Making up my pedalboard and how to order your pedals

So since my last post I have made up my pedalboard and have been breaking it in. The diago gigman comes with  velcro for attaching the pedals firmly to the board. I will do this eventually, but for now I find it is good to let them wander a bit. It may look less tidy but you may find that small position shifts can make a big difference in terms of ease of use, especially when tap dancing to pedals in the back row. One issue that gets brought up a lot is how best to order your pedals. As you can see I have settled on the conventional order of:

Wah-drive-modulation-delay-reverb

Many people set things up in this way and with good reason. Normally you want the signal to go straight into filter/wah type effects because it gets the best response out of them. If you have them after a mid range-y overdrive pedal, you truncate the frequency spectrum and so the wah ends up having a narrower palette to work with. Drives come next due to the old adage “you want to effect your distortion, not distort your effects”. In other words, keep drives before your modulation and delay type effects and to preserve their subtlety. Finally reverb at the end since you generally want your reverb trails to be heard on everything. Of course, you can also use compressors or boosts, which generally should be near the front of the pedal chain, again to operate on a signal that is as unadulterated as possible. One pedal that often sits out of place is the fuzz pedal. Many fuzzes sound best straight from the guitar but of course then you may have to compromise with other pedals. For my setup I found that my Malekko fuzz sounds good both before and after the autowah, so for now I’m going autowah first. These are in no way firm rules and as always, whatever sounds best to you is the best way to do it, even if it flies in the face of convention.

In the end I settled on:

T-rex tonebug autowahMalekko omicron fuzzT-rex Alberta overdriveBoss TR-2 tremoloTC electronic Flashback X4TC electronic Trinity reverb

all powered by a Carl Martin Big John.

20130210-133554.jpgMy current set up. I tried to keep all the switches that I need the most regular access to in the front row

You may notice that there is one free power point and space for another pedal on the board. As it stands I need to pick up another cioks connector but I’m in no rush. I’m umming and ahhing about whether or not I should add a compressor/boost, or throw my distortion on the board. I normally play through a strat and I’m more of a fan of drives and fuzzes with single coils, plus I  think I’d probably get more use out of a compressor or a boost than a gainy distortion.

What is your board like? and how do you like to order your pedals?

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7 responses to “Making up my pedalboard and how to order your pedals

  1. I generally follow the accepted order of dynamics > overdrives > modulation > delay > reverb. But it is worth experimenting – a wah after a distortion sounds very different. I also like a tremolo in front of an overdrive for a pulsating throb to the tone. Likewise a distortion on the wet output of a delay. Sometimes crafting a unique signature sound requires you to ignore the “rules”.

    • good point! inspiration for my next post… I must admit that is one of the most tempting things about either elaborate rack mounted effects of multi fx with the option to change internal pedal order – you are able to set up patches that do exactly that without having to rewire everything.

  2. I went back and forth for a long time, but finally settled on putting my wah after my overdrive and distortion pedals. I like using the wah affect on the whole sound and didn’t like how having the wah in front would dampen the overdrive or distortion at times. But it all depends on what you like and the sound you are going for.

    • That’s true – drives tend to work best when they are being hit by a good strong signal and since a wah cuts certain frequencies during its sweep, the signal may no longer be strong enough (at that frequency) to work well with the drive. Dampen it, as you say!

    • I really like it. It’s a pretty well designed looper too which is half the enjoyment. I have to say that there are a few delays that I tend to use more often than others but I try and keep things fresh and mix up the tone prints – it’s easy to fall into the trap of picking a couple of favourite sounds and not making the most of the others! Any standout settings for you?

      • I’ve only had mine for a week. But so far I really enjoy the analog w/ mod and the 2290. I think the reverse could be really fun to get good at, but it would take some work to make it cohesive with a band.

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