Tap Tempo

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.


There are some who won’t touch a delay pedal without Tap Tempo. It’s a really great feature. You can now sync your delay time with the tempo of the band. Sure you could pre-set it, but if you’re not using a click track or if the song has multiple tempos in the arrangement you’ll need to adjust on the fly.

Another great feature of Tap Tempo is the ability to throw yourself out of sync in a very musical way. I have often times tapped out a tempo way faster or slower than the actual song to create an effect almost like a tremolo that can fill in the space very nicely.


One of the things you’ll hear from older guitarists is “back in the day, we didn’t need tap tempo to set our delay” or “the Edge got along fine without it” or something to that effect.

There’s actually quite a bit of truth in that sentiment. There are many ways of using a delay pedal where a tap tempo is fairly irrelevant to the sound. Then there’s analog delays with tap tempo that are unsuitable to many worship situations because of the “warble” that happens when you tap while playing.

When using a pedal like my Kilobyte delay (see review HERE), I rarely feel like I need a tap tempo. I think it happened once, and it was because another guitarist was using it who didn’t know how to set a delay without tap tempo. Don’t let tap tempo keep you from being able to dial in a delay setting on your own.


As with anything, choose what’s best for you and not what the hyped or trendy choice is. There are some really great, gold standard delays like the Deluxe Memory Man that don’t feature Tap Tempo and it would be a shame if someone didn’t at least consider a pedal that well designed because they’ve been told that they “have to have” tap tempo on any delay pedal they own.

Like any other feature, tap tempo is a skill to learn, but we shouldn’t let it be a barrier to learn other skills in dialing in a delay pedal.


This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.


See what I did there? Real, actual, Reel to Reel tape delay is almost entirely a thing of the past or the realm of the studio. Famed vintage units like the Maestro Echoplex, Binson Echorec, and Roland Space Echo and Space Chorus used real magnetic tape to create a delay effect by repeating notes. The unit would take the guitar signal, record it and then play it back on another tape head, and then erase it on the final head to start the process over again. The physical distance between the tape heads affects the length of the delay (time). How many times the notes were sent back through in a feedback loop controlled the repeats.

Tape delay has been used by artists from Jimmy Paige to Radiohead to the Black Keys to Buddy Miller to Brian Setzer. It sounds great. For the most part, the only Tape units out there today are vintage units mostly 20-30 years or older selling for $100-1000’s if they’re in good shape. The notable exception is the Fulltone Tube Tape Echo which is essentially an improved modern take on the original Echoplex. They sell for around $1300 new which is cost prohibitive for most of us, but it’s used by artists like Buddy Miller and the Black Keys.

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James Duke Interview

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.

David Santistevan interviewed guitarist James Duke recently for the “Beyond Sunday” podcast. James has played on records for artists like Matt Redman, John Mark McMillan, Elevation Worship and others. He has his own band called “All The Bright Lights”. The delay pedal is a huge component of his guitar tone. Hopefully you find this worthwhile.

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Review: Borderland by John Mark McMillan and Other Thoughts

My friends at the Church Collective blog reviewed the new John Mark McMillan record “Borderland” so I don’t have to.

I’ve been a fan of John Mark’s music since “the Medicine”. I hadn’t heard the song How He Loves before that record so I don’t have the hang ups that a lot of people have with it. Since then John Mark released one of my favorite records of the last 5 years: Economy, and now he’s back with Borderland.

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The Month Of Delay

For whatever reason, and whether you like it or not, the delay effect has become a sound synonymous with modern church music. Staples like Hillsong, Paul Baloche, and Chris Tomlin, along with newer voices like Gungor and John Mark McMillian all employ the delay affect to varying degrees in the music.

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The Electric: Effective Simplicity

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about Effective Simplicity looking at the electric guitar part of the song “Jailbreak” by the Vertical Church band.


This YouTube clips is from the song “Jailbreak” by the Vertical Church band. It’s a really good song that I’m planning on adding to my repertoire sometime soon. I love the electric guitar part. I love how simple it, but even more, I love how effective it is. Here’s some quick takeaways.

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Gear Review: JHS Moonshine Overdrive


MODEL: Moonshine Overdrive. At it’s heart the Moonshine is JHS’s take on the classic TS-808 Overdrive; possibly the most popular circuit ever created. But the Moonshine has a lot more on tap (or in the still) than the 808 as we’ll see.

COST: $199


PROS: With it’s foundation as one of the most iconic sounds in modern music, the Moonshine will work in almost any setting from Blues to Country to Rock. The Edge, SRV, Brad Paisley even Metallica have used this type of pedal both live and in recordings. So when people hear those tones and frequencies it will be a familiar sound.

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Interview: Rick Matthews from Matthews Effects

I had a recently had the chance to talk with Rick Matthews, owner of Matthews Effects, who makes great guitar effects pedals. We talked about topics ranging from gear and the music industry, Fuzz pedals in worship, and where to place a buffer in your signal chain; turns out I was doing it wrong. It was a great conversation and I hope you find it to be a useful resource as well.

Real World Worship: Could you tell us briefly about yourself?
Rick Matthews: I am a christian guitar enthusiast. I’m married to my awesome supportive wife Ashleigh and live with my two dogs Riby and Gatsby in Richland Wa. I own a guitar electronics company called Matthews Effects.

The Notes We Play

My friends over at the Church Collective have a great and very practical post on the music theory of western music. It covers the notes and ideas that make up the basis of the music we all play

Check it out HERE and take some time to check out their other great resources.

Nobody Gets The Church They Want

Over at the 9Marks blog there’s an interesting post about giving up our preferences in church (read it HERE). While it was primarily written for pastors and church leaders, I felt the lessons for worship leaders was pretty obvious even before he used worship music as an example.

Continue reading “Nobody Gets The Church They Want”