I remember the early days of my guitar infatuation. Back then (circa 1960), the only places you could hear live guitarists was the local ‘youth clubs’. These were often a local hall hired out for a few hours and a small charge at the door to let you in.
The dear friend who helped me on the way to getting my first guitar, Derek Lee, had a “Bird” amplifier with built-in reverb. So even my early fumblings sounded spacey. I was always around his house learning to play on his guitar – trying to play a few notes from say, a Duane Eddy tune (remember ‘Because They’re Young?). He taught me the first 3 notes to the main theme of Apache – boy – was I hooked….
It must have been a couple of months later when I turned up at Derek’s house – and he had a Watkins Copicat Echo Unit!!!!!
I had a Hire Purchase agreement for a second-hand amplifier and a new black Watkins Copicat…..I used that darn thing right through the sixties and half of the seventies, when I finally replaced it with a small pedal along with a host of other effects units.
I know, the Beatles came along in the mid sixties, and echoey guitars went out of fashion, but you could still use a little echo to ‘lift’ your guitar sound.
If you read my blog, you’ll know at the ripe age of 61, I’ve rekindled my love of the guitar, and started investing in some new guitar equipment. Isn’t life tough eh! When I needed good gear I couldn’t afford it, now I’m just ‘doodling’ for my own pleasure – I’ve got enough money to buy stuff that I ain’t good enough to play on or deserve!
A few weeks ago, I’m doing a little work in London UK, in Denmark Street to be precise, and I went into Regent Sounds. The Sales guy is I believe, Canadian – and real friendly and helpful. I tell him I’m looking to update my old 70’s echo foot pedal, and I’d recently seen a great review for an expensive digital delay unit.
Well to cut a longer story short, he gave me an A/B demonstration between that unit and an ‘old fashioned’ bucket-brigade’ echo unit. I’m darn pleased he did. The Bucket-brigade technology knocked the latest state-of-the-art pedal into a cocked hat (it kicked it’s a*se!). The digital unit sounded harsh, tizzy, weak, clinical.
Round of applause please for my new Electro-harmonix Deluxe Memory Man echo unit. Yeah, you may remember the name from way back – but don’t let that put you off. The echo is full, woody, dynamic, squashy, warm, whatever…it sounds great. I’m plugging it directly into my vintage re-issue Fender Blues Deluxe. Sounds great on slow blues stuff too….
It cost half the price of the latest and greatest digital echo, and you know what, you can also get great (non-digital) chorus-vibrato sounds out of it.