Posted by: worshipguitarguy | February 24, 2007

Delay… lay… lay… Part 2: Advanced Delay Stuff

by Ugur Taner 

This article is going to talk about using delay in more sophisticated ways. There’s nothing wrong with just a simple delay pedal, but have you ever wondered what would happen is you used 2 delays in parallel with 2 different delay times? If you are like me, and you’ve asked yourself this question before, then read on!

The delay time is probably the most important parameter to adjust when using delay. If you left all of your settings the same, you would need to change the delay time, and you could probably get through almost any song, it might sound like a whole different song, but at least you would be playing in time with the song. So first of all, let’s talk about tempo. Below is a list of the the most common delay tempos that are used in modern music.

Tempo Multiplier
Whole Note 4
Dotted 1/2 3
1/2 note 2
Triplet 1/2 1.333
Dotted 1/4 1.5
1/4 note 1
Triplet 1/4 0.667
Dotted 1/8 0.75
1/8 note 0.5
Triplet 1/8 0.333
Dotted 1/16 0.375
1/16 note 0.25
Triplet 1/16 0.167

When deciding on which tempo to use, you first need to know what the beats per minute (bpm) are for the particular song that you want to play. For my example, let’s pretend we are playing a song that has 102 bpm.

Now that we have decided to use 102 bpm, next, we need to decide which tempo to use. As you try these out, you will end up liking some tempos more than others. My personal favorite and most often used tempo is the Dotted 1/8th. But again, the tempo used will depend on the song and also on the feel that you are trying to achieve. The same tempo may not work for every song.

Calculating exact delay time
Next, we need to know how to calculate the exact delay time for a particular song. Most digital delays have a read-out so you can see exactly what delay time your are using. The Boss DD-20 is a good example of this. Most delays used for guitar will display your delay time in milliseconds (ms). Using our example of 102 bpm, pull out your calculator and let’s figure out our delay time. Use the following formula.

(60,000 / bpm) x multiplier

Using the Dotted 1/8th tempo, our formula will read:

(60,000/102) x .75 = 433ms

Now dial in 433 ms on your delay, and play away! Here are the other delay times worked out for you using the chart above.

Multiplier Delay Time (ms)

Whole Note 4 2308
Dotted 1/2 3 1731
1/2 note 2 1154
Triplet 1/2 1.333 769
Dotted 1/4 1.5 865
1/4 note 1 577
Triplet ¼ 0.667 385
Dotted 1/8 0.75 433
1/8 note 0.5 288
Triplet 1/8 0.333 192
Dotted 1/16 0.375 216
1/16 note 0.25 144
Triplet 1/16 0.167 96


Al Ingham just put together an online delay calculator based on the info above.  Check it out to find exact delay calculations for your BPM settings…



  1. Hi!
    Stepped on your blog “by excident”. Looks interessting. The Motto is from Alicia Keys, right? … besides the change from “a” to “the” truth.
    Be blessed

  2. Actually Christian, I think it’s an old Bob Dylan quote that goes back the the late 60’s or 70’s… I first heard it when Bono used it on the U2 album Rattle and Hum. (88-89?)

  3. thanx … I heard it from her

  4. Good post…I havent ever commented here before but I read your blog often…thanks for the resources

  5. I have made a script using this formula that will do the calculation for you!
    Visit it here!

    Its quick and easy to use, and saves you having to type into your calculator all the time!!!

    Let me know what you think!!!

  6. Hello


  7. great thnx for the formule. was breaking my insomniac brain, figuring out how to convert from bpm to ms.

  8. […] Process […]

  9. Glad it was a help wisefire…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: