Which order should I set up my guitar effects?

I currently have 9 pedals. 4 distortion, 1 wah, 1 volume, 1 chorus, 1 delay, and 1 compressor.

What to do you guys think will be the best order to have my pedals organized for the best sound.

These are the pedals I have:

Boss:

DS-1

OD-1

MT-2

HM-3

CE-2

DD-6

Crybaby Original Wah

Morley Power Volume

MXR-132 Super Comp

Thx and God bless

1 Answer

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  • Ken C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    There are general guidelines that are used when putting together a pedal board, but they are just guidelines.

    There are 3 families of effects:

    - Tone modifiers: Like EQ, Wah, etc

    - Level modifiers: Distortion, Compressors, Fuzz, etc.

    - Time modifiers: Chorus, Delay, Phasing, Flanging

    In general, I'll put the level modifier's first, the tone modifiers second, and the time modifiers last. Time modifiers usually work best on a harmonically rich (distorted) signal, and don't sound as good if they are distorted. And, in general, you'll want to put your time modifiers in order of increasing delay and density:

    Chorus ---> Phaser ---> Flanger ---> Delay ---> Reverb

    Again, those are only guidelines. I've done an effect where just the delay repeats went through a flanger, and it sounded pretty darned cool.

    The only hard, fast rules are that if you are using a compressor it should be the first thing. Putting it later in the signal chain will significantly raise your noise floor. Octave dividers and pitch shifters are other effects that should be first in the chain. They need a clean signal to track properly (a distorted signal will confuse them).

    The one pedal that no one can agree on where to go is a wah pedal. Some folks put it before their distortion, and some after. No right or wrong there, just two different sounds.

    The volume pedal can go in several places. Early in the chain will let you vary the intensity of your distortion boxes. Between the distortion and chorus, you just reduce the volume but not the level of distortion. You can also shut off the signal, and if you have the delay going the repeats will continue. Putting it at the end would give you the quietest results when you back it off. Try it in each location and see what works for you.

    So, if I were plugging in the effects you list, I would wire it up:

    Guitar ---> Compressor --> Volume ---> Wah ---> Distortions (any order) ---> Chorus ---> Delay ---> Amp

    Again, that's just me.

    Good luck.

    Greetings from Austin, Tx

    Ken

    Source(s): 40 years playing guitar and bass 35 years of live performance 30+ years audio and broadcast engineering
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