Gear Review: Gecko Pedals Geckoplex Delay

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Videos by American Songwriter

Rarely does a pedal come along that not only improves on a concept but immerses you in a completely new realm of creativity. Certainly, the Gecko Pedals Geckoplex is a top-shelf modern interpretation of the classic Echoplex EP-3 tape delay, but more importantly, it makes your playing experience and sonic palate far easier and broader.

The Echoplex EP-3 was a staple for players from Jimmie Page to Eddie Van Halen—even folkies like John Martyn (who may have used it more creatively than anyone and created an entire sound based on it)—because of its clean, dynamic tape repeats but also because of the built-in preamp, which imparted a very specific and tasty sound to the signal. In fact, some players just used it for the preamp and didn’t even use the delay section, but it was big, unwieldy, needed regular maintenance, and could be semi unreliable. Enter the Geckoplex, an interpretation of contemporary analog and digital wizardry that has everything the EP-3 had without the mechanical issues plus many new features you will be thankful for.

To begin, the Geckoplex has up to two seconds of delay, adjustable with the same type of slider the original employed (the original had only about 700-800ms of delay, so we get more than double).  Additionally, we get three onboard presets—tap tempo, trails, and delay divisions—which are extremely handy for both gigging and in the studio. The warp and shift knobs basically function as wow and flutter but with much greater control in that you can modulate both plus and minus (counterclockwise or clockwise) to combine for the flavor that couldn’t even have been imagined back in the ‘70s with the original. The repeats are excellent and work very well with the tone knob to design whatever vibe you wish, whether bright or dark.

There are two features that put the Geckoplex way, way over the top for me: expression pedal control and sound-on-sound looping. Yup, you can create sonic landscapes with the Geckoplex just like a looper and the coolest most fun function is the expression pedal. We used it in multiple sessions and nearly fell on the floor laughing at the cool, warped, pitch-shifted parts we came up with and they were all usable in the tracks and by no means a novelty. It was very musical and unique.

And we haven’t even mentioned the preamp yet. The preamp is fantastic and while it’s not precisely the same as the original we found it to be very hearty and improved our signal significantly. This is not a 1-to-1 replication but rather a modern interpretation and more importantly, works well with the rest of the Geckoplex circuit. We all preferred running the Geckoplex at 12 volts with the gain around 11 o’clock but it can also be run at 9 volts if necessary. 

Don’t forget the reverb! What? Does it have reverb? Yup, and a dang great one too. It sounds like a cross between a hall and plate and is just perfect for this unit or any pedalboard, but is active only when the unit is.

 It has dry and wet outputs in addition to the expression output on the back of the unit. It’s built super-solid and should survive years on the road of above-average abuse.  And you won’t need to calibrate it ever.

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