Effects Pedals - A Guide to the Order of Effects

What order should I have my guitar effects pedals?

This question arises time and time again and now it’s time to find out which is the best order for your guitar effect pedals! Although there’s no concrete, strict order you must have them in, there are some ways of getting the best out of them for optimum tone!

1) Tuner

First in line should be your tuner, it’s ideal to have your guitar going straight into it so none of the other units can alter the signal as this may cause the reading of the note to change. For example if you had a vibrato before your tuner and it was switched on you would get some weird readings and it would be almost impossible to get it in tune!

2) Wah

Wah Wah sounds great either before or after a distortion or overdrive stompbox, really it’s down which sound you like best. Having it before your drive pedal can give the wah more control over the signal allowing for a cleaner sweep and better response. Hendrix had his wah before the drive too so there’s reason enough to try it in the same way! Above all with this one, use your ears, what sounds best?

3) Drive / Distortion

Get these positioned after the wah and before any modulation, here you’ll get a much better response from as it won’t be affected by things like pitch shifters, tremolo, chorus etc… Drives work well with the dynamics of your playing so it’s good to get it in before all of those qualities are sucked away and altered.

4) Modulations – Chorus / Phaser / Flanger

These are perfect for beefing up your tone and making some whacky sounds and because of this it’s best that they’re placed after the drives. Drives don’t work as efficiently when they’re bombarded with crazy frequencies so let the overdrive do it’s job and then get crazy afterwards.

5) Volume Effects

If you have a volume pedal then you simply have to place it before any delays or reverbs. If you want to do long volume swells and synth like sustains then the delay and reverb trail will need to carry on even if the volume pedal is at zero. Place it the other way around and you’ll cut off the entire ambiance and delayed sound when you take it down to zero! Try it for yourself, you’ll see why!

6) Delays

Your delay units should feature here, right after the volume effects. This means all of the sounds that are before it will also be delayed which works really well. It also means that you’ll be able to do cool effects with the volume pedal and solos will be more beefy and full too.

7) Reverbs

Reverb effects are for emulating a physical space or room which means that you will want absolutely every sound placed into that box. To do this it just takes your reverb unit to be right at the end of the chain! This will provide a thicker, more ambient sound.

8) Recap

Guitar >   Tuner >   Wah >   Drive >   Modulation >   Volume >   Delay >   Reverb >   Amp

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