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Connect effects to the combo

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How to connect the chain of guitar effects? What changes will be in the wrong order of effects? How is reverb different from delay? The article describes the recommended procedure for connecting guitar effects and a brief explanation of the differences between guitar effects. The order of constructing the chain of effects is very important because the sound quality will greatly depend on the built-in signal chain. For example, we can say that if the reverb pedal is placed after the chorus effect, then the input of the reverb pedal receives not a clean, original signal, but changed by the chorus effect as a result, we get a “mess” at the output. In floor or rack guitar processors, the order of connecting the pedals is already determined by the device itself, in more modern devices it is possible to group-change the order of connecting the pedals directly through the processor settings. Effect pedals are interconnected by special (short) cables. You do not need to save on them, because when passing an audio signal through bad cables, besides, with a strong bend and in connections, a significant loss and distortion of the signal occurs. It is advisable to use cables made of oxygen-free copper with high-quality connectors, with a good coating, for example, gold-plated. It is better to take the minimum length of the connecting cable, the shorter the cable - the less signal loss.
A separate issue on the power of the effect pedals, it is very desirable that the power supply is stabilized and has separate power outputs. In cheap power supplies, you can get noise in the path of the audio signal due to the lack of stabilization or interference that can be produced by neighboring effect pedals powered by the same power source.

The beginning of the chain of effects - it’s better to include gain based and dynamic effects. These pedals will form the basis of our sound. Gainovye include: distortion, overdrive, fuz. if you have a pedal tuner, then it must be the very first to receive a signal from an electric guitar.

Modulating (emulating) effects (modulation). These include tremolo, chorus, flanger, phase shift (phaser), rotating speakers (Leslie), pitch shift and octave divider (pitch shifter), delay (delay), reverb. They can be placed in front of the amplifier. But the best way to connect these effects is to connect an amplifier effects in the loop, which allows you to include effects in the sound path in the area after the preamp stages and in front of the power amplifier. This arrangement allows you to maximize the saturation and quality of the signal.

Rack effects (rack or stoch processors).

Typically, these are professional devices designed for installation in 19-inch racks (U1 or U2). If you connect the rack processors directly to the input of the amplifier, then this can lead to an overload of the amplifier paths and, as a result, the appearance of undesired distortion, loss of tone ... Therefore, it is recommended to include rack processors in the amplifier effects loop. When buying any effect, it is always advisable to test them on your equipment or at least on similar models, because the sound can change on each equipment and its circuit. Most guitar effects increase the signal level in the sound path, so you need to be careful about the signal level at the inputs of the amplifier devices. This is especially true for digital delays, which can easily be overloaded with an excessively amplified signal of the previous effect.

To summarize, the recommended switching order on the fingers should be something like this:

1. your electric guitar
2. guitar tuner - it can be turned on anywhere, but it is desirable that it receives a clean, not distorted signal.
3. filters - here we place wah and auto-wah pedals, envelope filters and sometimes a phaser.
4. compressor - equalizes the dynamics of sound and provides a smooth, constant tonality for the subsequent chain of effects
5. distortion / overdrive / fuzz - to prevent spurious distortion set to the effects of modulation and delay (delay)
6. equalizer - often used to form-improve the tonal character after distortion / overdrive / fuzz
7. pitch shift and octave divider (pitch-shifting) - they work best with a compressed signal, so of course they are best placed after a chain of compressors and distortion effects.
8. modulators- here we place choruses, flangers and sometimes phasers.
volume-changing effects - any effect that changes the volume of your guitar (volume pedal, gates, limiters, tremolo, etc.). The gate can be imagined as a kind of sound switch, which is triggered when the volume level of the signal falls below a certain threshold. If the gate is configured incorrectly, it may inadequately operate, chopping off smoothly fading sounds, or, conversely, leaving noise where it is not needed. Therefore, using a gate during recording is quite risky. Of course, it is likely that it will be configured correctly on the first try, but if this is not possible, the sound material can be irrevocably damaged. It is much better to use the gate at the mixing stage, when you have the opportunity to listen to the track many times, checking if you have everything set up correctly. Moreover, any noise received during the recording process will also be removed using a gate.
9. Delay (delay effects) - delay. like reverb, it simulates a delayed response from the main signal. It should be placed at the end of the effect pedals, as it should cover all the effects in the circuit.
10. Reverb- its essence is that the original sound signal is mixed with its copies (delayed relative to it at various time intervals). Reminds Delay. The difference is that with reverb the number of delayed copies of the signal can be significantly greater than with delay.
11. your favorite amplifier.

Connect one effect to the combo

To begin, consider connecting one pedal to a combo using the example of the BOSS DS-1. First of all, before connecting, make sure that the devices are de-energized, then connect the combo with the power cable, but do not turn on the power button. Connect the effect pedal to the adapter with the power connector or insert the battery, then use the instrument cables with jack 3.6 to connect the combo, pedal and guitar into one circuit. This should be done as follows: first, connect the cable to the “input” jack on the combo, then connect the cable to the other end, connect to the “output” jack on the guitar effect, connect the second cable to the “input” jack on the effect and connect the guitar.

It is very important that the 3.6 jacks on the cables are mono, since many manufacturers put the pedal on function to close the input jack with a mono connector and the pedal simply will not turn on with the stereo jack.

Connect the effect power supply to the network, press the pedal; if you did everything correctly, the LED should light up, indicating the pedal is working. turn off the pedal, set the Level knob to the minimum position, and the Level and Tone knobs to the middle position (for 12 hours).

Now you can go to the guitar amplifier. Turn the volume on the combo to the zero position and turn it on. Then gradually turn up the volume to a comfortable level for hearing.

Turn on the pedal and gradually turn up the volume with the Level knob to the desired volume. If you are having difficulty adjusting the equalizer, read the article where we have uncovered the basic principles of setting the equalizer for music styles.
It is worth doing in this way in order to minimize the level of noise and clicks, thereby extending the life of your devices and preventing short circuits.

Connect the effects chain to the combo

In fact, there are no rules in the sequence of connecting the pedals of effects, but right - this is how you like it, but to facilitate understanding of the essence of building a competent chain, some templates should be followed or just familiarized with them.


The guitar tuner (TC Electromic PolyTune, KORG PitchBlack) as such is not a guitar effect, it is intended solely for tuning the guitar. Of course, the optimal solution is to put it first in order to use the maximum undistorted signal and facilitate the "catching" of notes. However, there are musicians who put him at the end of the chain in order to be able to turn off the whole chain with one click.

Wow-wow (VOX V845, DUNLOP GCB-95) and envelope filters (Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron, DOD 440) sound effects that allow you to dynamically change the tone. A classic use case for Voodoo Chile is Jimi Hendrix. As a rule, they are connected before overloads, but for a more synthetic sound, you can use them after distortion effects. Experiment.

Compressors (BOSS CS-3, MXR Dynacomp) allow you to minimize the difference between the quietest and loudest sound by compressing the dynamic range of the audio signal. How the guitar effect is used in funk or shred music to facilitate the play of high-speed passages. The chains are put to overload, so as not to add excess dirt to the sound.


Boosters (TC Electronic Spark, MXR Micro Amp) are used to raise, without distortion, the guitar signal for solo parts, match the level of two different guitars with different outputs (for example, with humbuckers and singles) or to “swing” distortion effects , as a result of which they are put before them. Although there are exceptions when boosters to raise the overall signal level are placed at the end of the chain.

Distortion effects: overdrive (Boss SD-1, Ibanez Tube Screamer), distortions (Pro Co Rat, Boss DS-1), fuzzy (Dunlop Fuzz Face, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi) - these are some of the most popular effects, sound which is familiar to all rock music lovers. The sequence in which they are located among themselves is, of course, a matter of taste, but, as a rule, all of them are put up to compressors and filters. However, there is a small nuance with fuzzes - many of them, for example, Fuzz Face, are influenced by the buffer in front of you, and if your effects in the circuit before fuzz do not have true bypass, it makes sense to put such a fuzz in the very beginning so as not to introduce unnecessary compression and dirt in the sound.

Equalizers (BOSS GE-7) allow you to adjust the tone of the sound, delete and add certain frequencies, usually set after the effects of overdrive.

Shumodavy (iSP Decimator, Boss Ns-2, Rocktron Hush) suppress unwanted noise, background and buzz, without changing the useful signal, it is best to include in the circuit after the effects of distortion and equalizer.

Pitch shifters (DigiTech Whammy, Boss PS-6) and octaves (Boss OC-3, Electro Harmonix POG) add a copy of it to the signal, separated from the pitch by any interval within two octaves up or down, or, in the case of an octave , an octave or two below or above the pitch. Case Study: Solo in “Like A Stone” - Audioslave. Pitch shifters work best with a compressed signal, so they should be placed in the circuit after compressors and distortion effects. However, this is not the only possible option, for example, if your deal has a gap that allows you to separately process your tails, then with the help of pitch shifters and octaves (especially polyphonic) you can achieve hypnotic and mesmerizing ambient effects. When you have a strong phonetic combo, the thing is irreplaceable. The author used it at home when he studied with Mikhail.

Modulation effects: chorus (Electro-Harmonix Small Clone, Boss CH-1), phasers (MXR Phase 90, Electro Harmonix Small Stone), flanges (Ibanez FL-9, Boss BF-2), tremolo (Electro Harmonix, Dunlop TS1) Despite the fact that most guitarists prefer modulation, there are exceptions between distortion effects and spatial processing (deeds and referees), like phasers. They work great before overdriving, for example, Van Halen often used the face as a boost before the natural overload of his amplifier. On top of that, the face works just fine after doing it, making the sound psychedelic in the style of the early Pink Floyd. Chorus also sounds great after the delay, try different options for the location of the modulation in the circuit.

Delays (Boss DD-7, MXR Carbon Copy) - digital or analog signal delay simulating fading repetitions of a natural echo, as a rule in a circuit it takes place closer to the end, after filters, distortion and modulation effects. This is done in order to make the repeats as readable as possible without adding dirt to the signal, however, there are always exceptions and many shuzeysers put delays before the overload, just to add dirt and achieve the so-called wall of sound.

Revers (Boss Rv-5, Digitech Supernatural) imitate the process of gradually reducing the intensity of sound during its multiple reflections, this effect is very similar to delay, but differs by a significantly larger number of repetitions and significantly shorter repetition time of the delayed signal, usually takes place in the circuit after the delay.

Volume pedal (Boss FV 50), linearly adjusts the volume of the signal. It usually costs at the end of the chain to adjust the volume level of the output signal of the effects chain in real time, but it is often put at the beginning of the chain to obtain a swell effect, a smooth increase in sound, similar to the synthesizer most often used in ambient music and post-rock. You should also pay attention to the resistance of the passive volume pedals, since for the beginning and end of the circuit it differs significantly.

Loopers (Boss Loop Station and Digitech JamMan) are a storage device that allows you to quickly record a small (depending on the amount of available memory) game fragment for its subsequent cyclic playback, respectively, are placed at the very end of the chain.

And most importantly, the circuit switching is carried out by guitar patches, I strongly recommend not to save on their quality.

In conclusion, I want to remind once again that this scheme is not the only true one, experiment, try different options, be creative in forming a chain.

Effect chains

We examined the types of basic guitar effects. Now you need to understand how to assemble them into one chain and make them work. Immediately it is worth saying that there are a great many ways to do this and there are no frameworks. Everything is limited only by your imagination and tasks. Now we will consider some of the simplest and most common options.

Effect chain collection

  • Guitar - noise gate - compressor - wah-wah - overload - equalizer - chorus - delay - reverb - amplifier input.

One of the easiest and most common ways. The signal from the guitar goes to the noise cutter, which removes all the noise and interference from the instrument’s sensors, after which the compressor equalizes the signal before applying it to the wah-wah pedal. Here you can put an octaver, pitch shifter and others. Next comes the overload, the sound of which you prefer. After the equalizer, we adjust the frequency characteristics and send the chorus / flanger / fizer modulation effects to the processing effects. After that, the signal is processed using delay and reverb to give greater volume to the sound and comes to the amplifier preamp input to its clean channel.

If your amplifier has a loop for connecting effects, you can try the following option.

  • Guitar - noise gate - compressor - wah-wah - overload - amplifier input, effect send - chorus - delay - reverb - effect return.

The signal from the guitar comes to the noise cutter, then the compressor, kvak, overload to the amplifier preamp input. In this case, the overload can work as an independent effect, in a clean amplifier preamp channel or as a “heating pad”, simply adding gain to the amplifier preamp in both a clean and overloaded channel. Further, the signal from the amplifier preamp through the effect send goes to the chorus, delay, reverb and through the effect return to the tip of the guitar amplifier.

  • Guitar - noise gate - compressor - wah-wah - preamp - chorus - delay - reverb - effect return.

In this version, we use a floor preamp instead of a guitar amp preamp. The signal from the guitar through the noise cutter passes to the compressor, then wah-wah and comes to the preamp, after pre-processing it is processed by the chorus, delay, reverb and through the effect return it goes to the tip of the guitar amplifier.

  • Guitar - noise gate - compressor - wah-wah - preamp or overload with speaker - equalizer - chorus - delay - reverb - mixer / sound card.

This option will allow you to do without a guitar amplifier at all, for example, for home recording or in case the amplifier fails at a rehearsal or concert.

The signal from the guitar passes through the noise reduction, compressor, wah-wah, to overload with the built-in speaker, for example, the DIGITECH BAD MONKEY discussed above, from the pedal output the mixer signal comes to the equalizer, on which you adjust the frequency characteristics to your liking, then chorus, delay, reverb and after - sound card input or mixer input.

Is it possible to alternate effects?

You can experiment on the basis of the options considered, removing or adding effects, changing their places, adjusting the chain to your needs. For example, if your overload on its own gives a strong background, you can move the noise cutter by setting it next after overload, setting the response threshold. Или поменять местами компрессор и wah-wah или вовсе сдвинуть компрессор почти в конец цепи, поставив его перед дилеем и ревером, все это ощутимо отразится на звуке. Или поставить в цепь два перегруза, настроив их так, чтобы получилось три-четыре варианта перегруза.

Более того, по мере освоения эффектов и получения навыков их настройки, вы можете делать более сложные цепочки эффектов, добавляя различные разветвления и даже разводя сигнал на несколько усилителей, например, как сделал наш обзорщик Фил Чекалин в видео.

Несколько слов о главном

Ну и напоследок хотелось бы сказать несколько слов о важных мелочах. As soon as the number of your pedals approaches two or three, there will certainly be a question of transporting them to a rehearsal, concert and other events, the convenience and speed of switching, and, of course, ensuring their uninterrupted power. The easiest way is to assemble all this into a pedalboard, at the moment there are many pedalboards on the market, in the form of Ehx Bag bags or cases designed for certain pedals, for example, Boss with an integrated power supply and all switching in the kit. Or just free cases containing any pedals that you have enough imagination to put in them, for example, Stagg.

Choosing the option without built-in power, you should think about a good power supply, with protection against short circuits, separate outputs and the ability to power all your pedals, for example Force FPS-02, well, do not forget patch cables for switching all pedals to each other. All this will allow you to save a lot of time and nerves at concerts and rehearsals, to minimize interference, noise and various force majeure circumstances when working with your equipment.

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