Other Equipment

Pedal placement…

1

There was "Guitar Player" magazine in the waiting room of the doctor I went to see today and I read an article regarding how pedals should be linked together for maximum efficiency. It didn't make a lot of sense to me but I know a lot of you use pedals so I want to build a hypothetical pedal board with the following pedals and want to know the order in which they should go and why. I think this will be a fun exercise because opinions might vary widely. Then again, I could be wrong.

PEDALS

  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Tremolo
  • Compressor
  • Phase Shifter
  • Overdrive
2

guitar > compressor > overdrive > phase shifter > tremolo > delay > reverb

Keep in mind, this is the standard setup. I'll go delay first then overdrive and compressor at the last chain when I'm drunk.

3

in general, I'd set up your proposed goodies like this as a starting point, though there'll be some caveats:

guit > compressor > overdrive > phaser > trem > delay > verb > amp.

The very general rule of thumb or guide is compressors and dirt early on, modulation based fx (phase, chorus , flange), then delay fx, then verb.

No hard and fast rules, and there's other things to think on, for example, whether your pedals are true bypass or not, buffered or not and how those may interact. I got a better signal path when i didnt have too many buffered or too many true bypass in a row, so when i switched around units or upgraded, i also kept that in mind, though it wasnt top priority.

Distortion/OD pedals and phasers can be really finicky with each other. Feel free to swap that order based on sound -- that rough guide is a guide, not a mandate :)

Due to the one aggravating flaw in one of my stereo delay's design, i had to break convention and put it before the chorus unit. So that part of my chain runs: delay 1 > chorus >delay 2 > trem . Had a verb at the end of that, but took that off.

I think trem pre- or post delay is entirely subjective -- play with it, see what you like. theyre good in the chain close together, though.

Looking forward to hearing what you come up with!

4

There was "Guitar Player" magazine in the waiting room of the doctor I went to see today and I read an article regarding how pedals should be linked together for maximum efficiency. It didn't make a lot of sense to me but I know a lot of you use pedals so I want to build a hypothetical pedal board with the following pedals and want to know the order in which they should go and why. I think this will be a fun exercise because opinions might vary widely. Then again, I could be wrong.

PEDALS

  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Tremolo
  • Compressor
  • Phase Shifter
  • Overdrive
– Bear

There was "Guitar Player" magazine in the waiting room of the doctor I went to see today and I read an article regarding how pedals should be linked together for maximum efficiency. It didn't make a lot of sense to me but I know a lot of you use pedals so I want to build a hypothetical pedal board with the following pedals and want to know the order in which they should go and why. I think this will be a fun exercise because opinions might vary widely. Then again, I could be wrong.

PEDALS

  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Tremolo
  • Compressor
  • Phase Shifter
  • Overdrive
– Bear

This is a great thread topic, Bear. Really interested to read the responses to this one. Can we add Chorus, Wah, Tape Echo and Leslie Sim as well?

5

For Live work I would have to go for Guitar >Compressor>Overdrive>Phaser>Tremolo>Delay>Reverb>Amp my actual live rig is Guitar>Tuner>Pitch Shifter>Space Echo>Multi FX >Reverb>Amp

For recording however I often put the compressor at the end of the chain for smashed down Joe Meek type sounds or the Tremolo at the end post reverb for slicer / machine gun type effects . Of course multi effect units will instantly repatch combinations for live work and I would one for all my processing needs if there was one that sounded as good as the independent units .

6

Right now I'm running Fender Tuner > Dyno Brain > Bad Monkey (soon to be replaced) > Cool Cat Trem > Ibanez Delay.

I'm relatively new to pedals. Gigged without them for a decade before losing my mind and buying a crap load (mostly thinned out now). But this seems to work for me. I'm still getting what I want out of each pedal, and it's not affecting my dry tone (well, dry with some Brain on it).

7

This is my board at the moment, fWIW:

Micro Pog-> RMC1 Wah ->Visual Sound Route 808 -> Humphrey Modded Bad Monkey ->Voodoo Labs Micro Vibe -> Sans Amp Liverpool -> Korg Pitchblack tuner-> Freeze --> DMM w/Hazarai . From here, everything is split stereo the rest of the way: ->Digitech chorus -> -line 6 Echo park --> MXR Tremolo -- amp. Used to be a stereo reverb pedal post tremolo, but find i dont miss it and i have enough ambient spacey tools on here anyway:)

edit/add : the reason the tuner is where it is, is I can engage the Freeze or a long delay and they'll still do their thing when i step on the tuner, which mutes everything before it , but not after -- handy when tuning or switching guitars in a continuous improvised set.

I'm using the Liverpool in much the same way as as a Dyno Brain functions if I understand correctly from Tavo's descriptions here -- i.e. a strong preamp to goose the power section of the SF Bassman heads. I use it in varying degrees of 'goose' and to add a Vox-ish vibe to the Bassmans and revoice their mids, but with its very sensitive EQ, i can dial it pretty neutral as well.

I may replace one of the Bassman heads with a Vox head, in which case I'd get a Dyno or Billy, or put back on the Little Big Muff that sometimes lives in that spot.

8

Cool setup Mustafa. I'd say you have it covered.

I currently have several pedals that I use in various combos depending on what's called for. I usually use the least number of FX I can get away with. My basic minimum setup includes an MXR Custom Comp which is always on and always first. From there I'll hit a Maxon OD when needed. After that I may include my Voodoo Lab chorus ( a beauty), an MXR analog delay, Ernie Ball Wah (highly underated), and sometimes an Ernie Ball Volume pedal (if I'm doing country) and always in that order. Reverb comes from my Twin.

I spent years experimenting with the order of pedals and always found the most succesfull/harmonically-synergistic groupings followed the classic comp-OD-tone-shaping-time-based-FX chain.

9

There is always those general rules, but just experiment!

So pedals may like being pushed by something and some wont.

10

General_Lee: Does having the volume pedal at the end of the chain work OK? (Well obviously it does, or you wouldn't do it!) I'm about to hitch up one of these to my fx since I'm rubbish at doing smooth volume swells from my guitar, but I was going to put the volume pedal (a Morley) first.

11

I'd say

  • Compressor
  • overdrive
  • phase shifter
  • tremolo
  • delay
  • reverb

makes most sense. But it is much fun experimenting with placing your effects. A tremolo placed before overdrive/gain responds very different than post-gain. Some slapback delay after your reverb gives you that drip twice.

12

General_Lee: Does having the volume pedal at the end of the chain work OK? (Well obviously it does, or you wouldn't do it!) I'm about to hitch up one of these to my fx since I'm rubbish at doing smooth volume swells from my guitar, but I was going to put the volume pedal (a Morley) first.

– Dave_K

Cant speak for the General, but there are pros and cons for volume pedal last vs first. Last, it can help cut down on overall noise in the signal path between tunes or in quiet sections, but it will also cut off your delays, trem, reverb pedal, etc that precede it in the chain, so it can sound a little unnatural (if youre getting verb from the amp, that wont be an issue). If i use one, I like the volume pedal in front to preserve those ambient effects.

13

From Robert Keeley.................

Which Chain Of Effect Pedals Makes Life Easy? - Wah -> Which, - Compressor -> Chain, - Overdrive -> Of, - EQ -> Effect, - Pitch -> Pedals, - Modulation -> Make, - Level -> Life, - Echo -> Easy. - I like to see wah pedals and sometimes even phasers as the first effect after the guitar. We'll call these Wah effects (yes even the phaser). Wah pedals boost a frequency you sweep to with your foot and phasers cut or notch a frequency that is swept to electronically. Distortion pedals make interesting response changes to the boost or cut from these sweep pedals.

Compressors typically go next although I like them after distortion pedals in many cases if the compressor is clean and transparent enough. Compression after distortion has two effects that I really like. First, the noise floor is lower because the noise from a compressor isn't being amplified and distorted by the overdrive pedal. Second, there appears to be more sustain. There is one draw back that some people notice and that is a darker, warmer tone. Some folks might prefer a more conventional, brighter tone.

Next comes Overdrive or distortion.

Equalizer pedals can go next. They are commonly used for a boost pedal if they can be turned on and off, or used to shape the tone of the distortion pedal.

Pitch changing pedals, Vibrato for example; go next for the simple reason that many distortion pedals can't handle the many pitches at one time. Try strumming a complex chord with your distortion pedal on, say a C7#9#11.

Modulation effects such as chorus and flanging go next.

Level pedals that control the volume go next in many cases. This would include tremolo, volume pedals (great at this point in the effects chain because it cuts all the hiss going to your amp), noise gates and limiters. Since compression is a limiter in many cases and this is why it works post-distortion by the way.

Echo effects go last. These include delay and reverb.

A sample effects board might contain these effects: Guitar -> Wah, Compressor, Overdrive, EQ, Vibrato, Chorus, Tremolo, Volume Pedal, and Delay-> Amp. Note – these “rules” are meant to be broken. Use what sounds best in YOUR rig.

14

There was "Guitar Player" magazine in the waiting room of the doctor I went to see today and I read an article regarding how pedals should be linked together for maximum efficiency. It didn't make a lot of sense to me but I know a lot of you use pedals so I want to build a hypothetical pedal board with the following pedals and want to know the order in which they should go and why. I think this will be a fun exercise because opinions might vary widely. Then again, I could be wrong.

PEDALS

  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Tremolo
  • Compressor
  • Phase Shifter
  • Overdrive
– Bear

This is a great thread topic, Bear. Really interested to read the responses to this one. Can we add Chorus, Wah, Tape Echo and Leslie Sim as well?

– audept

There was "Guitar Player" magazine in the waiting room of the doctor I went to see today and I read an article regarding how pedals should be linked together for maximum efficiency. It didn't make a lot of sense to me but I know a lot of you use pedals so I want to build a hypothetical pedal board with the following pedals and want to know the order in which they should go and why. I think this will be a fun exercise because opinions might vary widely. Then again, I could be wrong.

PEDALS

  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Tremolo
  • Compressor
  • Phase Shifter
  • Overdrive
– Bear

This is a great thread topic, Bear. Really interested to read the responses to this one. Can we add Chorus, Wah, Tape Echo and Leslie Sim as well?

– audept

Absolutely, you can add anything you want. I just used the six I did because I am familiar with them. There are a lot of pedals on the market that I have no idea as to what they do.

15

General_Lee: Does having the volume pedal at the end of the chain work OK? (Well obviously it does, or you wouldn't do it!) I'm about to hitch up one of these to my fx since I'm rubbish at doing smooth volume swells from my guitar, but I was going to put the volume pedal (a Morley) first.

– Dave_K

General_Lee: Does having the volume pedal at the end of the chain work OK? (Well obviously it does, or you wouldn't do it!) I'm about to hitch up one of these to my fx since I'm rubbish at doing smooth volume swells from my guitar, but I was going to put the volume pedal (a Morley) first.

– Dave_K

Mustafa has a good point via volume pedal placement. Actually, when I do use a volume pedal with a delay, I place the delay as the last item in the chain for the reason Mustafa quoted. More rarely I'll use it closer to the beginning of the chain to control the output coming from my pickups as vol/tonal shader. Even then I almost never use it before my compressor as it tends to cause unnatural breathing (to my ear) from the comp. Also, having the comp first tends to send a more even tonal weight to the volume pedal which is a better overall signal with which to create volume swells. I doubt I'd ever place it before the Wah, chorus, phasor, etc (although VOL-OD can work nicely) because the overal signal becomes too inconsistent/noisy when running into these after a volume effect...

16

My pedalsetup is pretty old-school... Chorus (which I don't use much),delay,compressor,volume pedal into the front of the amp,usually a Bassman LTD.I try to be pretty subtle with everything,and have found that the volume pedal is the one thing I couldn't do without.It's a great device for sustain,and backing off when the singer or another lead instrument is featured.I can put a lot of drive into the accompaniment and still leave the singer the room he needs.


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