## Green Day Rig Rundown [2024]

+
Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

# Kick Out the Jams: How to Make Your Delay Pedal Work for You

### A precisely timed delay effect with just the right number of echo repeats can become part of the composition of a great riff.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Understand the concept of metered delay regenerations.
• Use a mathematical equation to determine values for delay regenerations at various tempos.
• Construct riffs and rhythm parts using delay with quarter-note, eighth-note, and dotted-eighth-note regenerations.

Delay effects are most often used to create ambient echoes on a lead guitar track, or on understated rhythm tracks with a clean sound. But a precisely timed delay effect with just the right number of echo repeats can become part of the composition of a great riff ... if you use the right approach. Using delay this way requires rhythmically precise performances, and in order to time your delay repeats just right, you’ll have to plug some numbers into an equation. So grab your metronome and a calculator, and let’s get down to business.

Finding Delay Times Using a Formula
Song tempos (and riff tempos) are expressed as a ratio of beats per minute (bpm). So 90 bpm on your metronome means that in 60 seconds of music—a minute—there will be 90 quarter-notes (the quarter-note is the most common unit of beat, so we’ll use that as a starting point). So far, so good.

Delay times, however, are most often expressed in milliseconds (1,000ths of a second). So to calculate the delay time of a quarter-note regeneration or echo repeat, we’ll need to know how many milliseconds there are in a quarter-note at various tempos. Since there are 60,000 milliseconds in a minute (60 × 1,000 milliseconds), we’ll find the length of a quarter-note by dividing 60,000 by the number of beats per minute. The equation, therefore, is q = 60,000 ÷ bpm, where q is the length value of the quarter-note and bpm is the song tempo in beats per minute.

For example, say you have a song tempo of 89 bpm. You want to compose a riff using a delay with quarter-note echo repeats: q = 60,000 ÷ 89. This gives q a value of 674 and some change. Depending on the sensitivity of your delay processor, you may be able to dial in 670 ms or 675 ms. Either of these values will give you a delay regeneration roughly equal to a quarter-note at 89 bpm.

Setting The Delay
For this use of delay effects, we’ll start with the following basic settings:
Level: 75 percent
Repeats: between 2 and 4 repeats
Time: determined by note value and bpm (use formula)

By keeping the delay level high (but not too high) and the number of echo repeats low, you’ll ensure that the repeats will be a feature of the part without crowding out the performance. Remember, your playing is still the big picture. The delay effect is only a window dressing, if a nifty one. These settings are a good starting point, and you’ll find your own preferred settings as you go along.

Composing Riffs
Let’s start with a song part using a quarter-note delay at 69 bpm (Fig. 1). Okay, q = 60,000 ÷ 69 gives a value of about 869.6, so we’ll set the delay time to 870 ms.

The idea here is to allow enough space for the delay to bounce back the performance in rhythm. Here, I’ve played a chord or lick during alternating quarters of each measure, resting during every other quarter to allow the delay effect to do its thing. When composing, it’s good to add some rhythmic variety to similar phrases—it really highlights the rhythmic possibilities of even a simple quarter-note echo repeat. Using the delay gives this straightforward “hair rock” rhythm piece a spacious character. You can imagine a second guitar ripping solo passages during the second and fourth beats of these measures.

Now, let’s vary the rhythm of the delay repeats and this time go for an eighth-note echo at a tempo of 81 bpm (Fig. 2). We’ll plug 81 into our equation: q = 60,000 ÷ 81 gives a value of 740.7. Because we’re after an eighth-note echo, and an eighth-note is half the value of a quarter-note, we have to multiply q by 1/2 (0.5 on the calculator): 740.7 × 0.5 = 370.4. So set the delay time to 370 ms.

Having the downbeats played back on the upbeats lends a disco-like feel to this funky rhythm part. You can hear, in your mind’s ear, a driving drum part with accented hi-hats on all the “ands.”

A common use of this delay technique is to reproduce dotted eighth-notes. This final example will be a song hook at 90 bpm (Fig. 3). Here’s the math: q = 60,000 ÷ 90, gives q a value of 666.7, which is pretty evil. Don’t worry. Remember to multiply q by our desired note value to find the delay time—in this case, 3/4 (0.75 on the calculator), because a dotted eighth-note is 3/4 the value of a quarter-note: 666.7 × 0.75 = 500. Hey—500 is way less evil than 666.7, so we’re good.

As you can hear, dotted eighth-note echoes add syncopation to a riff that’s not already syncopated, or add further syncopation to a riff that’s only slightly varied. It really dresses up this simple hook to make it a little hookier.

With a delay stomp box or software-based delay processor, you can really juice up simple riffs and rhythm parts. Setting metered regenerations lets you add texture and flair to hooks and instrumental interludes. Remember to use judgment when dialing in your repeat and level settings, and you can deploy pro-quality delay licks onstage, in the studio, or simply jamming at home. Just be sure to pack your metronome, calculator, and some imagination.

## Keith Urban’s 6-String Finesse, Hidden in Plain Sight

Keith Urban’s first instrument was a ukulele at age 4. When he started learning guitar two years later, he complained that it made his fingers hurt. Eventually, he came around. As did the world.

### Throughout his over-30-year career, Keith Urban has been known more as a songwriter than a guitarist. Here, he shares about his new release, High, and sheds light on all that went into the path that led him to becoming one of today’s most celebrated country artists.

There are superstars of country and rock, chart-toppers, and guitar heroes. Then there’s Keith Urban. His two dozen No. 1 singles and boatloads of awards may not eclipse George Strait or Garth Brooks, but he’s steadily transcending the notion of what it means to be a country star.

He’s in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s won 13 Country Music Association Awards, nine CMT video awards, eight ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards, four American Music Awards, and racked up BMI Country Awards for 25 different singles.

He’s been a judge on American Idol and The Voice. In conjunction with Yamaha, he has his own brand of affordably priced Urban guitars and amps, and he has posted beginner guitar lessons on YouTube. His 2014 Academy of Country Music Award-winning video for “Highways Don’t Care” featured Tim McGraw and Keith’s former opening act, Taylor Swift. Add his marriage to fellow Aussie, the actress Nicole Kidman, and he’s seen enough red carpet to cover a football field.

Significantly, his four Grammys were all for Country Male Vocal Performance. A constant refrain among newcomers is, “and he’s a really good guitar player,” as if by surprise or an afterthought. Especially onstage, his chops are in full force. There are country elements, to be sure, but rock, blues, and pop influences like Mark Knopfler are front and center.

Unafraid to push the envelope, 2020’s The Speed of Now Part 1 mixed drum machines, processed vocals, and a duet with Pink with his “ganjo”—an instrument constructed of a 6-string guitar neck on a banjo body—and even a didgeridoo. It, too, shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart and climbed to No. 7 on the pop chart.

His new release, High, is more down-to-earth, but is not without a few wrinkles. He employs an EBow on “Messed Up As Me” and, on “Wildfire,” makes use of a sequencerreminiscent of ZZ Top’s “Legs.” Background vocals in “Straight Lines” imitate a horn section, and this time out he duets on “Go Home W U” with rising country star Lainey Wilson. The video for “Heart Like a Hometown” is full of home movies and family photos of a young Urban dwarfed by even a 3/4-size Suzuki nylon-string.

Born Keith Urbahn (his surname’s original spelling) in New Zealand, his family moved to Queensland, Australia, when he was 2. He took up guitar at 6, two years after receiving his beloved ukulele. He released his self-titled debut album in 1991 for the Australian-only market, and moved to Nashville two years later. It wasn’t until ’97 that he put out a group effort, fronting the Ranch, and another self-titled album marked his American debut as a leader, in ’99. It eventually went platinum—a pattern that’s become almost routine.

The 57-year-old’s celebrity and wealth were hard-earned and certainly a far cry from his humble beginnings. “Australia is a very working-class country, certainly when I was growing up, and I definitely come from working-class parents,” he details. “My dad loved all the American country artists, like Johnny Cash, Haggard, Waylon. He didn’t play professionally, but before he got married he played drums in a band, and my grandfather and uncles all played instruments.

One of Urban’s biggest influences as a young guitar player was Mark Knopfler, but he was also mesmerized by lesser-known session musicians such as Albert Lee, Ian Bairnson, Reggie Young, and Ray Flacke. Here, he’s playing a 1950 Broadcaster once owned by Waylon Jennings that was a gift from Nicole Kidman, his wife.

“For me, it was a mix of that and Top 40 radio, which at the time was much more diverse than it is now. You would just hear way more genres, and Australia itself had its own, what they call Aussie pub rock—very blue-collar, hard-driving music for the testosterone-fueled teenager. Grimy, sweaty, kind of raw themes.”

A memorable event happened when he was 7. “My dad got tickets for the whole family to see Johnny Cash. He even bought us little Western shirts and bolo ties. It was amazing.”

Yet, guitar didn’t come without problems. “With the guitar, my fingers hurt like hell,” he laughs, “and I started conveniently leaving the house whenever the guitar teacher would show up. Typical kid. I don’t wanna learn, I just wanna be able to do it. It didn’t feel like any fun. My dad called me in and went, ‘What the hell? The teacher comes here for lessons. What’s the problem?’ I said I didn’t want to do it anymore. He just said, ‘Okay, then don’t do it.’ Kind of reverse psychology, right? So I just stayed with it and persevered. Once I learned a few chords, it was the same feeling when any of us learn how to be moving on a bike with two wheels and nobody holding us up. That’s what those first chords felt like in my hands.”

### Keith Urban's Gear

Urban has 13 Country Music Association Awards, nine CMT video awards, eight ARIA Awards, and four Grammys to his name—the last of which are all for Best Country Male Vocal Performance.

### Guitars

For touring:

• Maton Diesel Special
• Maton EBG808TE Tommy Emmanuel Signature
• 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior, TV yellow
• 1959 Gibson ES-345 (with Varitone turned into a master volume)
• Fender 40th Anniversary Tele, “Clarence”
• Two first-generation Fender Eric Clapton Stratocasters (One is black with DiMarzio Area ’67 pickups, standard tuning. The other is pewter gray, loaded with Fralin “real ’54” pickups, tuned down a half-step.)
• John Bolin Telecaster (has a Babicz bridge with a single humbucker and a single volume control. Standard tuning.)
• PRS Paul’s Guitar (with two of their narrowfield humbuckers. Standard tuning.)
• Yamaha Keith Urban Acoustic Guitar (with EMG ACS soundhole pickups)
• Deering “ganjo”

### Amps

• Mid-’60s black-panel Fender Showman (modified by Chris Miller, with oversized transformers to power 6550 tubes; 130 watts)
• 100-watt Dumble Overdrive Special (built with reverb included)
• Two Pacific Woodworks 1x12 ported cabinets (Both are loaded with EV BlackLabel Zakk Wylde signature speakers and can handle 300 watts each.)

### Effects

• Two Boss SD-1W Waza Craft Super Overdrives with different settings
• Mr. Black SuperMoon Chrome
• FXengineering RAF Mirage Compressor
• Ibanez TS9 with Tamura Mod
• Boss BD-2 Blues Driver
• J. Rockett Audio .45 Caliber Overdrive
• Pro Co RAT 2
• Radial Engineering JX44 (for guitar distribution)
• Fractal Audio Axe-Fx XL+ (for acoustic guitars)
• Two Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III (one for electric guitar, one for bass)
• Bricasti Design Model 7 Stereo Reverb Processor
• RJM Effect Gizmo (for pedal loops)

(Note: All delays, reverb, chorus, etc. is done post amp. The signal is captured with microphones first then processed by Axe-Fx and other gear.)

• Shure Axient Digital Wireless Microphone System

### Strings & Picks

• D’Addario EJ16, for ganjo (.012–.053; much thicker than a typical banjo strings)
• D’Addario 1.0 mm signature picks

He vividly remembers the first song he was able to play after “corny songs like ‘Mama’s little baby loves shortnin’ bread.’” He recalls, “There was a song I loved by the Stylistics, ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New.’ My guitar teacher brought in the sheet music, so not only did I have the words, but above them were the chords. I strummed the first chord, and went, [sings E to Am] ‘My love,’ and then minor, ‘I'll never find the words, my,’ back to the original chord, ‘love.’ Even now, I get covered in chills thinking what it felt like to sing and put that chord sequence together.”

After the nylon-string Suzuki, he got his first electric at 9. “It was an Ibanez copy of a Telecaster Custom—the classic dark walnut with the mother-of-pearl pickguard. My first Fender was a Stratocaster. I wanted one so badly. I’d just discovered Mark Knopfler, and I only wanted a red Strat, because that’s what Knopfler had. And he had a red Strat because of Hank Marvin. All roads lead to Hank!”

He clarifies, “Remember a short-lived run of guitar that Fender did around 1980–’81, simply called ‘the Strat’? I got talked into buying one of those, and the thing weighed a ton. Ridiculously heavy. But I was just smitten when it arrived. ‘Sultans of Swing’ was the first thing I played on it. ‘Oh my god! I sound a bit like Mark.’”

“Messed Up As Me” has some licks reminiscent of Knopfler. “I think he influenced a huge amount of my fingerpicking and melodic choices. I devoured those records more than any other guitar player. ‘Tunnel of Love,’ ‘Love over Gold,’ ‘Telegraph Road,’ the first Dire Straits album, and Communique. I was spellbound by Mark’s touch, tone, and melodic choice every time.”

Other influences are more obscure. “There were lots of session guitar players whose solos I was loving, but had no clue who they were,” he explains. “A good example was Ian Bairnson in the Scottish band Pilot and the Alan Parsons Project. It was only in the last handful of years that I stumbled upon him and did a deep dive, and realized he played the solo on ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush, ‘Eye in the Sky’ by Alan Parsons, ‘It’s Magic’ and ‘January’ by Pilot—all these songs that spoke to me growing up. I also feel like a lot of local-band guitar players are inspirations—they certainly were to me. They didn’t have a name, the band wasn’t famous, but when you’re 12 or 13, watching Barry Clough and guys in cover bands, it’s, ‘Man, I wish I could play like that.’”

On High, Urban keeps things song-oriented, playing short and economical solos.

In terms of country guitarists, he nods, “Again, a lot of session players whose names I didn’t know, like Reggie Young. The first names I think would be Albert Lee and Ray Flacke, whose chicken pickin’ stuff on the Ricky Skaggs records became a big influence. ‘How is he doing that?’”

Flacke played a role in a humorous juxtaposition. “I camped out to see Iron Maiden,” Urban recounts. “They’d just put out Number of the Beast, and I was a big fan. I was 15, so my hormones were raging. I’d been playing country since I was 6, 7, 8 years old. But this new heavy metal thing is totally speaking to me. So I joined a heavy metal band called Fractured Mirror, just as their guitar player. At the same time, I also discovered Ricky Skaggs and Highways and Heartaches. What is this chicken pickin’ thing? One night I was in the metal band, doing a Judas Priest song or Saxon. They threw me a solo, and through my red Strat, plugged into a Marshall stack that belonged to the lead singer, I shredded this high-distortion, chicken pickin’ solo. The lead singer looked at me like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ I got fired from the band.”

Although at 15 he “floated around different kinds of music and bands,” when he was 21 he saw John Mellencamp. “He’d just put out Lonesome Jubilee. I’d been in bands covering ‘Hurts So Good,' ‘Jack & Diane,’ and all the early shit. This record had fiddle and mandolin and acoustic guitars, wall of electrics, drums—the most amazing fusion of things. I saw that concert, and this epiphany happened so profoundly. I looked at the stage and thought, ‘Whoa! I get it. You take all your influences and make your own thing. That’s what John did. I’m not gonna think about genre; I’m gonna take all the things I love and find my way.’

“Of course, getting to Nashville with that recipe wasn’t going to fly in 1993,” he laughs. “Took me another seven-plus years to really start getting some traction in that town.”

Urban’s main amp today is a Dumble Overdrive Reverb, which used to belong to John Mayer. He also owns a bass amp that Alexander Dumble built for himself.

Photo by Jim Summaria

When it comes to “crossover” in country music, one thinks of Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks, and Dolly Parton’s more commercial singles like “Two Doors Down.” Regarding the often polarizing subject and, indeed, what constitutes country music, it’s obvious that Urban has thought a lot—and probably been asked a lot—about the syndrome. The Speed of Now Part 1 blurs so many lines, it makes Shania Twain sound like Mother Maybelle Carter. Well, almost.

“I can’t speak for any other artists, but to me, it’s always organic,” he begins. “Anybody that’s ever seen me play live would notice that I cover a huge stylistic field of music, incorporating my influences, from country, Top 40, rock, pop, soft rock, bluegrass, real country. That’s how you get songs like ‘Kiss a Girl’—maybe more ’70s influence than anything else.”

“I think [Mark Knopfler] influenced a huge amount of my fingerpicking and melodic choices. I devoured those records more than any other guitar player.”

Citing ’50s producers Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, who moved the genre from hillbilly to the more sophisticated countrypolitan, Keith argues, “In the history of country music, this is exactly the same as it has always been. Patsy Cline doing ‘Walking After Midnight’ or ‘Crazy’; it ain’t Bob Wills. It ain’t Hank Williams. It’s a new sound, drawing on pop elements. That’s the 1950s, and it has never changed. I’ve always seen country like a lung, that expands outwards because it embraces new sounds, new artists, new fusions, to find a bigger audience. Then it feels, ‘We’ve lost our way. Holy crap, I don’t even know who we are,’ and it shrinks back down again. Because a purist in the traditional sense comes along, whether it be Ricky Skaggs or Randy Travis. The only thing that I think has changed is there’s portals now for everything, which didn’t used to exist. There isn’t one central control area that would yell at everybody, ‘You’ve got to bring it back to the center.’ I don’t know that we have that center anymore.”

Stating his position regarding the current crop of talent, he reflects, “To someone who says, ‘That’s not country music,’ I always go, “‘It’s not your country music; it’s somebody else’s country music.’ I don’t believe anybody has a right to say something’s not anything. It’s been amazing watching this generation actually say, ‘Can we get back to a bit of purity? Can we get real guitars and real storytelling?’ So you’ve seen the explosion of Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers who are way purer than the previous generation of country music.”

Seen performing here in 2003, Urban is celebrated mostly for his songwriting, but is also an excellent guitarist.

Photo by Steve Trager/Frank White Photo Agency

As for the actual recording process, he notes, “This always shocks people, but ‘Chattahoochee’ by Alan Jackson is all drum machine. I write songs on acoustic guitar and drum machine, or drum machine and banjo. Of course, you go into the studio and replace that with a drummer. But my very first official single, in 1999, was ‘It’s a Love Thing,’ and it literally opens with a drum loop and an acoustic guitar riff. Then the drummer comes in. But the loop never goes away, and you hear it crystal clear. I haven’t changed much about that approach.”

On the road, Urban utilizes different electrics “almost always because of different pickups—single-coil, humbucker, P-90. And then one that’s tuned down a half-step for a few songs in half-keys. Tele, Strat, Les Paul, a couple of others for color. I’ve got a John Bolin guitar that I love—the feel of it. It’s a Tele design with just one PAF, one volume knob, no tone control. It’s very light, beautifully balanced—every string, every fret, all the way up the neck. It doesn’t have a lot of tonal character of its own, so it lets my fingers do the coloring. You can feel the fingerprints of Billy Gibbons on this guitar. It’s very Billy.”

“I looked at the stage and thought, ‘Whoa! I get it. You take all your influences and make your own thing. I’m gonna take all the things I love and find my way.’”

Addressing his role as the collector, “or acquirer,” as he says, some pieces have quite a history. “I haven’t gone out specifically thinking, ‘I’m missing this from the collection.’ I feel really lucky to have a couple of very special guitars. I got Waylon Jennings’ guitar in an auction. It was one he had all through the ’70s, wrapped in the leather and the whole thing. In the ’80s, he gave it to Reggie Young, who owned it for 25 years or so and eventually put it up for auction. My wife wanted to give it to me for my birthday. I was trying to bid on it, and she made sure that I couldn’t get registered! When it arrived, I discovered it’s a 1950 Broadcaster—which is insane. I had no idea. I just wanted it because I’m a massive Waylon fan, and I couldn’t bear the thought of that guitar disappearing overseas under somebody’s bed, when it should be played.

“I also have a 1951 Nocaster, which used to belong to Tom Keifer in Cinderella. It’s the best Telecaster I’ve ever played, hands down. It has the loudest, most ferocious pickup, and the wood is amazing.”

Urban plays a Gibson SG here at the 2023 CMT Music Awards. Wait until the end to see him show off his shred abilities.

Other favorites include “a first-year Strat, ’54, that I love, and a ’58 goldtop. I also own a ’58 ’burst, but prefer the goldtop; it’s just a bit more spanky and lively. I feel abundantly blessed with the guitars I’ve been able to own and play. And I think every guitar should be played, literally. There’s no guitar that’s too precious to be played.”

Speaking of precious, there are also a few Dumble amps that elicit “oohs” and “aahs.” “Around 2008, John Mayer had a few of them, and he wanted to part with this particular Overdrive Special head. When he told me the price, I said, ‘That sounds ludicrous.’ He said, ‘How much is your most expensive guitar?’ It was three times the value of the amp. He said, ‘So that’s one guitar. What amp are you plugging all these expensive guitars into?’ I was like, ‘Sold. I guess when you look at it that way.’ It’s just glorious. It actually highlighted some limitations in some guitars I never noticed before.”

“It’s just glorious. It actually highlighted some limitations in some guitars I never noticed before.”

Keith also developed a relationship with the late Alexander Dumble. “We emailed back and forth, a lot of just life stuff and the beautifully eccentric stuff he was known for. His vocabulary was as interesting as his tubes and harmonic understanding. My one regret is that he invited me out to the ranch many times, and I was never able to go. Right now, my main amp is an Overdrive Reverb that also used to belong to John when he was doing the John Mayer Trio. I got it years later. And I have an Odyssey, which was Alexander’s personal bass amp that he built for himself. I sent all the details to him, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s my amp.’”

The gearhead in Keith doesn’t even mind minutiae like picks and strings. “I’ve never held picks with the pointy bit hitting the string. I have custom picks that D’Addario makes for me. They have little grippy ridges like on Dunlops and Hercos, but I have that section just placed in one corner. I can use a little bit of it on the string, or I can flip it over. During the pandemic, I decided to go down a couple of string gauges. I was getting comfortable on .009s, and I thought, ‘Great. I’ve lightened up my playing.’ Then the very first gig, I was bending the crap out of them. So I went to .010s, except for a couple of guitars that are .011s.”

As with his best albums, High is song-oriented; thus, solos are short and economical. “Growing up, I listened to songs where the guitar was just in support of that song,” he reasons. “If the song needs a two-bar break, and then you want to hear the next vocal section, that’s what it needs. If it sounds like it needs a longer guitar section, then that’s what it needs. There’s even a track called ‘Love Is Hard’ that doesn’t have any solo. It’s the first thing I’ve ever recorded in my life where I literally don’t play one instrument. Eren Cannata co-wrote it [with Shane McAnally and Justin Tranter], and I really loved the demo with him playing all the instruments. I loved it so much I just went with his acoustic guitar. I’m that much in service of the song.”

## Gibson Introduces the Victory & Victory Figured Top

An '80s-era cult favorite is back.

Originally released in the 1980s, the Victory has long been a cult favorite among guitarists for its distinctive double cutaway design and excellent upper-fret access. These new models feature flexible electronics, enhanced body contours, improved weight and balance, and an Explorer headstock shape.

The new Victory features refined body contours, improved weight and balance, and an updated headstock shape based on the popular Gibson Explorer.

Effortless Playing

With a fast-playing SlimTaper neck profile and ebony fretboard with a compound radius, the Victory delivers low action without fret buzz everywhere on the fretboard.

Flexible Electronics

The two 80s Tribute humbucker pickups are wired to push/pull master volume and tone controls for coil splitting and inner/outer coil selection when the coils are split.

### Gibson Victory Figured Top Electric Guitar - Iguana Burst

Victory Figured Top Iguana Burst
Gibson
\$2499.00

## BOSS Announces SDE-3 Dual Delay

The SDE-3 fuses the vintage digital character of the legendary Roland SDE-3000 rackmount delay into a pedalboard-friendly stompbox with a host of modern features.

Released in 1983, the Roland SDE-3000 rackmount delay was a staple for pro players of the era and remains revered for its rich analog/digital hybrid sound and distinctive modulation. BOSS reimagined this retro classic in 2023 with the acclaimed SDE-3000D and SDE-3000EVH, two wide-format pedals with stereo sound, advanced features, and expanded connectivity. The SDE-3 brings the authentic SDE-3000 vibe to a streamlined BOSS compact, enhanced with innovative creative tools for every musical style. The SDE-3 delivers evocative delay sounds that drip with warmth and musicality. The efficient panel provides the primary controls of its vintage benchmark—including delay time, feedback, and independent rate and depth knobs for the modulation—plus additional knobs for expanded sonic potential.

A wide range of tones are available, from basic mono delays and ’80s-style mod/delay combos to moody textures for ambient, chill, and lo-fi music. Along with reproducing the SDE-3000's original mono sound, the SDE-3 includes a powerful Offset knob to create interesting tones with two simultaneous delays. With one simple control, the user can instantly add a second delay to the primary delay. This provides a wealth of mono and stereo colors not available with other delay pedals, including unique doubled sounds and timed dual delays with tap tempo control. The versatile SDE-3 provides output configurations to suit any stage or studio scenario.

Two stereo modes include discrete left/right delays and a panning option for ultra-wide sounds that move across the stereo field. Dry and effect-only signals can be sent to two amps for wet/dry setups, and the direct sound can be muted for studio mixing and parallel effect rigs. The SDE-3 offers numerous control options to enhance live and studio performances. Tap tempo mode is available with a press and hold of the pedal switch, while the TRS MIDI input can be used to sync the delay time with clock signals from DAWs, pedals, and drum machines. Optional external footswitches provide on-demand access to tap tempo and a hold function for on-the-fly looping. Alternately, an expression pedal can be used to control the Level, Feedback, and Time knobs for delay mix adjustment, wild pitch effects, and dramatic self-oscillation.

The new BOSS SDE-3 Dual Delay Pedal will be available for purchase at authorized U.S. BOSS retailers in October for \$219.99. To learn more, visit www.boss.info.

## Singer-Songwriter Robyn Hitchcock’s Living Tribute to the ’60s

English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is as recognizable by tone, lyrics, and his vibrantly hued clothing choices as the sound of Miles Davis’ horn.

Photo by Tim Bugbee/tinnitus photography

### The English guitarist expands his extensive discography with 1967: Vacations in the Past, an album paired with a separate book release, both dedicated to the year 1967 and the 14-year-old version of himself that still lives in him today.

English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is one of those people who, in his art as well as in his every expression, presents himself fully, without scrim. I don’t know if that’s because he intends to, exactly, or if it’s just that he doesn’t know how to be anyone but himself. And it’s that genuine quality that privileges you or I, as the listener, to recognize him in tone or lyrics alone, the same way one knows the sound of Miles Davis’ horn within an instant of hearing it—or the same way one could tell Hitchcock apart in a crowd by his vibrantly hued, often loudly patterned fashion choices.

### Itchycoo Park

“I like my songs, but I don’t necessarily think I’m the best singer of them,” he effaces to me over Zoom, as it’s approaching midnight where he’s staying in London. “I just wanted to be a singer-songwriter because that’s what Bob Dylan did. And I like to create; I’m happiest when I’m producing something. But my records are blueprints, really. They just show you what the song could be, but they’re not necessarily the best performance of them. Whereas if you listen to … oh, I don’t know, the great records of ’67, they actually sound like the best performances you could get.”

He mentions that particular year not offhandedly, but because that’s the theme of the conversation: He’s just released an album, 1967: Vacations in the Past, which is a collection of covers of songs released in 1967, and one original song—the title track. Boasting his takes on Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play,” and Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park,” among eight other tracks, it serves as a sort of soundtrack or musical accompaniment to his new memoir, 1967: How I Got There and Why I Never Left.

Hitchcock, who was 14 years old and attending boarding school in England in 1967, describes how who he is today is encased in that period of his life, much like a mosquito in amber. But why share that with the world now?

In the mid ’70s, before he launched his solo career, Hitchcock was the leader of the psychedelic group the Soft Boys.

Photo by Tim Bugbee/tinnitus photography

“I’m 71; I’ve been alive quite a long time,” he shares. “If I want to leave a record of anything apart from all the songs I’ve written, now is a good time to do it. By writing about 1966 to ’67, I’m basically giving the context for Robyn Hitchcock, as Robyn Hitchcock then lived the rest of his life.”

Hopefully, I say, the publication of these works won’t ring as some sort of death knell for him.

“Well, it’s a relative death knell,” he replies. “But everyone’s on the conveyor belt. We all go over the edge. And none of our legacies are permanent. Even the plastic chairs and Coke bottles and stuff like that that we’re leaving behind.... In 10- or 20-thousand-years’ time, we’ll probably just be some weird, scummy layer on the great fruitcake of the Earth. But I suppose you do probably get to an age where you want to try and explain yourself, maybe to yourself. Maybe it’s me that needs to read the book, you know?”

“I’m basically giving the context for Robyn Hitchcock, as Robyn Hitchcock then lived the rest of his life.”

To counter his description of his songs above, I would say that Hitchcock’s performances on 1967: Vacations in the Past carve out their own deserved little planet in the vintage-rock Milky Way. I was excited in particular by some of his selections: the endorsement of foundational prog in the Procol Harum cover; the otherwise forgotten Traffic tune, “No Face, No Name and No Number,” off of Mr. Fantasy, the Mamas & the Papas’ nostalgic “San Francisco,” and of course, the aforementioned Floyd single. There’s also the lesser known “My White Bicycle” by Tomorrow and “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” by the Move, and the Hendrix B-side, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.”

Through these recordings, Hitchcock pays homage to “that lovely time when people were inventing new strands of music, and they couldn’t define them,” he replies. “People didn’t really know what to call Pink Floyd. Was it jazz, or was it pop, or psychedelia, or freeform, or systems music?”

His renditions call to mind a cooking reduction, defined by Wikipedia as “the process of thickening and intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture, such as a soup, sauce, wine, or juice, by simmering or boiling.” Hitchcock’s distinctive, classic folk-singer voice and steel-string-guided arrangements do just that to this iconic roster. There are some gentle twists and turns—Eastern-instrumental touches; subtly applied, ethereal delay and reverb, and the like—but nothing that should cloud the revived conduit to the listener’s memory of the originals.

And yet, here’s his review of his music, in general: “I hear [my songs] back and I think, ‘God, my voice is horrible! This is just … ugh! Why do I sing through my nose like that?’ And the answer is because Bob Dylan sang through his nose, you know. I was just singing through Bob Dylan’s nose, really.”

1967: Vacations in the Pastfeatures 11 covers of songs that were released in 1967, and one original song—the title track.

“I wait for songs to come to me: They’re independent like cats, rather than like dogs who will faithfully trail you everywhere,” Hitchcock explains, sharing about his songwriting process. “All I can do is leave a plate of food out for the songs—in the form of my open mind—and hope they will appear in there, hungry for my neural pathways.”

Once he’s domesticated the wild idea, he says, “It’s important to remain as unselfconscious as possible in the [writing] process. If I start worrying about composing the next line, the embryonic song slips away from me. Often I’m left with a verse-and-a-half and an unresolved melody because my creation has lost its innocence and fled from my brain.

“[Then] there are times when creativity itself is simply not what’s called for: You just have to do some more living until the songs appear again. That’s as close as I can get to describing the process, which still, thankfully, remains mysterious to me after all this time.”

“In 10- or 20-thousand-years’ time, we’ll probably just be some weird, scummy layer on the great fruitcake of the Earth.”

In the prose of 1967: How I Got There and Why I Never Left, Hitchcock expresses himself similarly to how he does so distinctively in his lyrics and speech. Amidst his tales of roughing his first experiences in the infamously ruthless environs of English boarding school, he shares an abundance of insight about his parents and upbringing, as well as a self-diagnosis of having Asperger’s syndrome—whose name is now gradually becoming adapted in modern lexicon to “low-support-needs” autism spectrum disorder. When I touch on the subject, he reaffirms the observation, and elaborates, “I think I probably am also OCD, whatever that means. I’ve always been obsessed with trying to get things in the right order.”

He relates an anecdote about his school days: “So, if I got out of lunch—‘Yippee! I’ve got three hours to dress like a hippie before they put me back in my school clothes. Oh damn, I’ve put the purple pants on, but actually, I should put the red ones on. No! I put the red ones on; it’s not good—I’ll put my jeans on.’

### Robyn Hitchcock's Gear

Hitchcock in 1998, after embarking on the tour behind one of his earlier acoustic albums, Moss Elixir.

### Strings & Picks

• Elixir .011–.052 (acoustic)
• Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom .010–.054 (electric)
• Dunlop 1.0 mm

“I’d just get into a real state. And then the only thing that would do would be listening to Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart. There was something about Trout Mask that was so liberating that I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t care what trousers I’m wearing. This is just, whoa! This music is it.’”

With him having chosen to cover “See Emily Play,” a Syd Barrett composition, the conversation soon turns to the topic of the late, troubled songwriter. I comment, “It’s hard to listen to Syd’s solo records.... It’s weird that people enabled that. You can hear him losing his mind.”

“You can, but at the same time, the fact they enabled it means that these things did come out,” Robyn counters. “And he obviously had nothing else to give after that. So, at least, David Gilmour and the old Floyd guys.... It meant they gave the world those songs, which, although the performances are quite … rickety, quite fragile, they’re incredibly beautiful songs. There’s nothing forced about Barrett. He can only be himself.”

“There was something about Trout Mask Replica that was so liberating that I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t care what trousers I’m wearing. This is just, whoa!’”

I briefly compare Barrett to singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, and we agree there are some similarities. And then with a segue, ask, “When did you first fall in love with the guitar? Was it when you came home from boarding school and found the guitar your parents gifted you on your bed?”

Robyn pauses thoughtfully.“Ah, I think I liked the idea of the guitar probably around that time,” he shares. “I always used to draw men with guns. I’m not really macho, but I had a very kind of post-World War II upbringing where men were always carrying guns. And I thought, ‘Well, if he’s a man, he’s got to carry a gun.’ Then, around the age of 13, I swapped the gun for the guitar. And then every man I drew was carrying a guitar instead.”

Elaborating on getting his first 6-string, he says, “I had lessons from a man who had three fingers bent back from an industrial accident. He was a nice old man with whiskers, and he showed me how to get the guitar in tune and what the basic notes were. And then I got hold of a Bob Dylan songbook, and—‘Oh my gosh, I can play “Mr. Tambourine Man!”’ It was really fast—about 10 minutes between not being able to play anything, and suddenly being able to play songs by my heroes.”

Hitchcock does me the kindness, during our atypically deep conversation—at least, for a press interview—of sharing more acute perceptions of his parents, and their own neurodivergence. Ultimately, he feels that his mother didn’t necessarily like him, but loved the idea of him—and that later in life, he came to better understand his lonely, depressive father. “My mother was protective but in an oddly cold way. People are like that,” he shares. “We just contain so many things that don’t make sense with each other: colors that you would not mix as a painter; themes you would not intermingle as a writer; characters you would not create.... We defy any sense of balance or harmony.

“Although the performances are quite rickety, quite fragile, they’re incredibly beautiful songs. There’s nothing forced about Barrett. He can only be himself.”

“The idea of normality.... ‘Normal’ is tautological,” he continues. “Nothing is normal. A belief in normality is an aberration. It’s a form of insanity, I think.

“It’s just hard for us to accept ourselves because we’re brought up with the myth of normality, and the myth of what people are supposed to be like gender-wise, sex-wise, and psychologically what we’re supposed to want. And in a way, some of that’s beginning to melt, now. But that probably just causes more confusion. It’s no wonder people like me want to live in 1967.”