Unlike the vast echoes of modern delays, the original “slap back” tone of the 1950s was a short delay that delivered a fast, hard-surface reflection and tone we associate with twangy guitar – think Elvis, Sun Studios, and Scotty Moore rockin’ through a Ray Butts EchoSonic amp. Now, EHX has reissued its Slap-Back Echo in a teeny-weenie package – it’s one of the smallest stompboxes in town, which increases its hip factor.
The Slap-Back Echo has a simple interface, refreshing in this knob-crazy era. There’s Gain control offering +20dB of preamp punch, plus a Blend knob for your wet-to-dry guitar ratio. The center switch offers times of 45ms, 65ms, and 100ms, which is brief compared to contemporary delays, but gets right to the vintage heart of things. Plugged into a ’62 SG/LP Junior, the Slap-Back Echo delivered as promised, with a delay that fattened and doubled the guitar for patented rockabilly flavors. The Gain knob also works for boosting leads, making it something of a two-in-one.
The Slap-Back can conjure that elusive sound of Sun Studios, Chet Atkins, and all manner of Nashville, Bakersfield, and Austin twang. With true-bypass wiring, a sturdy build, and its diminutive size, we welcome back the Slap-Back Echo.
This article originally appeared in VG’s May 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.