What order should pedals go in?
This has got to be the most asked question regarding effects pedals and their ‘proper’ use.
There are best practices, but realistically there is no “right” way to wire up your pedal board.
Experimenting with your signal flow can lead to some amazing accidents…
If experimenting isn’t your thing, or you’re just looking for some guidelines- I’ll try to shed some light on the topic.
A compressor should come first. Compressors even out the guitars output, feeding everything after it a nice even signal.
High gain distortion would be next. With lower gain distortions/overdrives down the chain. Reason behind this is that if you have a high gainer after a low gainer- there isn’t much difference in the sound. A low gain in front of a high gain will give you more gain, but not much in the way of tonal flexibility. However, a low gain after a high gain allows for much more shaping and will result in huge tone.
Place your boosts pedals at the end of the chain. This will bring the level of your delays and echoes evenly. If you place it in the beginning or the middle of your chain it can easily cause distortion.
FX Loops are great for delays, echoes, chorus pedals and the like- however matching the volume can be tricky. Some amps do not have a volume control on the FX Loop, so keep an eye out for that when amp shopping.
You can use a boost pedal to solve this problem, but it would be a set and forget type of solution, with no intentions of doing anything but matching signal strength. Boost pedals generally do not work well in FX Loops. The biggest problem with boosts in FX Loops is an audible switch pop. Plus, it just doesn’t sound as good. Driving the front end of an amp is what boost pedals were designed to do.
Wah wah pedals are pretty unique… they should be close to the front of the chain, but can be inserted anywhere based on what you’re looking to do. Ultimately- let your ears decide.
More answers to your questions next time!