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Traveling with Electronics : IN TIME

"cause there's a method in the madness of the time"

.....Sly Stone




What I want to do this month is share some thoughts on the horizontal manifestation of Harmonic Math : TIME - and take another look at the Boss DD-20 Delay/Looper. (I first covered this unit in my post DISTORTION & DELAY)


The DD-20 has been around for almost ten years and (imho) is still the most versiatile delay/looper out there (under $250), for a number of reasons.


1- The longest and shortest delay times of any delay period (1 ms to 23 seconds) : now there are loopers out there with longer times, but not delays and if you use the Pan Delay mode, put a dummy plug in the A output and use the B output as your main out you get 46 seconds.

2- Warp mode : this mode acts like a normal delay (1 ms to 23 sec) but when you hold the pedal down it puts the unit into infinite repeat, like a looper in longer settings and like an (EHX) freeze in very short settings (10 ms to 40 ms) - "similar, but not nearly as detailed as a freeze". In Warp mode you have Tap Tempo control over the loop as well.

3- Tape mode has a 2 head option which is great for getting those colliding overtones that only a multi-head tape based echo can give you.

4- Modulation Delay mode can cover the chorus/vibrato/doubling area (20 ms to 80 ms).

5- Reverse mode at very short settings (1 ms to 80 ms) with allot of feedback will get you into a vocabulary very close to that of ring modulation.

6- It also has a 23 second Looper, SOS mode (in addition to the 23 seconds used for delays).

7- It's a Twin Pedal, so it can do two things at the same time and has 5 pre-set memories : this means that you can be in SOS Looper mode, create a loop up to 23 seconds long with several layers then change pre-set to Pan mode (set to 46 seconds with allot of feedback) and have two independent loops running at the same time. Also, because it can do two things at the same time you can be playing in Reverse mode (with allot of feedback) and change pre-set to Modulation mode and the reverse delay loop will continue to fade out slowly over time.

8- Finally it has Tap Tempo, which is a must for any sophisticated real-time orchestration. (manual = sos, output mode = 1, pedal mode = 3, external pedal mode = 2 tap 1/4 note)


Now, if you just want a little slap-back echo (100 to 500 ms) to spice up your rhythm playing, there are allot of ($100) pedals that will do the job very well. If you're interested in joining the looping 101 crowd with the "two bar beat-matched static groove formula" (when is he going to - change that fucking loop!?!), just get a loop-station, or any other time stretching device. But if you are interested in exploring the world of time phase looping, layered orchestrations (that actually breathe) or rhythmic coexistence, then I highly recommend the DD-20 as a primary delay/looper. With two such delay/loopers on your pedal board - two DD-20's or a DD-20 and say an EHX SMMH - you've joined the sonic renegades for sure.

My rig goes through changes from time to time for various reasons (in fact, it just went through a major consolidation), and very few pedals have what I would call a permanent slot on the board.....the DD-20 is one of the few. Starting in 1978, these were the four other delay/loopers that spent significant time in my rig - roland re 301 chorus echo tape delay - electro-harmonix 16 second digital delay - digitech pds 8000 echo + plus (8 second delay) - ehx smmh.

This is the new stripped down six pedal effects chain :

black arts ritual > pharaoh > dod wa/vol > fulltone ocd > boss dd-20 > strymon timeline.


Delays & Loopers allow us to do amazing things with TIME, but they are only tools.

Mastering Harmony/Interval (cycles per second) and TIME/Pulse (beats per minute)

both come from the study of the Math of Harmonics which is Universal & Divine.

Understanding the concepts and "Hearing (interval) Feeling (TIME)"

are two very different things.



Take a moment to try and wrap your head around this picture of Jeff Sussmann's rig : 8 pedals - 4 pedals left, 2 heel 2 toe - 4 pedals right - 2 heel  2 toe (note - the 2 pedals on the extreme ends are substitute instruments). He rocks this shit with his feet - sounding like a "tight, multi-player percussion ensemble", while soloing over the top on a frame drum!

Now That is Feeling TIME in the Body.


One of the best tools out there on the subject of TIME is Adam Rudolph's brilliant book called PURE RHYTHM.


until next time then

safe travels.....dino