Teisco Delay Review
An analog delay that’s happy at the outer limits.
Stratocaster-style guitar on bridge pickup played into a JTM45-style amp set for “gritty cleans”.
0:00 – Level 40%, Feedback 20%, Time 50%, Modulation controls at 0.
0:23 – Same Level, Feedback and Time; Modulation Rate and Depth set to 35% (switch on Slow).
0:46 – All knobs set to noon (note how pedal is already cycling when switched on, even before the playing begins); Modulation switch set to fast. At the end of the playing, Feedback control is gradually wound up to max, then Modulation controls, then pedal is switched off and back on again.
Rugged, original-design housing. Righteous-sounding analog delays. Great for extreme noisescapes.
Some controls unleash sonic excesses at low effect levels.
Ease of Use:
Best known for funky Japanese-made guitars in the ’60s, the Teisco brand—now part of the BandLab Technologies empire—recently resurfaced on three retro-modern effects pedals, including this analog delay.
Tough and Low Profile
With a maximum of 600 ms delay time, the Teisco Delay includes level, feedback, and time controls for its analog echo circuit, and depth and rate knobs, plus a fast/slow switch for the modulation stage. In addition to the single input, there are outputs for the wet signal and a dry direct out, plus a center-negative barrel input for the external 9V power supply (not included).
The construction quality and design of the Singapore-built unit are impressive, particularly for the price. The pedal comes in a sturdy, low-profile zinc housing measuring 5"x 3½"x1¼" that’s finished in a lively surf-green. It has a textured base that aids secure application of Velcro and removable rubber feet that require no adhesive for reattachment. They also conceal the four base screws for accessing the internal 9V battery clip.
Whether I used the Teisco Delay with humbuckers or single-coils, I found the essence of the echoes very appealing and quite in line with the dark, soft repeats you expect from a vintage analog delay.
Echoes are thick, warm, and just a little gritty—all of which makes them musical and easy on the ear. Judiciously applied modulation adds tasty tape-like warble to the brew, but you can also delve into wilder Deluxe Memory Man-style modulation that opens up stranger soundscapes.
These more unusual sounds are easy to tap into. When I first fired up the pedal I had all knobs set to noon. Unexpectedly, the Teisco swirled into runaway self-oscillating feedback. I zeroed the knobs and all was well, but I learned fast that these three are sensitive knobs.
Teisco isn’t shy about the Delay’s “experimental” potential in its documentation. So the fact that the Delay is built to operate at the edge of oscillation isn’t a shock. But at times it feels like wilder sounds come at the expense of range in the traditional delay spectrum. These trad’ sounds are superb when you find them. But most dwell in a pretty narrow space within each potentiometer’s range. If you’re the kind of player that likes to move from familiar, subtle echo textures to manual manipulation of oscillation chaos, chirps, sputters, and tweets, the range in the controls will be a major plus. If you’re more of a set-and-forget player, you might prefer a more forgiving delay unit.
The Teisco Delay is a great-sounding analog delay with lots of fun, frenzied oscillation potential and modulation capabilities for the sonic scientist. It can require careful tweaking to dial in more traditional repeats, and many players might prefer potentiometers with a shallower taper. But if you like a delay that lives on the edge, this Teisco might be the ticket.