This is the first in a short series that is aimed at helping you to set up your pedalboard.
Pedals are part of the fun of playing the guitar – they are not for everyone but some of us are obsessed with them. Once you've acquired a few pedals, and started using them individually and in combinations, you will want to consider setting them up permanently so that they can be moved, put away or gigged without having to plug everything back together each time.
You'll need a pedalboard of some sort but before we do that you will want to consider in what order you should plug the pedals together.
There are conventional wisdoms to this but it should be said that there are NO HARD RULES. If you like the sound you get, then that is the right way for you. That said, the generally accepted basic order is as follows:
Looking a little more closely at this, what we are saying is the guitar goes first into any pedal that changes the basic tone of the guitar – commonly a wah pedal but also could be an acoustic simulator (if you have either!).
Next we go to pedals that will distort or compress the basic tone. Compressor first, then overdrive, then distortion. If you use more that one pedal in this group you might want to experiment with the order within the group, especially if you use more than one dirt pedal at a time – you will find that the stacked sound of two pedals will definitely vary depending on which pedal you go through first.
From the gain pedals we move to modulation – chorus, flanger or univibe typically – but it is worth mentioning at this point that distorted chorus sounds different to chorused distortion! Again, experiment! If you find you need both, you may want to consider adding a second chorus pedal before the gain section just for that purpose.
The final section I have called REV but it includes any delay based effect – generally you want to apply delay to your gained and modulated sound and then reverb to everything.
So that is a simple guideline… but anything goes.
What about other special pedals?
Equalisers can be used at any point in the chain but I would certainly say that they go before the delay based pedals and probably before modulation.
Noise suppressors are most commonly used after the gain section so that they present a noise free signal to the modulation effects.
There will always be any number of special cases to consider but you won't go far wrong if you adopt this approach. If you have any questions or thoughts, don't hesitate to get in touch with us - call in to the shop, contact us on facebook or comment on the blog. It's always great to hear from you.
There are many more aspects to putting your pedal board together (physical layout, power, which pedalboard?) and we'll look at another one next time.