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Best Guitar Pedal Chain Setup for Each Music Style
10 Aug

Best Guitar Pedal Chain Setup for Each Music Style

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You probably have a lot of guitar pedals lying around. The way you set them up in the signal chain can improve the tone of your pedals. You’ll have various pedals for different styles, but these need to be setup in certain ways to maximize the sound. Here’s how you should setup pedals in the chain.

Guitar Tuner Pedal First
If you use a chromatic tuner have this first in the chain. Some players have a small tuner behind the guitar head stock, but if you use a pedal for this, pout it first as you want a clean sound when you tune that isn’t modulated in any way or distorted. You can use a clean tone during breaks to tune your instrument.

Pedal chain pedal board setup

Filter Effects
These go next such as a wah, envelop filter, auto wah, and so on. These use the clean sound of the amp to apply the effect. If you put them after other effects, they won’t work as well and the sound won’t be what you want. The filter pedal should be first if you don’t use any sort of tuner pedal. This setup works for all guitar styles no matter what you’re playing.

These level out the volume of your playing. If you connect these later on in the chain you can get a lot of unwanted noise so put these next in the signal chain.

Overdrive and Distortion
Any distortion or overdrive effect should go next. These are the most popular pedals and a big part of your overall sound. If they were to be added before a filter or compressor the distortion wouldn’t sound as nice in the signal chain so add them after compressor. Again, it doesn’t matter the music style as the signal is more important in the tones you want not the style of music you’re making as you won’t have a good tone without following the right signal path with pedals.

Modulation Pedals
These are the flangers, phaser pedals, tremolo, and similar pedals. You can experiment a bit with the setup of these to see how it impacts your overall guitar tone. For example, you may find the tone sounds best with the delay before the flanger.

Volume Pedal
After the modulation pedals, you should place your volume pedal if you have one. You want to adjust the sound of the finished guitar signal so it’s best to place the volume pedal at the end of the chain.

Delay Pedal

The only pedal you should place after a volume pedal is a delay pedal if you use one. If it’s placed before the volume then it’s too hard to control the overall signal.

Pedal Setup and Tips

Use a pedal board to keep your pedals neat and tidy. Make sure you use short pedal cables as you don’t want longer cables interfering with the signal path. These cables allow you to place pedals very close together. A pedal board makes it easy to scoop up your pedals once the gig is over. Just remember that the amplifier you use, the guitar, and your fingers also factor into your sound so experiment until you get tones that you like. Make sure you have lots of batteries or use AC power adapters for your pedals. Always go on stage with fresh batteries in each pedal. A pedal board usually allows you to plug into one outlet so you don’t need batteries so you might want to go with that, but of you only have one or two pedals then batteries are the way to go.

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