BOSS's latest version of the classic digital delay stompbox is a versatile, toneful monster. This baby does it all and delivers crystal-clear sound while doing it. Whether youre an effects veteran, or a newbie wondering what a delay pedal can do for you, read on for my hands-on review.
Before I tried out the Boss DD-7, I watched this video to get an idea of the types of tones possible. Of course, it doesnt hurt that the guitarist is a great player.
The video showed that the DD-7 can add depth to funk, rock, blues, and solo playing, as well as provide some really unique experimental effects.When I plugged in, I wanted to see how quickly and easily I could reproduce some of those tones. Although the pedal has many features, its controls are intuitive, and I was able to dial in usable, performance-ready tones in a few seconds. (The 4 knobs are labeled EFFECT LEVEL FEEDBACK- DELAY TIME MODE if you cant read them in the video.) Here are some of the tones and settings I played with:
Chicken Pickin': For country and rockabilly, you want each note to have a sharp attack. I set the Effect Level high, Feedback low, used a short delay time, and either the 50ms or Analog mode for a killer slap-back echo effect. Paired with a nice bridge pickup, the sound was straight out of Nashville.
Rock/Blues Lead delay can make your leads sound full and vibrant, but the key is not to over-do it. I dialed back the Effect Level so that the delayed signal was audible, but subtle. I kept feedback at a medium position, medium delay time, and a variety of modes. There are hundreds of great tones in this vein, but again, the key is to keep the Effect Level low so it carries your leads instead of confusing them.
Clean Chords: Often, youll just be playing a rhythm, with a mostly clean tone. The DD-7 shines in this area. Crank up your Effect Level, keep feedback low, and experiment with delay times in some of the longer modes. You can easily create a shimmering effect, or just a lush background to the chords. This works really well to fill the sonic space behind a singer/songwriter or a quieter passage in a song.
Full-On Rock: You might think theres no room for anything besides a distortion pedal in a hard rockers signal chain. Think again! Even in fast, hard rock, a short delay with low feedback can make you sound bigger and deeper, especially when playing live. Start with a low Effect Level and short delay, and adjust other settings to taste.
Further Out: What if you really want to stand out? You have an intro or break that needs something special. This pedal makes it easy to find something thats a bit further out. Use HOLD mode to create short loops and play over them. Use REVERSE mode to play backward! Keep your Effect Level high to create layers of licks. Turn up FEEDBACK for loops on loops. The possibilities are endless!
As you can see, I had a lot of fun with this pedal. I was impressed with how easy it was to get studio- and stage-ready tones, without cracking the owners manual. The pedal is also built like a tank, like all Boss products. I highly recommend this pedal for effects lovers and new players alike. My only caveat is to be mindful of the other players in your group, especially if there is another guitarist (or two). A super-long, layered delay will sound great when youre playing alone, but you may be stepping on someone elses toes if you crank it up with the full band, so keep my tips from above in mind.