Analog delay pedals have become a staple to many musicians’ arsenal. They are known for their rich, warm repeats that adds some space to a wide range of tones from fat synth lead lines to echoing guitar solos. This tone is highly sought after for its vintage vibe, and differs from digital delay in providing a “natural sounding echo” with each repeat getting darker and darker, until fading away. This effects has several uses over a range of delay times from doubling (or thickening) to slapback (one quick short repeat for a reverb-like effect) to delays up to 500ms. Another feature of analog delay is its ability to self-oscillate -that whirring, spaceship sound that has been used in many recordings in the past. By turning the repeats to maximum, the delays continue to build and overlap into a blur of sound that many musicians manipulate to form textures or soundscapes.
The Ibanez (and Maxon) AD-9 have been adopted by pedal modding gurus, Keeley and Analogman, as a re-issue worth modification. These re-issues sound great when compared to the originals and are half the price new compared to buying originals on the second-hand market. However, analog delay junkies tend to obsess about their tone, and true bypass is a good option to preserve your guitar to amp sound. Keeley/Analogman would add true bypass to these pedals by installing a secondary footswitch on the pedal. Keeley goes one step further by using the original momentary switch to make the pedal self-oscillate providing a very flexible and neat delay.
I got this Ibanez AD-9 up and running after having had a power problem. After repairing the problem and changing the power filtering caps, I modded the pedal ”Keeley/AM-style” with a 3PDT for true bypass*, a bright waterclear blue LED replaces the stock LED and the original switch also triggers the pedal into self-oscillation by holding down the switch.
*The method I used to TB disengages the Dry Output. This isn’t necessary but I found it easier to do.
This demo is courtesy of guitargear.com.mx. It shows the warms sounds of the AD-9 and the cool oscillation switch mod.