A Crusty, Old, Awesome Tape Echo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA big part of the inventive sound of the band YES, was their use of echo and delay on vocals and guitar. As the guitarist for the band, Steve Howe brought fresh sounds and a unique playing style. Singer, John Anderson, did the same with his upper-range, etherial vocal style.

Why is this particular rusty tape echo unit of importance to EMEAPP? Because it helped make musical history, both on stage and in the studio. It is a vintage Maestro EM-1 Groupmaster analog tape delay that has been ridden hard by years of touring with YES.

Many people ask us how we authenticate historically significant artifacts. Sometimes it can be quite difficult, as we search through the interwebs machine looking for an ancient photo of a performer on stage or in the studio with the item in question.

Here’s a shot of the Echoplex in question, sitting right behind Steve on stage with Yes back in the early 1970s. Is this proof that ours is the band’s original unit? Probably not, but it certainly indicates that he was using a Groupmaster back in the day.

Howe Groupmaster

Here’s the kind of proof that we appreciate, a snap of Steve with his arm on the actual delay, along with a certificate of authenticity.  Now, go put on “Fragile” and crank it up like you should. 🙂


Written by Drew Raison, photos by EMEAPP and Tom Cox