I recently watched a youtube video where John 5 was going over his rig. They turned to his pedal board and he talked about how he is not over reliant on pedals and that he likes to produce effects himself.

The interviewer asked him about not even having a delay pedal to which John 5 replied that if he needed a delay he would use his hands.

My question is how exactly is this possible to create a delay effect yourself?

  • 2
    Which part of the video is that? It's a 20 minute long video Mar 26, 2015 at 17:39
  • it is at the beginning where they discuss the pedals
    – Neil Meyer
    Mar 27, 2015 at 7:01
  • 2
    Just a note - adding e.g. #t=3m08s to a YouTube link allows people to instantly find the relevant segment.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 27, 2015 at 8:48

2 Answers 2


I'm assuming he's talking about playing the same note, chord, or phrase more than once, possibly playing the second and subsequent repeats more and more quietly. Some kinds of delay sound can't be replicated this way, but you can definitely sound like a ducker (where the delayed notes automatically are lowered in volume behind any new notes that are played). So you would only play "delay" notes when you're not busy playing anything else.

  • That is very interesting. Is this an old technique? I have never heard a guitarist talk about it even.
    – Neil Meyer
    Mar 27, 2015 at 7:02
  • I know my brother was doing it on keys ten years ago and I've seen famous singers do it. Usually guitarists don't eschew the pedals so this is the first time I've heard of a guitarist doing it too. Mar 27, 2015 at 10:47

Look at the Boss RC-505 - it's hand-driven, has to be given it's 5 consynchronous channels. You can add a foot pedal, if you're that old school.

The old picker trick for that one was Bob Marley's, using the fret hand while plucking ahead with the main driver hand.

  • 1
    Sorry if my question was ambiguous I'm asking how it is possible to use some sort of picking technique to get a delay sound without the use of a pedal.
    – Neil Meyer
    Mar 27, 2015 at 7:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.