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TC Electronic BUCKET BRIGADE ANALOG DELAY – A Hands-On Review

16/06/2022

TC Electronic are masters of their craft, producing beautiful pedals that create widely sought-after sounds.

Once again, they’ve knocked it out of the park with the Bucket Brigade Analog Delay.

Compact, affordable, and possessing a gorgeously warm tone, this delightful delay pedal will propel your sound to new heights. Seamlessly fitting into any setup, it’s the perfect addition to any guitarist’s rig.

I’ve had a go with the pedal myself, and I’ve documented my thoughts and experiences. 

Initial thoughts on the Bucket Brigade

When opening the box, you’ll find just the stompbox itself, alongside its manual which, of course, comes in handy. Straight away, you can tell that the device has been constructed with the performer in mind.

Compact in design, the pedal features top-mounted jacks which make positioning the pedal within your existing rig a lot easier. You can place it in close proximity to other pedals, without the jacks getting in the way.

The solid metal chassis also ensures the utmost durability, and that’s evident from simply holding it. And while it’s not crazily heavy, the pedal does have some weight to it and you can tell it can take a bump. I didn’t, however, do a drop test – that would’ve been a bit too risky.

Essentially, it’s the perfect companion for any touring musician as it does everything you could ask for. It saves space, it’s durable, and it’s relatively lightweight, all of which are a bonus for both gigging and life on the road.

The Bucket Brigade was incredibly easy to set up. Once I had attached a 9v DC plug and plugged my guitar into the pedal and then into the amp, everything was good to go.

Putting the pedal through its paces, I spent a good few days testing its capabilities on its own, with other pedals, and through different amps, and I had so much fun.

The tone tests

I used the pedal in a multitude of different settings, adjusting each parameter individually. Additionally, I combined the settings with a variety of playing techniques to explore the full array of sounds the pedal could produce.

Incredibly versatile, the Bucket Brigade can do pretty much everything, from rapid repetitions of sonic depth to lusciously long delays with marvellous modulation.

Delay dial

TC-Electronic-BUCKET-BRIGADEThe first thing I explored was the Delay dial, which essentially does what it says on the tin: it alters the delay time on your pedal. It’s exceptionally responsive, meaning any adjustment is accurately reflected in your playing.

Turning the dial to the left decreases the delay time for short bursts of repetition, almost like a tremolo that repeats until the 600ms delay time has elapsed.

The effect is almost percussive, creating excellent slapback delays and making the sound flow rhythmically. For example, when I had the delay time at its shortest, I found playing palm-muted chords and notes almost hypnotising. It took a lot of willpower to move away from these glistening, atmospheric bursts of repetition!

On the other hand, turning the dial to the right increases the length of the delay. This allows chords to resonate through your mix for longer before returning in a timely fashion. Mastering a delay of this magnitude can be difficult to achieve on any pedal, but once you do, the Bucket Brigade truly shines.

Giving your performance a new sense of depth, the pedal’s echoes will haunt your music, with its recalls flowing through your mix. They instil an otherworldly vibe into every single strike of your guitar.

Modulation switch and depth

After testing out the Delay dial, I decided to kick the Modulation switch. This modulation doesn’t hold back, it gets going with full effect. Delivering an impressive, varied tone, it takes hold of your performance and adds plenty of luscious movement.

You can decide how much of this effect to generate – the dedicated Depth dial allows you to assign the exact amount of modulation you wish to have in your mix.

At its lowest, the effect adds just enough variation to infuse your sound with depth. Tempered whirls inject a scintillating effect to your sound. At its max, your note will consistently variate, sounding offkey at moments, though this just makes the sound more intriguing.

Feedback control

The Bucket Brigade does more than just repeat your sound. Its Feedback dial is where true experimental tones can be achieved.

When the dial is turned to the right, the feedback becomes insane. And when it’s mixed with quick repetitions, you experience a distortion-like effect that causes the best kind of havoc within your mix. Like a whirlwind, it repeats uncontrollably, self-oscillating consistently with a wall of tone, freeing you to spend that time strutting the stage.

Really, this is just another string to the pedal’s versatile bow. It’s a true testament to the craftsmanship of the Bucket Brigade.

Even when the feedback is maxed out, the pedal is the gift that keeps on giving. Striking a chord will see it remain in your mix for what feels like forever, making it the perfect option for long-standing repetition.

Ringing with absolute warmth, every one of the repetitions is melodic and musical. You may be thinking this is always the case, but every repeat is balanced and controlled, which makes using the pedal creatively a whole lot easier.

At the other extreme, if you remain conservative with your feedback, you’ll only hear the repetitions for a short amount of time. This is perfect for those who want to create additional strikes and doubling of chords.

The feedback on this pedal is flexible, and I found it could adapt to any requirement I had of it.

Volume

TC-Electronic-delayThis control is self-explanatory. It manipulates the level of your outputted effect whilst keeping your inputted signal at the same level.

This adjustment, I found, can create some variation in the tone. When at its max, it allows every repetition and reflection to ring with the same level of intensity as the initial input. This is handy for creating an exceptionally strong tone.

Anything below max volume still allows the effect to be audible, but it lets you distribute the sound into the background of the mix, making it a lot less obvious.

For me, this created an excellent ambience. One of the most important factors of a delay pedal is its ambient textures, so the Bucket Brigade passes with flying colours.

 

 

Strengths

So, let’s see if the Bucket Brigade ticks your boxes. As a die-hard indie fan, you can probably guess the song and tone I tried to recreate with this pedal. Yes, I went straight for the intro to “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap. The Bucket Brigade nailed it!

Sticking the volume to the max, the mod switch off, the feedback into the middle, and the delay to approximately eleven o’clock, the pedal performed with that plucked singing sound.

I found this setting not only perfect for the individual track, but also for rhythmic palm mutes in general, repeating them with a sweet warmth that is welcoming and rhythmically interesting. This is due to the pedal’s responsiveness, low latency, and quick intonation.

If you add the mod onto this, however, you reach new, interesting levels of tone. I can’t put into words how amazing it sounds. Every strike of the strings is punctuated with full tonal depth.

Sticking with quick repetitions, I found playing scales in quick succession resulted in a beautiful texture. This stunning atmosphere also extends itself to arpeggios, freeing every single one to ring with clear intent within the mix.

The modulation on this pedal stood out to me from the start, but when playing it alongside “Don’t Let Me Down” by Calvin Harris, I realised its potential to create soft synth-like sounds. It’s set to a fixed speed that TC Electronic believe gives you the best overall sound. But if you prefer to adjust the modulation speed yourself, then you can do, thanks to the internal speed trim pot.

Long delay times are also silky-smooth. They return to your performance for what feels like an eternity, consistently adding to your playing. These longer delays, I found, were an excellent way of allowing chords to ring through the mix. Returning with a sweet warmth, the chord always rings rhythmically and melodically when the pedal is at the correct parameters.

This pedal can truly achieve anything it’s tasked with, embellishing every aspect with impeccable depth and warmth. Apply it to a loop pedal, a distortion, or even a reverb, and the pedal still keeps up.

Final thoughts on the Bucket Brigade

TC-Electronic-BUCKET-BRIGADE-ANALOG-DELAY

Overall, I had a fantastic time with the Bucket Brigade Analog Delay. It’s compact, reliable, and of course, produces a fantastic tone. Plus, it fits seamlessly into any rig thanks to its compact design, making it a fine little addition to your sound-sculpting equipment.

As someone who is used to gigging often, I think this delay pedal would be a saviour for touring musicians. It’s versatile and does everything you ask of it, producing a multitude of sounds that can be utilised in a wide variety of settings.

The pedal would also work well as a studio device, and it’s very much applicable to other instruments, not just the guitar itself (though it does excel with a guitar).

I’d recommend the Bucket Brigade without a doubt. And if you need any indicator on how much I liked the sound of this pedal, I am heavily contemplating buying one for my own set-up.

Digital Marketing Apprentice

Alt-rock connoisseur. A musical enthusiast, Fraser has been a guitarist for over 17 years, lighting up the stage with his melancholic ambience. He can usually found drinking a coffee and telling people about unknown artists, and could easily be confused for a hipster.

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