The pedal market is intensely saturated with good and not-so-good stuff, so we only indulge ourselves with products that truly standout. At the winter NAMM show, JAM Pedals caught and maintained our full attention. Their artist roster is also incredible with some of our all-time favorites: John Scofield, Julian Lage, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Kirk Fletcher, Steve Lukathor, Greg Koch, Jim Campilongo, Andy Timmons and many more. Now let's get down to the the Delay Llama:
JAM is known for their NOS components and obsession for analog circuits so naturally the Delay Llama utilizes Bucket Brigade chips to achieve it's rich sound. So why should you care? The Bucket Brigade chip was invented in the late 60's and was the first entirely electronic device that produced discrete time delay of electronic signals. This meant that the modulation effects of the day like delay, chorus, echo, and flange all born and driven by clunky magnetic tape machines could be transitioned into portable and reliable devices. In fact a few years after the chip was invented it was licensed by none other than Roland/Boss and in 1981 they released the DM-2, one of the original BBD delay pedals.
The Bucket Brigade chip works by storing your signal in a series of capacitor cells while transistors fire them off sequentially based on an external clock. Thus the name comes from this motion looking like a line of old school firefighters passing buckets of water down a line. The analogy is also useful when describing the sound of this pedal. When you're passing buckets of water there's guaranteed to be some spillage and the BBD chip is no different. The repeats gain noise and distortion over time making them degrade in a natural sounding way. To keep noise from the external clock to a minimum there is also a fair amount of low pass filtering which increases the warmth of the sound. Those two factors make BBD delays sound a lot like old tape machines so old school guitar players instantly fell for them.
The Delay Llama uses the BBD technology and simple controls to make the ultimate tape echo in a box.
Delay Time - Controls the amount of time between repeats, up to 600ms. Naturally the Llama does a superb slap-back delay but the extreme can get nice and spacey.
Delay Level - Adjusts the volume of the repeats. This is how you set your ideal mix, whether you like long delay just whispering in the background or a hard hitting, oil-can style.
Repeats - This controls the amount of repeats in your signal loop. As you sweep through to maximum repeats you coax out seriously fun feedback madness that in conjunction with the delay time knob can make an array of time warping sounds.
If you're a fan of tape echo, the Delay Llama is a must-try pedal. It's incredibly authentic and easy to diall in. If you're a fan of spacey delay but don't want to deal with a million knobs and switches, the Llama has your back too. JAM makes two other fully featured versions of the Delay Llama, but this humble little box proved to be a wonderful experience and a staple for our showroom. Come find your peace with the Delay Llama today.