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Stacking Delays/ Reverb


I love ambient guitar bands like Hammock and have been inspired watching Andy Othling getting amazing sounds stacking delays and reverb.

But everytime I put on too many pedals for ambient music, everything turns to a muddy dark mush. Yes, it sounds HUGE but it doesn't really sound 'good'. When I use only one or 2 pedals and layer sounds with a looper I get much better results. Yet, all these amazing tones on YouTube made by stacking tons of pedals leaves me to believe in missing something? Perhaps it's my guitar, a jazzmaster with P90s that's too dark? Perhaps I need a compressor?

To my personal setup with ambient, "less is more" but I can't deny I love the tones that Andy and others get by doing "more is more." Tips?


I think it just depends on how you set it up. Pair a bright delay with a dark delay, an analog with a digital, separate the timing so they're not muddying each other up, if they have tone knobs make them different, etc etc.

Here's a quick clip when i first started messing around with stacking.. not much thought into it, just turned these three on, a few adjustments and recorded it to see what it would sound like:

Or you can just take 9 delays and stack them at once :D



Analog into digital sounds cool. Also try to lower the mix on the delays that way it is not overpowering.


yeah have low mix on most of them, and then have your favourite a little higher, so you have your main sound and everything else is flavour. also modulated tape delays is good, anything where the lows get rolled off and the attack gets smoothed out is good for me.


1. Are you going into the input of your amp? You should be using an effects loop, especially with stacking.
2. Are you driving the amp too hard with the delays? Lower the wet/dry ratio.
3. Is your speaker/amp able to handle it in the first place?
4. Is your tone naturally muddy? Dial in a crisp clean tone, and keep the delays crisp as well.



Running several effects in series could have a lot to do with that muddying that you're hearing. I've gotten much better results in running reverb in parallel with delay.

I think it also helps to stop and ask yourself what you're getting out of stacking multiple pedals that you're not getting from a single. After years of collecting lots of pedals, I've ended up settling on just a handful of tweakable, higher quality devices that achieve those big sounds that I used to seek by stacking (and muddying!).

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Do you need multiples? I use delay into reverb all the time, those pedals preceded by clean boost and tuner. No mud at all. The delay mix should be on the low side. At least for my tastes.


Silver Supporting Member
1. Are you going into the input of your amp? You should be using an effects loop, especially with stacking.
For the sake of argument, this is not true of a lot of people - like Andy Othling or James Duke - who stack their delays/verbs without getting muddy.

In my experience, it has a lot to do with mix levels, repeats levels, and your original base tone. If you're using darker delays for a wash behind your guitar, you can start with a little brighter tone to compensate for that.

Also, too much reverb - especially on top of stacked delays - will kill your presence.

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