Strymon El Capistan Trails Mode

Ask the DudeLately someone confronted me with the following question:

Recently, I bought a Strymon El Capistan and I really love it.
But there is one thing, that bothers me:How can I make the repeats of the Strymon El Capistan fade away after switching it off ?
When I change between song parts with delay and parts without delay effect, the repeats of the last part fall silent abruptly as soon as I switch the delay off.
Is there a way to make the delays of the last part fade away smoother?
And do you know a method to “dub” several attacks?

My answer:

The El Capistan is a really nice delay and it provide a solution for your problem:
If the repeats of the delay ought to fade away after it has been switched off, it is called “trails mode”.
Like the El Capistan, there are various other delays that offer this function.
To activate it, you must pull out the power plug to the pedal and reconnect it while you keep the bypass switch pressed.
After the plug has been reconnected, you can release the bypass switch.
The “trails mode” is activated by now and the repeats will fade away instead of falling silent abruptly.

For “dubbing”, keep the tap button pressed.
By this, the signal will be repeated endlessly as long as you keep the button pushed.
After releasing the button, the pedal will return to the previously adjusted number of repeats.
If you turn the repeat pot to almost counterclockwise direction, it will be – virtually – turned to full clockwise direction while you keep the tap button pressed.

Using an expression pedal also allows to control the mix function and might be more elegant solution.
Therefore, you have to remove the delay from the power supply, connect an expression pedal and keep the tap button pressed. By reconnecting the delay to the power supply, the expression pedal will be activated. The first pot, you move after reconnecting the delay can be controlled by using the expression pedal.
For “dubbing” I makes sense to control the mix via the expression pedal (0% in the toe position of the expression pedal and 50% in the tip position).

And there are also other delays that provide the so-called momentary function.

The bypass switch of the Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall, for example can be used as a momentary button.
In this case, the whole delay pedal is only activated, as long as you keep the button pressed.
This would be ideal for “dubbing”.
And it also offers the “trails mode”, that I already mentioned above.

Maybe this pedal is also suitable for your needs.
But because of the fact, that the Tonal Recall is an analog delay, its sound varies from the sound of the El Capistan.
The repeats of the Tonal Recall are darker and somehow more blurred than those of the El Capistan which is emulating a Tape Echo.

The TC Electronic Flashback 2 might also be interesting for you.
Its footswitch offers an internal expression pedal that can be freely configured.
You might adjust this switch in a way that there is no delay sound while the button remains unpressed.
The delay sound will appear as soon as you press the button and the repeats will fade away after you have released the button again.