Pedal Tricks: Guitar Looping and Modulation Techniques with William Tyler

As musician, songwriter, and producer William Tyler knows all too well, there’s nothing like a good delay pedal. The Nashville guitarist, who now performs and records solo but has played with bands Lambchop and Silver Jews, is a sucker for delay pedals, particularly those with looping functions. And Tyler knows how to use them, too. After all, opening for full bands can be intimidating as a solo instrumentalist, but not when you can use your tools as skillfully as Tyler does.

One of Tyler’s signature pedal tricks is the use of two delay/looper pedals simultaneously: the TC Electronic Flashback Delay X4 and the Line 6 DL4. The Flashback is a favorite of his, due to its ability to record longer loops and arsenal of wide-ranging delay sounds, some including modulation. Then comes the DL4. After something is recorded and looping on the Flashback, Tyler will record and loop something else on the DL4, using its reverse or half- and double-speed capabilities to provide sonic contrast against the primary loop.

As a fan of artists who lean more towards the experimental, like Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, Tyler also finds himself gravitating to sounds that verge on synth- or organ-like, rather than purely guitar. The EarthQuaker Devices Organizer is his go-to for something like this, essentially turning his guitar into an organ. It’s also easy to achieve stranger sounds with the different looping functionalities on the DL4.

For a little additional fun, Tyler turns to the EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run and the Boss TR-2 Tremolo, which give his sound a little bit of a kick and add more interest than perhaps a plain clean tone would generate.

Watch the video above to see William Tyler show us some more of his favorite pedal tricks, and make sure to check out his newest album, Modern Country, available now from Merge Records.

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