What is a Keeley guitar effect pedal

What is a Keeley Guitar Effect Pedal?

And, what’s new coming out of the shop?

Nothing runs like a Deere, and nothing sounds as good as a Keeley…

The Keeley Compressor – where it all started

What is a Keeley Guitar Effect Pedal

10 of the very earliest Keeley Compressors

These Keeley Compressors are all point to point wired on perf-boards.  Hand sanded units.  Clear sticker tops, clear coat painted on my porch.  41,500+ compressors later, it’s still a joy to play through this circuit.

 The Light Bulb

I grew up in a home filled with music and electronics.  Many of us at Keeley did.  I started playing guitar in 1978 after my grandma saw how passionately I watched my dad play guitar.  The first complete circuit I made was a flashlight, batteries loaded into a paper towel roll.  Tried my hardest to solder wires to the batteries and a light bulb.  Dad wouldn’t show me how to make a voltage doubler I found in one of his books until I could understand it on my own.  That took quite a few more years to say the least.  Music was everywhere, we simply didn’t drive without music playing.  My first job in the audio world was at a stereo store called Soundtrak.  Talk about passion for audio?  What could be more thrilling that the early days of Rockford Fosgate and Kicker and custom sound systems with 13 or more speakers and these new things called CD players…  Dudes laboring over “imaging”, “delicious midrange”,  and things like the “detail in the vocalist’s breath”.  And of course, SPL meters that registered numbers far greater than a jet taking off.  There was the culture of Soundtrak as well.  Sure there was plenty of partying, but you felt like everyone cared for the customer and you knew that the ultimate goal was to send a guy off with a system that brought him years of incredible joy and sound.  Check out these vintage TV ads from Soundtrak on YouTube, what I consider the beginnings of “What is a Keeley Guitar Effect Pedal?” business side of things.

Okay, I don’t blame you if you got a little sick, hey, it was the 80’s!  I tell ya what, Linda and her husband Rick were brilliant folks.  So were the managers, and employees.  It was an incredible environment where everyone loved their job.

The Service Plan

The service department where I worked was no exception.  I was blessed to get a real world education in electronics after my tech school training from a guy named Barry Burns.  Barry and I chain-smoked, drank gallons of coffee, and laughed until our cheeks and sides burned with muscle cramps.  Yup, back in the day when schematics were drenched in coffee and nicotine and there was always an ashtray on the counter for customers.  Crazy huh?  Barry was brilliant.  Nothing he didn’t know.  And he helped me when it was time to learn how to build a Chevy 350 too.  He also taught me you never cheat a customer.  If a kid’s toy was stuck in the VCR, that’s what it was, free.  You didn’t cheat, lie or steal.  Ever.

It’s not just your backline, it’s your backbone.  Keeley at the very core of your tone…

Music, Guitars, and Engineering are all at the core of who I am.  It is my DNA.  Over time I realized, for me, it was center of what it means to be human.  Engineering is how everything gets explored, invented, designed, built, and refined.  It’s how the quality of life gets improved.  It’s how we make things better.  What’s in a Keeley guitar effect pedal?  It’s the refinement of tone and sound through a music lover’s desire to create inspirational tones.  It’s the team of guys working to bring you new sounds.  Effects that didn’t exist before.  Not just noise makers, which are quite fun, but tones that inspire new ideas, melodies, and songs.  The DynaTrem, the future Oxblood and Gemini/30ms effect pedals are great examples of what Craighton Hale, Aaron Tackett, Atlee Hickerson and I have done in just the last couple months.  All three of them are unique, sound great, and are inspirational.  They inspire joy in players that have had the chance to play them.  Every day at the shop is like this; we’re on fire.

Dynamic Rate and Depth Tremolo

Dynamic Rate and Depth Tremolo

Keeley Oxblood early schematic

The Keeley Oxblood design process –                                              It’s not a Klon, it’s a Keeley



30ms Haas Effect for guitar

Keeley double tracker, studio effects to fatten up any guitar sound

Keeley studio twin

Keeley Gemini Automatic Double Tracker

Keeley Oxblood and Gemini

Keeley’s new effects for September 2015

30 milliseconds of inspiration

If you aren’t a fan of the Beatles, The White Album, Let It Be, or Abbey Road, I don’t know what to say.  Everyone else is.  My mom and dad had these records in their collection of course, and on 8-Track, then cassette, then I got them on CD, then from iTunes…  What copy of Abbey Road are you on?  There’s a magic on those albums besides the musicians, lyrics, songs, etc., in the studio work, I call him the 6th Beatle, Ken Townsend of course…  Him and Lennon appear to have had a ball making great sounds with the Haas Effect.  And, everyone since has used the Haas effect to create double tracked recordings that simply sound gorgeous.  The Haas or Precedence Effect is known as a very small delay that is 30 ms or less that doesn’t sound like a echo or reverb.  It sounds like it’s doubled, or that two people are playing the same thing.  Read more here on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precedence_effect  and particularly here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_double_tracking .  People use it in the studio all of the time, every day.  So why not have it on stage?  Yup, Keeley Engineering finally bringing you a product that does this job well, Very Well in fact.  Here’s the inspiration of course….

magnetic tape boxes ampex Reverse_Abbey_Road

What do I need to sound like the record?!

The Keeley 30 ms is an Automatic Double Tracking pedal that creates up to 2 additional voices that create an amazing doubled voice.  Once you hear it, you’ll realize that this is the exact reason that you never sound the same live as you did in the studio.  Until now!

Keeley 30ms-Double Tracker

The Keeley 30ms is an automatic track doubling device that creates two or more additional voices.  It does so just like the engineers in your studio or songs that you’ve heard on the radio for the last 45 years.  Unlike just using a delay pedal, our effect creates an additional voice or voices that are tuned “doubles” of your guitar parts.  In one mode there are two voices like in the Dimension Mode where you control pitch and tuning.  The Abbey Mode creates a Haas or Precedence effect that gives you a second voice that has a random component to it.  This is designed to closely simulate what was done in Abbey studios by the Fabulous Foursome.  Lastly we threw in a new type of Slapback Echo… just because we could!


This mode creates two additional voices of your guitar (or vocals, keyboards, or drums).  One is tuned up and one tuned down.  Meaning that one voice plays a bit fast and the other voice plays a bit slow.  You control the tuning just like the studio engineers do by up to ten cents by turning the Tune Control.  Ten cents is a tenth of a half step.  Tune Control values of 5-7 cents are very popular with studio guys to give a nice fat tone that is really rich sounding.  In addition they are delayed anywhere from 0ms to 30ms and combined with the dry signal. Try starting off with a delay time of 15-20ms.  That’s where many pros keep it.  The Voice Control sets how loud the double tracked voices are, up to equal volume with the original.  You have to hear it to believe it.  This is probably loosely described as a chorus effect without modulation.  This Keeley original effect sounds great on acoustic or electric guitars, vocals, keyboards, you name it!

  • Tune – the pitch of the double-tracked voices
  • Voice – the level of the double-tracked voices
  • Time – 0 to 30ms of delay time
  • Level – the output level of the whole mix

Abbey Mode:

This mode is a recreation of the Automatic Double Tracking made famous by The “Liverpool Group”. A delayed signal between 0ms to 30ms is modulated very slowly at a somewhat random rate by up to 2ms in depth. This is akin to having someone randomly put their hand on the tape reel of the other recorder to slow it down occasionally.  At shorter delay times, 0ms to 10ms, a more flanger-like vibe is produced, while longer times 15ms to 30ms yield a more chorus-like effect.  If you turn the Depth off, then you get a straight 0-30ms delay line.  Straight up Haas.  Simple double-tracking.  We wanted to give you something magical sounding and useful.  After studying those records we feel that the sound we have created here best achieves what those guys produced in the studio.

  • Rate – the rate of the random pitch shifting
  • Depth – the depth of the pitch shift
  • Time – 0 to 30ms of delay time
  • Level – the output level of the whole mix


Slap Back:

Similar to the Dimension Mode, two “Tuned-Voices”, up to 10 cents, are delayed anywhere from 30ms to 120ms.  Get a new sounding slap-back effect here!  Rockabilly fans will love this and do it in the road.  We think 80ms of slap-back is real hip Daddy-O. 😉

  • Tune – the pitch of the double-tracked echo
  • Voice – the level of the double-tracked echo
  • Time – 30-120ms of delay time
  • Level – the output level of the whole mix


Keeley 30 ms

Keeley 30ms Automatic Double Tracker.

Keeley 30ms Automatic Double Tracker.