BY GARY C. GUZMAN
Nashville-based Visual Sound has made
effects since 1994, when founder Bob Weil
introduced his Visual Volume pedal. The
business has expanded steadily since. And
these days, pedals like the company’s Route
66 overdrive and Jekyll & Hyde distortion
can be found on pedalboards belonging to
all types of players.
In 2010, Visual Sound introduced its
Garage Tone line of affordable effects pedals, which combine high-quality construction and sounds for players on a budget.
The Axle Grease is the delay offering in the
Garage Tone line. But it differs from many
affordable delays by using an analog/digital
Simple and Effective
The Axle Grease’s hybrid circuit means the
delay section itself is 100% digital, while the
circuitry that controls the effect is analog.
And in theory, the hybrid set up helps the
pedal serve up warmer tones. The Time
knob controls the number of delay repeats
per second, the Repeat knob controls feedback, and the Level knob adjusts the mix
between wet and dry signals. The sturdy
housing is made of folded dark grey metal,
and includes an on/off switch, a red LED
indicator, and a single input and output.
Plugging my Strat into the Axle Grease and
setting the delay for a slapback effect sent
me straight to the honky tonk and rockabilly
zone. And the Axle Grease actually achieves
a cool reverb-like effect if set to a really
quick delay. The Axle Grease also works well
if you want a fast delay on short chord stops,
quick melody lines, or faster rhythms à la
The Edge. On slower, longer melodies where
the delay is timed so the regenerated notes
harmonize with your playing (think Brian
May), it’s sometimes hard to get a delay
that’s long enough for really slow passages
because of its maximum delay time of 450
milliseconds. If you tend to use faster delay
times, the limitation isn’t much of a concern.
Sonic tricks—like tweaking long repeats
with quick Time knob adjustments to
manually induce super-high squeals and low
rumbles—were fun and easy with the Axle
Grease. However, if you’re inclined to tinker
with infinite echo effects, keep in mind the
pedal is self-oscillating and will often stay in
infinite repeat mode after you’ve turned the
pedal off and on again, requiring a reset by
zeroing the Repeat knob.
The Axle Grease Delay is perfect for players who don’t want to spend a fortune for
a quality delay pedal or for whom delay is
not their primary effect. It works nicely as a
simple delay for echoing chords and notes
with faster delay times and is great for rock-abilly-inspired slapback. And with its hybrid
analog/digital circuit, you still get a warm
analog tone at a great price.
you want a basic, easy to use and
inexpensive delay pedal.
you need a more complex delay unit
with long delay times.
or use a mobile
device to read
this QR code to
clips of the