The Return of the Bucket Brigade: Seymour Duncan’s New Vapor Trail Analog Delay

Delay is the reigning sovereign of effects. Ask 4 out of 5 guitarists and they’ll agree, if they could only bring one effects pedal with them it’d be their repeater. Well, that’s assuming you don’t count tuners and noise gates. And let’s also assume that the distortion is built into the amp…


…I lost my place. I think I was talking about delay and how we all agree about how great it is. But what type of delay? That’s the point where we break out into rival gangs and have musical knife fights with tragic endings. Are you an digital delay Jet, because you need the utmost clarity and can’t live without tap tempo? Or are you a Shark that can’t stop moving once the analog kicks in with all its warmth, maybe driving the front of an amp a little harder in the process.

So now that I’ve ruined any metal cred that I had by referencing West Side Story, let’s take a look at Seymour Duncan’s latest delay offering, wherein they throw down for the analog camp. This pedal in question is the Vapor Trail. It uses a bucket brigade device, sending the signal down a line of capacitors, each more analogy and delay-y than the last.

Pretty much every smart feature you could ask for in an analog delay is included: small form factor, modulation, the ability to boost the output hotter than the incoming signal, and a dedicated TRS insert jack that can be used in a multitude of ways. You can plug it into your effects return, or send it to a second “delay only” amp. You can use it to put an effects pedal on your delay tone without affecting your dry signal. Or you can send it to a volume pedal and control your delay mix with your feet.

Oh, and the blue LED flashes to match the rate of your delay setting. Neat. For more info head over to Seymour Duncan’s website.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • “Pretty much every smart feature you could ask for in an analog delay is included:”

    I noticed Tap Tempo is missing from that list, which is unfortunate. I guess it’s not as important with the shorter repeats of an analog delay, but still.

    I have a Seymour Duncan Deja Vu and it might be the most underrated delay pedal of all time. Sounds pretty good, has both analog and digital delays that you can blend, 2 second delay time on the digital side, tap tempo, etc. Based on that, I’d be willing to give this thing a shot, but I hope the price winds up being competitive with the MXR Carbon Copy. I paid $150 for my Deja Vu, but that was a closeout price.

    • Well I said “pretty much.” To my knowledge the only true analog delays with tap are the Diamond Memory lane, so I don’t think it’s fair to know a product for lacking a feature that none of its competitors have besides one specific $600 boutique product.

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