Gurus Echosex 3º Steve Lukather Delay: What is it?
“The Gurus Echosex 3 is the most important and used piece of gear I have, it’s always on and it’s a big part of my sound,” says Toto and Ringo Starr six-stringer Steve Lukather. Given the guitarist’s reputation for world-class tones – the kind that usually make players of just about any genre go weak at the knees – it’s the kind of high praise that won’t go unnoticed.
This year, the Italian designers at Gurus decided to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a signature delay for Lukather, with a striking all-new look and the Ernie Ball Music Man endorsee’s settings marked in neon green almost as if he’d taken a marker pen and written them on himself.
The company is well-known for creating high-end guitar equipment, from boutique overdrives and distortions to compressors and rotary effects, and also partnered up with Baroni Labs to launch a more affordable range as Foxgear back in 2017, though if there’s one thing they’re best known for, it’s Binson Echorec-style delays.
The recreations of these David Gilmour-approved magnetic-drum echo machines are so spot-on, that they even ended up being used by the Pink Floyd man himself, as well as his bandmate Guy Pratt – who, as it happens, even has his own Knee Trembler tremolo signature through Foxgear.
So it would be fair to say Gurus knows what it's doing when it comes to vintage delay sounds, it’s what it set out to do when forming the company and ended up specialising in, after all.
It's not the only one designing pedals to emulate these classic sounds, either. Other notable devices include the Dawner Prince Boonar, the Keeley Echoes and the Catalinbread Echorec – all of which are highly regarded in their own right, though produced by companies arguably less entwined with the storied delay unit favoured by David Gilmour from early 1968 to the late 70s.
Gurus Echosex 3º Steve Lukather Delay: Performance and verdict
At first glance, this is a very user-friendly delay pedal. All the controls are clearly marked, as are the Toto guitarist’s own settings, and the simulation of only one playback head instead of four makes it much more straightforward in practice.
There are two buttons, one to turn the delay on or off and another for tap tempo – which will come in handy for lead guitarists hoping to sync their repeats to the pulse of any given track without needing to bend down and do it by hand.
The five controls cover a lot of ground, starting with Rep. Tone which allows users to adjust the brightness of the effected sound.
Age Of Damage is perhaps the one you can have the most fun with, replicating the natural warble and modulation that comes with worn-out rubber parts in the original machines. Turning this dial all the way up to create a virtual wear results in echoes that are more abstract and atmospheric, and well-suited for shoegaze and noise rock artists.
As to be expected, the other dials control the volume of the effected signal, the echo time and number of repeats – the latter of which results in some infinite swells when cranked up and, much like the Age Of Damage knob, offers some really head-twisting ambiences.
You’ll also notice a 12AU7 preamp tube stylishly exposed at the very heart of the pedal, which is there to add some warmth to the effected signal – again nodding back to the valves found in the Echorecs of the past.
Other big selling points include the 100% analogue signal path, which will certainly please the tonal purists out there, as well as the relay-assisted true bypass design to ensure silent switching and no colourisation of your tone when disengaged.
Steve Lukather was raving about Gurus and Foxgear pedals when we spoke to him in 2021 around the release of his I Found The Sun Again solo album – and given the quality of the review unit we’ve been sent, it’s easy to see why. Whether you want short slapbacks for rhythmic shuffles or longer delays for soaring leads, this will cover nearly all bases well.
Perhaps the only downside here is the price, but it’s worth remembering that this is a signature pedal made by a boutique company and some of the proceeds will be going to the Ed Asner Family Center For Autism, supporting individuals and families in need.
For those on a budget, the Echosex Baby made by Foxgear – which Lukather himself has used in the past – packs a lot of similar Echorec-inspired tones without the tap tempo at a third of the price.
MusicRadar verdict: Could this be the best delay pedal of 2023 in our midst? Given its high build quality, impeccable tones and overall aesthetic, plus the extra warmth from the 12AU7 preamp valve, we think it’s a high possibility.
Gurus Echosex 3º Steve Lukather Delay: Specifications
- Hi-voltage tube preamp section faithfully reproduces the Binson Echorec preamp
- Simple use simulating only one Echorec playback head that can be adjusted in delay time
- Self-calibrating tap tempo
- Controls for Repeat Tone, Age Of Damage, Volume Echo, Length Of Swell and Echo Time
- 100% analogue signal path
- Relay-assisted true bypass
- 10th-anniversary edition for Steve Lukather
- Some proceeds go to Ed Asner’s Family Center For Autism
- CONTACT: Foxgear Distribution