and that allowed me to dial in the same sound I was getting with the 535Q. I never changed it after that.
How did the JP95 come about?
JP: When I step on a wah and it has my name on it, I want it to be the sound that I use. When you take it out of the box, plug it in, and step on it, you know it’s going to be the sound that I cultivated throughout over the years. The same boost level, the same tonality, the same sweep—no options to get lost in. That was the focus for developing this Cry Baby Wah.
So we started with the settings on the Cry Baby Rack Wah. Since we’ve been in the studio, Dream Theater engineer Rich Chycki—who has a great ear—helped me fine tune it a little bit more to get it even more hi-fi and bring it to the next level. It sounds huge and badass like an angry, screaming monster with the ultimate expressive range—it‘s perfect for shaping single notes or manipulating growling, heavy chords.
What can you tell us about the JP95’s features?
JP: If you’re a tinkerer and you want to hone your own Cry Baby sound just like I did with the Cry Baby Rack Wah, this pedal has all the controls you need to do that. Just take off the bottomplate, and you’ll find the same controls the Rack Wah has—Volume, Q, and six different EQ controls to boost or cut a whole range of frequencies from 100Hz to 3.2KHz. Since it’s all on the inside, you don’t have to worry about it if you don’t want to.
We also added LEDs because I always have an issue knowing whether or not the wah is on. There are blue lights on the sides that create a glow around your foot so you know for sure that the wah pedal is in fact on.
As far as the look goes, I wanted the pedal to have a classy look but also appear very strong, badass, and sleek. The smoked chrome and shield tread give me that. This pedal has a really cool look to it, on the pedal board and on its own.
We had another great NAMM show this year, and everyone who came to see us was stoked about the new gear, from the MXR® Reverb and the Echoplex® Delay to the John Petrucci Cry Baby® Wah, the Way Huge® Overrated Special™ Overdrive, and more. We also had an awesome crew of Dunlop artists come through, including John Petrucci, Devin Townsend, Eric Gales, and MonoNeon just to name a few.
Check out the photo gallery below for a look at some of what went down at the 2016 NAMM Show. For more information about 2016 releases, including availability, keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and right here at www.jimdunlop.com.
The 2016 Winter NAMM Show kicks off today at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California, and we’re showing off a ton of great new gear. Here’s a sample of what’s coming in 2016:
Are you going to be there this weekend? If so, come on over to booth #4568—you’ll be able to demo our new electronics, as well as some of the classics, and catch some great performances and signings from Dunlop artists.
Here’s the Dunlop booth artist performance schedule:
Winter NAMM 2016 Artist Appearance Schedule
Thursday Jan 21st
Friday Jan 22nd
Saturday Jan 23rd
If you can’t make it to the show, be on the lookout for NAMM demos and previews from your favorite gear sites. As always, we’ll be serving up a ton of content we release these products, including our famously cool video demos, informative content on the Dunlop blog, and a whole lot more. Keep up with new releases by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course, right here at www.jimdunlop.com.
Keep your instruments pristine and protected with Dunlop’s new Platinum 65™ Premium Care System of professional grade instrument care products. We took a cue from the automotive care industry, harnessing Montan wax—its latest innovation—as the Platinum 65 line’s key ingredient. Montan wax is a fossilized plant wax prized for its ease of use and deep glossy shine.
The Platinum 65 System optimizes Montan wax for the maintenance of musical instruments so that you can both clean your guitars or basses and dress them with a protective barrier. Platinum 65 products take less time and less effort than any other wax-based care product—there’s no need to wait for drying, and there’s no need to wear your arm out trying to even out the surface coating.
Platinum 65 care comes in two forms. For quick and easy everyday care, there’s the 1-step Cleaner-Polish. For weekly use, or whenever more thorough care is necessary, we recommend the Deep Clean and Spray Wax two-step process. Both Deep Clean and Spray Wax are silicone-free.
To show just how simple and effective Platinum 65 products are, we put together a step-by-step pictorial for each process. Check it out below.
USE CLEANER-POLISH FOR DAY TO DAY MAINTENANCE
Platinum 65 Cleaner-Polish is just its name says—a high quality two-in-one cleaner and polish that’s ideal for day to day maintenance of your guitar or bass. Let’s see how it works on this gunked up Les Paul.
First, take a clean, dry cloth such as the Platinum 65 Microfiber Cloth and spray 1 to 2 pumps of Cleaner-Polish onto it. Note: Do not spray Cleaner-Polish onto or around finish chips, cracks, or checking.
Next, wipe the cloth gently over the surface of your instrument and repeat as necessary until clean.
After you’ve gotten rid of the gunk, turn the cloth over to a clean, dry side and gently buff out your instrument’s surface until its nice and shiny.
See? Nice and shiny.
If you have to do a more thorough cleaning and a heavier polish, we suggest you try the two-step Deep Clean/Spray Wax process.
USE DEEP CLEAN & SPRAY WAX FOR MORE THOROUGH CARE
First, we’re going to clean the surface of our guitar with Platinum 65 Deep Clean. Once its gunk-free, we’ll give it a nice protective polish with Platinum 65 Spray Wax.
As we did with the Cleaner-Polish, spray 1 to 2 pumps of Deep Clean onto a clean, dry Platinum 65 Microfiber Cloth. Note: Likewise, do not spray Deep Clean onto or around finish chips, cracks, or checking.
Wipe gently to remove fingerprints and grime, repeating as necessary.
Now it’s time for Platinum 65 Spray Wax—spray 1-2 pumps directly onto a clean, dry Platinum 65 Microfiber Cloth. Gently buff your instrument to a nice glossy shine, turning the cloth as needed. Note: Again, don’t spray onto the surface of your instrument, especially if there are any finish cracks, chips, or checking.
And there you have it—ready for the showroom floor.
You can get Platinum 65 products by the individual bottle or in the following combo packs: the Platinum 65 Twin Pack includes Deep Clean, Spray Wax, and two Microfiber Cloths, while the Cleaner-Polish Pack features a bottle of Cleaner-Polish and a Microfiber Cloth.
The Carbon Copy® Analog Delay has been the world’s bestselling delay pedal in the world since its release in 2009. Its warm analog sound, ease of use, and healthy reserve of delay time made the pedal a hit with guitar players everywhere, weekend warriors and recording pros alike.
We sat down with the masterminds behind this modern classic—veteran MXR engineer Bob Cedro and Way Huge founder/delay guru Jeorge Tripps—to talk about the this pedal’s origins as well as the development of the newly released Carbon Copy Bright Analog Delay, a collaboration with the guys at Pro Guitar Shop that provides brighter, more refined repeats.
How did you guys conceive of the Carbon Copy Analog Delay?
Jeorge: When I started at Dunlop, the first thing I wanted to do for MXR was create a delay pedal—the line hadn’t had one since the old days, but players kept asking when we were going to fill that void. So I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted in an MXR delay pedal: analog circuitry, 600ms of delay time, modulation, a Phase 90-sized housing, and the option to run it on battery power.
Bob: Coincidentally, I already had a design for a 600ms analog delay pedal—it was one of my first projects at Dunlop—and we almost went into production with it in 1997. Unfortunately, the BBD IC (bucket brigade device, integrated circuit) we used went out of production at the last minute, so we had to call the whole thing off.
After Jeorge joined the Dunlop team, we had many conversations about creating a new MXR delay analog pedal, but without the parts needed, it stayed on our “Wouldn’t it be great if…” list. A short time later, though, I learned that the particular BBD IC needed to create my dream delay pedal was available again. We got to work right away.
Was it inspired by any previous circuit designs?
Bob: The Carbon Copy circuit was a new design. It was a culmination of my experience both designing delay pedals as an engineer and using them as a player over the years. Back in 1979, I designed my first chorus/delay rack unit for my own personal use. It used a Reticon R5101 charge-coupled device analog delay line, and it had more knobs and meters than a power plant. The first analog delay pedal I actually bought was a Boss DM2, which I used for pretty much everything—live guitar, recorded vocals, drums, and so on.
Later, while working as a design engineer for SR&D—the company that created the Rockman product line, now owned by Dunlop—I used the Rockman Analog Delay, which had this great, warm analog sound. The problem was that it was housed in a large, half rack box with an AC power cord tethered to it, and its control setup was way too complicated.
By the time I came to Dunlop, I had grown to love the more straightforward MXR approach. I decided that Regeneration, Mix, and Delay controls were all I needed in a delay to make me happy. After that, I concentrated on putting it all into an Phase 90-sized box.
What was the collaboration process like between the two of you?
Jeorge: I drew up a graphic representation of the pedal, including Bob’s Regen, Mix, and Delay controls, but I added the Mod (modulation) switch to simulate the wow and flutter of a vintage tape delay unit. Bob put it all together, adding the modulation circuitry to his own 600ms delay design, and the result was incredible.
Can you explain the Carbon Copy’s control setup and why you designed it that way?
Bob: We agreed to keep it simple, with just three knobs on the front of the pedal. At first, I was concerned that the modulation feature would complicate the pedal a bit too much, but the switch seemed to be a perfect solution. It allowed us to maintain the simple three-knob setup on the face of the pedal, and we put the modulation Speed and Width controls inside the unit as“set it and forget it” tweaks.
How does the Mod switch simulate an aging tape echo unit?
Bob: Engaging the Mod button places a slight pitch shifting movement on the delayed signal, which is reminiscent of tape echo wow and flutter. The internal controls are factory set to best simulate those subtle effects, but they can be adjusted for a much more pronounced and intense chorusing sound.
Jeorge: The modulation was a very important aspect of this pedal—it adds depth to the repeats and makes them sound bigger and more full. Very few delay pedals had that feature at the time.
How does it compare to past MXR delays?
Jeorge: The Carbon Copy Delay is a completely different circuit from the old big green MXR Analog Delay. That unit used a Reticon R5101 BBD, and it didn’t have modulation. I think it did about 450ms? It was also very noisy.
Why do you think this pedal is still the bestselling delay six years later?
Jeorge: The market was missing a delay designed according to the MXR ethos, which emphasizes great tones, ease-of-use, and rugged durability for a reasonable price. We filled that gap, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s become the “go to” analog delay pedal.
What spurred the development of the Carbon Copy Bright Delay?
Jeorge: Well, the standard Carbon Copy Delay is famous for its dark, rich warmth. There are a lot of tone guys out there, though, who wanted to hear how it would sound if it was tuned to bring out more of the high end in the repeats so they could have more than one Carbon Copy flavor. Working with Aaron Miller and the Pro Guitar Shop team, we designed the Carbon Copy Bright with those players in mind.
Bob: Pro Guitar Shop’s customer base is very much centered around that type of player—the guys who love to find just the right sound for each application—so we thought they were the perfect partner to work with on this project. We passed a few prototypes back and forth until we found the sweet spot, and it really sounds great.
How exactly is the Carbon Copy Bright Delay different from the standard Carbon Copy Delay ?
Jeorge: The Bright functions exactly the same as the standard version, but it’s tuned differently. Because the higher frequencies are more pronounced, this pedal’s repeats are more defined, and the modulation shimmers a bit more. It’s a great contrast to the standard version’s darker, warmer repeats.
Bob: If you’re into tone crafting and all that good stuff, there’s definitely room for both Carbon Copy pedals on your board.